Apple’s Wanderlust event brought us a revamped iPhone 15 lineup, including the iPhone 15 Pro, as well as the Apple Watch Series 9 and Apple Watch Ultra 2.
With the iPhone 15 lineup, Dynamic Island and USB-C charging make their way to all models. The iPhone 15 Pro models get even more cool new hardware features — including the much-anticipated Action Button inspired by the Apple Watch Ultra.
The action button replaces the classic mute switch toggle that has existed since the original iPhone. This new button toggle defaults to turning mute on or off, but it can also be customized to perform another action with a press-and-hold gesture.
As great as it is, the iPhone 15 Pro action button is also a little disappointing. why Because a great opportunity was missed.
What can you do with the iPhone 15 Pro action button?
As we already mentioned, the default setting for the action button will be to turn silent mode on or off, just like the old mute switch. However, you can also assign eight other actions to it if you choose.
Currently, these other options are available for the action button: Accessibility, Shortcuts, Camera, Flashlight, Focus, Magnifier, Translate, and Voice Memo.
Accessibility can bring different settings like voiceover, zoom, assistive touch, live speech and more options. The camera is probably one of the more popular options, and you can even set it to launch in a regular photo, selfie, video, portrait, or portrait selfie.
Shortcuts open up the most possibilities, because you can create shortcuts for anything as long as you know what you’re doing (or know where to get those cool power user shortcuts). And if you don’t have extensive knowledge of shortcuts, you can make it very easy to launch the app of your choice.
How could Apple have done more?
One of the things Android phones have done better than Apple’s is that users are given more options. On some Android phones, like the Samsung Galaxy S23, you can map multiple actions to the side keys. For example, the camera can be set to open when you double-press it, or it can launch Bixby with a long press.
The way it looks on the iPhone 15 Pro’s action button, however, you’re limited to just one action with the press and hold gesture. Maybe it was designed specifically to avoid accidental presses with a quick press, which looks very Apple-like, but it’s still disappointing.
I was already disappointed with how limited the action button was on the Apple Watch Ultra, and it looks like it’s still limited on the iPhone 15 Pro. I was hoping that I could map the iPhone 15 Pro action button with multiple actions. For example, I’d prefer to double-press to launch the camera app and maybe triple-press for the flashlight.
Maybe in the future this can be solved through software. I mean, how hard is it to add just one or two pressing gestures to a mappable hardware button?
And speaking of software, now that we can remap the action button to launch the camera or toggle the flashlight, can we please customize the two lock screen shortcuts as we want? I mean, honestly, how many different ways do we really need to approach the camera?
Apple is on the right track with the iPhone 15 Pro’s Action button, and it’s great to see it come to fruition. Now, if Apple could increase its functionality a bit more, it would be perfect.