iPhone SE 2 could come with a popular feature no other cheap iPhone has

Face ID on the iPhone X
The iPhone X with its Face ID feature (Image credit: Future)

When the iPhone X shook up the iPhone line it brought with it Apple's Face ID facial recognition phone unlocking, a feature that wasn't present on the iPhone 8 or earlier, and now it's been claimed that the anticipated iPhone SE 2 might have this feature too.

Japanese tech rumors blog Macotakara has published a report claiming there will be a variant of the upcoming affordable iPhone that has Face ID, as well as a version that only has Touch ID, as is the case with iPhones prior to the iPhone X.

According to Macotakara, that information comes from Apple suppliers who were exhibiting at CES 2020 in early January, and we're inclined to take it seriously as the website tends to be a reliable source of Apple-related news.

It's still a surprising suggestion though – the iPhone SE 2 is looking like it'll be a small step up from the iPhone 8, with some rumors suggesting it'll actually end up being named the iPhone 9. Since none of the 'numbered' (pre-iPhone X) iPhones had Face ID, it would be a break with tradition by Apple if the budget 'iPhone 9' got the feature.

However, it could be that this second SE 2 handset is the rumored iPhone SE 2 Plus, although the mere existence of that phone is something we're unsure of.

Wait, Face ID in a budget iPhone?

There's precedent to suggest that Apple doesn't add Face ID to its affordable devices – while the top-end iPad Pro from 2018 has the feature, the more recent (yet affordable) iPad 10.2 from 2019 lacks it, and we'd expect Apple to follow this pattern with its phones.

The iPhone SE 2 is slated to be the first 'true' affordable iPhone since the original iPhone SE in 2016, unlike the iPhone XR and iPhone 11, which are simply the relatively affordable devices in a top-end line.

It's a device that's eagerly anticipated by many who want a new iPhone without breaking the bank, but that means it won't be as flush with specs as new iPhones, making Face ID a dubious prospect – although if there are indeed two versions of the SE 2 then we'd expect the higher-end model to get some extra features.

Overall, while this report does come from a reliable source we'd still take it with a pinch of salt for now.

There's no hint yet of a release date for the iPhone SE 2, so it's not clear when (or even if) we'll find out the truth about the anticipated iPhone, but stay tuned to TechRadar, as we'll bring you all the latest news and leaks.

Via 9to5Mac

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.