Just as the eyes are a window into a person’s soul, a smartphone’s screen tells you so much about the handset from the moment you turn it on. So what kind of story will the iPhone 14 screens tell this fall when Apple launches its new models into a waiting world?
The iPhone 13 displays have proven to be one of the many highlights of Apple’s current smartphone lineup. All four iPhones have bright, colorful displays, with the iPhone 13 Pro models in particular standing out, thanks to their 120Hz adaptive refresh rates. That means Apple’s Pro phones can adjust the refresh rate of their screens, bumping it up to 120Hz for things like gaming or scrolling and dropping it to 10Hz for more static activities.
The iPhone 14 rumors so far have painted a more or less similar picture for upcoming phones. But dig deeper into the rumors and you’ll find some expected improvements to the iPhone 14 displays that could translate into noticeable improvements for Apple’s handsets. And the pressure is on Apple as the phone makers’ main rivals – especially Samsung – have focused on display upgrades to their own handsets, in a bid to scrap Apple’s bids for the title. best phone overall.
Here’s what we’ve heard so far about the iPhone 14 displays, including what changes, if any, Apple might be planning for fast-refresh displays on its new phones.
iPhone 14 screen sizes
For the most part, the screens of the various iPhone 14 models should remain the same, with one big exception.
The iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max are expected to retain screen sizes like their iPhone 13 counterparts. That means 6.1-inch panels for the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14. iPhone 14 Pro, while the iPhone 14 Pro Max retains the 6.7-inch screen size of the iPhone 13 Pro Max.
It may not be the only 6.7-inch phone in Apple’s lineup anymore. Apple is rumored to be adding an iPhone 14 Max to this year’s lineup – it would be a cheaper 6.7-inch phone that lacks some of the premium features included in Apple’s Pro lineup. The idea is to give iPhone fans a lower cost option to get one of the best big phones around.
This would mean the end of the lineup for Apple’s iPhone mini model, which was introduced with the iPhone 12 releases in 2020 but never caught on, even with iPhone 13 mini. 5.4 inches. That means fans of more compact screens will either have to look to the iPhone SE (2022) or hope that Apple keeps an older mini model in its lineup at a reduced cost.
Expect another change to the screens of the iPhone 14 Pro model — they’re expected to lose the notch associated with the iPhone since the iPhone X debuted in 2017. Instead, the iPhone 14 Pro and the Pro Max appear to feature two cutouts to house the front camera and Face ID sensors. This will free up some extra space on both phones compared to recent Pro models.
iPhone 14 refresh rate
As noted above, the iPhone 13 Pro models have added a dynamic refresh rate that allows them to scale between 10Hz and 120Hz. The standard iPhone 13 is stuck at a more conventional 60Hz rate.
Will anything change with the iPhone 14? At least one leaker thinks the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Max could offer 90Hz refresh rates in a similar way to how Google handles its Pixel flagships. (The more expensive Pixel 6 Pro has a 120Hz display, while the Pixel 6 offers a 90Hz display.) That would definitely be an upgrade over the 60Hz fixed refresh rate of the Apple iPhone. iPhone 13.
The problem is that other leakers have denied this rumor. Instead, they’re tipping the iPhone 14 to continue using the 60Hz panels found on current base models of iPhones. An older report from Apple’s supply chain suggests that at least one iPhone 14 model uses an LTPS display with a 60Hz refresh rate, and we assume that means the iPhone 14.
A 90Hz refresh rate would make things like scrolling much smoother on the iPhone 14 than on previous models, so that’s definitely a feature we’d like to see. But until further reports support this refresh rate change, we have to assume that the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Max will offer the same 60Hz rates as Apple’s cheapest flagships. .
We have better news for the iPhone 14 Pro, where future phones are expected to continue with the 120Hz displays that debuted with the iPhone 13 Pro. These phones introduced LTPO screens – short for low-temperature polycrystalline oxide – which allow iPhones to adjust their refresh rate based on on-screen activity.
The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max are rumored to feature a new version of LTPO that improves power efficiency. The OnePlus 10 Pro got such an improvement earlier this year, and now it can go down to 1Hz, as can the Galaxy S22 Ultra. If the iPhone 14 Pro models get new and improved LTPO technology, they could also feature the 1-120Hz refresh rate that other flagship phones now enjoy.
If this feature comes to fruition, it could pave the way for another iPhone 14 Pro display tweak. Apple’s Pro models are rumored to add support for always-on displays, a feature that’s been among the best Android phones for years. The iOS 16 update coming this fall adds support for customizable lock screens and widgets that can be placed on your lock screen. Clearly, such a feature would also open the door to always-on display for phones that can lower their refresh rate to avoid draining their batteries.
Other iPhone 14 display features
Display refresh rates are getting all the attention, but the battle for the best smartphone screen has been fought on other fronts as well. Screen brightness has become increasingly important and is also a key feature of iPhone 14 screens.
When Apple released the iPhone 13 models last year, it touted the brightness on the phones’ Super Retina XDR OLED panels. The iPhone 13 peaked at a peak outdoor brightness of 800 nits, while the Pro models peaked at 1,000 nits. (We measured 795 nits and 1,024 nits on the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro, respectively.)
Since the debut of the iPhone 13, Samsung has rolled out its own flagship update. And the Galaxy S22 models also feature bright displays – a promise of 1,300 nits of peak brightness for the S22 and 1,750 for the Galaxy S22 Plus and Galaxy S22 Ultra. We didn’t record any numbers hitting those maximums with our light meter, but for the most part the displays in the S22 range are brighter than what you get with the iPhone 13.
Will Apple respond the same way when unveiling the iPhone 14? We haven’t heard many rumors about it. But given that brightness has become an area where phone makers are now doing well, we wouldn’t be surprised if the iPhone 14 debuts with some improvements in this area.
iPhone Display Outlook
From screen sizes to refresh rates, don’t expect a major overhaul of the displays Apple is using for its upcoming iPhone 14 release. But enough big changes seem to be on the way to make us think the displays will remain a crucial feature on Apple’s next phones. And there may well be some surprises as we get closer to the iPhone 14 release date.