How To: Trigger Reachability on Your iPhone to Interact with the Top Part of the Screen One-Handed

Trigger Reachability on Your iPhone to Interact with the Top Part of the Screen One-Handed

Apple's "Reachability" feature made its debut with the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, to compensate for larger screen sizes, allowing users to reach screen items at the top while using one hand. It has since become a staple feature of all iPhones (except the original iPhone SE), but how you activate it varies depending on if it's a model with Face ID or Touch ID.

Reachability has been available since iOS 8, and it works the same way on newer iOS versions such as iOS 13. Supported models include the:

The Reachability feature works only in Portrait orientation, and when called upon, it will slide the entire contents of the screen down so that the top of the screen is in the middle of the display. That lets you interact with the upper half of the screen's content with your thumb in one-handed use. Reachability may be enabled on your iPhone already, and you can skip Step 1 below to check. If it doesn't work, use Step 1 to unlock it.

Step 1: Enable Reachability

How you unlock Reachability depends on the iOS version you're running. For iOS 13 and higher, open Settings, tap "Accessibility," then "Touch" in the Physical and Motor section. Toggle on the "Reachability" switch if it's disabled.

On iOS 12 and under, open the Settings app, choose "General," then "Accessibility." In the Interaction section, toggle on the "Reachability" switch.

Reachability toggle in iOS 13 and higher (left) vs. iOS 12 and under (right).

Step 2: Trigger Reachability

To actually use Reachability, you'll do one of two things, depending on whether your iPhone has Face ID or Touch ID, i.e., no Home button or Home button.

On iPhones Without a Home Button

If you have an iPhone with Face ID, swipe down on the bottom edge of your screen. To return to full-screen mode, swipe up on the bottom edge, tap the chevron (that's pointing up) above the screen contents, or wait for it to return automatically after about eight seconds of not interacting with the screen.

On iPhones with a Home Button

On an iPhone with Touch ID, you'll double-tap the Home button. Don't double-click the Home button — lightly double-tap it, i.e., don't press down on it all the way. To return to full-screen mode, double-tap the Home button again, tap the chevron (that's pointing up) above the screen contents, or wait for it to return automatically after about eight seconds of not interacting with the screen.

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Cover photo, screenshots, and GIFs by Jake Peterson/Gadget Hacks

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