Chris Evans Wants the iPhone's Home Button Back -- Here's Why That's Important

Commentary: Captain America is right. If it's not broken, there's no need to upgrade.

Patrick Holland Managing Editor
Patrick Holland has been a phone reviewer for CNET since 2016. He is a former theater director who occasionally makes short films. Patrick has an eye for photography and a passion for everything mobile. He is a colorful raconteur who will guide you through the ever-changing, fast-paced world of phones, especially the iPhone and iOS. He used to co-host CNET's I'm So Obsessed podcast and interviewed guests like Jeff Goldblum, Alfre Woodard, Stephen Merchant, Sam Jay, Edgar Wright and Roy Wood Jr.
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  • Patrick's play The Cowboy is included in the Best American Short Plays 2011-12 anthology. He co-wrote and starred in the short film Baden Krunk that won the Best Wisconsin Short Film award at the Milwaukee Short Film Festival.
Patrick Holland
3 min read
Chris Evans at the premiere of his film The Gray Man

What's cooler than a movie star at a film premiere? A celebrity that values products designed to last.

Leon Bennett/Netflix

Chris Evans, aka Captain America , aka Buzz Lightyear, is making as much Apple news lately as the rumored iPhone 14. Like all of us do from time to time, Evans upgraded his old iPhone to a new one. So what's all the hubbub about? Turns out, he's been using an iPhone 6S all this time. Back in June, in a post on Instagram he shared an RIP for his old iPhone 6S, a phone released in the Obama administration.
Clearly a celebrity of his stature could afford the latest and greatest when it comes to phones . The fact that Evans held onto his iPhone 6S for so long speaks volumes about his character and perspective. I daresay this makes him seem more down-to-Earth and cooler, too. 

And if the story stopped there, great. But while promoting his new film The Gray Man on Netflix, Collider's Steve Weintraub asked him about his old phone and Evans replied, "I miss it." The Knives Out star admitted that he misses the home button and that his new iPhone 12 Pro feels too heavy. His co-star Ana de Armas, sitting next to Evans, chimed in sympathetically, and showed how her iPhone leaves a line on her pinky finger.

Evans opened up about his iPhone situation more passionately saying, "I want something to work until it doesn't work anymore." This is simultaneously profound and a spot-on criticism of our disposable global culture.

OK, so how did we get here? Last month, Chris Evans posted a photo to Instagram that showed him transferring data from his iPhone 6S to a new iPhone. He wrote, "RIP iPhone 6S. We had a good run. I'll miss your home button. I won't miss the nightly battle of trying to get you to charge. Or your grainy pictures. Or your sudden drops from 100% battery, to 15%, to completely dead all within minutes. It was a wild ride. Rest easy, pal. #tilthewheelsfalloff"

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A fitting tribute to an old iPhone. But why did he hold onto his old iPhone for so long? The short answer, it seems, is for the home button. It's an actual button. In his Collider interview, Evans dismissed people saying he should get an iPhone SE, which is the only iPhone Apple currently sells with a home button. It's implied that Evans knows that the iPhone 6S had the last actual home button on an iPhone. When Apple released the iPhone 7 it replaced the physical button with a circular spot that used haptics to mimic a physical button's action and feedback. This same faux-home button is on the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, SE (2020) and SE (2022).

Though his iPhone 6S barely worked, it seems he held onto it for another reason: the principle of the whole thing. Why get a new phone when an old one worked perfectly fine? Granted, it seems Evans used the 6S as long as he could -- over six years, assuming he bought it the year it came out. And while Evans didn't mention it, the iPhone 6S is not getting the update to iOS 16, likely meaning it's time for other iPhone 6S owners to move on to a newer model if only to maintain protection from security vulnerabilities.
Every year phone-makers release new models. On one hand this yearly cycle lets companies upgrade their phones' hardware to be more competitive. But on the other hand, it's quite wasteful. Other tech products like headphones and cameras aren't on a yearly upgrade cycle and years can pass between models. Add in complicating factors like the removal of a home button entirely and things like a headphone jack and it's easy to understand Evans' frustration. He had a phone with a home button that's lightweight, then "upgraded" to a new iPhone that's heavier, and lacks a home button and headphone jack entirely. I'd be less than thrilled, too.

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