Why Does my iPhone Screen Drag Down to Half Screen Sometimes?

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Kelly Heffner Wilkerson

Categories: iPhone | View Comments

iPhone screen sliding down halfway when you swipe, graze, or tap the iPhone home button a few times.

My friend texted me recently asking one of those good iPhone questions that is difficult to search for:

“Sometimes when I swipe my home button a few times, the screen drags itself down to a half screen. What is the point of that?”

The iPhone screen dragging itself down halfway is a feature of iOS for the iPhone called “Reachability”. The idea of the feature is to help people be able to reach and tap items on the top half of the screen when using the iPhone with one hand. Double-tap the home button and the screen contents slide down halfway; double-tap the home button again and the contents slide back up.

On an iPhone X/XS/XR, slide down at the bottom of the screen to activate reachability and bring the top half of the screen down.

Reachability was added when the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus came out, with the larger screens. If you don't like Reachability sliding your screen down, you can fix it by turning Reachability off in the iPhone settings app:

iOS 13:

  1. Open the Settings app.

  2. Select Accessibility > Touch.

  3. Turn off the switch for Reachability.

iOS 12 and earlier:

  1. Open the Settings app.

  2. Select General > Accessibility.

  3. Turn off the switch for Reachability.

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  • Tim Elsner October 10, 2019

    As usual, they must have changed where things are located. (this drives me crazy when instructions are no longer applicable!)
    There is no "Accessibility" option under General. !

    • Kelly HW

      Kelly HW October 10, 2019

      Hi Tim,

      The new instructions to get to the Reachability switch is Settings > Accessibility (3 down from General) > Touch.

  • George T

    George T October 10, 2019

    In that instance they should have made the bottom half the iphone screen move up to the top half....rather than just leaving the top half of the iphone screen as black..

  • Jim Allan

    Jim Allan July 7, 2019

    thanks , I hated the screen doing that.. now sorted .. but is this to encourage one handed operation while driving ? if so this is a poor idea.. there are too many people using phones and texting etc . this makes it easier.. !!

  • TJ January 1, 2019

    Thank you, really disliked the half page aspect of this as it is very easy to double tap on the iphone.