The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are larger than any iPhones before, and because of this, it's increasingly harder to use the devices one-handed. Fortunately, Apple has included a feature called Reachability that makes one-handed use a bit easier. Through this feature, you can easily readjust the screen so that all of the content is reachable. Let's take a look at how to use this new feature on your iPhone 6.
What is Reachability?
Reachability lets you bring items at the top of the screen on your iPhone 6 or 6 Plus into finger's reach. Once activated, the entire contents of the iPhone screen will shift downward, providing easier reach for top buttons and more.
There are some caveats with this feature, however:
- While Reachability is enabled, you cannot access the keyboard in the application.
- While Reachability is enabled, you won't be able to utilize the lower-half of the application, as the entire screen is forced downward.
- You cannot use this feature on the iOS lock screen to access music controls that show at the top of the screen while audio is playing.
How to use Reachability
To activate Reachability:
- Double-tap (two taps in quick succession) the Home / Touch ID button on your device (Note: This will not work if the button is depressed, so only tap the button)
- The screen will lower for you to be able to press buttons near the top of the screen (Figure A)
Reachability works by lowering the screen down so that items at the top of the screen can be easily accessed.
When you're ready to exit Reachability mode, simply do one of the following actions:
- Do nothing — After a few seconds of doing nothing, Reachability mode will exit and return to the normal view
- Tap the empty space at the top of the screen
- Double-tap the Home / Touch ID button again, just as you did to enter Reachability
- Depress the Home / Touch ID button once
How to turn off Reachability
Reachability isn't for everyone, but fortunately, Apple includes an easy way to turn this feature off. By default, Reachability is enabled for all iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus users out of the box.
To disable Reachability, follow these steps:
- Open Settings | General | Accessibility
- Scroll to the Interaction section
- Disable the switch for Reachability (Figure B)
Disabling Reachability can ensure that the feature is not accidentally activated during normal usage.
Once it's disabled, you'll no longer be able to accidentally enable Reachability during normal use.
Other tricks for one-handed use
Siri in iOS 8 can be used very easily. Sure, you can press and hold the Home button to activate Siri, but you can also say "Hey Siri" to activate it without holding down the button, so long as your device is connected to a power source.
Have you used Reachability on your device, or do you prefer to use your iPhone 6 Plus with two hands instead? What other tips or tricks have you learned for using your device one-handed? Let us and others know in the discussion thread below.
Cory Bohon is an indie developer, creating both iOS and OS X applications at Cocoa App (his own company), MartianCraft, and for various other clients. As a part of full disclosure, he does not write about any software that he has created or has helped to create through these outlets.
Cory Bohon is an indie developer specializing in iOS and OS X development. He runs a software company called Cocoa App and is also a developer at MartianCraft. He was introduced to technology at an early age and has been writing about his favorite technology part-time since 2007. He runs a development blog named ObjDev when he isn’t writing about consumer tech.