iPhone 15 Pro Action Button: What Apple Got Wrong and How to Fix It

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The iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max are undoubtedly some of the best smartphones in the market right now, with their impressive performance, stunning design, and amazing cameras. However, they also introduced a new feature that has received mixed reactions from users and critics alike: the Action button.

The Action button is a small, circular button on the right side of the iPhone 15 Pro models, which replaces the traditional ring/mute switch. It can be customized to perform different actions, such as launching the camera, opening the Control Center, or activating Siri. However, as many users have pointed out, the Action button is far from perfect and has several limitations that prevent it from being a truly useful and innovative feature.

In this article, we will explore some of the mistakes that Apple made with the Action button and how they can be fixed in future updates or models. Here are five ways that Apple can improve the Action button and make it more user-friendly and versatile.

Allow More Gestures and Actions

One of the biggest complaints about the Action button is that it only supports one gesture: a simple press. This means that users can only assign one action to the button, which limits its functionality and convenience. For example, if you set the Action button to launch the camera, you will lose the ability to quickly mute or unmute your phone.

iPhone 15 Pro Action Button

A possible solution to this problem is to allow more gestures and actions for the Action button, such as double-tap, triple-tap, long-press, or swipe. This way, users can assign different actions to different gestures and access more features with the same button. For instance, you could set the Action button to launch the camera with a single press, open the Control Center with a double-tap, and activate Siri with a long-press.

This would not only make the Action button more versatile and customizable, but also more consistent with the rest of the iOS interface, which already supports multiple gestures for different functions.

Let Users Choose the Power Button’s Functions

Another issue with the Action button is that it takes away the functions of the power button, which is located on the opposite side of the phone. The power button, which used to activate Siri with a long-press and open the Wallet app with a double-click, now only serves to lock or unlock the screen and turn off or restart the phone.

While some users may prefer this simplicity, others may miss the convenience of accessing Siri or the Wallet app with the power button. Therefore, a possible improvement is to let users choose which functions they want to assign to the power button and which ones to the Action button.

For example, if you use Siri more often than the camera, you may want to assign Siri to the power button and the camera to the Action button. Or, if you use the Wallet app frequently, you may want to assign it to the Action button and the Control Center to the power button. This way, users can have more control over their preferences and habits.

Provide a Simpler Way to Create Custom Actions

The Action button also supports custom actions, which can be created using the Shortcuts app. Shortcuts is a powerful app that lets users create complex workflows and automate tasks on their iPhones. However, it is also a fairly advanced app that requires some knowledge and skill to use effectively.

For many users, creating custom actions for the Action button using Shortcuts may be too complicated or intimidating. Therefore, a possible improvement is to provide a simpler way to create custom actions, such as a dedicated interface that lets users select an app or a function from a list of options.

For example, if you want to set the Action button to open a specific app, such as Spotify, Netflix, or Twitter, you could simply choose the app from a menu and assign it to the button. Or, if you want to set the Action button to perform a specific function, such as turning on the flashlight, enabling the dark mode, or adjusting the volume, you could simply choose the function from a menu and assign it to the button.

This would make the Action button more accessible and user-friendly, especially for those who are not familiar with Shortcuts or do not want to spend time creating complex workflows.

Add Haptic Feedback and Visual Indicators

Another complaint about the Action button is that it lacks haptic feedback and visual indicators. Haptic feedback is the vibration or sensation that a device produces when a user interacts with it, such as pressing a button or tapping a screen. Visual indicators are the icons or animations that a device displays when a user performs an action, such as launching an app or activating a feature.

Haptic feedback and visual indicators are important for user experience, as they provide confirmation and feedback for the user’s actions. They also help prevent accidental or unintended actions, such as pressing the wrong button or activating the wrong feature.

However, the Action button does not provide any haptic feedback or visual indicators when pressed. This means that users may not know if the button has registered their press or if the action has been performed successfully. For example, if you set the Action button to launch the camera, you may not know if the camera app has opened or not until you look at the screen.

A possible solution to this problem is to add haptic feedback and visual indicators to the Action button, such as a subtle vibration or a small icon on the screen. This way, users can feel and see the result of their actions and have a more satisfying and intuitive experience with the button.

Bring Back the Ring/Mute Switch

Finally, one of the most controversial decisions that Apple made with the Action button is to remove the ring/mute switch, which has been a staple of the iPhone design since the first model in 2007. The ring/mute switch is a small, physical switch on the side of the phone that lets users quickly and easily mute or unmute their phone’s sound.

Many users love the ring/mute switch for its convenience and reliability, as it does not require unlocking the phone or opening the settings. It also provides a clear and visible indication of the phone’s sound status, as the switch shows a red dot when muted and a white dot when unmuted.

However, the Action button replaces the ring/mute switch, which means that users have to use the software controls to mute or unmute their phone. This may be less convenient and more prone to errors, as users may forget to mute their phone or accidentally unmute it.

Therefore, a possible improvement is to bring back the ring/mute switch, either by adding it back to the side of the phone or by integrating it with the Action button. For example, the Action button could be a hybrid button that can be pressed or flipped, with the press gesture performing the custom action and the flip gesture muting or unmuting the phone.

This would not only restore the functionality and convenience of the ring/mute switch, but also add more versatility and flexibility to the Action button.

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