It seems iPhone 16 could ditch physical buttons completely

Bye bye buttons

Woman holding iPhone
(Image credit: Deagreez)

The next iPhone could launch without any buttons. Instead, the physical inputs could be replaced with capacitive controls. 

For decades now humans have interacted with the world through buttons, but their monopoly has come under fire in recent years. The rise of touch screens has relegated our clicky friends primarily to the sides and top of our phones, and it seems like the iPhone 16 could do away with them altogether.

That's right, there was talk it could happen with the iPhone 15 range, but the iPhone 16 series could do away with physical buttons for 'capacitive buttons' instead. According to a supply report from Economic Daily News Apple has placed an order with Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (also known as ASE) for a capacitive button package.  

If true this could see the few remaining buttons on an iPhone, namely the volume buttons and power button become more like the home button instead which provides haptic feedback when 'pressed'. This might also reduce the physical profile of the next iPhone, with less protruding buttons. It's not necessarily a system seller but could be a sign that we are entering a new era of iPhones. 

Macrumors iPhone 16 render

(Image credit: Macrumors)

In fairness, the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max were pretty significant departures from their predecessors already. The new titanium build is visibly very different, and this would be a further leap from the 'classic' iPhone design we have gotten used to. 

While we're on the subject of buttons, there's also talk that the next iPhone could feature another input, a so-called capture button below the power, that can operate the camera separately. This button has also been rumoured to be capacitive with controls for camera zoom and focus too. 

As for the release date of the next iPhone? Nothing official yet, but there's zero to make us question the usual September launch. 

Andy Sansom
Staff Writer

Andy is T3's Tech Staff Writer, covering all things technology, including his biggest passions such as gaming, AI, phones, and basically anything cool and expensive he can get his hands on. If he had to save one possession from a fire it would be his PlayStation 5. He previously worked for Tom’s Guide - where he got paid to play with ChatGPT every day. When it comes to streaming, Andy will have his headphones glued in whilst watching something that will make him laugh. He studied Creative Writing at university, but also enjoys supporting his favourite football team (Liverpool), watching F1, teaching himself guitar, and spending time with his dog.