Apple’s most recent iPhone SE was released in 2022. While it’s an impressive phone in many ways, the iPhone 8-style design is quite different compared to the latest iPhone 15 handsets.
Many fans are desperate for Apple to bring the look of the cheapest iPhone up to date. A fourth generation is likely, though rumours regarding the phone are inconsistent, and there’s a chance it may never arrive.
Here’s everything we know so far.
When will the iPhone SE 4 be released?
One of the biggest mysteries of the iPhone SE 4 is whether it will appear at all.
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reported in January 2023 that plans for the iPhone SE in 2024 had been cancelled, before stating in February 2023 that the project had been revived. Then, in April 2023, Kuo stated that the model he was referring to might be just an engineering prototype and “there are no plans for mass production and sales.”
The iPhone SE series is not being released on a fixed schedule, as is the case with the flagship iPhones that come out every year. Here’s when previous models had their launches:
In 2016, Apple introduced the initial iPhone SE, followed by a refreshed model with more storage options in 2017, and then realeased improved versions in 2020 and 2022. If this biennial release schedule continues, a new model should arrive before the end of 2024.
A report from MacRumors seems to confirm that Apple is indeed working on the new iPhone SE, However, analyst Jeff Pu claims it will launch not until 2025.
Another report from Korean site The Elec reinforces that, stating that the manufacturing of the new iPhone SE is set to be postponed until 2025. It appears that Apple is placing sole reliance on a company called BOE for the supply of screens for the iPhone SE 4, and this panel manufacturer is encountering “performance issues.”
At this point, we do not know which of these dates is more likely, or whether Apple is even planning to release another iPhone SE.
How much will the iPhone SE 4 cost?
Apple has been slightly increasing the price of the phone over the last few years. Here’s how much previous models cost at their initial launch:
Looking at this trend, it is possible that the iPhone SE 4 will also be more expensive than its predecessor, especially if it gets an updated design.
However, to keep it appealing, Apple will want to avoid it being too close to the $799/£799 starting price of the iPhone 15.
What specs and features will the iPhone SE 4 have?
If Apple does end up releasing the iPhone SE 4, it’s likely to be a significant update, if rumours and leaks are anything to go by.
Design & display
Reports from MacRumors and X leaker Unknownz21 suggest that the iPhone SE 4 will essentially be a slightly modified version of the iPhone 14, boasting a 6.1-inch full-screen design.
Apple is expected to give iPhone SE 4 a notch instead of a Touch ID Home button. However, it’s not clear if the Face ID and TrueDepth camera system will be as advanced as on the flagship iPhones, considering the SE’s expected price.
The iPhone SE currently stands as the last remaining iPhone model equipped with an LCD display, but it looks like it will transition to OLED technology. As reported by The Elec, iPhone SE 4’s display will be provided by China’s BOE and is said to mirror the one featured in the standard iPhone 14 model.
Unknownz21 also claims that the iPhone SE 4 will introduce an Action Button, taking the place of the mute switch on the phone’s side. However, considering this feature is currently exclusive to the iPhone 15 Pro models, the regular mute switch feels more likely right now – this might chance by the time Apple is ready to release it, though.
It’d be a big surprise not to see a USB-C port on the iPhone SE 4, considering it’s mandated by the EU and on all iPhone 15 models. On X (formerly Twitter), creator Shea has made renders of what the phone might look like:
However, a more recent information shared by leaker Majin Bu on X suggests that the iPhone SE 4 may adopt a design closely resembling the current iPhone 16 still in development, featuring the Dynamic Island and a single vertical rear camera.
The reported dimensions are similar to those of 2018’s iPhone XR, measuring approximately 150.9 mm in height, 75.7 mm in width, and 8.3 mm in depth. Majin Bu advises caution regarding these alleged design details, noting the preliminary nature of the information.
Details regarding the chip in the iPhone SE 4 are limited, but if the phone indeed undergoes a substantial revamp based on the iPhone 14, it would be logical to anticipate the inclusion of Apple’s A15 Bionic chip.
As a point of reference, the existing iPhone SE is powered by the same A15 chip found in the iPhone 13 and iPhone 14 models. Therefore, there’s a possibility that the iPhone SE 4 might feature a previous-generation chip upon its release. That’s why we expect it to have the Apple A16 Bionic chip.
The latest iPhone SE is equipped with a 12Mp camera. The upcoming iPhone SE 4 might also opt for a single-lens camera configuration to manage costs, yet there is speculation that it could feature the 48Mp primary lens used in the iPhone 15 (shown below).
Chris Martin / Foundry
However, reports claim that Apple has been exploring various designs for the cameras in the iPhone SE 4. Consequently, it remains uncertain what the ultimate decision will be, and it’s possible that a final choice has not been reached yet.
Battery & charging
Assuming the iPhone SE 4 has a larger total footprint than its predecessors, a larger battery is also likely.
According to a source close to MacRumors, the iPhone SE 4 will supposedly reuse the battery from the iPhone 14. If true, this 3279mAh cell would be a 60% increase on the 2022 model.
Even with its modest 2,018 mAh capacity, the current iPhone SE 3 battery manages to provide two additional hours of video playback compared to the SE 2. This suggests that the potential advancements in battery life with the iPhone SE 4 could be quite significant.
However, we do not have any certain information about this and it is only speculation.
The iPhone SE 4 will most likely debut with iOS 17 if it arrives early this year.
However, if its release is in 2025, it will surely run iOS 18 straight out of the box.
Ming-Chi Kuo stated back in April 2023 that Apple was testing the in-house 5G baseband chip with the iPhone SE 4 prototype. A report from MacRumors also confirms this.
The current iPhone SE already features 5G technology, and it’s probable that the next-generation iteration will receive an enhanced 5G chip with expanded support for additional bands.
There’s also speculation that it might even be the first iPhone to integrate Apple’s in-house modem chip, although this remains uncertain at present.
That’s all we currently know about the highly anticipated iPhone SE 4. We’ll update this article when we find anything new.
In the meantime, feel free to check out our chart for the best iPhones you can buy right now.