How Do You Use iPhone 12 Buttons & Ports

Master all the buttons and ports on iPhone X and later including sound buttons, side button, and the silent mode switch.

* This post is part of iPhone Life's Tip of the Day newsletter. . *

If you're learning how to use your iPhone X or newer, here's an overview of the different buttons and ports you'll see on your device. I’ll help you identify and understand every sensor, port, speaker, microphone, and button to help you navigate your device

Related: iPhone X, XS, XS Max & XR: How to Use an iPhone with No Home Button

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Where Is the Home Button on iPhone X & Newer Models?

The iPhone Home button was a staple of iPhone 8 and earlier as well as the iPhone SE. Newer iPhones, however, do not have a Home button or Touch ID. Instead, they have Face ID and a larger display. Instead of using the Home button to return to the Home, users can simply swipe up from the bottom of the screen.

Diagram of iPhone Buttons & Ports

Here is a photo from Apple's support page that shows the different buttons and ports of an iPhone X and later. If you have an iPhone 8 and earlier, read this instead   apple support pic

Starting from the top, I'll explain a little more detail of what each does:

1. Top Speaker & Mic

At the top are a front-facing built-in stereo speaker and microphone. Together with the microphones and stereo speaker at the bottom, these help your iPhone provide quality sound and allow you to be heard or recorded. The speakers allow you to hear when you play videos, receive calls, or if you have sounds on for notifications for example. The microphones let other people hear you when you're talking during a call or if you're recording a video or message on your iPhone.

2. Ring/Silent Switch

The top left is the Ring/Silent switch. Are you wondering how to turn off silent mode on iPhone 11, 12, or X? Just push the switch. With the switch pushed up, your phone will ring for calls and notifications. If you push the switch down, you'll see an orange tab letting you know the switch has been pushed down. 

Pro Tip: With the switch down, your iPhone's Ringer is silenced, and your phone won't emit noise for calls or notifications. Even with the switch pushed down to Silent, your phone may still vibrate if you have those settings enabled.

3. Volume Buttons

Below the Ring/Silent switch are Volume buttons. The top Volume button will make the sound louder, while the bottom Volume button will reduce the sound. Your volume buttons can have other functions, such as being used to snap photos.

Under the Volume buttons, you will see a tiny hole. This is the SIM tray and you can open it by using a paperclip or SIM tray opening tool. You can use the SIM tray to find out if your iPhone has experienced water damage!

You can adjust your ringer volume with your volume buttons. Here's how:

Adjust Your Ringer & Alerts with the Volume Buttons

  1. Open the Settings app.

    Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap Sounds & Haptics.

    Tap Sounds & Haptics.
  3. Under Ringer and Alerts, toggle on Change with Buttons.

    Under Ringer and Alerts, toggle on Change with Buttons.

4. Side Button

On the right is the iPhone Side button. You can click the Side button to turn your device's screen on or off. If you use Apple Pay or purchase from the App Store on your iPhone, you'll typically double-click with the Side button to confirm a purchase. This is sometimes referred to as the “sleep wake button on iPhone.” 

5. Lightning Connector

Finally, between the bottom built-in microphones and stereo speaker, is the Lightning connector port. You'll use this to connect your iPhone to anything with a Lightning connector such as Lightning connector, USB to Lightning charging cables, and other compatible devices.

For iPhone X and later, the device won't have a physical home button, but you can add one to the touchscreen if you want. And if you're not sure which iPhone you have, you can check to see which one it is.

The Back of the iPhone

On the back of your iPhone, you will only see two or three cameras, depending on your model. The tiny hole is the microphone, just like near the front camera. There is also a small textured circle, this is the camera’s flash. 

The iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max also have flat black circle near the cameras that is the same size as the flash. This is the lidar sensor that gives newer iPhone models AR-shooting possibilities.

iPhone 12 Max Pro

Now you understand how to navigate all the buttons and ports of your iPhone! To learn more about your iPhone, sign up for our free Tip of the Day newsletter.

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Author Details

Hallei Halter's picture

Author Details

Hallei Halter

Hallei is a 2018 graduate of Maharishi University of Management with a BFA in Creative & Professional Writing. She's currently working on a novel about people using witchcraft to clean their houses.