Making the iPhone 15 Pro action button a triple-function button

The iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max have a new action button that can be assigned to several functions including muting the phone, activating the camera, turning on/off the flashlight, and several other useful features. It can also be assigned to a shortcut, which allows automated sequences for tasks and app actions.

Image showing an iPhone 15 pro highlighting the action button

I recently discovered John Gruber's shortcut that allows the action button to perform different functions depending on the phone's orientation. John's version does this: When pushing the action button...

  • If the phone is face down or in portrait mode upside-down (like, say, if it’s in my pocket), toggle silent mode. When going from silent mode off to on, vibrate the phone for feedback.
  • Otherwise, launch the Camera app

I installed it and like it! But, I decided to take it one step further and add the ability to toggle the flashlight. Now it works like this: When pushing the action button...

  • If the phone is face down, toggle Silent mode.
  • If the phone is face up/flashlight down, toggle the flashlight
  • Otherwise, launch the Camera app.

It's easy to implement:

  1. Make sure you have the Apple Shortcuts app installed on your iPhone 15 Pro
  2. You'll also need to install Sindre Sorhus’s free Actions utility from the App Store - This tool provides lots of powerful extra actions for the Shortcuts app on iOS (and MacOS)
  3. REBOOT THE PHONE (if you forget this step, the shortcuts below won't work until you do)
  4. Install the Toggle Silent Mode shortcut
  5. Install the Toggle Flashlight shortcut
  6. Install the Action Button: Camera / Mute / Torch shortcut
  7. Go to the Shortcuts app on your phone and touch each of the above to test them and grant any needed permissions
  8. Now go to SETTINGS -> Action Button -> Set the button to the new "Action Button: Camera / Mute Torch"

That should do it.

Shout out to John Gruber for the clever idea to change behaviors based on orientation. (John - I have finally forgiven you for hating on Flash so much when I worked at Adobe 😎)

Also, Sindre Sorhus’s action utility is amazing and opens many other possibilities. Check it out! (the tool is open source)

Screenshot from iPhone 15 Pro shortcuts app