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It sounds like the iPhone 16’s Capture button will change how I take photos

Published Jan 19th, 2024 6:50AM EST
iPhone 15 Pro Max Screen
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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Apple has improved the abilities of the iPhone camera with each generation, but the photo-taking experience has remained largely unchanged. You go to the camera app, and you snap the picture or record the video.

Most of the time, you just tap on the screen or press the volume buttons. If you want to tweak the focus and zoom, you’ll perform a variety of screen gestures. You’d also swipe on the screen to go into the video recording mode on your iPhone.

This might change once the iPhone 16 series lands in September. Several reports detailed a brand-new, mysterious Capture button for the iPhone 16 in the past few months. More recent ones have tied the Capture button to the camera, prompting me to realize the button might be a bigger hardware upgrade than the Action button or the iPhone 15’s USB-C port. 

The Capture button might let you take photos and videos faster than ever by giving you faster access to the camera than other options. That’s what a report said a few weeks ago. The newest Capture button leak teases even more sophisticated features for the button, which might change how I take photos on the iPhone.

According to The Information (via MacRumors), Apple is testing the Capture button on iPhone 16 prototypes. The feature is meant to become a big selling point for the iPhone 16 series.

The report says the button should help people take videos and photos quickly when they hold the device horizontally. The Capture button will be mechanical if The Information’s report is accurate. However, it’ll also support touch input and sense pressure. This opens the door to additional control features, like handling zoom and focus. 

iPhone 15 Pro profile shows the Action button.
iPhone 15 Pro profile shows the Action button. Image source: Jonathan Geller, BGR

Swiping left and right on the Capture button will let you zoom in and out. A light press would focus the camera, while a more forceful (along?) press would activate video recording. Just like that, you’d have almost everything you need built into a button. 

If the Capture button behaves like that, it would reduce the need to touch the screen. Currently, you have to tap the screen or pinch-to-zoom if you want to zoom in and out. Focusing requires a tap and a scroll gesture, while getting to the camera mode needs swiping left. 

The Capture button would reduce all that hassle and let you take photos and videos faster than before. As a reminder, the Capture button would also let you start the Camera app faster than all the other options currently available in iOS. That’s because the Capture mode would work immediately, no matter what’s happening on the screen.

The Capture button will sit on the right side of the handset, under the Power button. It’ll supposedly replace the mmWave antenna in the US, which should move to the left of the device. The location of the Capture button appeared in various reports, including a recent MacRumors article about the purported iPhone 16 Pro design prototypes that are currently in testing.

While The Information has a good track record reporting on unreleased Apple devices, this is all unconfirmed. I expect the iPhone 16 design and case leaks in the near future to feature the Capture button. But we’ll still need Apple to confirm everything, which won’t happen sooner than September. 

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.