10 Best Ways To Use the iPhone 15 Action Button (iOS 17)

What to Know

  • It may seem like there are only eight options when setting up the Action button, but the possibilities are unlimited.
  • Shortcuts make it possible to control your smart home, run complex routines, and more.
  • The Action button can be turned off completely or function just like the old mute/unmute switch.

The iPhone 15 Action Button is an exciting feature, but it can be a little overwhelming to decide what to do with it since there are so many options. I'll help you figure out the best ways to use this button that are actually practical. Let the customization begin!

10 Best Ways To Use the iPhone 15 Action Button

The Action button is only available on the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max models, and it works with iOS 17 or later software. Once you’ve learned how to customize your Action button, the next step is to pick the best way to use it. I've personally tested hundreds of options, and I even wrote the iPhone Life Shortcuts Guide for our premium subscribers that includes some of the best iPhone shortcuts I’ve discovered, so here are my personal favorites that will actually bring value to your life. You may want to learn how to make shortcuts on the iPhone because you may need to make a shortcut to create your dream Action button.

Open the Camera App to Never Miss a Moment

1. Open the Camera App to Never Miss a Moment

As an ex-Android user, I find it frustrating that I couldn't open my Camera app as quickly as I wanted to, and the Action button finally changed that. I believe that the Camera app option is the most universally practical way to use the button because most other things are already easy to do using the Control Center or voice commands. I love that I can pick between photo, video, portrait, selfie, and portrait selfie modes. I can now have my Camera app open and ready as I pull it out of my pocket or purse.

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Pro Tip

Don't forget that you can take photos while recording videos, or you can hold the shutter button in photo mode to start filming. This is faster than switching and can help you capture the moment in a pinch. For more iPhone tips and tricks, be sure to sign up for our free Tip of the Day newsletter.

Control Your Tesla (Or Another Compatible Smart Car)

2. Control Your Tesla (Or Another Compatible Smart Car)

If you’re like me, you probably forget to set the climate in advance and end up sweating or freezing until the AC kicks in. The Tesla app recently became compatible with Apple’s Shortcuts, so you can easily make a shortcut that sets the climate of your Tesla (or any other compatible smart car) with a simple voice command. The Action button takes it one step further and lets you activate the shortcut with the press of a button.


If you don’t have a smart car, you can still create a shortcut or automation that takes advantage of any smart gear in your home. This could be locking/unlocking your smart lock, activating your HomePods, activating a smart purifier, etc. With so many possibilities, it is important to consider if you really need to be able to run a Shortcut with the Action button or if using a voice command suffices—in many cases, a voice command may be more convenient than a button.

Enable Your Favorite Accessibility Feature

3. Enable Your Favorite Accessibility Feature

Apple has been adding lots of accessibility features over the years, and the Action button can be your very own iPhone accessibility button. If you need to use the Magnify feature to zoom in (iPhone screen magnifier), voice-over, or other text-to-speech, or if you find it easier to see or focus using color filters, the Action button can help! One of the eight Action button categories is Accessibility. If one of the many built-in Accessibility features (or Magnifier) is not what you are looking for, you may be able to create your own unique Accessibility feature using the Shortcuts app. 

Turn the Pages of Your Digital Book  

4. Turn the Pages of Your Digital Book

Most eReaders, such as Kindles or Nooks have a designated button to turn to the next page. But when you read on an iPhone, you have to swipe or tap to get to your next page. To do this, you need to create a new Shortcut and add the action called Next Page. Then, you select Shortcut in your Action button settings and pick your new shortcut. Next time you read in the Books app, you can press the Action button to turn to the next page.

Turn the Pages of Your Digital Book 

5. Find Out What Song is Playing

If you’ve downloaded the free Shazam: Music Discovery app, then you already know how it works. Shazam is one of the third-party apps that offers actions in the Shortcuts app. To add the Shazam shortcut, you just need to add Recognize Music in the Shortcuts app. Then select this shortcut in the Action button settings, and you'll be able to discreetly tap the button and get information about the song playing without having to interrupt your conversation or disrupt anyone around you.

Find Out What Song is Playing 

6. Play A Sound—Funny Fart or Training Bell

There are many reasons why you might want to be able to play a sound at a moment's notice. It could be to make a fart joke with your friends; it can be used as a timer during game night, a training tool for your pets, the list goes on. To do this, you need to first download the free Thwip: Soundboard app. Then, create a Play Sound shortcut and select the sound you want played. Then select this shortcut in your Action button settings.

  Add Calendar Event with the Press of a Button

7. Add Calendar Event with the Press of a Button

If you like to stay on top of your schedule and responsibilities using the Calendar app, then you need to do this. It can take several moments to open up the Calendar app, add a new event, and input all the details. On the way there, you may see an email, message, or social media notification that may derail you from the task at hand. Instead, create a Create New Event shortcut and select it in the Action button settings. Now, you can add new events in peace without unlocking your phone and getting distracted.

 The Quickest Way to Access ChatGPT

8. The Quickest Way to Access ChatGPT

ChatGPT is a new way for people to get answers to questions or learn new things using AI. Download the free ChatGPT app and create an Ask ChatGPT shortcut. Then, you can select this shortcut in your Action button settings. ChatGPT can be used just like Google, but you can input more complex prompts and get tailored advice based on thousands of internet results that would take hours to read through manually.

 Turn Your Flashlight On & Off

9. Turn Your Flashlight On & Off

It's pretty easy to turn your flashlight on from your Control Center or Lock Screen, but you may want to have a shortcut for your flashlight on your iPhone if you often need to use your flashlight faster. What I like even more than being able to turn my flashlight on with the press of the Action button, is the convenience of turning it off with the Action button. I don't know about you, but my flashlight often turns on without me realizing, and this is a much faster way to turn it off without removing it from my bag or pocket.

 Get Instant Translations when Abroad or Learning a New Language

10. Get Instant Translations when Abroad or Learning a New Language

Traveling is one of my favorite hobbies, but language barriers can make it harder to get around. To speed up your translations, create a Translate Text shortcut. Select this shortcut in the Action button settings so that you can press the button and jump immediately into translating! I wish I had had this feature on my iPhone when I lived abroad in China; this is one of my favorite iPhone shortcuts ideas.

Other iPhone Action Button Ideas

It was hard putting together a list like this because everyone uses their iPhone differently. There are shortcuts for instantly seeing your iPhone’s hotspot password, making a hidden voice recording voice memo, activating Siri, viewing your Reminders list, getting the temperature of your room, scanning documents, starting a timer, or opening a folder of Shortcuts—I like this last one because it gives you quick access to all your favorite shortcuts instead of just picking one. Then there’s turning your Action button into a Home button with a Go to Home Screen shortcut, or even use it to quickly remove tracking and reference information from any links you click or share.

If you're like me, the iPhone 15 Action button is very appealing yet overwhelming. After looking forward to having customizable buttons on my iPhone for months, I am now tempted to leave it as an iPhone mute button to keep things simple. That being said, I love being able to personalize my device, and I hope you found my iPhone shortcuts ideas helpful when it comes to setting up your very own iPhone 15 Action button. Next, learn how to use the Action button on the Apple Watch Ultra & Ultra 2.


  • How do you turn off silent mode on iPhone without a switch? By default, the Action button will still turn silent mode on and off. You can also do this in the Control Center.
  • What are all the iPhone 15 new features? The iPhone 15 had a lot of practical updates, but the Action button was one of the most interesting changes. Check out our article on the new pro line of iPhone 15s.
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Author Details

Olena Kagui's picture

Author Details

Olena Kagui

Olena Kagui is a Feature Writer at iPhone Life. In the last 10 years, she has been published in dozens of publications internationally and won an excellence award. Since joining iPhone Life in 2020, she has written how-to articles as well as complex guides about Apple products, software, and apps. Olena grew up using Macs and exploring all the latest tech. Her Maui home is the epitome of an Apple ecosystem, full of compatible smart gear to boot. Olena’s favorite device is the Apple Watch Ultra because it can survive all her adventures and travels, and even her furbabies.