Apple is rumored to have tweaked the iPhone 16 button design again

iPhone 15 Pro review Action button macro handheld
The Action button introduced on the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max (Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

What's going on with the iPhone 16 button design? We've previously heard the 2024 models will get a new Capture button and switch to a solid-state design for all of their buttons, and now there's a fresh report of button tweaks to digest.

MacRumors claims to have seen prototype designs of the iPhone 16 that feature an Action button and volume buttons that are very similar to the configuration implemented on the current iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max.

On its own that wouldn't be particularly notable – but there have already been three previous prototype designs that feature different configurations of these buttons, which sit on the left hand side of the phone as you look at the screen.

In other words, it looks as though Apple may have once again abandoned plans to implement something a bit more innovative. We were expecting solid-state (or capacitive) buttons on the iPhone 15 series too, but in the end they never showed up.

Pressing issues

Capacitive buttons don't actually move – instead they vibrate very subtly to give feedback when they're pushed. Apple already uses them in the trackpads on its MacBook laptops, and in the Home button for the iPhone SE launched in 2022.

You can go back and look at the previous prototype rumors to see how these capacitive buttons might look on the iPhone 16, and at one stage a larger Action button was being considered alongside a unified volume button.

The latest design, MacRumors says, shows separate volume buttons with an Action button that sticks to the current size. A new Capture button is still included, on the other side, and while it's not capacitive, it is said to be flush with the frame of the phone.

Something else that capacitive buttons might bring with them would be different responses based on how hard they are pressed. For the time being at least though, it seems like this tech isn't going to make an appearance on the iPhone 16.

You might also like

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.