Hands off my mute switch, Apple

Rumor has it the upcoming iPhone 15 Pro will replace the device's signature mute switch with a haptic button, which absolutely sucks.

I love reading about iPhone rumors has much as the next guy, but when I read about this rumor pertaining to the iPhone 15 Pro, I almost threw my phone down to the ground in shock and frustration.

That’s because a new leak suggests Apple will be getting rid of the iPhone’s signature mute switch, replacing it with a solid-state button powered by haptic feedback. A new video posted to China’s version of TikTok and shared by ShrimpApplePro on Twitter shows off CAD renders of the iPhone 15 Pro, and in it, the mute switch is replaced by a protrusion that’s apparently a haptic-backed button that’ll let you toggle between ring and vibrate on your iPhone. We’ve already heard that the 15 Pro series would replace physical buttons for solid-state alternatives (similar to the move from physical trackpads to ones powered by haptics on the MacBook), and now, it looks like the mute switch will follow suit.

This, my friends, sucks. One of the most charming features of the iPhone is its physical mute switch. From the motion of having a switch to flick on your smartphone to the subtle clicking sound it makes, it’s easily one of the greatest design elements on any smartphone, one that has strangely never caught on in the Android world (besides on OnePlus phones, of course).

But now, it’s going away, in favor of a pressure-sensitive button. Look, I’m sorry, but no matter how good the haptics are when you press down on this rumored button to cycle between ring and vibrate, it’s not gonna match the motion of physically moving an object to change a setting on your phone.

New button replacing the mute switch on the iPhone 15 Pro, from leaked CAD renders posted to TikTok in China.
A peak at the rumored solid-state button replacing the mute switch on the upcoming iPhone 15 Pro.

Why is Apple doing this? The answer remains a mystery. Many believe it’s to improve the durability and water resistance of the iPhone since there will be less protrusions and moving pieces in its case, but it’s hard to say whether the company will get any measurable improvements from this new design. My theory is the one that’s been floating around the web for years: Apple wants the iPhone to become a chunk of metal and glass with no ports, buttons, or visible imperfections. By morphing the buttons and mute switch into the frame of the device and powering them with haptic feedback, they’ll be one step closer to that reality.

Luckily, if you’re a fan of the mute switch and buttons that move, the regular iPhone 15 and 15 Pro aren’t supposed to get the new haptic-powered design.

Hopefully, these leaked CAD renders are inaccurate and the mute switch will stick around on the iPhone 15 Pro. I doubt it since CAD renders are often pretty accurate, but hey, a guy can dream, can’t he?

Other rumors surrounding the iPhone 15 Pro include a USB-C port on the bottom, a new periscoping telephoto camera with 6x to 10x zoom (at least on the 15 Pro Max), a 3nm A17 Bionic processor, a new titanium design, and – potentially – the thinnest bezels ever on a smartphone.