FaceID under an iPhone's display is still a while away - but work continues

A person holds an iPhone and looks at Face ID on its screen to unlock the device.
(Image credit: Apple)

If this patent becomes true, an iPhone with FaceID under the screen is still in the works, but it may be a few years away until you can buy one.

According to Patently Apple, Apple filed a patent application (20230168711), which showcases a bunch of images that have two cameras under two iPhones, with one being described as a 'Future iPhone cameras behind Display.'

Cameras under a display are nothing new - Android makers such as ZTE and OPPO have already brought out smartphones that have this, but so far, taking images with these selfie-cameras results in bad quality.

This is where Apple can come in and impress its users with a new system that not only meets the quality of the FaceID camera of an iPhone 14 Pro, but supersedes it too.

A notch-free future?

Patently Apple FaceID under iPhone display

(Image credit: Patently Apple)

Apple is well-known to get rid of ports and features that it deems irrelevant and unnecessary after a certain time, but for iPhone, you get the feeling that its end goal is to have a device that's just all screen and nothing else.

The notch has proved divisive since its debut with the iPhone X in 2017, and even though it's been replaced by the Dynamic Island in the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, it still gets in the way of the display regardless.

Having all of this under the screen would mean that the camera would be able to be used when needed but out of sight. When the home button was removed in favor of gestures on the iPhone X, there was some fear at first, but once you held one and tried it out, it felt natural to swipe up to go back to the home screen.

This feels like the same could happen again - the hidden camera will work its FaceID magic, and you'll get back to using WhatsApp, playing a game, or something else.

However, it's important to keep in mind that patents are often unlikely to come true - but for something like this, it does feel like a natural evolution for the iPhone in the coming years.

Do you want to see a notchless iPhone sooner than later? Tell us your thoughts over at the iMore Forums.

Daryl Baxter
Features Editor

Daryl is iMore's Features Editor, overseeing long-form and in-depth articles and op-eds. Daryl loves using his experience as both a journalist and Apple fan to tell stories about Apple's products and its community, from the apps we use everyday to the products that have been long forgotten in the Cupertino archives.

Previously Software & Downloads Writer at TechRadar, and Deputy Editor at StealthOptional, he's also written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider', which tells the story of the beginnings of Lara Croft and the series' early development. He's also written for many other publications including WIRED, MacFormat, Bloody Disgusting, VGC, GamesRadar, Nintendo Life, VRV Blog, The Loop Magazine, SUPER JUMP, Gizmodo, Film Stories, TopTenReviews, Miketendo64 and Daily Star.

  • darylbaxter
    I'll say it now - I've never liked the notch, nor the Dynamic Island. So I'm hoping this is sooner rather than later for iPhone.
  • Annie_M
    Since I'm still using my 12Pro, I don't have not had any experience with the Dynamic Island. And while I'm curious about it, I too hope that this happens soon!
  • Wotchered
    when it happens … yawn