iPhone 16 tipped to get yet another button, but what will it do?

An iPhone 15 Pro Max against an abstract multi-colored retro background.
(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future / Apple)

When Apple announced the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max it brought the Action button into the mix. But it doesn't seem to be ready to stop there.

We've already heard plenty of rumors that claim the iPhone 16 will see the Action button move down the lineup and no longer be a Pro-level feature. But even that isn't enough for Apple. It's going to go one step further, we're told.

What do you do when you add one button and people seem to like it? Well, you add another of course. Which means the iPhone 20 might be more button than phone at this rate.

More buttons the better

This isn't the first time that we've heard of Apple potentially adding an extra button to the 2024 iPhones, of course. MacRumors reported that Apple was working on Project Nova shortly after the iPhone 15 lineup went on sale in September. Now, a similar report by the Weibo tipster Instant Digital, picked up by MacRumors once more, hints that there might be more to this than one project inside Apple Park.

According to the leaker, there is a "great chance" that Apple will add another button to the iPhone 16 beyond the Action button that it will already gain. That button will sit flush with the edge of the iPhone and be capacitive, as will the Action button. The power and volume buttons will remain clicky, we're told. But as ever, it's important to remember that Apple's plans can and do often change. Nothing is set in stone right now.

As for where the button will live, that seems to be where the mmWave antenna is right now — at least in the United States. For everyone else. that's below the power button with the mmWave antenna expected to move to below the volume button for those buying in the States.

Capturing ... something

iPhone 15 Plus review

(Image credit: Future)

The first extra button leak claimed that Project Nova would ultimately give us the Capture button, or at least that's what Apple is calling it internally. But it isn't yet clear exactly what that button will do or what Apple intends for people to capture.

At this point, it could do just about anything, as can the Action button. Having one Action button is cool but having two of them would surely be better. But I have to imagine that there's more to this than just replicating functionality already offered. Apple surely has something up its sleeve, we just don't quite know what it will be yet.

As for the iPhone 16, that's likely to be joined by the iPhone 16 Plus, iPhone 16 Pro, and iPhone 16 Pro Max. But we're still a long way off any of those being announced officially, and as mentioned, Apple could change its plans at will. But as time goes on those plans will need to be locked in, and it's then that the leaks will get most interesting. Whatever happens, there's no doubting that Apple's best iPhones will get even better, extra button or not.

For now, we wait. And with September 2024 a long way away that wait is going to have to go on for a little while yet. There's plenty to look forward to beyond those new iPhones and extra buttons of course — the Apple Watch is expected to get a big revamp next year with the so-called Apple Watch X likely to celebrate ten years of Apple wearables with new features and a potential new design.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.