The iPhone 15 Pro’s Action button could get a travel-friendly bonus soon

iPhone 15 Pro
(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

The Action Button on the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max can do a lot, with a range of different features available for the customizable button. Now, we can add another tool to the list, and it could be perfect for helping you out when you’re vacationing abroad.

It’s not listed in Apple’s official release notes for the beta version of iOS 17.2, but as spotted by 9to5Mac the Action Button has been assigned a new feature: translation. That means that with just a quick button press, you can quickly start translating any text, speech or image right from your iPhone.

Better yet, the Action Button starts a translation session in the Dynamic Island, instead of opening the Translate app itself. That should make things a bit quicker and easier when you’re on the go.

Everything is done on-device thanks to the iPhone’s Neural Engine, so you don’t need to worry about your voice being uploaded to Apple’s servers either.

Action packed

iPhone 15 Pro Max Action button camera

(Image credit: Future)

This incoming addition to the Action Button means it should soon be capable of performing one of 10 different tasks. These are:

  • Enable or disable silent mode (this is the default)
  • Start a Focus mode
  • Open the Camera app
  • Turn on the flashlight
  • Record a voice memo
  • Open the Magnifier app
  • Run a shortcut
  • Launch an accessibility feature
  • Do nothing
  • And now, begin translating

Despite this list of capabilities, the Action Button is still somewhat limited in that it can only perform one action at a time. You can’t double-tap it to do something different, for example. Although some clever users have found ways to assign multiple actions to it, this is not default behavior.

Still, with Apple clearly willing to bring more features to the Action Button, there’s hope that it could get more powerful over time. Adding the ability to carry out different tasks depending on how many times you press the button could presumably be enabled by a software update, so we’re holding out hope for further improvements at a later date.

And in any case, the Action Button is certainly more useful than the old mute toggle. Now let’s hope Apple keeps developing it with plenty of new and interesting ideas.

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Alex Blake
Freelance Contributor

Alex Blake has been fooling around with computers since the early 1990s, and since that time he's learned a thing or two about tech. No more than two things, though. That's all his brain can hold. As well as TechRadar, Alex writes for iMore, Digital Trends and Creative Bloq, among others. He was previously commissioning editor at MacFormat magazine. That means he mostly covers the world of Apple and its latest products, but also Windows, computer peripherals, mobile apps, and much more beyond. When not writing, you can find him hiking the English countryside and gaming on his PC.