I always was wondered why the iOS navigation bar is placed at the top of the screen.

iOS Navigation bar

Navigation is a crucial of using an application, and some studies:

  1. http://www.uxmatters.com/mt/archives/2013/02/how-do-users-really-hold-mobile-devices.php
  2. http://scotthurff.com/posts/how-to-design-for-thumbs-in-the-era-of-huge-screens

show us that the least used part of the screen is the top part, because of how people holds their cell phones.

Android uses a back button located at the bottom of the screen:

Android back button

that is conveniently placed and useful when you are using apps like the browser, when you have to go back several times: Google something, open the link read it, isn't what user was looking for, hit the back button, open another link...

Is that a design flaw?

Should the navigation be placed where the user can use it better (at the bottom)?

iOS reachability seems like a partial solution, because they are generating another problem: Half of the screen becomes unusable when you activate it.

1 Answer 1


Only since the larger iPhone was introduced does this seem to now cause an issue. I think they were originally aiming for a consistent approach with desktop Safari, i.e. top left.

All that being said, I think the advent of larger screens means these controls have to shift and change. I use the 'swipe back' gesture almost exclusively now. It's simple, fast, and makes trying to hit a button to go back feel silly and antiquated.


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