Every year, we seem to talk about the brand new iPhone getting an always-on display, but it never becomes a reality. Now, however, thanks to a beta software leak, we have the clearest evidence that the iPhone 14 Pro will be the first Apple smartphone to get one.
This comes from Steve Moser, who discovered something interesting in the most recent iOS simulator inside of Xcode beta 14: a simplified lock screen with no wallpaper, stripped-back versions of widgets, and dramatic display dimming.
How iPhone 14 Pro always-on display works
The writing has been on the wall about this feature for a while now, starting all the way back in May, but this is the first peep from Apple about it.
A preview of the rumored iPhone 14 Pro ‘Always on Display’ feature might have been leaked by Xcode 14 beta 4 Simulator. Attached are the first two frames of a video of waking the sim. The first image (Always on Display mode) removes texture from the whale image in the widget 🧵 https://t.co/YDsTmuHotb pic.twitter.com/jPYDGh7m6kAugust 1, 2022
As Steve points out, it seems to make the most of the extra information on your customized iOS 16 lockscreen. If you put widgets on there, you’ll see them in stripped-back detail on the always-on display mode, too.
There is a second level too, which slightly brightens the elements and gives the widgets more detail. Is this tied to maybe lifting the phone up, but not tapping the screen — an alternative to just waking the phone up? Or maybe there’s some sort of proximity detection? Time will tell on the specifics of how this will work.
Why I’m a bit skeptical
Two words: battery life. That’s not to say Apple is bad with battery — my iPhone 13 Pro is a champ when it comes to all-day stamina. But using software to be power efficient will not work when it comes to keeping a screen powered up.
Battery cells inside iPhones are markedly smaller than what you’d find in Android phones, and when you start to venture into always-on display tech, you absolutely need that extra juice. So far, rumors have been pointing to a smaller 3,125mAh cell, but hopefully that’s some incorrect speculation.
The world has been ready for an iPhone with an always-on display for years, but hopefully Apple rises to the occasion with a bigger battery to boot in its inevitable September keynote.
iPhone 14 Pro is looking like a tasty prospect with some significant upgrades to the internals, the display, and the camera system. Plus, with more software betas, we’re going to see a lot more about what this phone is capable of before the launch.
Keep it locked on Laptop Mag for the latest iPhone 14 leaks and rumors.
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Jason brings a decade of tech and gaming journalism experience to his role as a writer at Laptop Mag. He takes a particular interest in writing articles and creating videos about laptops, headphones and games. He has previously written for Kotaku, Stuff and BBC Science Focus. In his spare time, you'll find Jason looking for good dogs to pet or thinking about eating pizza if he isn't already.