iPhone 14 could copy this popular Android feature – but just for the Pro models

iPhone 13 Pro
(Image credit: TechRadar)

Many potential new iPhone 14 changes have leaked out already, like a new front-facing camera placement or higher-res main camera, and now reports are pointing to a popular Android phone feature making its way to Apple's smartphones.

As part of his weekly Power On Newsletter, popular Apple analyst and leaker Mark Gurman has hinted toward a new iOS 16 feature that could bring big changes starting with the iPhone 14.

According to Gurman, "iOS 16 builds in future support for an always-on lock screen" – this is a feature that's common on Android phones, where it's called an Always-On Display, and it means that when your phone isn't on, you can still see some information on the display like the time and your notifications. Newer Apple Watch devices already support this feature.

Apparently, the iPhone 13 was meant to have this screen trick but didn't, and recent iPhone 14 leaks explain why. While the iPhone 13 had a variable refresh rate between 10Hz and 120Hz (letting it refresh as quickly as 120 times per second, or as slowly as 10 times per second), apparently the iPhone 14's will go as low as 1Hz – this lower refresh rate is preferable for always-on displays, as it means the panel only refreshes once per second, which is all you need for a screen you'll only glance at now and then.

It seems, then, that older iPhones won't get the Always-On modes, even if they're compatible with iOS 16, because their displays don't have refresh rates that go low enough.

Unfortunately, Gurman makes it sound like this mode will only come to the iPhone 14 Pro phones, which adds to the feeling that the non-Pro phones won't bring many changes from their predecessors at all.

While the Always-On Display sounds exclusive to the Pro phones, other lock screen changes don't: Gurman also suggests that with iOS 16, the lock screen will get new wallpapers and widgets to slightly improve the functionality.

Analysis: Always-On Display could be a winner

Android and iOS devices frequently snap up each other's features, making the two operating systems more and more indistinguishable each year, and this Always-On Display news is more of the same.

The screen feature is super useful for letting you glean the time, your phone's battery and any notifications you have, without burning through the battery by constantly turning the screen on.

Well, that's if Apple does it the same way as all the Android makers do - we'll have to see. We might not have to wait long though, as while the iPhone 14 is expected to debut in September, iOS 16 will likely get shown off at Apple's WWDC 2022 keynote on June 6.

As you can imagine, TechRadar (a tech website) will be on hand to cover WWDC (a tech conference), so check back then to hear about iOS 16 as well as Apple's other software announcements.

Tom Bedford

Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist.