iPhone 7 users can now continue to use the software-based Home button when the physical version fails, with due credit to the MacRumors forum member, iwayne, who has disclosed the hidden workaround that's offered in iOS 10. Affected users will enjoy the benefit of Assistive Touch functionality on their iPhone 7 whenever its physical Home button becomes unresponsive due to some software glitch or bug in iOS.
It is speculated that Apple could permanently drop the physical Home button from the forthcoming iPhone 8 and replace it with the software version driven by Taptic Engine and Assistive Touch features.
Here is what iwayne had to say about his personal experience with the new iOS 10 feature:
"So plugged in my iPhone 7 to charge and it turned itself off. When I powered it back up, this appeared on the screen."
It is ascertained that the handset's Taptic feedback gets activated for each press of the physical Home button and the software-based Assistive Touch is over three to four times more sensitive. However, it is not yet known if the issue is due to a bug in the Taptic Engine or some sort of a manufacturing defect.
Apple has reportedly added the onscreen Home button feature just to avoid cases where the iPhone 7 Home button stops registering inputs due to corrupt software or some unknown bug in iOS.
Whenever the Home button fails, the user will see a pop-up error message saying, "The Home Button May Need Service." Besides, the user will be offered a virtual Home button as the substitute until the physical button is repaired or fixed.
Although the software-based fix could serve the purpose temporarily, it is still untested if the virtual button would be more reliable than the hardware version.