Use Your iPhone 15 Pro's New Action Button for More Than One Thing
By default, the action button on the iPhone can only trigger one action at a time, but there's a way to unlock more.
Nelson Aguilar is an LA-based tech how-to writer and graduate of UCLA. With more than a decade of experience, he covers Apple and Google and writes on iPhone and Android features, privacy and security settings and more.
The higher-end iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max models both feature a new action button, replacing the ring/silent switch that the iPhone has had since its inception. The action button is customizable, allowing you to quickly perform actions like turn on the flashlight, open the camera and record a voice memo.
However, the action button can only do one of these actions. If you want it to perform another action, you'll have to go into your settings and remap the button each and every time.
To make it more useful, some iPhone 15 Pro users have suggested having the action button switch between what it can do depending on the state of the phone, to make things easier. For example, the action button could switch between actions depending on whether Do Not Disturb is enabled. Or do the same but for when Low Power mode is toggled off and on.
And while the iPhone 15 doesn't yet have that capability built-in, there is a way to "hack" the action button into performing more than just one action -- depending on the orientation of your phone. Check out the guide below to learn how to make the action button on your iPhone 15 Pro do more for you.
For this to work, we'll be using the Orientation Action Mode shortcut. This shortcut changes what the action button does based on your phone's orientation. If your iPhone 15 is horizontal, the action button will trigger one thing, but when the phone is vertical or face down it will trigger something different.
If you're unfamiliar with shortcuts on iOS, they provide an easy way to trigger actions on your iPhone with a single tap or by asking Siri. Any shortcut you create or download lives in the Shortcuts app, which is predownloaded on your iPhone.
Next, it's time to customize what the action button does when you trigger the Orientation Action Mode shortcut. Go into the Shortcuts app, tap Shortcuts on the bottom-left, find the Orientation Action Mode shortcut and then tap the three-dot menubutton on the top-right of the shortcut.
Here, you'll see the triggers and actions for the shortcut -- there are actions already chosen for you. If your device orientation is landscape left, meaning it's held horizontally, with the top of the phone facing left, the action button will trigger the shortcut to open your camera in photo mode. If your device orientation is portrait, which is how you typically hold your phone, the action button will toggle between silent and ring modes.
However, these are the default options. You can replace those actions with your own actions pretty easily. To do this, tap inside the search bar at the bottom of the shortcut and browse through all actions your phone can perform. To make it easy, you'll see suggestions based on your downloaded apps as well.
You can have the shortcut do things like scan a document, call someone, record a voice memo, turn on your flashlight and open a specific app. When you find an action you like, press and hold down on the action, drag and place it right above the default action (lift your finger to drop it) in the shortcut and then delete the default action (X button). This will replace the default action with your new action.
You can add actions for the following orientations, for a total of five:
4. Add the shortcut to the action button
The last thing you need to do is to set your customized Orientation Action Mode shortcut to run when you hit the action button. Go to Settings > Action Button and swipe through until you reach Shortcut. Next, tap Choose aShortcut... and then search for the Orientation Action Mode and select it.
5. Trigger the Orientation Action Mode shortcut
To trigger an action, set your device to the orientation you want and then hold down on the action button.
Note: The first time you trigger any actions, you'll be asked to give your phone and the shortcut access to your applications and other settings. Hit Allow.
You'll know the Orientation Action Mode shortcut is triggered when you see the shortcut load up in your Dynamic Island.