The best iPhone 15 Pro Action button feature won't be available at launch

An iPhone 15 Pro with the dynamic translating "Can i get a coffee" from English to Japanese
(Image credit: Apple)

One big change to come out of this year’s iPhone 15 launch event is that the mute switch on the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max has been replaced by the Action button, which can also perform various additional tasks.

However, we've now learned that the full powers of the new button won’t be realized at launch, with at least one feature – translation – not becoming available until “later this year”, according to Apple. (Read our hands-on iPhone 15 Pro review and hands-on iPhone 15 Pro Max review for more on the Action button, and the other new features and upgrades.)

When the iPhone 15 Pro makes it into people’s hands its Action button will still be able to do a lot. It can open up the camera app, start recording a voice memo, switch on your iPhone’s flashlight, or turn on accessibility features like the magnifier. And if you want that classic iPhone feeling it can still swap your device between ring and silent, which it does by default. To access any of the options you just have to press and hold the Action button.

Quick-access translation, though, won’t be available right away. In the section introducing the Action button on the iPhone 15 Pro page at Apple website there's an asterisk next to 'Translate' in the list of Action button options, and the fine print at the bottom of the page notes that “Translate action is coming in an update later this year.”

Translation is one of the Action button features we were more excited for. While it’s always helpful to pick up at least a few key phrases before you travel somewhere, having easy access to a translation tool is always handy, and it's also helpful if you need to lend a hand to someone in your home country who isn’t a master of the local language.

A snapshot of the key iPhone 15 Pro fetaures including it's new titanium frame, the A17 Pro chip, its All-day battery life and 48MP main camera

(Image credit: Apple)

Ready, set, Action! 

The one silver lining of translate not being an Action button feature right away is that it suggests Apple is already thinking about ways to improve and upgrade the new switch beyond its launch capabilities, which means that we might see other helpful tools tied to the Action button in the near future.

Some we can already think of would be launching a custom app – providing an instant shortcut to your favorite software – or using it to have your phone listen to a song that’s playing to tell you what it is. For now though, we’ll just have to wait and see what Apple has up its sleeve. 

If you want to pick up the iPhone 15 Pro or any of the new iPhones, preorders go live on September 15, with the handsets going on sale on September 22 – see our iPhone preorders page for everything you need to know.

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Hamish Hector
Senior Staff Writer, News

Hamish is a Senior Staff Writer for TechRadar and you’ll see his name appearing on articles across nearly every topic on the site from smart home deals to speaker reviews to graphics card news and everything in between. He uses his broad range of knowledge to help explain the latest gadgets and if they’re a must-buy or a fad fueled by hype. Though his specialty is writing about everything going on in the world of virtual reality and augmented reality.