Apple's new iPhone series - the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max - all have bigger and better batteries compared to their respective predecessors, with the 11 Pro Max offering up to five hours of extra battery life compared to the iPhone XS Max.

Apple surprised all by launching new Smart Battery Cases

However, Apple surprised everyone by launching its new lineup of Smart Battery Cases for the iPhone 11 series last week. Not only do the cases add extra juice to the new iPhones' already beefy batteries buy also bring an intriguing new addition - a dedicated physical camera shutter button.

The camera button on the new iPhone Smart battery cases is a one-of-a-kind physical button and how it works has been a bit of a mystery all this while since the iPhones themselves do not feature a dedicated camera shutter button. But thanks to the folks at iFixit and Creative Electron who did an X-ray scan of one of the cases, we now seem to have some idea on how the button actually works.

How does the camera button work?

iPhone 11 smart battery case
Apple

The X-ray scan reveals two thin circuits running down from the camera button on the case towards the battery. They then take a right turn to meet the circuit board which connects to the lightning port, which allows data transmission to and from the iPhone as the case is connected to the iPhone via the lightning port.

In simpler words, when you press the shutter button which is located on the button right side on the smart battery case or where your index finger would naturally rest while clicking a photo in landscape mode, the circuits send a message to the circuit board which then tells the iPhone to open up the camera app so that you can snap photos. That's ingenious, right?

However, if you thought the Apple Smart Battery cases for iPhone 11 series are the only ones to offer a dedicated camera button, then you are wrong. Other third-party cases too offer such buttons, for example, Moment's Battery Photo Case which makes for a really good option if you don't want to shell out a lot of money for the Apple cases.

However, these third-party cases do not have the tighter integration that Apple's cases have. For instance, the Apple Smart battery cases show information such as the battery level of both the iPhone and the case in the battery widget, something that third-party cases cannot.

Apple may add more into the shutter button

There are also chances that Apple could add more functionality into the shutter button going into the future due to its better optimisation and tight integration with the iPhones' hardware and software.

Apple launched the Smart Battery Cases for all the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max on November 21. The Smart Battery cases are available at $129 for all three iPhone 11 models.