If you pick up an iPhone 15 Pro or Pro Max, you’ll notice one thing missing: the mute switch. It’s been a fixture on iPhones since the very beginning, but the 15 Pro models have swapped it out for a new button that’s dubbed the Action Button.
Like the Action Button on the Apple Watch Ultra series, you can customize it to do almost anything you want. It can open up a specific mode on your camera, turn on your flashlight, and, if you’re crafty, even order your favorite seasonal beverage from your neighborhood Starbucks.
Here’s how it works. (I followed these steps using an iPhone 15 Pro running iOS 17.)
Long press, short press
The first thing to know is just how the Action Button works.
To perform whatever action you assign to the button, you’ll need to long press it; a regular short press will just confirm whatever setting you have it customized to control. By default, it’s assigned to mute and unmute your ringer, just like the mute switch. So using it right out of the box goes like this:
- Long-press to mute your device; you’ll get a distinct haptic signal with three pulses.
- Short-press to confirm that your phone is silenced; an icon will appear in the Dynamic Island.
- Long-press again to unmute your ringer. You’ll feel a single haptic pulse.
If you like the mute feature, you can leave well enough alone — or you can get in there and have some fun. Go to Settings > Action Button, and you’ll see a bunch of options at your disposal. In addition to silent mode, they are:
- Focus: Select any focus mode; by default, it’s Do Not Disturb.
- Camera: By default, it will take you to the standard photo mode. Other options include Selfie, Video, Portrait, and Portrait Selfie.
- Voice Memo
- Accessibility with the following options
- Vision: Classic Invert, Color Filters, Detection Mode, Increase Contrast, Reduce Motion, Reduce Transparency, Reduce White Point, Smart Invert, VoiceOver, Zoom
- Motor: Switch Control, Voice Control, Full Keyboard Access, AssistiveTouch, Apple Watch Mirroring, Control Nearby Devices
- Hearing: Background Sounds, Left/Right Balance, Live Captions
- General: Guided Access, Live Speech
- No Action
Those are the basics, and they alone give you a lot of options. But if you want to really go for it, you can set it to activate a Shortcut that can do practically anything you want.
For example, let’s say you’re a fan of a particular fall beverage from your favorite corporate coffee chain. This is just an example; you can use this as a template for any other Shortcut you want to play with.
- Download and install the Starbucks app.
- Open the Shortcuts app and tap the plus icon in the upper right corner of the screen.
- Tap Add Action and then select the Apps tab on the following screen.
- Select the Starbucks app.
- Tap Order from Starbucks.
- Tap Order on the next screen to choose the item for your order. You’ll need to specify whether it should ask each time, or you can pick a specific item from your most recent orders (and if you drink a lot of Pumpkin Spice Lattes, you know what to do here). Tap Done to save it.
- Go to Settings > Action Button and select Shortcut.
- Tap Choose a Shortcut, and your new shortcut will be listed under My Shortcuts.
Got an even better idea? I would love to hear about it. Tag me on Threads @allisonjo1 with your best Action Button customization — the more unhinged, the better — and I’ll give you a virtual high five.