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When using my iPhone (with latest iOS 14.7.1, seeing it for a while...) I sometimes have the following behavior:

  • the screen scrolls down by one third,
  • the top one third of the screen is black, but I can still swipe the screen up (upward gray chevron)

this behavior is shown in this screenshot (while opening signal.app):

screenshot

I have difficulties reproducing this behaviour or the sequences of gestures, still it happens quite frequently. I am very puzzled about its potential function - I am certainly missing something, and tried various combinations of gestures without any other possibility than just returning to initial state. any clue?

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  • Are you asking how to undo reachability? apple.stackexchange.com/questions/298225/…
    – bmike
    Sep 1 at 10:40
  • I was first asking what is this « feature » for :-)
    – meduz
    Sep 2 at 9:41
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    Understood - that’s what I initially answered. But the answers elaborated a lot so I deleted my post…. Glad you’ve got answers and one solves it.
    – bmike
    Sep 2 at 10:26
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The behavior you are looking at is an iOS feature called Reachability. This feature was made available for large screen iPhone (4.7" and larger) to enable easy single handed usage.

Reachability lets users easily access out of reach, on-screen elements on their iPhone with single hand usage. It lets you temporarily bring items at the top of the screen down to the lower half of the screen. This way, when using your iPhone with single hand, you can tap on out of reach on-screen elements.

You can turn Reachability on or off by going to Settings app → Accessibility → Touch.

  • On an iPhone with Face ID: Swipe down on the bottom edge of the screen.

    Reachability setting in iPhone with Face ID

  • On an iPhone with a Home button: Lightly double-tap the Home button.

    Reachability setting in Touch ID

You can learn more about this feature here:

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It's called Reachability. Its purpose is to make the top of the screen reachable with your thumb when you hold your phone at the bottom.

On an iPhone with home button, you can trigger it by lightly tapping the home button two times (not completely pressing it, just tap lightly).

You can switch this on or off in the system settings under Accessibility > Touch > Reachability.

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