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Opinion

Pinky torture: Why the iPhone SE is a one-handed wonder, and the iPhone 6s is not

I can't really say I've ever been hyper aware of the pinky on my right hand. That is, until Apple decided to start making larger phones, and the smallest digit on the end of my hand began to suffer.


Propping up your iPhone 6s with your pinky is not recommended.


The iPhone 6s is a great phone for a lot of things. The curved edges feel fantastic. The display is gorgeous. It's fast and it shoots great photos. It's a wonderful two-handed phone.

But its luxuriously large 4.7-inch display comes at a cost: It's a terrible phone to use with one hand. Even Apple knows this, which is why it ships with a feature called "Reachability," allowing the top of the screen to be reached by tapping (but not pressing) your thumb against the home button twice.

My hands are decidedly average —it's not like I have Donald Trump-like digits. And I have used Apple's larger flagship handsets —the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6s —for about a year and a half, but I found Reachability to be more frustrating than useful. And so I disabled it.

Instead, I developed my own, carpal-tunnel-inducing method of using the 4.7-inch display: My pinky would naturally rest under the phone to help hold it in place.

My hand just isn't big enough to securely squeeze the iPhone 6s and also reach all four corners of it with my thumb. The only way I could possibly reach the upper left corner with my right hand and still securely hold the phone was to have my pinky act as the safety net, ensuring my iPhone remained securely in my grasp.

Though millions of years of human evolution have generally served me pretty well, my pinky was most definitely not designed to do this specific task.

I didn't notice it at first, but over time this habit took its toll on my right pinky. While I never really formed a full-fledged callus on my finger, the weight of the iPhone 6s and the friction of using it (especially with the sharp edges of the speaker grille and Lightning port) took their toll. Pinky fatigue became a real thing.


Though it has its shortcomings, the iPhone SE is much better for one-handed use.


It wasn't an easy decision, but last week I decided I'd had enough. The launch of the iPhone SE, and the ability to grip and use the phone one-handed —without my pinky prop method —proved to be too enticing.

To be clear, sacrifices were made. I had to go through a time consuming purge process to clear up enough space to downgrade from a 128-gigabyte iPhone 6s to an 64-gigabyte iPhone SE. And typing on the 4-inch iPhone SE is far more cramped than it is on the 4.7-inch display.

I'm a bleeding edge kind of guy who writes about technology for a living, and so I'll probably need to upgrade to a 4.7-inch "iPhone 7" come September, and once again live with a larger screen. But at least for the next few months, thanks to the iPhone SE, hopefully my poor pinky will have some time to heal.