Apple Watch Ultra: How to customize the action button

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.

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In addition to 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 having to touch multiple screens.

When you set up your ‌Apple Watch Ultra‌ for the first time, you’ll be invited to assign one of the following roles to it:

  • Exercise
  • Chronograph
  • reference point
  • Retract
  • Diving
  • Lantern
  • Shortcut
  • None

You can further customize your selection, depending on the application or feature chosen. If you choose 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.

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But that is not all. Once 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 though, which function will depend on the current activity.

How to assign functions to the action button

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

  1. On ‌Apple Watch Ultra‌, start the Settings app
  2. Scroll down and tap action button.
  3. Tap the menu below “Action” and select one of the following options: Exercise, Chronograph, reference point, Retract, Diving, LanternY Shortcut.
    settings
  4. tap on the arrow in the left corner to return to the action button settings.
  5. Tap the menu below “App” if it appears, then select an app to perform the action. Some actions, such as Flashlight, do not show the Application option.
  6. Tap the arrow to go back.
  7. Tap the menu below “First press” if it appears, then select an action. Some features allow different actions to happen on the first and second button presses.

Tips appear on the screen below “Gestures” that explain how the Action button works with the settings you’ve assigned to it. For example, the tips for a walk outside show you that pressing the Action button once starts a workout and pressing the Action button and Side button at the same time pauses the workout.

Action Button Settings via iPhone

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

  1. throw the Clock app on your iPhone.
  2. tap on the My watch tab if it is not already selected.
  3. Play action button.
  4. Under “Action,” tap the currently selected action to change it.
  5. Choose one of the following options: Exercise, Chronograph, reference point, Retract, Diving, LanternY Shortcut.
  6. Play action button to return to the previous menu.
  7. Tap the menu below “App” if it appears, then select an app to perform the action. Some actions, such as Flashlight, do not show the Application option.
  8. Tap the arrow to go back.
  9. Tap the menu below “First press” if it appears, then select an action. Some features allow different actions to happen on the first and second button presses.

Note that the tips on the screen 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 the side and action buttons at the same time. Try to avoid accidentally pressing the side button or digital crown when pressing 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.

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