iPhone 16's loss could be OnePlus' gain as it holds onto physical alert slider

OnePlus 8 Pro alert slider closeup - PS cleaned up
The OnePlus 8 Pro's alert slider (Image credit: Future | John McCann)

The Action button is a novel new hardware inclusion that appeared on the latest iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max, but its addition means Apple has had to nix the iconic mute switch, synonymous with the iPhone since its debut. The way things are headed, soon you'll only have one brand to turn to if you want a physical alert slider – OnePlus.

Around eight and a half years ago, OnePlus launched the OnePlus 2, the first in the series to offer a physical alert slider as part of its design: a three-stage affair letting you switch between ring, vibrate, and silent profiles with ease. This quickly became one of the defining characteristics of OnePlus phones. Although it was arguably cribbed from Apple, when it debuted, it delivered added value that has remained an exclusive trait of the company's phones.

OnePlus 11 alert slider macro - PS cleaned up

The knurled alert slider on the OnePlus 11 (Image credit: Future | Philip Berne)

Almost every premium OnePlus phone – save for 2022's OnePlus 10T – boasts a physical alert slider. While rivals like Nubia's Red Magic gaming phones have dabbled with similar hardware inclusions (albeit sporting different functionality), only OnePlus and Apple have remained stalwart brands for users after an eyes-free way to easily switch alert profiles on their phones.

With the arrival of the iPhone 15 series, however, the rumored Action button finally made its debut, replacing the iconic mute switch on the Pro models. While that leaves the toggle intact on the vanilla iPhone 15 and larger iPhone 15 Plus, history has taught us to assume its days are now numbered.

While the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus served up then-familiar iPhone design language with a physical home button, the notched full-screen form of the iPhone X – which launched alongside – was a sign of things to come the following year and ever since. More recently, the Dynamic Island's move from Pro-only to standard between the iPhone 14 and 15 generations tells much the same story. So a precedent has surely been set.

The Action button looks likely to become standard across this year's iPhone 16 models when they arrive later in 2024, marking the end of a physical switch on the iPhone permanently. And that leaves, you guessed it, OnePlus as the only alternative with that feature left standing. Well... almost the only one.

OnePlus and OnePlus-alike

OnePlus Open with OnePlus 11 on top focusing on camera bumps

Physical alert sliders visible on the OnePlus 11 and the new OnePlus Open (Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)

When the iPhone 15 series arrived, OnePlus did appear to be the sole smartphone alternative to serve up phones with physical alert sliders, but there was one other closely linked player that chose this point (or at least soon after) to enter into the fray – Oppo.

Sister companies OnePlus and Oppo began merging as far back as 2020. While that primarily manifested on OnePlus' phones with more Oppo-like software, when OnePlus debuted its first foldable in late 2023 – the OnePlus Open – we also saw a little bit of its influence flow in the other direction, into Oppo's latest devices.

OnePlus Open folded shut on a pedestal with sunrise behind

The OnePlus Open (Image credit: Future / Philip Berne)

The Oppo Find N3 is essentially a carbon copy of the Open but with Oppo branding and software. It also happens to be the first phone in the company's lineup to sport a physical alert slider, just as you'd find on the Open and many other OnePlus phones. This also extends to Oppo's latest clamshell foldable, the Find N3 Flip, which debuted with the larger Find N3.

If you're hoping for mute switches on this year's iPhones, don't hold your breath. However, if this tactile inclusion is a must for your next smartphone purchase, take a look at the best OnePlus phones and best Oppo phones and switch on.

You might also like

Alex Walker-Todd
Senior Phones Editor

Alex joined as TechRadar's Senior Phones Editor in June 2022, but brings over a decade's worth of experience to the role, with an expertise in smartphones, tablets and wearables. He's covered keynotes hosted by the biggest brands and attended the launches for some of the most influential mobile products of the last few years. His experience was amassed at some of the most reputable consumer technology publications out there, including GSMArena, TechAdvisor and Trusted Reviews.