OPINION: Apple this week announced the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro ranges, boasting a number of upgrades and new features. Among a slew of new hardware on the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max, the company introduced the Action Button – a handy customisable button that’ll allow you to open a specific app or toggle a specific function.
I love the idea of quickly opening the Camera app or toggling on a flashlight with the press of a dedicated button, but in doing so, Apple has killed off one of the iPhone’s biggest unsung heroes: the alert switch. And reader, I am absolutely gutted.
It’s more than just a simple switch that lets you quickly and easily toggle silent mode on or off without turning your phone on and tapping away at the screen – though it did do its one job exceptionally well.
In fact, I think the mute switch is one of the defining features of the iPhone’s design, more so than the notch or even the Home button, present on every single version of the iPhone since its inception way back in 2007.
You might remark that the new Action Button can be programmed to do the exact same thing, but it’s not the same.
Aside from the satisfying tactile experience of physically flipping a switch on the side of my iPhone, the placement of the switch allows me to feel the side of my phone and immediately know whether it’s on silent or loud without even glancing at it – a very handy feature when I’m walking into a meeting or joining a video call.
With the Action Button, I’ll have to take my iPhone out of my pocket and look at the screen while pressing the button to verify that it’s on silent mode. It may not seem like much, but it’s extra added steps to an already exceptionally streamlined process, and I can guarantee it’s something that most iPhone owners have had to do at least once.
After all, there’s a reason that smartphone fans covet the OnePlus alert slider so much, as it undertakes the similar task of easily switching between ring, vibrate and silent modes without having to actually interact with the phone.
It was removed from the OnePlus 10, and after backlash from fans, was reintroduced on the OnePlus 11. Don’t underestimate just how important these physical switches and buttons can be to the everyday consumer.
That said, the new Action Button should deliver a completely new way to interact with your iPhone 15 Pro in ways that I haven’t even imagined, so I’m not writing off Apple’s new tech just yet. It’ll just take me a while to get over the loss of a dear, old friend.