The iPhone 16 could reinvent the camera shutter button – and that's exciting news for photographers

iPhone 15
(Image credit: Apple)

One of the most interesting iPhone 16 rumors so far is that the incoming smartphone could get a so-called Capture button – and some fresh rumors have revealed exactly how that could reinvent the traditional camera shutter button.

A Weibo account called Setsuna Digital (via MacRumors), which has successfully predicted some Apple innovations in the past like the iPhone 15 Pro's spatial video, has claimed that the Capture button will have a two-step action that'll work like a traditional camera shutter, letting you first focus and then take a shot.

Unless they've been set up with back-button focusing, this is how most standalone cameras work – letting you lock the focus and exposure with a light press of the shutter, then recompose your shot before hitting the shutter to take the photo. As Setsuna Digital notes, this could push Apple's next iPhone further towards feeling like a pro camera and video tool.

It wouldn't be the first smartphone to do this – the Sony Xperia 1 V also has a two-stage shutter button, though you can switch this to a more straightforward setup using Basic mode. But what's particularly interesting about the rumored Capture button is that it isn't just looking to ape the traditional camera shutter.

According to an earlier report from The Information, you'll also be able to swipe across the surface of the Capture button to zoom in and out of your scene. It'll also apparently work for both stills and video, as Apple is seemingly discovering that content creators are recording more horizontal videos for big screens (rather than the vertical format favored by TikTok).

Considering ergonomics is one of the biggest weaknesses of smartphones compared to the best mirrorless cameras, rumors of this Capture button could be good news for prospective iPhone 16 owners – particularly photographers like me.

A big photographic upgrade?

iPhone 15 Pro review Action button macro handheld

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

If you're planning to upgrade to an iPhone 16 or iPhone 16 Pro this year, then the latest rumors suggest Apple is planning some strong photography and video boosts for those phones.

Both phones are expected to get the rumored Capture button, which would be one of the most significant hardware changes to the iPhone in a while (arguably more so than this year's Action Button). It's expected to appear on the bottom-right-hand side of the iPhone, with the current mmWave antenna moving to the left-hand side of the phone.

As a photographer who decided to skip the iPhone 15 Pro this year, these rumors are getting me excited about upgrading this year. If the iPhone 16 Pro combines this new Capture button with the 'tetraprism' periscope camera tech seen on the iPhone 15 Pro (which has been predicted by analysts Ming-Chi Kuo and Jeff Pu), then it'll be a powerful pocket camera.

While current iPhones are incredible compact cameras, relying solely on a touchscreen to take photos and video can feel like a downgrade from the tactile experience of using one of the best cameras.

With the iPhone 16 Pro also tipped to get a 48MP ultra-wide camera, plus all the rumored AI upgrades from iOS 18, this could be a very good year to upgrade indeed.  

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Mark Wilson
Senior news editor

Mark is TechRadar's Senior news editor. Having worked in tech journalism for a ludicrous 17 years, Mark is now attempting to break the world record for the number of camera bags hoarded by one person. He was previously Cameras Editor at both TechRadar and Trusted Reviews, Acting editor on, as well as Features editor and Reviews editor on Stuff magazine. As a freelancer, he's contributed to titles including The Sunday Times, FourFourTwo and Arena. And in a former life, he also won The Daily Telegraph's Young Sportswriter of the Year. But that was before he discovered the strange joys of getting up at 4am for a photo shoot in London's Square Mile.