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Apple heard your iOS 17 End call button redesign concerns and changed it

Published Aug 16th, 2023 6:50AM EDT
Apple's new End call button placement shown at WWDC 2023.
Image: Apple Inc.

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I was wrong a few days ago when I told you the newest iPhone controversy was here to stay and that Apple wouldn’t change it. Apple apparently heard your concerns about the iOS 17 End call button redesign and acted accordingly. But I was also right overall. The new call redesign is indeed here to stay because iOS 17 will literally put Contact Posters front and center.

What Apple did was to change the place of that End call button to better address muscle memory-related concerns.

Before iOS 17, the call user interface had a clean button layout. You had two rows of buttons in the center and a red End call button below them, in a central position.

A few days ago, the web was buzzing with noise about the change to the UI above. The iPhone’s End call button would be placed on the right side in the second row of buttons come iOS 17. The other buttons would also get a reshuffle of sorts.

I then looked back at the WWDC 2023 announcement and spotted the real reason Apple went for the change. Apple showcased the End call button redesign while demoing Contact Posters (see images above and below).

These visual identifiers will tell you who is calling. They’ll be customizable, and they’ll take up the entire display. You can’t have buttons on top of someone’s face, it ruins the entire concept.

A slide from Apple's iOS 17 Contact Posters segment shows the new End button UI redesign.
A slide from Apple’s iOS 17 Contact Posters segment shows the new End button UI redesign. Image source: Apple Inc.

That made me realize that Apple’s iOS 17 End call button redesign would not go away no matter the backlash. If there would be one. I don’t care where that red button is, I’ll always know what to tap to end a call.

Apple just released iOS 17 beta 6, which brings the new call button layout. The End call button sits centrally in the second row of buttons, as MacRumors found. It swapped places with the keypad button, which is now on the right.

This simple change should address worries that your muscle memory will make you tap other buttons when ending a call than the End call one. But, and I’ll repeat this, the End button is the only one with a distinct identity in there. It’s red. That’s enough to give you a big target, no matter what your muscle memory is telling you.

Not to mention that many people probably hang up calls in other ways. I’m more likely to wear earphones when talking on the phone, so that’s what I’ll use to end the call. The standby/power button on the side also works great for that purpose.

Hopefully, we can put the End call button issue to rest now. I’m pretty sure Apple won’t let you disable Contact Posters just so you can get back the previous call screen UI. Then again, if given the chance, I’d have no problem turning off Contact Posters on iPhone.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.