iPhone 16 Action Button may look and feel familiar after all

iPhone 15 Pro Max
(Image credit: Future)

How different will the iPhone 16 Pro button layout be from the iPhone 15 Pro? Not very, according to MacRumors

Having seen a number of prototype designs for the upcoming smartphone, the site reports that Apple is sticking with what it knows. The latest “Proto2” design “mirrors the Action button on the iPhone 15 Pro” with independent volume up and volume down buttons. 

Alternatives that Apple was toying with apparently included various combinations of a unified volume button, independent volume buttons and a larger Action button (sometimes flush with the frame, sometimes not). 

More importantly, the retreat suggests that Apple has given up on making the Action button capacitive for the next generation, the site concludes. “A design change as significant as this indicates it has been canceled or postponed for future iPhone iterations,” the report says. 

That’s a minor blow to Apple. Capacitive buttons don’t have moving parts, making them more reliable. Plus, they’re potentially more flexible, allowing different functionality depending on how hard they’re pressed.

But just because there’s no obvious change being made to the Action button doesn’t mean the phone will be identical to its predecessor. The MacRumors report mentions that the Capture button is still present (albeit not capacitive), included on the other side of the handset.

While the term ‘Capture’ button may automatically make you think it’s intended for photography, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman believes it’s actually dedicated to taking video

Whether you’ll be able to reprogram it for something else remains to be seen, but if Apple is expecting you to fill your iPhone with video clips, then you’d best hope the basic storage is being upped from 128GB this time around (or be prepared to pay for more iCloud space).

While some analysts believe the iPhone 16 will be an underwhelming update, it’s still early days for Apple’s next smartphone. For over a decade, the company has picked September as the month when iPhones get refreshed (barring 2020, when a once-in-a-generation pandemic pushed the launch back to October), so there’s plenty of time for more leaks to emerge and prove the doubters wrong. 

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.