iPhone SE 4: Release date rumors, specs, features, and more

iPhone SE 4
(Image credit: Future / Apple)

Apple's iPhone SE is the company's favored budget iPhone, first released in 2016. Since then, it's been through three iterations, the most recent one released in 2022. However, the design is starting to look very long in the tooth, with the same Touch ID and Home Button from the iPhone 8 still kicking around. 

Thankfully, a new one is on the way that should bring a serious design overhaul and some fresh, exciting new features. So what do we know about the iPhone SE 4, and when can we expect its launch? Well, the signs suggest that it's not coming this year. Instead, we can probably expect the iPhone SE 4 in early 2025, probably in March or April. While some previous rumors had pointed to a rebirth of the iPhone XR, the latest information indicates we can expect an iPhone SE 4 much like the iPhone 14. Here's everything we know so far.

iPhone SE 4: What we'd like to see

The SE is a fantastic addition to the iPhone family, and we'd love to see the smartphone get a much-needed design overhaul to fit users' needs in 2023. A design similar to the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro, would make the device feel modern and on par with some of Apple's latest offerings.

Add to that form factor an OLED display and the better battery life that comes with a larger 6.1-inch device and the iPhone SE 4 would be one of the best offerings on the market for budget-conscious buyers.

Looking at the rumors, that's probably what we'll get, even though a faster refresh rate display and Dynamic Island would be lovely. Don't expect those high-end features on this less-expensive device, though it would be great to see them.

iPhone SE 4: Design

iPhone 14 Review

(Image credit: iMore / Stephen Warwick)

The iPhone SE 3 (2022) is Apple’s smallest iPhone, housed in the body of an iPhone 8. With thick bezels, Touch ID in the Home button, and a 4.7-inch display, the iPhone SE could really do with a bit of modernization to bring the device up to date with the rest of Apple’s lineup of iPhones.

Jon Prosser, a well-regarded iPhone leaker, had reported that the next iPhone SE could follow the trend of using older components and this time look eerily similar to the iPhone XR from 2018. If this was to be the case then the iPhone SE 4 would get a full-screen makeover alongside a 6.1-inch display.

More recent reports from Kuo fell in line with the rumored 6.1-inch display and indicated a completely different design approach that would represent a "minor modification" of Apple's current best iPhone, the iPhone 14 rather than the previously reported XR.

In mid-March, Kuo admitted that his February leak about the iPhone SE 4 may have been a bit wide of the mark. "I previously predicted that the iPhone SE 4 would be a derivative model of the iPhone 14," he tweeted. "However, my latest research indicates that this derivative model will likely be an engineering prototype." 

Back in mid-2023, leaker Unknownz21 reported that Apple is indeed planning a new iPhone SE 4 based on the iPhone 14. That would indicate a 6.1-inch display with a form factor of 5.78 inches by 2.82 inches, and weight of around 170 grams. The design would also see an end of the SE's aged forehead and chin design in favor of the current language pioneered with the iPhone X. Namely, an edge-to-edge display, notch for Face ID, and no Home Button. It would also mean square edges and a flat, glossy back.

In April 2024, the specs for the SE 4 allegedly leaked, detailing an A16 Bionic Chip, a USB-C port, Cinematic Mode for the camera, and much more.

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For the more hopeful in us, the end of the iPhone mini line could have been a great reason for Apple to use the iPhone mini design as an iPhone SE 4, making the device fit the needs of those who want a smaller phone as well as those looking for a budget option.

iPhone SE 4: Colors

The iPhone 14 comes in a wide array of colors ... will the next-generation of the iPhone SE pick any of them up? (Image credit: Future)

There are three colors for the iPhone SE (2022): Midnight, Starlight, and PRODUCT(RED). You have three capacities to choose from as well: 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB, and the price is $429, $479, and $579, respectively.

While it may not be quite as exciting as the iPhone 13 series, which now comes in gorgeous green hues, the iPhone SE still offers a lot of bang for your buck. It's too early to guess as to the colors of an unreleased phone such as the iPhone SE 4, but we certainly like the colorful options that let our phones stand out from the crowd. Fingers crossed!

iPhone SE 4: Display

iPhone XR

(Image credit: Apple)

The most recent report indicates that Apple could debut the iPhone SE 4 with an OLED panel from the iPhone 14. That would mean a 6.1-inch all-screen OLED display and a 2532x1170-pixel resolution at 460 ppi. The OLED panel from the iPhone 14 supports HDR, True Tone, Wide color (P3), Haptic Touch, and a 2 million to 1 contrast ratio. 

iPhone SE 4: Features

What will be in the new iPhone SE? Obviously, Apple's less expensive line of products won't embrace all of the top of the line bells and whistles that make a flagship phone worthy of the name. But what exactly will we see? Here's our rundown of some key features and specifications, and what we know about each so far. 

Face ID

Apple iPhone 13 Mini in hand with Safari browser open

(Image credit: Joseph Keller / iMore)

If Apple was to go down the route of introducing the notch to the SE in order to keep the device looking different to the iPhone 15's Dynamic Island, then we’re likely to see Face ID introduced to the SE 4. 

Adding Face ID would be a huge selling point for the budget iPhone, especially with the cost of competitors like the Google Pixel 7 slowly but surely getting closer to the entry-level iPhones. However, Apple could introduce Touch ID in the power button as it has for the iPad mini 6. The aforementioned Unknownz21 leak indicates Apple is planning to add Face ID to the iPhone SE 4. 

A16 chip

The iPhone SE 3 was released in 2022 and given the same A15 chip as the iPhone 13. If the iPhone SE 4 releases in early 2025 after the iPhone 16 then it would make sense for the device to gain an A16 chip from the iPhone 15, with Apple reserving its most potent iPhone chips for the top-of-the-line models. 

All of this information is speculation but considering the current model has an A15 it is highly unlikely that Apple would release a new version without upgrading the chipset. The A17 Pro chip from the iPhone 15 Pro lineup seems like a step too far, however. 

5G

Kuo states that Apple is working on an in-house 5G baseband chipset for the iPhone SE 4 which would see the budget iPhone step away from Qualcomm similar to the iPhone 16 reports. Initial reports had stated that Apple would use Qualcomm for a new SE but this no longer seems to be the case. If Apple goes down the in-house route, we will likely see considerable improvements to the device's network speed. Kuo states that Apple's 5G baseband chip will only support Sub-6GHz 5G speeds.  

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USB-C

With EU charging laws coming into effect and the iPhone 15 switching to USB-C, expect the iPhone SE 4 to also ditch Lightning in favor of the more popular charging standard. 

Action Button

A MacRumors report in September 2023 indicated that Apple would add the Action Button from the iPhone 15 Pro.

Camera

iPhone 14 Review

(Image credit: iMore / Stephen Warwick)

The latest reports indicate the iPhone SE 4 will only have one camera, just like the current generation models. However, this is likely to receive an upgrade over the current 12MP version. With the iPhone 15 getting the 48MP sensor from the iPhone 14 Pro lineup, its possible this could even trickle down to the budget model by the time it comes out. Otherwise, expect some serious upgrades to the 12MP option. 

Release date

The iPhone SE 4 doesn’t have a release date, but iMore's team of experts believes the device will be released in Q1 2025 or later, but as with any unreleased Apple products (we're looking at you, Apple Car!), take that with a grain of salt. The most recent report indicates Apple is targeting an iPhone SE 4 launch in "early" 2025. Every previous model of the device has debuted in either March or April. 

Price

iPhone 14 Review

(Image credit: iMore / Stephen Warwick)

Apple will we looking to keep any new iPhone SE firmly in the "budget" price bracket. To that end, we'd be very surprised if Apple went over the current $429 price point. However, there are quite a few rumored upgrades coming, so it's possible added manufacturing costs could be passed on to the consumer. As such, there's no guarantee the price might not increase, but we wouldn't expect a major bump if it does. 

John-Anthony Disotto
How To Editor

John-Anthony Disotto is the How To Editor of iMore, ensuring you can get the most from your Apple products and helping fix things when your technology isn’t behaving itself.

Living in Scotland, where he worked for Apple as a technician focused on iOS and iPhone repairs at the Genius Bar, John-Anthony has used the Apple ecosystem for over a decade and prides himself in his ability to complete his Apple Watch activity rings.

John-Anthony has previously worked in editorial for collectable TCG websites and graduated from The University of Strathclyde where he won the Scottish Student Journalism Award for Website of the Year as Editor-in-Chief of his university paper. He is also an avid film geek, having previously written film reviews and received the Edinburgh International Film Festival Student Critics award in 2019. 

John-Anthony also loves to tinker with other non-Apple technology and enjoys playing around with game emulation and Linux on his Steam Deck.

In his spare time, John-Anthony can be found watching any sport under the sun from football to darts, taking the term “Lego house” far too literally as he runs out of space to display any more plastic bricks, or chilling on the couch with his French Bulldog, Kermit. 

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