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Apple to introduce action button in iPhone 16 series; Know why it is necessary

Apple's upcoming iPhone 16 series is set to include an upgraded 'Action button', offering a whole new level of functionality and versatility. The new 'Action button', codenamed Atlas, will detect pressure changes with a force sensor, offering improved functionality.

Apple to introduce action button in iPhone 16 series Know why it is necessary gcw
First Published Dec 1, 2023, 2:43 PM IST

With the release of the iPhone 16 series, Apple is getting ready for something novel and intriguing. An exciting new feature that will be unveiled is the "Action button." This ground-breaking innovation is anticipated to elevate usefulness to a whole new level, coming after the Action button was first included in the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max.

According to media reports, the Action button is a user-configurable button with a multitude of functions, not your standard phone button. Apple had originally intended for the iPhone 15 Pro to have haptic volume and power buttons back in 2021.

While those buttons faced technical issues and were scrapped, the Action button stuck around and made its way into the final iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max models.

The Action button on iPhones is more functional than the old mute switch. Users will have greater control over their iPhones when they can programme it to perform different activities. It can be used to access accessibility features, switch to quiet mode, activate the torch, start voice memos, open the camera app in various settings, enable specialised focus modes, utilise the iPhone's camera as a magnifying glass, and even translate languages rapidly (coming soon in iOS 17.2).

With the release of the iPhone 16 range, Apple intends to improve the Action button. They want to convert it from a mechanical to a capacitive button, like the Force Touch trackpad on newer MacBooks and the Touch ID Home button on earlier iPhones. With a force sensor, the new Action button—code-named Atlas—will be able to identify variations in pressure, providing enhanced functionality.

It is clear from early concepts and prototypes that the Action button has been a recurring feature throughout the iPhone 16 development process. Apple has experimented with various button sizes, some of which are similar to bigger volume buttons.

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