Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Reachability - How & Why the Screen on an iPhone 6 or Later Shifts Down

To watch a video describing how the Reachability feature works watch:

If you have an iPhone 6, 6 Plus or later model iPhone, you may have unexpectedly had the display shift half way down the screen as in this example: 

The first few times the screen shifts like this it can be hard to identify what caused the screen to shift. This is especially true when adjusting to a new phone or iOS as it takes time to adjust to the new features available via tapping, double tapping, double pressing, and force touching (available with the 6S and 6S Plus devices only). The feature responsible for this screen shifting is called "Reachability" and is activated by double-touching the home button. The screen automatically shifts back up after 5 seconds of inactivity. Note: Be sure to double-touch the home button, as double-pressing will give a different result.

Reachability is one of the many Accessibility features and is helpful when you know what it is for and how it is used. Previous versions of the iPhone were small enough to fit in most user's hands with all parts of the screen being within reach. With the larger screens some users struggle to reach every part of the screen while holding the phone so the Reachability feature was introduced. The purpose behind this feature is to make menu selections available in the top part of the screen easier to utilize even with larger sized phones.  

In this example, shifting the screen down makes it easier to press the button to start a new tweet.

The Reachability feature is typically enabled by default. To enable/disable the feature:
  • Click to open Settings
  • Select "General"
  • Select "Accessibility"
  • About 2/3 of the way down, click to toggle the "Reachability" feature on or off

New accessibility features will continue to be provided as the physical features of the iPhone continue to evolve. These features make different items easier to access, view, select, hear, and utilize, and can be extremely helpful at times. Whether you decide to use the Reachability feature or not, understanding the purpose of this feature and how it works is key to realizing how useful it can be. 

As always, it can be challenging to know every new feature added to smart phones with each device and iOS iteration. However, the more we know, the more efficient we can be at everyday tasks.

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