The first Apple Watch Ultra introduced us to the Action Button, and now this surprisingly powerful button has made its way to the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max. By default, your Action Button can only be set to do one thing, such as open your camera app, silence your iPhone, or turn on your torch. However, one of the options lets you run a shortcut from the Shortcuts app. This allows you to do a whole host of things, including creating your own shortcut that can detect when you’re at home or when you’re out and change what the Action button does. There’s also plenty more you can do with the Shortcuts app to get the most out of the Action Button as we said, but we love this trick so much we thought we’d give it its own feature. Here’s how it works.
How to create a shortcut that changes based on location
The first job is to create a shortcut. You’ll need to decide what you want the Action button to do when you’re at home, and what you want it to do when you’re away. In this example, the Action button will toggle Silent mode when away from home, so you can turn off the ringer in the cinema or turn it on in a crowded bar. When home, the Action button will turn off all the Philips Hue lights.
- Open Shortcuts and press the + (plus) icon in the top right corner to create a new shortcut.
- Give it a name you’ll remember, like Action Button.
- Tap Add Action.
- Type Get Distance in the search box and select the Get Distance action.
- Tap End Location and enter your home address.
- In the Next Action Suggestions tap If or search for it in the search bar if it’s not suggested.
- Tap Condition and select is less than.
- Tap Number and enter 0.1.
- In the search bar, type Light and select All lights on/off from the Hue options.
- Tap and hold the Turn off all lights for Philips Hue action and drag it up to just beneath the If Distance is less than 0.1 action.
- In the search bar, type Silent and select Set Silent Mode.
- Tap Turn and select Toggle so that the Action button will toggle Silent mode on and off.
- Drag the Toggle Silent Mode action to just beneath the Otherwise action.
- Tap Done in the top-right corner.
Your shortcut is now created. When it runs, it will get your current location. If you’re less than 0.1 miles from your home address, it will turn off all of your connected Philips Hue lights. If you’re more than 0.1 miles from your home address, it will toggle Silent mode instead.
How to set your Action button to run Shortcuts
Now that your shortcut is created, you just need to set your Action button to run it.
- Open Settings.
- Scroll down and select Action Button.
- Swipe left until you get to Shortcut.
- Tap the current shortcut and select your newly created Action Button shortcut.
Now whenever you press and hold the Action button, your shortcut will run. Your iPhone will determine your location and run the appropriate action.
What else can I do with the Action button?
Since the Action button can run shortcuts, you can use it to do anything that you can do with a shortcut, such as opening an app, starting a playlist, taking a screenshot, logging your weight, making a GIF, or opening your favourite subreddit.
What’s more, in this example we’ve managed to get the Action button to do two different things, depending on location. But it’s possible to add in many more, so that the Action button does something different when it’s past 9PM, for example, or if the TV is on. You can add If actions within other If actions, to make your shortcut as complex as you want.