iOS 17 code hints at Action button in iPhone 15 Pro models

in iPhone edited July 2023

Code from the fourth developer beta of iOS 17 seemingly hints at an Action button in the iPhone 15 Pro models, providing support to some speculations and rumors.

A render of the rumored buttons changed with iPhone 15
A render of the rumored buttons changed with iPhone 15

A series of leaks and rumors have suggested Apple intends to revamp the buttons on the iPhone 15 Pro models. These changes are rumored to include a unified volume button and the replacement of the mute switch with a new button design.

According to on-again off-again reports about the iPhone 15 for the last six months, the mute switch may be transformed into an Action button, resembling the button found on the Apple Watch Ultra. The controller could call forth various iPhone-specific features and settings when pressed.

  • Accessibility

  • Camera

  • Flashlight

  • Focus

  • Magnifier

  • Shortcuts

  • Silent Mode

  • Translate

  • Voice Memos

As per the code discovered in iOS 17 beta 4, the Action button is expected to offer users nine distinct options. Users can personalize the button, and associate it with various actions, according to MacRumors.

Other button rumors

The Action button may also take over the volume up button's duties in the Camera app. It could activate the autofocus when lightly pressed, while a firm press will take a photo, resembling conventional camera shutter buttons.

Moreover, performing a hard, prolonged press will initiate video recording. The capability to press the button lightly is attributed to the controls being force-sensitive.

A solid-state button, also known as a haptic touch button or force-sensitive button, is a type of button that doesn't physically depress like traditional mechanical buttons. Instead of having a movable part, a solid-state button uses haptic feedback to register a press, like the Home button of the iPhone 7.

However, while the Action button may be sensitive to force, Apple may still be testing haptic feedback on it, according to a rumor from March. A new microprocessor within the iPhone 15 Pro models could manage various types of finger presses on the button.

A series of linked images from June showed off smaller cutouts in cases claimed to be for the iPhone 15 Pro. The cutout for the button appears noticeably smaller than the one used for the old switch, as the reported Action button would only be pressed instead of moving back and forth with the mute button.

It also seems that the sleep/wake button and volume buttons will remain unchanged in size, but slightly repositioned further down the side of the chassis.

In April, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo revealed that Apple had supposedly stopped its plan to introduce solid-state buttons in the iPhone 15 Pro models due to production challenges. Nonetheless, it's important to note that the decision to abandon solid-state buttons doesn't necessarily mean that the Action button has been canceled.

Apple will reveal the iPhone 15 lineup in the fall. It is expected at Apple's typically-timed keynote in early to mid-September.

Read on AppleInsider


  • Reply 1 of 2
    XedXed Posts: 2,704member
    I'm not sure how I feel about this as I've disabled the Action Button on my Watch Ultra. I'd love to use it but so far nothing that is available I want to use. Hopefully that changed with the next major watchOS update.
  • Reply 2 of 2
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,540member
    Isn’t the Back Tap feature that’s already on most iPhones already providing a form of this personalized customization capability? The Back Tap is not as obvious as a dedicated button and many users probably don’t even realize that it is an available feature. How many people actually use the Back Tap feature, or even the Shake feature?

    Adding any new UI element to a device that must be intuitively obvious to operate is a really big deal. The Back Tap and Shake features are essentially hidden so they probably get used very rarely. If you’re taking a minimalistic approach to UX complexity you’d likely eliminate them altogether.

    Adding an additional button is imo a very big deal and is in a way Apple forcing users to consider using a capability that many folks don’t really know or care about. There’s no hiding a new button on a device that has so few buttons to begin with. Apple removed the Home button years ago and trained us to use gestures instead. Perhaps Apple should consider training users about how to use the Back Tap and Shake features before committing to adding a new button to the iPhone? If users reject it and say they rather have a button, then go for it.
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