iPhone 14 could mark the end of the road for small phones

iPhone 13 mini
(Image credit: TechRadar)

If you want to buy a small phone - something with a display under 6 inches - you generally have to turn to Apple, but with the iPhone 14 it seems like the end is nigh for mini mobiles.

We've heard plenty of rumors now that suggests there won't be an iPhone 14 mini to follow on from the iPhone 13 mini, as reports suggest these smaller handsets haven't sold well. Apparently the upcoming range will instead get a big iPhone 14 Max, with a big screen but the same specs as the base device. 

That's big if true - literally - because it would show Apple moving away from the small phone market in a big way. But it's not the only brand to do so.

No more small phones

Brands apparently don't like small phones - we're going to stick with the sub-6-inch-screen definition of that, for the purposes of this article.

Most brands have started using an average screen size of 6.6 or 6.7 inches, with companies like Huawei and Vivo sometimes breaking the 7-inch barrier. 

While companies like Samsung and Google did sometimes offer smaller mobiles, both have moved away from that with recent entries in their flagship lines, suggesting a lack of interest in little phones.

Beyond the iPhone mini series, there are only two places to look for compact devices. The iPhone SE range is an obvious example, though they only get released sporadically, and the most recent entry apparently hasn't sold very well. And there's also the Sony Xperia Ace series, but this is only sold in Japan. 

The death knell for small phones

If Apple, the current champion of the small phone market, decides not to make little phones anymore, it could be seen as the death knell for compact devices.

Although Apple tends to pick up technology late, only using 5G after it had been used for a year and a half for example, lots of other tech brands like to follow its lead in certain areas. Its decision to drop chargers from boxes can be seen as an easy example.

If Apple stops making small phones, it seems unlikely that any companies will decide to pick up the baton and start producing little handsets - and that's because Apple will be making this decision for a reason. 

Presumably the fact that a small phone is reportedly being dropped, and a new large one is being introduced, fits with what buyers want in a smartphone.

Smartphones are getting bigger and bigger every year, and although some people love small phones - they can be easy to fit in your pocket, or use with just one hand regardless of your hand size - apparently, the interest just isn't big enough.

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. He also currently works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.