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iPhone 15 Pro capacitive buttons will work with cases and gloves

Published Mar 31st, 2023 6:50AM EDT
iPhone 14 design.
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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One of the iPhone 15 series’ biggest design changes concerns the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max models. The more expensive smartphones will not feature physical buttons, like every iPhone Apple made to date. Instead, we’re getting solid-state capacitive buttons that will work just like the trackpad on MacBooks. You won’t be able to press them like physical buttons. But Taptic Engines will give you the feeling that you do.

This brings up the obvious question: How will the iPhone 15 Pro buttons work with cases and gloves? It turns out Apple is already considering these matters. The Settings app will reportedly include a sensitivity toggle for the capacitive buttons.

A well-connected MacRumors forums user revealed a few details about the iPhone 15 Pro’s capacitive buttons a few days ago. Apparently, Apple will use a new low-power chip to manage the solid-state buttons. They’ll work even when the iPhone 15 Pro is turned off, or the battery dies.

We’ve already explained such functionality is crucial for at least one feature. You turn on the iPhone using the power button. Therefore, that button has to operate even when the phone is off.

The leaker also said that Apple is looking at two ways of controlling volume on the iPhone 15 Pro. In one instance, the volume will go up/down faster depending on the force you use to press it. Another option is having the volume go up or down by sliding a finger on the volume button.

Moreover, the mute switch might turn into a user-customizable Action button similar to the one on the Apple Watch Ultra.

All of this is to say that Apple has done a lot of thinking about how capacitive buttons should work on an iPhone. That’s why it’s unsurprising to hear that the iPhone 15 Pro’s settings will feature a toggle for button sensitivity.

The detail comes from the same MacRumors leaker. The person says the “capacitive buttons will work very well with gloves and cases if designed correctly, as there’s a sensitivity toggle.”

Pressing the buttons on any iPhone models made to date isn’t a problem. Even if a case or gloves are in use. These physical buttons can be depressed, so they work even if there’s a case on top of them. As for the mute switch, cases usually have an opening that gives you access. Admittedly, using gloves to flip that mute switch while the iPhone sits in a case might be more difficult.

Apple has to preserve the same functionality once it switches to capacitive buttons for the iPhone 15 Pros and future iPhone models. The only way to do it is to ensure the buttons read different levels of force being applied to the button. And you’d use more force when wearing gloves and/or handling an iPhone in a case.

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.

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