Apple Watch Ultra features a customizable Action button on the left side of the case that is capable of performing a variety of functions. This article explains what it can do, and how you can configure it.

Apple Watch Ultra Orange Alpine Loop Action button 220907 big
Apart from activating the Siren, the Action Button on Apple Watch Ultra can be customized to perform a number of functions, offering quick access to them without you having to tap through various screens.

When you first set up your Apple Watch Ultra, you'll be invited to assign one of the following functions to it:

  • Workout
  • Stopwatch
  • Waypoint
  • Backtrack
  • Dive
  • Flashlight
  • Shortcut
  • None

You can customize your selection further, depending on the app or function chosen. If you chose the Workout app, for example, pressing the Action button once will open the Workout app, but you can also assign the "First Press" function within the app to start a specific workout.

action button mark segment
But that's not all. When you've started the activity, you can then press again to perform a secondary function, such as marking segments or laps in a track workout, or switching from cycling to running in a triathlon. Again though, what function this is will depend on the current activity.

How to Map Functions to the Action Button

Once your Apple Watch Ultra is set up, you can re-assign functions to the Action button via a new menu right on your wrist, like so.

  1. On Apple Watch Ultra, launch the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down and tap Action Button.
  3. Tap the menu under "Action" and select one of the following options: Workout, Stopwatch, Waypoint, Backtrack, Dive, Flashlight, and Shortcut.
    settings

  4. Tap the arrow in the left-hand corner to go back to Action Button settings.
  5. Tap the menu under "App" if it appears, then select an app to perform the action. Some actions, such as Flashlight, don't show the App option.
  6. Tap the arrow to go back.
  7. Tap the menu under "First Press" if it appears, then select an action. Some features allow different actions to happen on the first and second press of the button.

Tips appear on the screen under "Gestures" explaining how the Action button works with the settings that you've assigned to it. For example, tips for an outdoor walk show you that pressing the Action button once starts a workout, and pressing the Action button and the side button at the same time pauses the workout.

Configuring the Action Button via iPhone

You can also use the iOS Watch app to configure what the Action button on the Apple Watch Ultra does.

  1. Launch the Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap the My Watch tab if it's not already selected.
  3. Tap Action Button.
  4. Under "Action," tap the currently selected action to change it.
  5. Select from one of the following options: Workout, Stopwatch, Waypoint, Backtrack, Dive, Flashlight, and Shortcut.
  6. Tap Action Button to go back to the previous menu.
  7. Tap the menu under "App" if it appears, then select an app to perform the action. Some actions, such as Flashlight, don't show the App option.
  8. Tap the arrow to go back.
  9. Tap the menu under "First Press" if it appears, then select an action. Some features allow different actions to happen on the first and second press of the button.

settings

Note that tips on the screen under "Gestures" explaining how the Action button works with the settings that you've assigned to it.

Note that if you want to pause the current action, you can press and hold both the Action and Side buttons at the same time. Try to avoid pressing the Side button or the Digital Crown accidentally when you press the Action button. Your Apple Watch will do whatever is assigned to the Action button if you happen to press another button at the same time, unless a button combination is configured.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Ultra 2
Related Forum: Apple Watch

Top Rated Comments

Stiksi Avatar
23 months ago
This is certainly not ”extremely customizable” like it has been described over and over. ”Somewhat customizable” is more like it. If Apple would just get over itself and actually give us a Shortcuts system that is extensive and deeply integrated, that would make it a whole different thing but this is just typical Apple: it does exactly what was shown in the keynote and maybe a couple other things but that’s it. I mean it’s nice to have but if you’re going to add a whole extra button, maybe make it count a bit more.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
beanbaguk Avatar
23 months ago
I'm sorry. I can't get over this. As I've said before; Only Apple could successfully reinvent a button as a major feature! ?
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
disquieted Avatar
23 months ago
I own one and love it. It was rugged enough to handle my lifestyle which includes walking the dog around the block twice a day and making my morning nitro cold brew in the kitchen...after 3 1/2 days, it still is holding up very well.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ProfessionalFan Avatar
23 months ago

I'm sorry. I can't get over this. As I've said before; Only Apple could successfully reinvent a button as a major feature! ?
That's a take.

If they didn't add this new (useful) action button, people would be saying it is the same watch. Some would find something to complain about no matter what.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 18 CarPlay Feature

iOS 18 Adds These 5 New Features to CarPlay

Thursday June 13, 2024 7:44 am PDT by
Apple did not mention CarPlay during its WWDC keynote this week, but iOS 18 includes a handful of new features for the in-car software. Overall, there is not a whole lot new for CarPlay on iOS 18, with changes seemingly limited to the Messages and Settings apps so far. Below, we recap everything new for CarPlay on iOS 18. New for CarPlay on iOS 18 1. Contact Photos in Messages App...
ios 18 button bulge

iOS 18 Adds Pop-Out Bezel Animation When Pressing iPhone Buttons

Tuesday June 11, 2024 10:40 am PDT by
iOS 18 includes a small but interesting change for the buttons on the iPhone, adding more of a visual element when changing volume, activating the Action button, or locking the screen. When you press an iPhone button in iOS 18, the display bezel bulges outward slightly. This feature is available for the volume buttons, Action button and the power button, and it will also likely be used for...
maxresdefault

First Look at Messages via Satellite in iOS 18

Thursday June 13, 2024 11:29 am PDT by
Apple has been gradually expanding its suite of satellite connectivity features for iPhone, and iOS 18 brings a significant new one in the form of Messages via satellite. The feature allows users to send and receive iMessages and SMS texts, including emoji and Tapbacks, while out of range of cellular and Wi-Fi networks. CNET met up with Apple's senior director of platform product marketing,...
iOS 18 Wallet Feature

Here's What's New in Apple Wallet on iOS 18 for Event Tickets and More

Friday June 14, 2024 7:32 am PDT by
iOS 18 includes a handful of enhancements to the Wallet app on the iPhone, with new features for Apple Pay, Apple Cash, event tickets, and more. Below, we outline everything new for the Wallet app on iOS 18, based on information from Apple's press release and a WWDC 2024 coding session. Redesigned Event Tickets Event tickets have an all-new design in the Wallet app on iOS 18, complete...