How Much You’ll Have To Stretch Your Thumb To Use The New iPhones

How Much You’ll Have To Stretch Your Thumb To Use The New iPhones

The new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus were made available yesterday. Both are a bit bigger than previous versions of the phone, and that means using them is a little different. Over on Quartz, designer Scott Hurff shows how reachable the new phones are.

Obviously, everyone's hands are different, but Hurff created a map of the "Thumb Zone" using research from Steve Hooper. The result is that you'll have to stretch out your thumb quite a bit to hit everything on the iPhone 6, and the iPhone 6 Plus is basically impossible to use one-handed. Apple solves this problem with Reachability, a new one-handed mode for the new models, but it's still good to know what you're getting into. The same goes for any larger phone. Hurff has a lot of data and insights over on Quartz if you want to see more.

How to design for thumbs in the era of huge screens [Quartz]


  • Quite amazing. Talk about being spoon fed. iPhone users need thumb maps. I don’t remember this being an issue for Galaxy Note users, or any of the other 5″ plus phones.

    • The linked article is aimed at app/website developers rather than end users. Rather than telling users how to use a large phone, it is about how developers can make their apps comfortable to use on the larger screens.

      • My point remains the same. Why are the iPhone developers being spoon-fed? I don’t remember the same fuss about the large screen Android phones, though I may just have missed it. The developers just seem to have got on with it. Or maybe it’s the just Android developers being generous and passing on their hitherto unreleased research data on “thumbability”?

        • You can probably find similar articles that were written targeting Android developers when Android phones started to be released in these larger sizes. Was that also spoon feeding?

          I don’t really understand why you seem so upset that this kind of article exists. There are developers who develop solely for iOS, and they’ve pretty much been able to pretend there are only two form factors: phone and tablet. Now there are more, and they’ll need to pay attention to this stuff.

          The article also includes some information about the new iOS “reachability” feature and a developer might design their app to work well with it.

        • How about because its the first time that iPhone devs are moving towards updating their apps to suit larger screens of two varying sizes so that they can make the most of the new real estate and make adjustments as quickly as possible? This is not spoon feeding, I see it more as standardising/streamlining. No big deal. Im quite sure Microsoft and Android devs would have gone through a similar phase.

  • Reminds me of this gem from Jesus Diaz where he attempted to justify why the iPhone wasn’t getting a bigger screen. 3.5″ is just… perfect for human hands. You see, it’s biology, just look at this totes legit graphic! (ignore how the circles are not actually the same size). 3.5″ is perfect!

    I also love how the AU editors changed the ‘will’ to ‘may’ in the original headline, and wonder what Diaz is thinking now that the iPhone has made not just one, but three size jumps.

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