Don’t expect an iPhone with an under-display camera before the iPhone 19

iPhone 15 Pro review Dynamic Island macro
The iPhone 15 Pro (Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

One rumor we’ve heard repeatedly over the last year or so is that Apple plans to one day bring out an iPhone with an under-display camera and under-display Face ID, meaning that the visible screen cut-out used for the Dynamic Island would disappear, for a truly all-screen design. The latest leak though suggests that this phone is still a long way off.

According to a report in The Elec (a South Korean tech news site) via leaker @Tech_Reve, LG Innotek has begun “advanced development” of an under-display camera, believed to be intended for a future iPhone.

That might sound like promising progress, but the report adds that this is unlikely to be released until after 2026, meaning 2027’s iPhone 19 would be the first likely candidate.

Worth the wait

However, it could be worth the wait, because LG Innotek is reportedly working on a ‘freeform optic’ lens, which would be able to capture a lot of light.

Current under-display cameras – which we’ve already seen on devices like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 – can’t capture as much light as a conventional camera, because the screen glass interferes with them. This means photos from these cameras tend to be of worse quality, which is something LG Innotek’s tech might solve.

Also, while we might be waiting a long time for an under-display camera on an iPhone, the cut-out in the screen might at least shrink before then, as the same report states that Apple plans to hide the Face ID components under an iPhone display before launching an under-display camera.

So in other words, sometime before 2027 we might see an iPhone that only has a small punch-hole cut-out in the screen, like many of the best Android phones, with the Face ID parts of the Dynamic Island hidden under the display. Then, in 2027 or later, there might be no cut-out at all.

We’d take these time frames with a pinch of salt though, because this is all still a long way out, and even if The Elec’s information is accurate, there may well be delays. Still, it appears that an under-display camera is Apple’s goal, as it would be a clear visual upgrade. So it’s just a question of when.

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James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.