Apple's foldable iPhone project could be on pause, due to display issues

iPhone 15 Pro review back handheld angled camera
The iPhone 15 Pro, which doesn't fold (Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

It's been quite a while since we heard anything of note about a foldable iPhone, and now we might have a reason why: the project is apparently on pause for the time being, as Apple can't find a folding display that it's satisfied with.

As per Fixed Focus Digital on Chinese social network Weibo (via MacRumors), Apple has been busy researching and testing screens that bend in the middle, but hasn't been able to find one that meets whatever the required standard is for a foldable iPhone.

It's thought that Samsung is one of the manufacturers that has supplied folding displays to Apple, but for whatever reason, it's not passing the tests. Samsung of course makes its own foldable phones, most recently the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Galaxy Z Flip 5.

Whether Apple isn't happy with the aesthetics or the durability of the display – or both – isn't immediately clear. What's more, while this tipster is a well-known tech vlogger, they haven't previously offered any Apple leaks, so bear that in mind.

The waiting game

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 vs Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 front angled closed

Samsung's latest foldable phones (Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

The sheer number of rumors that we've seen around an iPhone Fold suggest that a device of this kind must be in development somewhere at Apple, although whether it's ever going to see the light of day remains to be seen.

Apple has traditionally been happy to let the likes of Samsung introduce new mobile technologies before adding them to its own handset – like fingerprint sensors and wireless charging – and it seems that it'll be no different with folding displays.

Another possibility is that Apple will introduce a folding iPad before a folding iPhone, but there's a lot of uncertainty around that device too. It would definitely be larger, which may make it easier to develop a display that Apple is happy with.

Go and take a peek at our Google Pixel Fold review to see what some of the benefits of folding phones are, even if you have to pay a significant amount of money to get hold of them. For a while at least, it seems Apple won't be joining the part.

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David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.