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The iPhone 15 Pro may make an annoying iPhone feature even worse

When the original iPhone launched many years ago, it was the epitome of simple, yet functional. It gave us the mute switch, distinctive volume buttons, a Home button, and the power button. As far as the buttons go, it was all pretty self-explanatory: the mute switch puts the phone on silent/vibrate, volume buttons adjust volume up or down, press the Home button to go back to the Home screen, and hold down the power button to turn your phone on or off.

With the iPhone 4S, Apple integrated Siri directly into iOS, and one could invoke it by pressing down on the Home button. But when Apple got rid of the Home button with the iPhone X, it had to figure out a different way to call up Siri. Instead of a Home button, you now could bring up Siri by doing a long press on the power/side button. A quick press of that button simply locks or wakes the display.

The iPhone 14 Pro's camera module.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Now, when you want to completely power down or restart your iPhone, you have to do a combo of both the side and volume down button to bring up the power option, as well as bring up SOS or Medical ID. Rumor has it that Apple will be replacing the mute switch on the iPhone 15 Pro with a multiuse Action Button instead, which I believe would be more useful. However, there’s a possibility that Apple will use the Action Button instead of volume down when you power down the phone.

But hear me out — what if Apple let us go back to a single button for powering the iPhone off, instead of some new, convoluted button combination that keeps changing every couple of years?

Let’s go back to the basics

Photo by:Tinh tế Photo ued with creative commons permission. Image used with permission by copyright holder

For a company that was once heralded for “simplicity,” it certainly doesn’t feel that way these days, with more convoluted features in iOS (like changing your wallpapers in iOS 16) and the changing up of the iPhone 15 Pro mute switch and volume buttons. Ever since the iPhone X, the power button has turned into the “side” button instead, and turning off or rebooting your phone needs a combo of both the side button and volume down.

I miss the days when the side button was the only button you needed to turn your iPhone off. To be honest, I’m not a fan of Siri, as it never seems to work well for anything besides kitchen timers. And when I do use it for setting timers, I don’t use my iPhone — I use it on my Apple Watch. So removing the ability to just hold down the side button to turn my phone off or restart iy=t is just a waste.

If Apple is indeed replacing the mute switch with an Action Button, I think it’s time to return the side button to its rightful functionality as a power button. It’s really the simplest way to just turn this thing off — hold it down and then drag the power off slider. It never made sense to me that I needed to press two buttons to accomplish this.

Siri should go to the Action Button

A closeup of the iPhone 14 Pro camera bump from the side
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

I really don’t use Siri, at least not on my iPhone 14 Pro. On the rare occasion I do want to use Siri, I would probably just use “Hey Siri” instead anyways, rather than reach out for my phone (it’s how I use it on the Apple Watch or HomePod mini). I’m sure that there are others who find Siri much more useful than I do, and if that’s the case, that’s great! It’s just not something I personally use all too often because of its unreliability.

But if Apple adds a multiuse Action Button on the iPhone 15 Pro, I’m sure that Siri functionality can be programmed into it. No one knows how it’s going to work yet, but I think it should at least be able to have at least two actions mapped to it, depending on how the button itself is pressed (single press, double press, long press, etc.) Make the multiuse Action Button actually do multiple actions, and let the side button become the power button once more.

Apple could learn from Android, yet again

Samsung Galaxy S23 camera closeup on glossy wooden table
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

Another option that Apple could pursue is letting people reprogram the side button, at the very least. This should be a software feature that would work with devices that aren’t the iPhone 15 Pro, since rumors suggest only the Pro models are getting an Action Button.

This is something that I learned while trying out various Android phones, like the Samsung Galaxy S23. When I say I don’t use Siri, this also applies to other digital voice assistants, like Samsung’s Bixby. Thankfully though, Android lets users remap the side key if they want, which is definitely what Apple should do in iOS 17.

On the S23, for example, I have set my side key to bring up the power-off menu when I press and hold, and bring up the camera with a double press, though you can choose any app to open if you want. This should be an option for all older iPhones, as well as the regular iPhone 15, which is rumored to not get the Action Button like the iPhone 15 Pro.

Honestly, it’s a little shocking that Apple doesn’t let us change the functionality of the side button already. Maybe we can get that in iOS 17 since rumors say it will bring some of the “most requested features” to iOS. At the very least, we’ll find out in June at the Wordwide Developers Conference!

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Christine Romero-Chan
Christine Romero-Chan has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade. She graduated from California…
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