Apple has released Smart Battery Cases for the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max. All three cost $129, come in white, black, or—in the case of the Pro models—pink. Unexpectedly, they all have a slightly hidden and unusual feature: a dedicated camera button. The second paragraph of the Apple Store description reads:
The case features a dedicated camera button that launches the Camera app whether the iPhone is locked or unlocked. A quick press of the button takes a photo and a longer press captures QuickTake video. It works for selfies, too.
Cool, eh? I haven’t tried the case, but reports suggest that you need to press the button just a bit longer than you might expect would be necessary to take a photo. That slight delay, combined with the fact that the button is recessed, should reduce accidental snaps in your pocket.
How did Apple add an extra iPhone button to the Smart Battery Case, given that there’s no equivalent button on the iPhone? iFixit had the case X-rayed and learned that Apple added a small circuit board to the case that internally connects the camera button to the Lightning port. We’re curious to see if any third-party cases manage to reverse-engineer this button activation mechanism or if it’s going to remain proprietary to Apple.
Note that you need iOS 13.2 or later for the camera button to work. If you’ve followed our advice and kept iOS 13 up to date, this shouldn’t be an issue.