When I change my iPhone's language, this confirmation thingy (Action Sheet) pops up.

enter image description here

As you can see, the cancel button's text is in bold. It seems like that it actually wants you to tap on the cancel button instead of the change language button.

But obviously, The reason why I went into the language section of the Settings app in the first place is to change the language! Not to tap a cancel button!

What could be a reason behind this?

My guess is that the designer wants to remind the user that he/she doesn't have to change the language. The action can be cancelled.

But that sounds kind of stupid, isn't it?

From past experience, I know that when a button is emphasised, it means that it is the recommended action. But in the change language case, this doesn't make sense. Why tapping on cancel is recommended?

2 Answers 2


Presumably it is emphasised as - if the entire interface is converted to French and you can't read any French - then it is impossible to reverse the action !

  • But who would change the language to French if he/she can't read it? I mean, the main reason why this change language features exists is because not everyone understands English. People use this to change the language to their local language/mother tongue right?
    – Sweeper
    Jul 9, 2016 at 12:50
  • You might think you can read French, and then discover that what you know isn't sufficient to understand how to switch the interface back again.
    – PhillipW
    Jul 9, 2016 at 12:58
  • Thinking about it this is an extension of "exploring" behaviour, which a lot of the time is a good way to learn an interface. Most actions are reversable, but switching language isn't in a slightly 'doh' kind of way... If someone has emphased the "cancel" its probabably because it's been picked up as the sort of error which people actually do make.
    – PhillipW
    Jul 9, 2016 at 13:36
  • Imagine how much more important this is with Asian languages...
    – Confused
    Jul 9, 2016 at 15:27

Apple does this in several places. Perhaps they're focused on making actions easily reversible everywhere. It doesn't seem like language selection is an exception.enter image description here

  • Interesting observation. I think possibly Apple have forgotten that the original point of having ONE dialogue option highlighted was to give a hint to the user about which option was the 'least damaging'. So in the classic example if you write something in a file and then try to close the file without saving it, you are prompted to save it with a "do you want save changes ?" where the highlighted option is Yes, as this preserves data.
    – PhillipW
    Jul 9, 2016 at 17:50
  • @PhillipW In my opinion, they're doing just the same thing in this example. They're highlighting the most stable option. In this case, the "quickest way out" is highlighted. In the language selection, the cancel is highlighted again because they're reinforcing that same stability and trying to reduce the chance of a user doing something by accident. Jul 9, 2016 at 17:58
  • If there IS highlighting I actually don't think its distinct enough. All options look bold to me. The traditional way to do it was to put the highlighting around the edges of the button, not on the actual text.
    – PhillipW
    Jul 9, 2016 at 18:42

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