All iPhones to Feature Universal Action Button in the Upcoming iPhone 16 Series

The release of the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max introduced the Action button, and now it appears that Apple plans to include the Action button on the entire iPhone 16 lineup. The Action button was originally intended for release alongside haptic volume and power buttons on the iPhone 15 Pro, but those buttons were canceled due to technical issues. However, the Action button remained and made its way onto 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 mute switch found on previous iPhone models. Unlike the mute switch, which had a singular purpose, the Action button provides users with a variety of functions. It can be configured to toggle silent mode, turn the flashlight on or off, launch the Camera app, open shortcuts, start or stop recording a voice memo, enable or disable Focus mode, enable or disable accessibility features, use the iPhone’s camera as a magnifying glass, and even translate speech between two languages.

With the iPhone 16 lineup, Apple plans to enhance the functionality of the Action button by changing it from mechanical to a capacitive-type button. The redesigned Action button, codenamed Atlas, is expected to function similarly to the Touch ID Home button on older iPhone models or the Force Touch trackpad found on recent MacBooks. The updated Action button will feature a force sensor to detect changes in pressure and “tact-switching functionality,” although the specifics of the latter are currently unclear. Additionally, the Capture button planned for the iPhone 16 lineup will have the same functionality as the improved Action button.

Even the earliest known designs and prototypes of the base model iPhone 16 included the Action button. The presence of the Action button remained consistent throughout the development stages and various hardware configurations. Apple has also experimented with different sizes for the Action button, with some prototypes featuring a larger button closer in size to the volume buttons.

The Action button will also appear on the next iteration of the budget-oriented iPhone SE fourth-generation, which is reportedly planned for a 2025 launch. This means that the dedicated mute switch will be eliminated from all future iPhones currently in development.

It is important to note that the information presented here is pre-production information, and the final hardware designs may differ. For more details on what to expect from the iPhone 16 lineup, it is recommended to refer to dedicated iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Pro roundups.