A remote island and a dead iPad Home button
by Mike Evans, 20 August 2012
Here I am on a remote Greek island playing at being an Apple Genius. My neighbour, who bought an iPad 2 when in the UK earlier this year, came to report that his Home button was not working. Nonesense, I thought, the iPad just needs rebooting.
Several hours later we still have an inoperable Home button, resisting all ministrations of Clever Clogs. My friend can get by with the five-finger pinch to close applications and return to the home screen. I’ve also set General/Accessibility/Assistive Touch to ON.
This places a soft button in the bottom right of the screen. Pressing this button offers a variety of actions, including pressing Home button, performing gestures, and device handling (rotate screen, lock screen, mute, volume and shake). I reckon this is worth enabling in any case, particularly for quick access to mute. The soft button in the corner is very discreet.
This has helped temporarily, but the problem remains that the iPad needs the attention of a Genius before the warranty runs out. My neighbour could get on a boat to Athens, where there is some service but no Apple-owned distribution, or I can take the device back to London. We’ve decided on the latter, but that means he’ll be iPad-less for six months.
While searching Apple Discussions and the wider internet for information on stuck Home buttons, I have discovered this is quite a common occurrence, at least on older models. Many owners seem to have intermittent problems (often miraculously rectifying themselves just as the iPad nears the Genius Bar) but in this instance the button is totally dead.
Several suggested workarounds featured holding the tablet in different orientations and pressing the button from one side or another. One frustrated owner posted this:
After no luck with Apple and no solution, I found a permanent fix and haven’t had a problem since. I took my iPad to the highest level in my home and put it in landscape mode with my thumbs on each side. Then I held the iPad out the window over the driveway and released my thumbs. After I heard breaking glass, I went out and bought an Acer Iconia A500 tablet with Android.
I do hope I don’t have to resort to such drastic measures.