iPhone 15 mini: Will Apple ever make another small iPhone?

iPhone 13 And Mini Dark And Light Hero
(Image credit: Joseph Keller / iMore)
iPHONE 15: What you need to know

Unfortunately, the iPhone 15 mini was not unrelieved this year and Apple may be done with the mini line entirely. Here's everything that was announced at this year's Apple Event.

When the iPhone debuted in June 2007, it had a 3.5-inch screen that you could cover with your thumb, and I want this screen size to come back to the iPhone 15 and beyond.

The smaller form factor came back in 2020 with the iPhone 12 mini, which housed a 5.4-inch display, and thanks to the newer design with the notch and FaceID, it was still bigger than the iPhone 4 and smaller iPhones of old.

However, just a year later the iPhone 13 mini was the last of these to arrive from Apple, allegedly due to low sales, and ended up being replaced by the iPhone 14 Plus in October 2022.

Famously, Apple CEO Steve Jobs once said in 2010 that 4 inches for a phone was a perfect size, and anything bigger was a waste of time. "You can't get your hand around it, no one is going to buy that."

While the sizes and design of the iPhone 15 are seemingly locked in, I'd still love to see a mini version of the iPhone 15 Pro, as, to me anyway, it's one of the best sizes of an iPhone you could buy back in 2021.

A phablet of hype

Rose gold iPhone 6s and black iPhone 7

(Image credit: iMore / Future)

Ever since the 'phablet' trend began with the Samsung Galaxy Note and its 5.3-inch display, Apple had been asked whether a bigger iPhone was ever going to arrive. Eventually, it complied with the iPhone 5 in 2012, which had a 4-inch tall screen.

But it was the iPhone 6 series in 2014 that brought a 4.7-inch display and a 5.5-inch display for the iPhone 6 Plus, features that helped it become one of the best-selling iPhones ever.

Fast forward to the 6.5-inch iPhone XS Max in 2018, and you had a phone that was almost approaching the 7.9-inch size of the iPad mini, thanks to the (almost) all-screen front, with FaceID and the front camera housed in the controversial notch.

Thankfully, features such as Reachability, introduced with the iPhone 6, have since allowed you to double-tap the home button, or swipe down on the home bar on iPhone X and above to reach the top half of these larger displays with one hand.

However, it turned out that I didn’t have to wait much longer for a smaller iPhone to arrive.

Approaching Twelve

Back of the purple iPhone 12 mini

(Image credit: Future)

I was surprised that Apple announced a mini version of the iPhone 12 back in 2020, despite the constant rumors at the time that all but confirmed the 5.4-inch phone was in the works.

Here, you got the latest iPhone with FaceID, a dual-camera system, Retina display, and more, all in a smaller phone that felt about the same as an iPhone 4. At the time, I was just halfway through my phone contract, so I was unable to upgrade, but if I could, I would have bought a 256GB iPhone 12 mini without question.

The iPhone 13 mini carried this on, and while I was hoping for an iPhone 14 Pro mini, the writing was on the wall for the mini iPhone, and it was scrapped in 2022, having been replaced with the iPhone 14 Plus.

It was a shame, as, while bigger screens can help make your videos, photos, and other apps look great on a Super Retina XDR display, there's a lot to be said in being able to use your thumb for the whole phone, instead of shuffling your hand to use all of it.

However, the iPhone 15 series is heading toward hardware improvements and an exclusive color option, all I really want is a smaller iPhone.

Look, I still want an iPhone 15 mini anyway

iPhone 15 Pro Black titanium

(Image credit: Apple)

Ironically, I'm already saving for an iPhone 15 Pro Max, because I want to take advantage of the best camera coming to the biggest iPhone. But I’ll always be a fan of the mini iPhone size of 2021, as I love the idea of the three-camera lens and a darker red in a 5.4-inch display that I can use with just my thumb.

Maybe I could ask Tim Cook nicely someday for a limited edition size, but I don’t believe two sizes fit all. It would be great to have 3 different sizes for each iPhone instead, so you can pick between small, medium, and large.

I still see users on a train with the first-generation iPhone SE, which housed the power of the iPhone 6S within the design of the iPhone 5S, but when I asked one about why they still had one in 2023 recently, they said it was solely because of the size.

Granted, I don't expect Apple to go backward on its decision to replace the iPhone mini size with the iPhone 14 Plus, but there'll always be an opportunity for the smaller design with the latest internals, and if it ever happened again, I'd upgrade in a heartbeat.

Will there be an iPhone 15 mini?

No. While Apple released the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 13 mini respectively in 2020 and 2021, low sales allegedly made the company decide to scrap this size and focus on a Plus model, which is what we got in 2022 with the iPhone 14 Plus. Apple plans to replicate the current iPhone 14 lineup with the iPhone 15 when it comes to sizes and models. 

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 every day 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. His second book, '50 Years of Boss Fights', came out in June 2024, and has a monthly newsletter called 'Springboard'. 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.