What I use the Action button for on my iPhone 15

iPhone 15 Pro Action Button

by Mairead O’Mahony

The iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max now have an action button instead of a mute switch.

When you press and hold the action button, by default it is set to silence calls/notifications or play these alerts out loud.  Imagine being able to press and hold this action button to launch an app you use regularly or create a shortcut to do something. you can by doing the following:

  1. Navigate to settings and double-tap with 1 finger to activate it. Alternatively, you can ask Siri to open Settings.
  2. Swipe to the right with one finger until VoiceOver says action button and double tap with one finger to activate it.
  3. Swipe to the right with 1 finger until VoiceOver says silent mode adjustable.
  4. By default, the action button is set to silent mode so when you hear silent mode adjustable, swipe up with one finger to hear a list of other functions you can change the action button to such as focus, camera, torch, voice memo, translate, short cut, accessibility or no action.
  5. Once you double tap with one finger on the function you would like to change the action button to, e.g. torch, camera, or accessibility, the next time you press and hold the action button, it will launch the function you set it to, e.g., voice memo or magnifier.

As mentioned earlier, another useful feature of the action button is to be able to create a shortcut to do something rather than having to open an app and manually navigate to what you would like to do.  For instance, I often use Shazam if a song I like comes on the radio and I want to know the name of the song and the artist.

I can create a shortcut that will perform this function for me once I press and hold the action button by doing the following:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Swipe to the right to action button and double tap with one finger to select it.
  3. Swipe to the right with one finger until you hear silent mode adjustable or whatever you have set the action button to.
  4. Swipe up with one finger until VoiceOver says shortcut and double tap with 1 finger to activate it.
  5. Swipe to the right with one finger until you hear choose a shortcut and double tap with 1 finger to select it.
  6. Now, you have a list of shortcuts that you can choose from. As I have the Shazam app installed, I will swipe to the right with one finger until I get to recognise music and double tap with one finger to select it.

The next time I press and hold the action button and a song is playing, my phone will start listening and give me the name of the song and the artist singing it. The details will also be displayed in the notification centre.

If you have the ChatGPT app installed, you can also create a shortcut to launch the voice mode when you press and hold the action button.  ChatGPT is an app that allows you to ask questions or give scenarios about anything and it will generate answers for you, and you can keep asking more questions.

For example, I could ask ChatGPT to generate an article on the use of assistive technology in everyday life which would give me ideas if I was writing a topic on it. Another useful example of using ChatGPT is asking it for JAWS keystrokes to do something, e.g., how to insert bullets in a Word document as it will give you the answer straight away.

To create a shortcut to ChatGPT, do the following:

  1. Navigate to settings, action button, and double tap with one finger to select it.
  2. Swipe to the right with one finger until you get to short cut and double tap with one finger to activate it.
  3. Swipe to the right with one finger to choose your shortcut and double-tap to activate it. If you already have enabled a shortcut, e.g., recognise music, VoiceOver will announce that shortcut cut so double tap on it with one finger to get into the list of available shortcuts.
  4. Like previously, you have a list of shortcuts you can choose from so to select the ChatGPT option, swipe to the right until you get to ChatGPT and double-tap to activate it.
  5. Swipe to the right with one finger until you hear the start voice conversation and double tap to select it.

Now, whenever you press and hold the action button you can talk to ChatGPT as if you were talking to an assistant.

If you are having a continued conversation with ChatGPT, you just need to press and hold the action button once to get started.

Once finished talking to ChatGPT, swipe right to the close button and double-tap with one finger to activate it.

While it is great being able to change the function of your action button, it is a pity only one action or shortcut can be assigned to it. For now, my action button is set to launch a voice conversation with ChatGPT as I use it a lot, and it’s quick and efficient. If you use shortcuts on your iPhone 15 Pro or 15 Pro Max, we would love to know your tips and what you use them for.

Let us know if you have changed the function of your action button or created shortcuts using the action button by sending a WhatsApp voice note to the Talking Technology Podcast number, 086 199 0011.

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