iPhone 12 could finally see Apple drop the notch

iPhone XS
The iPhone XS with its distinct notch. Image credit: TechRadar (Image credit: Future)

One of the most distinctive features of the newest iPhones is the top notch that houses the camera and upper speaker – both the iPhone X and iPhone XS have it, even though many other modern smartphones have come up with more modern solutions, or use smaller notches. However, it looks like the iPhone 12 will drop the feature, based on analyst reports.

According to China Times, which has read a research note from analysts from Credit Suisse bank, Apple is moving to reduce and even remove the notch in the coming years, starting with one phone in 2020, then all its models in 2021.

Apple is reportedly looking to embrace under-screen technology for the front-facing camera in the future, like the kind Oppo unveiled at MWC Shanghai. We're still expecting it to be quite a while before this kind of tech is common in smartphones, so Apple could be one of its first champions.

One of the casualties of dropping the notch would be the loss of Apple's Face ID, which provides quicker log-in than typical face recognition through a smartphone camera, but Apple is apparently looking to replace this with the in-screen fingerprint recognition that's common in new smartphones.

However, don't expect to see these big changes in the iPhone 11. We've heard repeatedly that the 2019 iPhones, which are set to be revealed near the end of the year, will only be a modest improvement over the iPhone XS range.

Instead, the analysts predict the first notch-free iPhone will come in 2020, with the iPhone 12 series – but not all of them. Instead, the note suggests only one of the iPhone 12R, iPhone 12, and iPhone 12 Max, will have no notch, and the rest will follow suit with the iPhone 13 range in 2021.

Since Apple usually brings its newest tech to the 'Plus' phones, we'd expect that of the three 2020 models this improvement is most likely to come to the iPhone 12 Max.

While most iPhone rumors we've heard so far are for the iPhone 11, we've been hearing a fair bit about the iPhone 12 too, like how it could have 5G, and it looks set to be a much more impressive smartphone than Apple's upcoming 2019 smartphones.

iPhone rumors and leaks never stop, so stay tuned to TechRadar for all the latest on Apple's premium handsets.

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.