The good news is that Apple is apparently planning to have an always-on display in the iPhone 14 to show basic information and notifications. The bad news is that it’s likely to be limited to the Pro and Pro Max models. That’s according to respected Apple watcher Mark Gurman, as reported in MacRumors: in addition to an enhanced Lock Screen with widget-like wallpapers, there will be an always-on mode in iOS 16.
A new screen feature is planned for the iPhone, although it may be confined to the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max. The always-on display is one of the finest Android phone features I’m actually envious of: although my Apple Watch Series 7 has one, my iPhone 13 doesn’t. While I understand that having to tap my phone one more time is a first-world problem, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect a very expensive iPhone to include the same technology that Nokia included in its 6303 way back in 2008, and that has been found in a slew of Samsung Galaxy devices up to and including the Samsung Galaxy S22.
It’s not clear yet whether this new display mode will be used when the iPhone 14 launches, however: according to Gurman, the feature may not make it into the iPhone 14 in time for its launch. Whether that means it’ll come in a later iOS update or if it’ll be reserved for an even later iPhone isn’t something we yet know.
We were hoping to see always-on in the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max, because those displays have LPTO panels with variable refresh rates (VRR): without VRR an always-on display would be too power-hungry, but those phones’ displays can drop down from 120Hz to just 10Hz. The reason always-on doesn’t appear to be coming to existing iPhones is because even 10Hz is too much: Apple is apparently using panels that go down to just 1Hz for the most expensive incoming iPhone 14 models.
Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written thirteen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote another seven books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com(opens in new tab)).
I hope it does make it into the iPhone 14, because it’s the kind of thing that makes using a device that little bit easier: moving to always-on on my Apple Watch has made a huge difference to its convenience, and while it’s not quite so important on a phone it’s still a feature I’d really like my iPhone to have.