Should Apple offer a user-definable hardware button on iPhone?

With Samsung’s just-launched Galaxy S10, you can define a hardware button to open an app of your choice.

“It’s that element I find rather appealing: a hardware function button I can assign to do anything I want,” Ben Lovejoy writes for 9to5Mac. “I know, I know: Apple hates hardware buttons. The whole basis of the iPhone was that it did away with the physical keyboards used by other smartphones of the time, and of course the iPhone X dropped the Home button. So I’m unlikely to get my wish, but I’ll make the case anyway.”

“My iPhone is my main camera. I use it as such at least once a day, often more. But if time is of the essence – something you want to photograph immediately – the iPhone is less than ideal. You have to tap the screen to wake it, then hold down the camera button on the Lock screen, wait for the haptic response, then release the button. You can also swipe left in the main area, but that’s something you simply have to know,” Lovejoy writes. “(Incidentally, I keep Raise To Wake disabled because I don’t want my phone powering on every time I pick it up to move to another room, or to put it into a pocket.)”

MacDailyNews Take: We keep Raise to Wake enabled on all of our X-class iPhones because it’s one of the best features Apple’s ever offered. With it enabled, you pick up your iPhone, press the Camera icon on the lower left and snap your photograph in about one second. No hardware button necessary.

“But the beauty of making it user-configurable is that it wouldn’t have to be used in that way,” Lovejoy writes. “You might be one of those people who checks Twitter every five minutes. You could configure the button to open the Twitter app.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple doesn’t just hate buttons, they want to remove as many of them as possible. As per Ben’s Twitter example, with Raise to Wake enabled, you just pick up the iPhone, flick up, and tap Twitter on your iPhone’s Dock (it’s there because you’re a heavy Twitter user who checks it every five minutes). The whole process takes less than a second. There’s no need for another hardware button.


  1. Several years ago, I flirted with a Blackberry (yes, those ones with physical keyboard). When I had to leave my iPhone for service, the loaner was a BB. But I was immediately hooked on it, mostly for its biz oriented UI and used right up to the Bold 9900 (did not like the physical keyboard. I was much faster on the virtual KB), until they ruined the whole line with the BB10. Thought it was an 88xx series and in those days, every “professional” type such as lawyers etc seemed to have the BB.
    Anyway, it had 2 hardware buttons that you can assign any function to. Later RIM removed one. It was so convenient. The reason for the removal was the cost consideration (so they said). I cannot see Apple adding any hardware buttons for any reason, even if it is for consumer convenience. Make it cheaper to produce and put a high price on it :-(. No buttons, no memory card slot (they rather want to sell memory chips at a very high price too) and no user replaceable batteries. Well, that’s a trend to some extent but only to benefit the mfr, not necessarily the users.

  2. So how come my XR has an extra button on the right, just to switch it off?

    Its poor ergonomics include no way to tell orientation until you tap it awake.

    At least a home button provides instant tactile information.

  3. “I keep Raise To Wake disabled because…”
    No hardware button necessary.
    There’s no need for another hardware button.

    MDN, is the customer EVER right? This guy has tried your suggestion and doesn’t like it.

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