Apple replaced the classic click mechanism home button in favor of a “solid-state” pressure sensitive one that uses haptic feedback to mimic traditional button presses, since the introduction of the iPhone 7. The programming that controls the Taptic Engine powered feedback is highly integrated into iOS 10, so deep that it seems Apple’s latest iPhone is capable of automatically providing a temporary workaround when its diagnostic software senses that the technology is playing up.
An user reports an experience in which the device unexpectedly turned itself off while charging and the haptic feedback began malfunctioning after a restart. According to him, a dialog prompt warns that the home button is in need of repair and displays an alternative onscreen home button for temporary use until the phone has been passed in to Apple for servicing. Theitechjournal has formerly noted that the Taptic Engine might become unresponsive if the OS freezes. This led Apple to change the reset process for the iPhone 7 series.
Apple has also apparently backup plan against situations such as when the button’s haptic sensor system breaks completely. However, whether or not its failure rate is any better than a physical button is still to be found out. Rumors suggest Apple will remove the iconic home button entirely for next year’s ” iPhone 8″ and replace it with the one built directly into an edge to edge display. However it is uncertain whether Apple plans to implement the same button-based recovery methodologies for situations in which devices freeze or stop responding totally.