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iPhone 15 Pro will have Face ID sensors under the display, leak claims

Published Mar 22nd, 2022 5:47PM EDT
An iPhone 13 Pro on a table next to Apple AirPods
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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It was only a few months ago that iPhone 14 reports started claiming that 2022 would deliver a major design change. The iPhone 14 Pro models would look just like Android flagships, featuring a hole-punch display, with the Face ID components going under the screen. Then the notch alternative rumors shifted to the current story that indicates the iPhone 14 Pro models will feature a pill-and-hole punch display.

But there’s already new development, as a new report from Korea indicates Samsung might deliver the first displays that will meet Apple’s requirements for placing cameras under the screen. The iPhone 15 Pro models will reportedly place the Face ID components under the display. But the handset will still feature a hole-punch design.

Will the iPhone 14 have Face ID authentication?

Face ID is the most sophisticated biometric authentication system available on smartphones. There’s a reason only Apple has it, and that has to do with the complexity of the tech and the costs related to deploying it. That’s why we’ve only seen a handful of Android vendors try to replicate 3D face authentication. Most of them prefer using the more affordable under-display fingerprint sensor tech.

Apple will not give up on Face ID anytime soon, and the iPhone 14 series will come with Face ID “notches” at the top. But the notch designs will differ, rumors say.

The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Max will recycle the iPhone 13 Pro notch. The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max will feature two cutouts instead of the notch. One will have the shape of a pill, and the other will be circular. Together, they’ll house the cameras and sensors that you’d find in the notch.

Apple's iPhone 13 notch next to the iPhone 12 notch
Apple’s iPhone 13 notch next to the iPhone 12 notch. Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

In other words, regardless of what design Apple uses for the top section of the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro, Face ID components will be included.

But Apple is looking at technology that will let it hide the Face ID sensors under the display without compromising the security and functionality of the authentication sensor. We’ve seen three such patents detailing innovations it can use to place Face ID and Touch ID sensors under the display in future devices.

The iPhone 15 Pro design rumor

This brings us to a brand new story from The Elec. The site says the iPhone 15 Pro will have its Face ID parts under the screen thanks to Samsung. We’ll remind you that Korean sources claimed Apple’s panel suppliers were looking to win orders for iPhone 14 models with hole-punch displays.

Similarly, the report says Samsung Display is working on new screen technology. The display innovations will let Apple move to a hole-punch display for the iPhone 15 series. The screen will resemble current Android flagships like the Galaxy S22 series. But unlike those flagships, it’ll still offer Face ID support.

iPhone 14 Pro new notch design concept
iPhone 14 Pro new notch design concept: Phone’s front and back. Image source: the Hacker 34 / YouTube

Samsung unveiled its own under-panel camera (UPC) last year, using it on the Galaxy Z Fold 3. But the tech is a visual compromise. You can see where the camera is placed under the screen. That’s probably not the kind of display technology Apple would want for its iPhones. The Elec does point out that the Galaxy Z Fold 4 will use the same UPC tech as its predecessor. And that Apple has already rejected the technology.

Instead, the iPhone 15 Pro will rely on a brand new method of placing cameras and sensors under an OLED display. Samsung should debut the tech alongside the Galaxy Z Fold 5. That foldable will probably launch in the summer of 2023, weeks ahead of the iPhone 15 Pro.

But this is just a rumor. Let’s remember how quickly the Face ID narrative changed when it came to the iPhone 14 Pro series.

iPhone X Notch
iPhone X notch houses Face ID cameras and sensors, the selfie camera, and the speaker. Image source: Apple Inc.

The design alternative

If there’s anything anyone has learned about Apple is that the company likes to recycle design elements and preserve them for as long as possible. The iPhone SE 3 is practically a variation of the 2014 iPhone 6 design that Apple improved over the years.

The iPhone 13 looks like its predecessor. That design is based on the iPhone 4 design that stunned the world more than a decade ago. And the 2017 iPhone X notch stayed in place for three iPhone generations.

Apple is under no pressure to change the iPhone design just for the sake of doing it. Therefore, there’s always the possibility that Apple will continue to use the iPhone 14 Pro Face ID design for at least one more year. There’s no guarantee that iPhone 15 Pro hole-punch display tech from The Elec’s report will be ready in time.

Moreover, Ross Young posted the tweet above a few weeks ago. The usually-accurate display analyst teases that the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro will share the same Face ID design. We’re looking at a pill-and-hole display for the 2023 iPhone, according to the screen expert.

More iPhone coverage: For more iPhone news, visit our iPhone 14 guide.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.