Apple could be about to completely drop a physical or virtual home button button on the iPhone 8, replacing it with a task bar and gesture controls.
While several reports and leaked designs have suggested Apple would remove a physical home button from its upcoming iPhone in favour of a virtual one, it could operate without a button entirely, according to Bloomberg.
Apple has tested the complete removal of the button, which has featured on every model since the original iPhone in 2007, with users instead using a software bar and gestures to navigate the iPhone 8.
Users can drag this bar into the middle of the phone screen, or flick up to open the multitasking screen that lets users switch between apps.
The home button has always been a central part of the iPhone’s software, with a press taking users to the grid of apps on the home screen. Gesture controls would mark a major change to the way iPhones are used.
The removal of the home button means Apple will drop fingerprint scanning as the primary mode of unlocking the iPhone, replacing it with infrared scanning and facial recognition.
The physical button is being removed to allow more space for a screen, which will cover almost the entire front of the device.
Apple had previously patented a way of embedding Touch ID into its screen, although this now looks unlikely to mark it onto the finished iPhone 8.
iOS developers have found similar indications that Apple will be moving towards using more motion controls instead of having users rely on the home button.
Developer Guilherme Rambo found demonstration videos within Apple’s new operating system iOS 11 that showed a users swiping up to reach the multitasking screen.
Not all elements in the beta versions of iOS make it onto the new phone. A one-handed keyboard had been previously tested before being made inaccessible in the final version.
iPhone 8 release date
The iPhone 8 is expected to be announced on September 12 by chief executive Tim Cook. The phone is rumoured to come with wireless charging, facial recognition and Apple’s first edge-to-edge display.
It is also expected to release it alongside two other phones, the iPhone 7s and 7s Plus, which will be upgrades on its current offering.