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iOS 14 beta reveals an iPhone 12 model that will be the first of its kind

Published Jul 23rd, 2020 2:59PM EDT
iPhone 12 leak
Image: Apple Inc.

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  • Apple’s iOS 14 beta 3 contains evidence that a 5.4-inch iPhone 12 is in the works.
  • Recent rumors have suggested that Apple is preparing to launch four iPhone models this fall: 5.4-inch iPhone 12, 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Max, 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Pro, and 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max.
  • The 5.4-inch iPhone 12 would be one of the smallest iPhone models released in years.

For months, we have been hearing that Apple is readying four new iPhone models for the fall, ranging from a 5.4-inch iPhone 12 all the way to a 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max. Seemingly every reliable and semi-reliable publication, leaker, and analyst is in agreement about the size and shape of the new models, and with over a month to go before Apple’s September reveal event, the company itself may have accidentally confirmed the rumors.

Apple rolled out the third developer beta for iOS 14 on Wednesday, and according to 9to5Mac, there’s evidence in the software that a 5.4-inch iPhone is indeed in the works. The culprit behind the spoiler is a feature on the iPhone called Display Zoom which magnifies the screen display, by increasing the size of the text, app icons, and more.

As 9to5Mac explains, the way that the feature works is by changing the entire system interface to that of another iOS device with a smaller screen. If you have a 5.5-inch iPhone 8 Plus, Zoomed Mode swaps your interface for that of the 4.7-inch iPhone 8. If you have a 4.7-inch iPhone 8, it uses the interface of a 4-inch iPhone. Meanwhile, the iPhone X, iPhone XR, and iPhone 11 Pro never had the Display Zoom feature at all, but it was finally added to all three models in iOS 14 developer beta 3, and 9to5Mac wanted to find out what prompted this change.

In 2018, Brazilian Apple news site iHelpBR used iOS Simulator on the Mac to find the screen resolution of the iPhone XS Max months before the phone was revealed. Two years later, 9to5Mac used the same app to force iOS Simulator to run at a resolution of 960 x 2079 pixels, which is the same resolution used by Zoomed Mode on modern 5.8-inch iPhone models. Experimenting with other resolutions caused the app to crash.

9to5Mac-iPhone-12-5.4-inchImage source: 9to5Mac

The iPhone 11 Pro was the smallest of the 2019 flagship iPhone models, and with the “Physical Size” option in the iOS Simulator app, 9to5Mac was able to demonstrate what the rumored 5.4-inch iPhone 12 will look like compared to the 5.8-inch iPhone 11 Pro. This pretty much lines up with the iPhone 12 size comparisons that have been popping up online in recent weeks, but gives us a better idea of what the phone will look like powered on.

As we’ve pointed out before, if the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 model is indeed real (and all the evidence suggests that it is), it will be the smallest flagship iPhone model in years, even with its larger display size due to the addition of the notch. Rumors also suggest that it could end up being around the same price as the $699 iPhone 11, although the addition of an OLED display and support for 5G networks might bump the price up a touch.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.