We have an app with a single starting point (the root view). From this view, people can navigate deeper and deeper into the application (with a UINavigationController). It can eventually become very deep, since all different data views cross reference eachother.

So you can imagine it becomes cumbersome when you want to reach the root view again. Pressing back (or swiping) 20 times is something we want to avoid.

How do you make an elegant, easy to understand way to let users jump back to the root view?

One of my thoughts is to send the user back if they press and hold the back button for a while. Mobile Safari does this to show history, but I believe it's a pretty unknown feature.

Mockup of a standard detail view in the app:

enter image description here

(The right part of the navigation bar is occupied about 50% of the time, so we can't put a home button there...)

  • 1
    There could be several solutions with adding a home button being the easiest answer. But that might not fit in your current design. So could you provide some more context in the form of mockups or screenshots so answers can be tailored to your design? Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 8:31
  • @Paul I have added a mockup!
    – Accatyyc
    Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 8:46
  • You have the back button as Root in this mockup? Am I understanding this right? 9 times out of 10 that won't go back to root because we will be drilled down so far? Do we drill down within the tabs? I'm confused...
    – user43251
    Commented May 24, 2014 at 10:28
  • Have you considered trying tabbed navigation, like in iFile(jailbreak app) or Log me in ?
    – Nash Vail
    Commented May 24, 2014 at 10:52

1 Answer 1


I like how it's done in OS X:

enter image description here

Here's iBooks:

enter image description here

In any case, don't use the long press as it has zero affordance.

  • I think the problem with that is that it's pretty context specific, it switches the content of the CURRENT window which would interfere with our little context-specific tab bar.
    – Accatyyc
    Commented Apr 24, 2014 at 10:26
  • 1
    Isn't that the idea of a 'going-to-root-button'? Switching the content of the current window with the content of the root window? I like the idea of @Serhiy. It's like breadcrumbs and it fits within your current design. I think it beats having a home icon in the top right of your screen. Commented Apr 25, 2014 at 6:52

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