iPhone 16 will include the action button across the entire lineup
The release of the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max saw the introduction of an all-new user-configurable button known as the Action Button, and now, MacRumors It has seen extensive evidence confirming that Apple is planning to include an action button across the entire iPhone 16 lineup.
Action button designs and plans date back to at least 2021, when the button was intended for release alongside the haptic volume and power buttons on the iPhone 15 Pro. While the tactile volume and power buttons were abruptly scrapped due to unresolved technical issues, the action button remained, eventually making its way into the 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 pre-existing mute switch on all iPhone models. Unlike the mute key, which only serves a single purpose, the action button offers iPhone users a variety of uses. It can be configured to perform a range of functions, such as:
- Silent mode: Toggle Silent Mode, which mutes/unmutes ringers and alerts just like the Ringer switch on older iPhone models.
- Flashlight:Turn on or off the flashlight function of your iPhone.
- camera: Launch the Camera app in your choice of Photo, Selfie, Video, Portrait, or Portrait mode.
- Abbreviations: Open a shortcut from the Shortcuts app, allowing for a range of powerful functions.
- Voice memo: Start or stop recording a voice memo.
- to focus: Enable or disable the selected focus mode.
- Accessibility features: Enable or disable any of the various accessibility features and settings for users with vision or hearing impairment.
- Magnifier: Use the iPhone camera as a magnifying glass with the Magnfier app.
- Translate (Coming in iOS 17.2): Quickly translate speech between two languages.
With the iPhone 16 lineup, Apple plans to add more functionality to the action button by changing the button from a mechanical one to a capacitive-type button. The revamped action button, developed under the codename Atlas, is expected to work similarly to the Touch ID Home button on older iPhone models, or the Force Touch trackpad found on newer MacBooks.
According to internal documentation, the updated action button will feature a force sensor, which detects changes in pressure, as well as a “tactility toggle function,” though what the latter entails is currently unclear. The new “Capture” button planned for the iPhone 16 lineup has also been set to include the same functionality as the enhanced action button.
As with the iPhone 15 Pro, even the oldest known designs and prototypes of the base model iPhone 16 feature an action button. The presence of the action button has remained consistent across different development stages and even different hardware configurations.
Apple has also experimented with different action button sizes, with certain hardware configurations featuring an action button that is larger than the one currently found on the iPhone 15 Pro, and more similar to the volume buttons in size. The action button has been seen on several 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 version of the budget-oriented fourth-generation iPhone SE which is said to be scheduled to launch in 2025, thus effectively eliminating the dedicated mute switch from all future iPhones currently in development.
Although Apple’s plans are still unlikely to change, it is important to keep in mind that the information provided here is pre-production information, and may not necessarily reflect what eventually ships on mass production units as we are still several months away from Final hardware designs.
For more details on what to expect, check out our dedicated iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Pro report.
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