Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Before you buy an iPhone 15 Pro case, make sure it has this one thing


Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

A stylized Apple logo on a black background for Apple's Peek Performance event on March 8, 2022.

This story is part of our complete Apple event coverage

Apple’s iPhone 15 Pro arrived in the hands of many people, including myself, over the weekend. So far, I’ve been loving having a phone that’s more lightweight due to the use of titanium in the frame instead of stainless steel. I also love no longer needing a Lightning cable when I have a plethora of USB-C cables in the house.


  • A cutout renders the Action button unusable
  • Be careful when buying an iPhone 15 Pro case

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One standout feature of the iPhone 15 Pro models is the Action button. While a lot of people have been going nuts with using Shortcuts for the Action button, I’ve been keeping it simple so far and just using it to launch the Camera app.

I also received several iPhone 15 Pro cases this past week, but I noticed one thing in particular with a few of them: some still use a cutout for the Action button instead of an actual button cover.


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Though it seems like a small thing, having a cutout really kills the fun of having the Action button. Let me explain why.

A cutout renders the Action button unusable

Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

I was eager for my personal iPhone 15 Pro to arrive last Friday, and I had some iPhone 15 Pro cases arriving that same day from a few different brands. I tend to lean toward more feminine, “cute” designs for phone cases, so I got some offerings from Incipio, BodyGuardz, and OtterBox.

Once I took my Blue Titanium iPhone 15 Pro out of the box, I threw it into one of the Incipio cases that I got because of the cool ombre coloring and some glittery flowers. I began the transfer of my data, and once that was done several hours later, I started to use my phone.

The Action button was one of the things I was looking forward to, but when I went to press it after setting it to launch the Camera, I noticed something: the Action button was not covered like the volume and side buttons — it was uncovered because there was still a cutout, as if it was the old mute switch toggle.

Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

While this may not sound like a big deal, it is. Due to the case adding some thickness to the phone itself, the cutout is actually recessed enough to make it hard to reach the Action button easily. In fact, I had to use two hands to access it — one hand to hold the phone and the other to reach inside the cutout to press the Action button.

I changed to another case that same night, this time one from BodyGuardz, and I noticed the exact same thing: it was a cutout for the Action button instead of a cover. It may not have been as recessed as the Incipio one, but it was still enough to make the button difficult to press.

I made one more case change, this time to an OtterBox one I received. Thankfully, the OtterBox one I chose, the Figura Series, has an actual button cover for the Action button. Since I’ve put this on, the Action button has been much easier to press, especially one-handed.

Be careful when buying an iPhone 15 Pro case

Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

I thought having a cutout wasn’t a big deal until I tried to use the Action button. The cutout has been part of iPhone cases since the original because of the mute switch toggle, but that’s now a thing of the past. So, it makes no sense for case makers to continue using a cutout instead of an actual cover for the Action button.

Unless you don’t plan on using the Action button (but why not?), double-check to make sure that the iPhone 15 Pro or iPhone 15 Pro Max case you’re getting has an actual button for it. Otherwise, prepare to be annoyed by having to dig your thumb in there to press the Action button.

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