Click the your iPhone’s (or iPad’s) Home button once, and you’ll end up on the home screen. Double-click it, and you’ll jump to the iOS multitasking screen (you know, the one that shows all the apps that are running in the background). But what happens if you try triple-clicking the Home key?

Well, most of the time, you’ll just wind up back at the home screen—or, if you’re already on the home screen, the multitasking screen will play a brief game of peek-a-boo.

But if you flip some switches deep in the Settings menu, you’ll be able to choose between six new functions that triple-clicking the Home key can activate.

Tap Settings, General, Accessibility, then scroll all the way down to a setting labeled “Accessibility Shortcut.”

iOS Accessibility Shortcut settings

Just tap the Accessibility Shortcut feature (or features) you’d like to activate. Note that Guided Access, which must be togged on or off from a separate screen, is grayed out.

You’ll now see the six (or maybe just five—more on that in a moment) actions that your iPhone/iPad can take when you triple-click the Home key. They include:

  • Guided Access: A mode that locks your iPhone or iPad into one app while (if you wish) disabling the Home and Sleep buttons, as well as specific areas of the touchscreen. (I like to call this the “baby-proof” mode.) Unlike the other items on the list, you can’t toggle it on and off from the “Accessibility Shortcut” screen; instead, you’ll need to back up to Settings, General, Accessibility, Guided Access. Read more…
  • VoiceOver: Pick this option, and your iDevice will switch to a mode where it reads aloud web pages, email, and navigation labels on its touchscreen, perfect for iPhone users with impaired vision.
  • Invert Colors: In this mode, your iPhone or iPad reverses the colors on its screen, resulting in a display that shows white text on a black background for email, text messages, and most web pages. The inverted colors don’t stop there, though; wait until you get a load of the groovy white-on-black home screen.
  • Zoom: Find yourself squinting at the tiny text on your iPhone’s/iPad’s screen? Turn on the Zoom function to magnify the display with a three-finger tap. Read more…
  • Switch Control: Lets you control your iOS device using one or more physical or virtual switches. For example, you can use the switch (which you can “flip” with a Bluetooth accessory, by tapping the touchscreen, or even by nodding at your iDevice’s FaceTime camera) to select an item, virtually rotate or shake your handset, or press the sleep/wake button. Read more…
  • AssistiveTouch: Activates a mode that lets you “pinch” or swipe the display—or even “shake” the entire phone, for that matter—without actually having to pinch, swipe, or shake, an essential feature for anyone without the full use of their fingers. Read more…

Just tap a feature to switch it on when you triple-click the Home key.

If you select more than one item, your iPhone or iPad will ask which one to activate whenever you triple-click Home.

Don’t want your iPhone/iPad to do anything when you triple-click the Home key? Then make sure all five items (or six, including Guided Access) are unchecked.

Click here for more iOS tips!