Skip to main content

I’m excited (and nervous) about this iPhone 15 Pro rumor

The rumor mill for the Apple iPhone 15 has been ramping up lately, and if the whispers are true, this would be the biggest overhaul for the iPhone yet. Many of the reports have been circulating around the state of the buttons on the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max, specifically that they’re rumored to have a single volume rocker and that the mute switch will be replaced with a button — all solid-state as well.

The latest rumor to come out, though, is that the iPhone 15 Pro mute switch may not be replaced with a mute button at all. Instead, it could actually be a multi-use Action Button, similar to what’s on the Apple Watch Ultra. If this is the case, then it’s going to be one of the biggest changes to iPhone hardware design, with plenty of pros to it … but also a big con.

An Action Button would benefit everyone

Apple Watch SE 2 with the Apple Watch Ultra seen from the side.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

I actually love the idea of the iPhone 15 Pro getting a multi-use Action Button. To be honest, one of the first things I do when I get a new phone is put it on mute. I find alerts and notification sounds annoying and distracting, so I would rather not hear them at all. Sometimes I will leave the ringtone for calls on in case of emergencies, but I also have an Apple Watch, so if an important call comes in, I typically feel the vibration on my wrist or in my pocket if my phone is there.

Once I activated that mute switch on my iPhone 14 Pro, it pretty much stayed that way. I do turn it off in a movie theater, just to ensure that my phone won’t make a sound during a movie, and then back on again when it’s over, but otherwise, it remains unchanged.

When the Apple Watch Ultra was unveiled, though it took me a while to get used to the new design, I loved the idea of the customizable Action Button. By default, it was set to activate workouts, but users could customize it to do other things — including activating programmed shortcuts from the Shortcuts app.

iPhone 15 Pro buttons CAD leak

If the iPhone 15 Pro gets an Action Button, I would use that much more than a mute switch or button. I suppose the default action could be to “mute” the phone, but there are so many more cool use cases. For example, it could be used to activate Do Not Disturb, launch the camera app, turn the flashlight on and off, lock screen rotation, capture a screenshot, toggle light/dark mode, and more.

Of all those things, can we take a minute to appreciate the convenience of a possible camera shortcut? I can’t tell you how many times the lock screen camera app shortcut fails to work properly, and I miss out on a precious moment with my daughter. If I was able to just program a button on the hardware to get to the camera app faster, it would be a godsend. But I also would love to be able to even double press the Action Button to mute the phone or turn on low power mode, for example.

While I wasn’t entirely sold on Apple removing the mute switch and replacing it with a button, I think there’s a lot of potential if it’s an Action Button, rather than just a mute button. I just mentioned what I would use it for, and I think a lot of other people would do something similar. Just being able to customize what an iPhone Action Button can do opens up an entire world of possibilities, especially if you can link it up to a Shortcut you’ve created or downloaded.

It’s not always greener on the other side

The volume keys on the side of the iPhone 14 Plus.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Of course, as great as an Action Button would be, it won’t be great for everyone. After having a mute switch on the iPhone since the original all the way back in 2007, plenty of folks have developed muscle memory with the placement of it, and can easily mute the iPhone in their pockets. This also eliminates the need to take the phone out and check the screen to make sure that it’s on silent, which can be annoying to do in situations like in a movie theater, during a class lecture, or in a work meeting.

Even if the rumored Action Button could be used to enable/disable a silent mode, it won’t be as convenient as the existing switch. The mute switch also made the iPhone more accessible for many people, because you could physically tell by the position of the switch if the device was muted or not. Removing such a switch and replacing it with a button makes it less accessible.

Why couldn’t Apple add a separate Action Button, if it is indeed going this route, or make it so that the side button could be programmable to things besides Siri or Voice Control?

We’ll just have to wait and see

With Apple recently announcing WWDC 2023 for June 5, the wait for the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro isn’t far behind. Apple usually unveils the next generation of iPhones in September, so we’ll just have to hold on a little longer to see what it actually does.

Still, the idea of an Action Button piques my interest, and I hope Apple still makes it as easily accessible and convenient as a switch.

Editors' Recommendations

Christine Romero-Chan
Christine Romero-Chan has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade. She graduated from California…
It looks like the iPhone 16 will get a big design upgrade
Someone holding the Natural Titanium iPhone 15 Pro Max.

Following the release of the iPhone 15 Pro series, several early adopters reported overheating issues. Apple later confirmed that the problem was caused by a software bug in iOS 17, which affected some owners of the phones. The company quickly resolved the issue with the release of iOS 17.0.3 and never acknowledged that hardware played a role in the overheating. Fast-forward to the present, and it now looks like Apple plans to make hardware changes on the iPhone 16 that would make the 2024 handsets less likely to overheat.

According to Apple prototype collector Kosutami, Apple will make two changes to the next round of iPhones. On X, formerly Twitter, they note: "Apple is actively working on graphene thermal system of iPhone 16 Series to solve the heating problem existing before. And the battery of Pro series would change to metal shell, for the same reason."

Read more
It’s finally happening — your iPhone is getting RCS in 2024
iMessage on an iPhone 14 Pro Max, plus iMessage on an Android phone using the Beeper app.

Today is a day I truly didn't expect would ever happen. On November 16, 2023, Apple officially confirmed that RCS texting is finally coming to the iPhone in 2024.

Yes, you read that correctly. Starting "later next year," Apple will add RCS support to the iPhone. In other words, if you have an Android phone and are texting someone with an iPhone, you'll be able to text each other over RCS instead of SMS. That means you'll get many iMessage-like features such as typing indicators, read receipts, higher-resolution photo/video sharing, etc.

Read more
How I use my Apple Watch and iPhone to manage my diabetes
iPhone 15 Pro showing One Drop app and kit.

It’s November, which means it’s Diabetes Awareness Month, with World Diabetes Day recently happening on November 14. According to data from the Apple Heart and Movement Study (AHMS) and Apple Women’s Health Study (AWHS), there are about 537 million adults worldwide who are currently living with diabetes, with that number potentially reaching 643 million by 2030. In the U.S. alone, about two out of five people will develop diabetes in their lifetime, and more than one in three adults have elevated glucose levels that put them in the pre-diabetes zone.

I was pre-diabetic since my college years (it runs in both sides of my family), but then my doctor officially diagnosed me with Type 2 diabetes around early 2018. However, I was told that my case was more “mild” than others and that taking some medication — while also cutting out carbs and sweets, plus daily exercise — can help me keep it under control.

Read more