iPhone 16 Pro could get a major Face ID overhaul — Apple pulls plug on old component orders ahead of under-display shift

Space Black iPhone 14 Pro
(Image credit: Luke Filipowicz / iMore)

A fresh Apple supply chain report has revealed that Apple’s hotly-anticipated Face ID overhaul and a move to an under-display camera could still be on the cards for the iPhone 16 after the company pulled the plug on orders for the components of its current biometric configuration. 

In 2022, reports suggested that the iPhone 16 would feature under-display Face ID. However, the source of that report, top insider Ross Young, withdrew the initial rumor in 2023 with a revised roadmap pointing to the change coming with the iPhone 17 in 2025 instead. Now, reports of a British microchip plant facing closure have reopened the possibility of the change coming this year instead. 

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iPhone 16’s under-display Face ID 

As reported by The Telegraph, a 310,000 sq ft chip facility in County Durham, UK, is facing closure after Apple “pulled the plug” on a “lucrative” supply deal. According to owner Coherent, its primary customer, purported to be Apple, ceased orders at the end of FY 2023. The plant has already laid off 100 staff, with 257 kept on to fulfill its remaining contracts. 

The news is interesting for iPhone customers because it points to a major change coming to Face ID this year. According to The Telegraph, “the plant manufactures components for Apple that feature in the iPhone’s Face ID recognition system, but that the US giant is believed to have ceased orders due to upcoming changes to the next version of the iPhone.” 

The report notes previous rumors stating that Apple “is expected to overhaul the system” in its next best iPhone, the iPhone 16, later this year.

Ross Young’s revised iPhone roadmap pointed to the inclusion of under-display Face ID in the Pro iPhone 17 and iPhone 18 models for 2025 and 2026 respectively. If this new report indicates an earlier introduction, it seems certain that it will be a feature reserved for the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max. An iPhone with under-display Face ID would likely still feature a small hole for some of the front-facing camera elements required on the iPhone. As such, it wouldn’t eliminate the Dynamic Island completely, but it may significantly reduce its size.

iPhone 16 is also expected to deliver camera upgrades across the lineup, as well as a new A18 chip, and a new Capture button dedicated to shooting video. 

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Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9