And while the button can reportedly still be programmed to offer the same functionality — muting and unmuting your phone without having to wake up the screen — many worry that it won’t be the same. If you’re in the cinema or theater, say, you can feel whether your iPhone is silent or not without removing the handset from your pocket. With a button, you won’t be able to feel a difference.
The site was able to replicate the haptic pattern even without the new Action Button to test it with. The action of turning off Silent Mode — which on current iPhones provides nothing — is described as a “single firm tap”.
Hopefully, it’s distinct enough from the haptics you get for engaging Silent Mode that it feels meaningfully different. If you’re trying to do this in your pocket without seeing the screen, that peace of mind would be extremely welcome.
The reasoning behind wanting to replace the longstanding mute switch is twofold. Firstly, one less moving part is welcome for reliability — especially when this moving part in question leaves a gap for dust and debris to build up.
But more importantly, the Action Button is a lot more flexible. Yes, people who’ve owned an iPhone for a decade or more may choose to keep the button purely for silencing their handset, but that’s just one option.
According to an earlier code dive, Apple will let iPhone 15 Pro buyers program the Action Button as a shortcut to everything from turning on the flashlight to recording a voice memo. Intriguingly, there’s also an option to bind it to Shortcuts — Apple’s automation app that can do any number of complex strings of actions.
It will be interesting to see how Apple pitches the new feature when it’s demoed at the iPhone 15 launch next month. We don’t have too long to wait to find out — while invites are yet to go out, reliable leakers have coalesced around a predicted date of September 12.