iPhone 15 Pro: Why Apple did the right thing by requiring you to “press and hold” the Action button

When Apple unveiled the iPhone 15 Pro and its new Action button, there was a detail that caught many by surprise. Instead of simply pressing the Action button to run the assigned task, you had to press and hold the button.

After three days with the iPhone 15 Pro Max, I now understand why Apple made this decision.

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This situation reminds me of Dynamic Island. When something is on the Dynamic Island, a simple tap will take you straight to that app. If you're listening to something in the Music app, tapping the dynamic island will take you to the Music app. However, long pressing on the dynamic island expands it and shows quick controls.

In the case of Dynamic Island, I'm still not sure Apple made the right choice. Accidental input isn't a problem with Dynamic Island, and I'd really like to be able to access basic information with a simple tap. However, in the case of the Action button, I agree with Apple's decision.

I have accidentally pressed the Action button quite often while using the iPhone 15 Pro Max. The problem for me is that this button looks a lot like the Volume Up button, so I keep accidentally pressing the Action button instead of the Volume button, and vice versa.

I'm guessing things will get better once my hands get used to the Action button. However, I think this makes it clearer why Apple chose “press and hold” instead of just tapping. The last thing you want is to accidentally press the Action button instead of the Volume button and trigger a random action.

Best comment from Sean Roberts

Liked by 7 people

So, half of the articles are like this if the apple changes something, then it's terrible because of muscle memory and it should be returned to how it always was, for example the end call button on the iOS 17 beta. But now the same muscle memory can't remember where the volume button is which means you keep pressing the action button. This looks more like a desperate attempt to come up with reasons to praise the new button so I can write an article.

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Long term, I think Apple should give users a different way to trigger the Action button. For example, a double-click setting would be a good option to either add a second action or replace a long press.

As for what I have the Action button set to, I'm still trying to figure it out. Now I use it as a dedicated camera button. I found this useful, but I think I could do more to unlock the true power of yet another button on my iPhone. Here are some recommendations for using the Action button:

  • Matthew Cassinelli: 30 Shortcut Ideas for the Action Button on the iPhone 15 Pro
  • Stephen Robles: Action Button Shortcuts on the iPhone 15 Pro

What do you use the action button on your iPhone 15 Pro for? Share your ideas in the comments!

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