Apple Watch Ultra: Customize the action button

Apple Watch Ultra has a customizable action button on the left side of the case that can perform various functions. This article explains what it can do and how to configure it.


In addition to activating the siren, the action button on the ‌Apple Watch Ultra‌ can be customized to perform a number of functions, giving you quick access to it without having to tap through different screens.

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

  • training
  • Stopwatch
  • Direction point
  • Return
  • To dive
  • Flashlight
  • Shortcut
  • No

You can further customize your selection depending on the chosen app or feature. For example, if you chose the Workout app, 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 highlight segment


But that is not everything. When you’ve started the activity, you can 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, which feature this is depends on the current activity.

Assigning functions to the action button

Once your ‌Apple Watch Ultra‌ is set up, you can reassign functions to the action button through a new menu on your wrist, like so.

  1. Start on ‌Apple Watch Ultra‌ the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down and tap Action button.
  3. Tap the menu under “Action” and select one of the following options: training, Stopwatch, Direction point, Return, To dive, Flashlightand Shortcut.
    settings
  4. Press arrow in the left corner to go back to the action button settings.
  5. Tap the menu under “App” when it appears, then select an app to perform the action. Some actions, such as Flashlight, will not 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 functions allow different actions on the first and second button press.

Tips appear on the screen under “Gestures” explaining how the action button works with the settings you assigned to it. Tips for an outdoor walk, for example, show that pressing the Action button once will start a workout, and pressing the Action button and the side button at the same time will pause the workout.

Configure 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. Start the Watch app on your iPhone.
  2. Press My watch tab if not already selected.
  3. Tap Action button.
  4. Under ‘Action’, tap the currently selected action to change it.
  5. Choose from one of the following options: training, Stopwatch, Direction point, Return, To dive, Flashlightand Shortcut.
  6. Tap Action button to go back to the previous menu.
  7. Tap the menu under “App” when it appears, then select an app to perform the action. Some actions, such as Flashlight, will not 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 functions allow different actions on the first and second button press.

Note that on-screen tips under “Gestures” explain how the action button works with the settings 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 accidentally pressing the side button or the Digital Crown when you press the action button. Your Apple Watch will do whatever is assigned to the action button if you press another button at the same time, unless a button combination is configured.