How to use Reachability for easier one-handed use on iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 6

BY Gautam Prabhu

Published 20 Sep 2014

One of the nice things about the previous generation iPhones was that they were great for one-handed use.

When Apple launched the iPhone 5 with a taller 4-inch display, it acknowledged that the need for extra screen real estate, was genuine, but the only thing prevented them from moving towards that was one-handed navigation.

This year, Apple finally gave up and launched the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and the massive 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus to compete with Android based smartphones.

But to make one-handed use easier, Apple introduced a new feature called Reachability.

Here’s how it works:

  • Simply double-tap on the Home button/Touch ID. Note: You need to double-tap on the Home button and not double press it.
  • This will drop the whole screen down so that you can reach UI elements which are at the top more easily, and you don’t have to reach out for them, which would make it very inconvenient. It stays in that position for 5-6 seconds giving you enough time. When the screen pans down, it only stays down for one tap.

Except for the Lock screen, the reachability feature works on the home screen, stock apps and third-party apps. It is managed by the operating system, so developers don’t have to do anything for the feature to work with third-party apps.

As you can see in the screenshots below, in percentage terms, Reachability on the iPhone 6 Plus brings the screen further down than the iPhone 6, to make it easier for iPhone 6 Plus users to access the top half of the screen with their thumb as it is much wider than the iPhone 6.

iPhone 6 reachability

iPhone 6 with Reachability enabled (left) vs iPhone 6 Plus with Reachability enabled (right) 

Note: These screenshots were altered to 320 pixels width each to make them easier to embed in the post.

How to enable or disable it

Reachability is enabled by default. However, you can disable it by following these steps:

  • Launch the Settings app
  • Tap on Accessibility
  • Scroll down and tap on the On/off toggle next to Reachability to disable it.

iPhone 6 Reachability - Setting

It will take sometime to get used to the feature, but Reachability makes it possible for you to do everything you want on the bigger screens while holding it one-hand.

What do you think of the Reachability feature? Have you started using it on your iPhone 6/6 Plus?