Skip to main content

My tiny hands can't wait for the iPhone SE

In 2014, Apple introduced the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. They looked amazing, had advanced display technology, better processors and cameras, and a whole lot more. They also had one major flaw to someone like me — the size.

My hands are relatively small compared to the average person. I blame my short fingers. One-handed texting on the four-inch iPhone 5s was already a stretch for my stubby thumbs. So, I wasn't about to go any bigger.

The following year, I had big hopes for a small course correction — that Apple would see the error of its ways and reintroduce a four-inch handset for the millions of us that like the 4-inch form factor. But, alas, my cries went unheard. Instead, we got the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s plus, as big and bigger as the previous generation. I was tempted by 3D Touch but still not enough to upgrade. Again, because of size.

The big-as-in-small upgrade

This month, Apple is expected to launch the iPhone SE. I'm hopeful that it will be exactly what I've been waiting more than two years for — a 4-inch handset with all the bells and whistles of the iPhone 6s.

That means a faster A9 and M9 processor, upgraded iSight and FaceTime camera, better LTE performance, a barometer sensor, Apple Pay, and possibly Live Photos and a rose gold option.

My current iPhone 5s is two-and-a-half years old. That's a big faux pas in the tech blogging world. I am regularly made the butt of jokes for my outdated hardware. But, I was so against the larger iPhone that I am willing to face ridicule from my peers in order to maintain a size I am comfortable with.

With the iPhone SE, that's what I'll be getting. Even if the iPhone SE were exactly like the iPhone 6s, but smaller, I'd pay the same price for it. Cost isn't even a factor, not for me.

Apple, of course, is likely to keep the price at the same point as the iPhone 5s in order to appeal to customers looking for something less expensive. That also probably means it won't be exactly like the iPhone 6s. There may not be 3D Touch or the Retina Flash. But, I'm willing to compromise in order to get the size I want.

Back to the future

If the iPhone SE becomes a reality, I'll can finally join my companions in celebrating many of the latest, greatest Apple technologies while still getting them in a package made for hands my size.

I can finally have my new iPhone and text one-handed, too.

Take my money.

Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books.  If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).

35 Comments
  • Loved this! I agree. I don't have small hands, but one handed texting is amazing. I just got a 5s and I am looking forward to the SE as well. To have everything updated in the size you prefer is = awesome.
  • I agree 100%. Been clinging to my 5S in hopes of a 4" upgrade. Looks like all I'm going to be missing from the 6S line is 3D touch. Stoked to finally have Apple Pay!
  • Even that my current phone has 5" screen, i would love to buy the 5SE.....but only if it has same camera as the 6S and new processor. Specs to make it a meaningful upgrade over the 5S.
  • Not to worry. A Cortisone shot eased the pain of one-handed use of my iPhone 6. My nephew assures me that his hands are big enough for a 6 and I will buy an SE. Sent from the iMore App
  • There's no way I'm going to a smaller screen size. I came from using HTC One's, OnePlus's, and Galaxy Notes. The main reason I switched over to iPhone is the introduction of the Plus line. I definitely can't see paying the same price for an inferior device. If it has the exact spects as the Plus' I'll buy the SE for my wife to bring her over to the Dark Side
  • How is it inferior? It's touted to have comparable specs to the 6s, is unlikely to be the same price as the phone you have, and the screen size is a personal choice. I also have a Plus, but I had a specific need for the large screen, otherwise I'd have a 6. My dad still has a 4s and doesn't want anything bigger, so I expect when he upgrades in May, he'll consider this new phone. You made your choice - let others make theirs.
  • Why is one handed use for texting held above any type of media consumption? I mean EVERYTHING looks better on a bigger screen and is much easier on your eyes. I couldn't imagine going back to a 4" screen. I enjoy typing and am much quicker with two hands anyway and what are you doing that you can always only use one hand for texting. Idk this just seems like a step back. It also seems like you've never given a bigger screen a chance, so how do you know that you won't like the benefits of it more than you dislike typing with two hands. Just seems like someone who is clinging to old tech for the sake of it and trying to act like the newer stuff isn't better.
  • Everyone is different.
    For some people, watching media is important so they like and prefer the big screen. For me, I prefer one handed a lot and ease of fitting into pockets. The 4" screen means that I can do everything one handed pretty much. I admit that I don't really watch videos on my phone. If I do, it's a short video and a very rare occurrence. When I do open up a video, it's just to listen to music. For someone like me, a 4" phone with good specs is golden. Anytime I don't have a small size phone, I miss the size terribly. Additionally, Apple is brilliant because in recent(ish) surveys/stats, the most used iPhone is the 5s! Not the 6, 6 Plus, etc but the 5s. It's not a step back to have options for everyone based on size.
  • For me, it's more than just one-handed typing. The iPhone 6s doesn't fit comfortably in my hand at all. I feel like I'm going to drop it because I can't seem to grip it properly. I'm sure I would get used to the larger sized device over time. But, if Apple can give me the same iPhone in a smaller package, I'll take it. As for the larger screen being easier on the eyes; that's what I have an iPad for.
  • Absolutely! Loved your article. I have "normal" sized hands BUT dislike the iPhone 6 (never mind the 6 Plus!) for its size. Love to bits my 5s (I'm on the second one, after two 5's) and decided not to upgrade in the hope that Apple would listen to people like me - not by abolishing the 6 and the 6 Plus but by keeping also the 4" size. And, yes, just like you, I use my iPad mini and either my MBP or my MBA to watch (and read) long(ish) videos and movies (and written words).
  • You have your uses for the phone and I have mine. I mainly use my phone when I'm out of the house and that could mean standing on the bus or carrying shopping. Both of those mean using the phone one handed. I've tried using the 6 with one hand and it didn't work for me. It has nothing to do with clinging to old tech. It has everything to do with wanting the technology to work for me. For media consumption I have an iPad. In fact if it doesn't have everything that the current 6s has then I'm not buying it. I'm not going to settle for a watered down version of the phone just because I require a smaller screen size.
  • had a 6 for a year and a half. the size is physically uncomfortable for me. i can pick up my 4S and the screen is just fine for my needs. its just too slow on current versions of ios. i don't know why comfort has to be equated to this small hands insult. (what is this, a GOP primary??) just accept that people have different tastes.
  • As someone who has used large phones and then gone back to small phones and uses an iPhone 4S sometimes for app development, I suspect a lot of iPhone users who have upgraded to the 6 or 6S will THINK they want to go back to a smaller phone but will be shocked at how small 4.0 inches is when they actually get their hands on a SE and decide against it. Using a larger screen conditions your brain in a certain way and it can be really difficult to adjust back to such a drastically smaller screen.
  • Don't cripple the phone! I need a 6s- to replace my iPhone 5. Anything less will have to wait until my 5 dies. Why should I have to use two hands on a phone? Even with my normal hands I can't reach all the way to the 6s left edge. I want to be able to whip the phone out of my pocket and make a call while holding my bag in my left hand. Is that too much to ask? I stand during my commute and don't want to put my bag down.
  • My wife prefers the smaller size, so I suspect this is going to be an insta-buy for her. I'm looking at the 7 or 7+ but that's obviously a ways away. With that said; the 5s has, functionally, lasted far longer than I would have expected 2+ years ago. It's still fast. It still doesn't have enough free space (32 MB) but I'll get a 64 MB phone next time. If I had to be stuck with the 5s for another 2-3 years I probably wouldn't mind too much.
  • Also been hanging on to my 5s, all my 64 gb is full though. I hope SE comes in 128gb!!!! Thank you please! Sent from the iMore App
  • I am getting this for my wife day one. She doesn't watch videos on her phone or play games. She uses her phone as a communication device solely. Upgraded soc and camera will be a worth while upgrade from her 5s. I occasionally go back to my blackberry z10 from my current Lumia 1520 and actually being able to use your phone one handed is a highly underrated feature.
  • So this is going to be an excellent phone for The Donald I think.
  • #MakeDonaldDrumpfAgain
  • Personally I am happy with my 6s+ but I will be the first to admit that a 4" alternative is sorely needed. The problem with rumors is that I feel like people are getting excited for 6s features and hardware packed into a 4" body but we will get something less. For instance, the iPad Mini was a hot item when it was rumored and released and then the disappointment set in when the hype died down and people realized it lacked retina and the chip was behind. Granted, the iPad Mini 2 fixed all of that but since then it has still been a second class citizen staying a year behind on chipsets. I know there will be people lined up to buy this device but if it gets anything less than the A9, 6s camera upgrades, and 3D touch, it should not sell for anything near the 6s. Of course, even with an A8, what is the battery life going to look like? I feel like Apple has got to get back to consistent hardware no matter what size device and come up with a more comparable price structure to warrant all of this. Small, medium, and large as it relates to price is hogwash!
  • The battery life is going to be interesting
  • I agree. I'm curious to see official battery size and actual usage times. iPhone 5s was 1570 mAh, iPhone 6 went up to 1810 mAH battery, then iPhone 6s dropped down to 1715 mAH so if the iPhone SE is somewhere around there and powering a much smaller screen, you'd think battery life would be equal or better than the current 6s battery life, right?
  • This is the biggest deciding factor for me. I have a 6+ at the moment and the battery life is spectacular - I just wish it was smaller in my pocket.
  • No Way, if you want a real phone than hold out for the iPhone 7 Plus!!! Sent from the iMore App
  • Small phones with 4" screens suck. Too small real estate. Posted from my Nexus 6P
  • Your tiny hands need apple to work on their huge bezels. You don't need a smaller screen. Apple is just terrible with having huge top and bottom bezels that make a 4.7" phone comparable in size to phones with 5+" screens.
  • Very interested in seeing how this phone looks. Stylistically I am not a fan of the 6 and 6s designs. The 5 and 5s are stunning imo. One of the reasons I went with a 5s. I am hoping the SE keeps the 5/5s design language. Though my 5s is running fine sobI likely won't be switching right away. Sent from the iMore App
  • I'm in a similar boat, Lory. I had a 5S then upgraded to a 6, but I couldn't stand the size and switched back to my 5S. There are simply too many instances where I want to use my phone with 1 hand but any screen larger than 4" is too large to be practical.
  • I can hardly wait for this phone and to see what features it brings along with it. I will be getting one for sure. It will be nice to have a smaller phone for when I am out riding my motorcycle. Plus I will be upgrading my boys iPhone's to the 5se. I am also waiting for the 7 Plus.
  • I know a lot of people type one-handed but I never saw the attraction. If I try that, I feel as though I don't have a good grip on the phone and it doesn't feel comfortable. I have a 5s for work which is ok for how I use it but even then I still type with two hands. I also own a 6s Plus which is what I prefer because I do everything on my phone. I rarely need to hop on my computer anymore.
  • I'm in a downsizing mood and am ready to try the 5se. I always loved the smaller form factor (the 5s was my favorite) because it was easy to hold and easy to pocket. I only use my phone for texting (using dictation), listening to podcasts, and the occasional call. I use an iPad-mini to watch things and my desktop for work.
  • i could never! go Back! i love my 6s+
  • how does iMore know i have tiny hands ...I'm now comfortable with my 6.. I gotta admit i've been though 3 iPhone 6'es already as i've lost, either fell out of my pocket....
  • I prefer the smaller size phone, so will be upgrading. Sent from the iMore App
  • I been hoping for a updated 4" model. So much so I went and dug out my iPhone 5 and moved the sim card from my 6 plus into it and going to try and see if I can be happy again with a smaller model. I know I can as far as the feel in my hand. I hope my old senior eyes to adjust to it. We shall see. I only upgraded because thats all Apple had at the time and it appeared then that the 4" model had gone the way of the Doe-Doe bird