- Apr 12, 2001
The release of the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max saw the introduction of an entirely new user-configurable button known as the Action button, and now, MacRumors has seen extensive evidence confirming Apple is planning to include the Action button on the entire iPhone 16 range.
Designs and plans for the Action button date back to at least 2021, as the button was intended for release alongside haptic volume and power buttons on the iPhone 15 Pro. While the haptic volume and power buttons were abruptly canceled due to unresolved technical issues, the Action button remained, eventually making its way onto final mass production units of the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max.
On the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, the Action button replaces the mute switch previously found on all iPhone models. Unlike the mute switch, which only served a singular purpose, the Action button provides iPhone users with a variety of uses. It can be configured to perform a range of functions, such as:
- Silent Mode: Toggle silent mode, which mutes/unmutes the ringer and alerts much like the Ringer switch on older iPhone models.
- Flashlight: Turn the iPhone's flashlight function on or off.
- Camera: Launch the Camera app to your choice of photo, selfie, video, portrait, or portrait selfie mode.
- Shortcuts: Open a shortcut from the Shortcuts app, allowing for a range of powerful functions.
- Voice Memo: Start or stop recording a voice memo.
- Focus: Enable or disable a specific Focus mode.
- Accessibility features: Enable or disable any of a variety of accessibility features and settings for users with impaired vision or hearing.
- Magnifier: Use your iPhone's camera as a magnifying glass through the Magnfier app.
- Translate (coming in iOS 17.2): Quickly translate speech between two languages.
With the iPhone 16 lineup, Apple plans to add even more functionality to the Action button by changing the button from mechanical to a capacitive-type button. The revamped Action button, developed under the codename Atlas, is expected to function similarly to the Touch ID Home button on older iPhone models, or the Force Touch trackpad on found on more recent MacBooks.
According to internal documentation, the updated Action button will feature a force sensor, which detects changes in pressure, as well as "tact-switching functionality," although exactly what the latter entails is currently unclear. The new "Capture" button planned for the iPhone 16 lineup is also set to include the same functionality as the improved Action button.
As with the iPhone 15 Pro, even the earliest known designs and prototypes of the base model iPhone 16 featured an Action button. The presence of the Action button has remained constant across different development stages and even different hardware configurations.
Apple has also experimented with different sizes for the Action button, with certain hardware configurations featuring an Action button larger than the one currently found on the iPhone 15 Pro, and more closely resembling the volume buttons in size. The Action button has been seen on multiple iPhone 16 prototype units, and has also appeared in internal documentation related to the new devices.
The Action button is also set to appear on the next iteration of the budget-oriented iPhone SE fourth-generation reportedly planned for a 2025 launch, thereby effectively eliminating the dedicated mute switch from all future iPhones currently in development.
While it remains unlikely that Apple's plans will change, it is important to consider that the information presented here is pre-production information, and may not necessarily reflect what eventually ships on mass production units as we are still many months away from finalized hardware designs.
For more details on what to expect, check out our dedicated iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Pro roundups.
Article Link: iPhone 16 to Include Action Button Across Entire Lineup