One of the main new features on the iPhone 15 Pro and the iPhone 15 Pro Max is the Action button, which can act as a customizable shortcut key to launch apps or features of your choice. It’s a handy upgrade over the mute switch it replaces, and it sounds likely that every iPhone 16 model will get this button – complete with some additional upgrades.
The main evidence for this comes from MacRumors, which claims to have seen “extensive evidence confirming” that Apple is planning to put an Action button on the iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Plus, as well as the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max.
But the site also echoes previous claims we’ve heard that the Action button could be capacitive this time, rather than mechanical. That would would suggest it'll provide haptic (vibration) feedback when pressed, rather than physically depressing like a conventional button.
Why the change? Well, it would be able to detect differences in pressure, which might mean it could do a different thing depending on how hard you press it. MacRumors also claims that internal documentation mentions "tact-switching functionality," though it’s not clear what this means.
A constant feature
The site seems very confident in Apple’s plans though, noting that as well as mention of this upgraded Action button for the whole 16 line within internal documents, the new hardware feature has also apparently appeared on even the earliest known designs and prototypes of the standard iPhone 16; supposedly set to remain a constant throughout the phone’s development.
That said, MacRumors does caveat that this is still pre-production information, so there’s a small chance plans could change between now and launch.
In any case, from the information the site has, it additionally claims that the iPhone 16 line will include a new ‘Capture button’, which will also be capacitive. This is something we’ve heard multiple reports of now.
Additionally, the site echoes claims that the Action button is headed to the iPhone SE 4 in 2025, at which point there should be no iPhones still being made with a physical mute switch.
Of course, 2025 is a long way out, so there’s every chance that plans for the iPhone SE 4 could change. As for the iPhone 16 line, that will probably land in September of 2024, so we’ll find out then whether every model has these buttons.
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James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to 3G.co.uk, 4G.co.uk and 5G.co.uk and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.