I service iPhones and iPods for a living, I also manufacture electronic devices, and I have to say that this home-button problem is one that has dogged me for a long time. Today I decided to take a few more hours to look at the situation and find out what on earth is going on.
To me, I'm 99% sure it's a hardware issue, primarily associated with the small FPC flip connector housing and its inability to handle any stress put on the FPC button lead by the speaker assembly.
If you look at the underside of the speaker assembly you'll see there's a recess area for the FPC cable and the enlarged lead-in header where some SMD parts are. What appears to be happening is that sometimes the recess doesn't line up perfectly and it subsequently crushes down on the FPC lead, which while not damaging it, it does cause it to break contact on one or more of the pins in the connector. If you twist your iPhone and try press the button you might find there's a zone where it works. I've noticed this particularly on phones which have been smashed and had frame assembly damage.
My solution for now has been to carve away the recess area a little more and also not tighten down the 2.4mm screw on the right hand side of the speaker assembly too much (torque it up, then back it off a bit).
Can provide some pictures if required.
I have had some luck blowing into the charging area and also
Clicking in a circle and over and over kinda hard ( do at you own risk )
I believe in my case and may be others it's a combination of moisyure and crude or stickiness
Affecting the contact. Alchohol cleaning too around button
Mine is working 99 percent better therefore it had up be physical Snd not software
I first had tried every software and re calibration ideas and none
Worked. Font give up if software fixes don't help.
Keep on trying the physical fixes of cleaning and blowing and clicking hard
Over and over in circles too .,, clearing what's in the way.
Worked for me.
I've now replaced both the button and the dock lead assembly (which contains the FPC connector for the button) to which no real difference was noticed, once more though, slightly twisting of the case influenced / improved the response level of the button, including with the speaker assembly removed.
All that I have left now on the list is the sub frame assembly itself and the area where the button rests against the frame.
Certainly a very interesting problem.
My iPhone 4 Home button had problems a year or so ago.
I took it in to Apple, and they told me to backup/wipe/restore.
I did that, and it worked- for about a week.
Then I enabled the accesibility mode on-screen home button and have been using it for months. Occassionally, I'd try the physical home button, but to no avail.
So today, I decided to give it a go again.
I tried killing all running apps.
I tried the 'calibrate the home button' technique.
I tried rebooting.
Hearing that it would work/stop working after upgrading software, backing up/restoring, smacking on the table, tapping on the hand, tighting screws on the bottom, holding the home button during a 'calibration', etc- there is one common thing here. The plug housing is 'manipulated'- either by the plug being inserted/removed, the jostling of a 'smack', or the extended pressure on the home button when calibrating, etc.
So - today after reading on the web, I thought a physical hardware problem also made sense here.
Here's what I did, and it instantly fixed the home button:
1- Not having my charger handy, I took a business card, folded it in half long-ways (do double it's thickness), cut it with scissors so that it fit the width of the slot.
2- Inserted in connector slot above the center horizontal, between the horizontal connector and the home button.
3- Angled it up and down a bit (as if to separate the horizontal connector and the home button.
After months and months, the home button is working great.
This really makes me believe in many cases there is a hardware issue, and also makes me wonder if this is part of why Apple decided to redesign the connector for iPhone 5... Hmmm...
Anyway, I hope this helps someone. Try it at your own risk (or success). Let us all know if it works.
Got a quick fix for you.
My Home button has been driving me mad!!
scroll down to Physical & Motor section and turn on Assistive Touch.
You get a little symbol in the top left which will allow you control of all the buttons and record your own actions.
I.E. A work around on the home screen issue and a small element of gestures!
I agree with your comments, which is why I said it was a quick fix. If a vacuum cleaner or toothbrush or business card don't work, surely it is better to have an option rather than having to turn the phone off and on every time you want to get out of an app?
By the way, just so you know, the accessibility button can be moved, just drag it if it gets in the way.
Like i said, it is a quick or temporary fix that will help. I apologise if I was misunderstood, it does not fix the problem entirely.