One of the biggest announcements at Apple’s Fall iPhone event was the unveiling of the brand-new Action button.
But, how does it work, and will the phone you want to buy have one? Stay tuned. The details are below.
What is the Action Button?
The Action button was first introduced on the Apple Watch Ultra, (2022), and was brought to the iPhone a year later.
It replaces the mute switch and offers quick access to some common iPhone functions. The Action button is customizable so that you can choose the features that matter most to you.
What iPhones Have the Action Button?
The Action Button made its debut on the iPhone 15 Pro. Currently, this is the only Apple iPhone with the Action button. The remaining phones in Apple’s lineup have the more familiar mute switch.
At this time, Apple has not said whether the Action button will come to future models of the iPhone. However, the Dynamic Island made its way to the base model iPhone this year, so it wouldn’t be unreasonable to imagine that the Action button would follow suit next year.
If it does, you heard it here first!
How Does the Action Button Work?
Activating the Action button requires a long press of the button. This may seem awkward initially, but it was designed that way on purpose.
Requiring a press and hold of the Action button helps avoid accidental activations when the iPhone is in a pocket or a bag.
Despite this built-in safety measure, you are still able to launch the feature of your choice in just a couple of seconds.
What Can the iPhone Action Button Do?
The Action button gives you quick access to nine different functions on your iPhone. And, because it replaces the mute switch, the default function is to mute and unmute your iPhone.
If you prefer, you can use the Action button to turn on a Focus mode like Do Not Disturb. Not a fan of Focus modes? Use it to launch the Camera app, and even choose a specific mode like Selfie, Video, Photo, Portrait, or Portrait Selfie.
In addition, the Action button can be used to turn the flashlight on or off. It can record an audio note for you with the Voice Memos app, or launch the Magnifier or Translate apps.
Accessibility shortcuts are another option. Choose a feature like VoiceOver or Zoom, just like you would with a triple-click of the power button.
Then, there are Shortcuts. You can use the new Action button to launch any existing shortcut that you have set up in Apple’s Shortcuts app.
How Can You Change the Action Button Function?
The Action Button can be customized in the Settings app. It is a “top-level” setting and can be found by going to Settings > Action Button.
The user interface for the Action button is unlike anything else you will find in the Settings app, but I mean that in a good way. It’s big, bright, colorful, and easy to switch to the function you need.
Can You Open Any App with the Action Button?
If you want to open Halide instead of Apple’s Camera app, or Google Translate instead of Apple Translate, you can do that with Apple Shortcuts.
Currently, this is the only way to open a third-party app because Apple has not made the Action button available to developers yet.
Opening the Action button up to developers may be something that happens at a later date, but I can’t help but think that Apple will keep this in-house for as long as they can.
The Action button is a great addition to the iPhone.
It might not be the tipping point for people who are comparing the iPhone 15 with the iPhone 15 Pro, but it will make life easier for lots of people.
And, at the end of the day, that’s why we love our iPhones!