Apple

Apple Watch Ultra: How to customize the action button

The Apple Watch Ultra features a custom action button on the left side of the case that can perform 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 Large
In addition to activating the siren, the action button on the ‌Apple Watch Ultra‌ can be customized to perform a number of functions, offering quick access to them without having to touch different screens.

When you first set up your ‌Apple Watch Ultra‌, you’ll be prompted to assign it one of the following features:

  • Training
  • Stopwatch
  • Waypoint
  • Back
  • Dive
  • Flashlight
  • Shortcut
  • None

You can customize your selection further depending on the selected app or feature. If you’ve selected the Workout app, for example, pressing the action button once will open the Workout app, but you can also set the “First Press” feature in the app to start a specific workout.

segment to mark the action button


But that’s not all. When you’ve started the activity, you can tap 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, however, what function will depend on the current activity.

How to map functions to action button

Once your ‌Apple Watch Ultra‌ is set up, you can reassign action button functions via a new menu right on your wrist, that’s how.

  1. On the ‌Apple Watch Ultra‌, launch Settings app.
  2. Scroll down and tap Action button.
  3. Tap the menu under Action and select one of the following options: Training, Stopwatch, Waypoint, Back, Dive, Flashlightand Shortcut.
    Settings
  4. Touch arrow in the left corner to return to the action button settings.
  5. Tap the menu under “App” if it appears, then select an app to perform the action. Some actions, like 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 choose an action. Some functions allow different actions to be performed 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 you’ve set for it. For example, Outdoor Walk tips show you that pressing the action button once starts a workout, and pressing the action button and the side button at the same time stops the workout.

Configuring the action button via iPhone

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

  1. Start I’m watching app on your iPhone.
  2. Touch My watch tab if it is not already selected.
  3. Touch Action button.
  4. Under Action, tap the currently selected action to change it.
  5. Choose one of the following options: Training, Stopwatch, Waypoint, Back, Dive, Flashlightand Shortcut.
  6. Touch Action button to return to the previous menu.
  7. Tap the menu under “App” if it appears, then select an app to perform the action. Some actions, like 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 choose an action. Some functions allow different actions to be performed on the first and second press of the button.

Note that the screen tips under Gestures explain how the action button works with the settings you’ve set for it.

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