iPhone 15 Pro action button: functions and settings explained

The new iPhone 15 Pro and the new iPhone 15 Pro Max no longer have a silent switch on the left side of the housing. Apple has replaced this with an action button. This action button can the new Pro models of the Apple smartphone Although it continues to mute, it also performs other functions. In addition to predefined actions, individual settings can be made – for example using shortcuts. Everything is possible, from a simple individual task to a complex sequence of several processes. Here you will find further details on how to set and use the iPhone 15 Pro action button.

The action button on the Apple iPhone 15 Pro (Max) explained: Change and use functions and settings for the action button under iOS 17. You can find the instructions here.
The action button on the Apple iPhone 15 Pro (Max) explained: Change and use functions and settings for the action button under iOS 17. You can find the instructions here.

System-wide functions of the iPhone 15 Pro action button

At the launch of the new iPhones with iOS 17, Apple presented nine possible uses for the action button. It is quite possible that these will be expanded with later updates or new major versions of the operating system (iOS 18, iOS 19, etc.). So far these are the options:

  • Mute iPhone, so it doesn't ring or play tones
  • Activate focus modeto work undisturbed or to enjoy your free time
  • Open camera appto quickly take a photo or video without display interaction
  • Record voice memo, so that the idea is not lost when searching for the app
  • Activate flashlight, so that you don't get blinded by the display in the dark
  • Open Apple's Translate app, so that translations and dialogues can be realized more quickly
  • Activate magnifying glassto use the camera to enlarge objects and see them better
  • Execute shortcutin order to fulfill previously individually defined tasks
  • Use operating assistance, which can also be set from a selection of individual options

App-based functions of the action button on the iPhone 15 Pro

Some of the features mentioned above aren't particularly "smart" on their own. Simply starting the voice memo recording or opening the camera app does not complete the entire task. And that's why the function of the action button on the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max is expanded in the individual apps. In the voice memo app, pressing the button again ends the recording. She takes a photo in the camera app. And other functions are also executed or started and ended app-based by the action button.

Use the action button on the iPhone: Long press and short press

The default setting for the iPhone action button is that you have to press and hold it to perform the predetermined function. This is probably intended to prevent a short, accidental press from directly initiating a process, opening an app or recording audio. 

However, if an app is currently being used or a command is executed via the action button, the corresponding interaction takes place with a short, single press. So you don't have to hold down the button to stop the voice recording or take the photo.

Change the function of the iPhone action button in the iOS settings

To change the assignment of the action button on the iPhone, open the device's settings. There you scroll down until you find the “Action button” item. Tap this to open the settings of the new iPhone button. The design of this area stands out completely from the other areas of the iOS settings. Because there are animations and you don't just select from a list, you swipe back and forth between the possible key assignments. 

Detailed settings for individual action button features

Some functions may allow further customization. This is of course clear with regard to the shortcut to be selected or the selection of the operating aid to be used. However, additional usage details can also be specified for the camera, for example. 

In order to use the action button for individual quick access, the standard photo function (main camera), selfie (TrueDepth camera), video recording, portrait mode or portrait selfie can be assigned here. This means that the action button can directly call up the required mode and can be used to trigger/start the recording by briefly pressing it again.

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3 comments on “iPhone 15 Pro action button: functions and settings explained”

  1. Hi John,
    I've never used the action button before. I discovered that my Magsafe case from Arktis (iceo Crystal Case) made it difficult to use the side buttons (hard to reach). I noticed this when switching on/off, but it's more serious with the action button. I have now ordered another Magsafe case (HighCover case with CD ring that can be folded out and adjusted) from Amazon, and according to user reviews, operating the side buttons is also unproblematic. In addition, the magnetic ring (CD ring) can also be folded out without being bulky when folded and there is a case with sides and CD ring in gold, which looks very elegant. As soon as this is delivered I will contact you again.
    Gruss Horst

    1. Hello Horst! I think Johannes is in the weekend, but I wanted to answer since I finally have my 15 Pro Max. I currently have the camera on the action button and I have an ESR case. This works well and the action button is also easy to feel. I really like the shortcut. But flashlight would also be a good thing as I sometimes have problems with the touch thing in the dark with wet fingers. But let's see how it turns out in experience. The iPhone 15 Pro Max definitely looks nice and the USB-C port is great... now I hate all devices that still have Lightning. 😂

      1. Hi Jens,
        I still have an iPad from 2019 that I use as an eBook reader. Lightning still has that. To charge my iPhone 15 Pro Max, I use one of my existing power supplies and the required USB cable (USBC) and for the iPad I use the power supply and the required USB cable (Lightning). By the way, I bought a cheap (€7) and very well rated USBC cable set (1 and 2m) from Amazon.

        To find under:
        USB-C cable set on Amazon

        So far I can't say anything negative about my iPhone 15 Pro Max and I don't regret the purchase one bit. I'll try connecting an SSD to the iPhone 15 Pro Max via USB-C. I still have a portable 1 TB SSD with a USB mini port lying around. I'll have to see what I have to pay attention to. Then let me know.
        Greeting Horst

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