The Notch on the iPhone 12 Lineup Is Actually Bigger Than Prior Models

Apple iPhone 12 Credit: Pickaxe Media / Shutterstock
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Even though many rumours suggested that Apple was working to reduce the size of the infamous notch in the iPhone 12 lineup, not only did that not happen, but it turns out that the size of the notch has actually increased slightly from the notched iPhone models that came before.

First introduced with the iPhone X back in 2017 to accommodate the TrueDepth camera system used for Face ID, the notch was initially somewhat controversial, until of course other smartphone manufacturers began blatantly copying it, after which the design that many decried as obtrusive quickly became the norm.

Of course, that hasn’t stopped rumours from surfacing year after year after year that the notch will either be reduced, or even go away entirely. While Apple is undoubtedly working on ways to accomplish the latter, it will almost certainly come in the form of an under-display camera system rather than the elimination of Face ID that some have suggested, but sadly that technology is far from ready for primetime.

Meanwhile, rumours continue to persist that next year’s iPhone will finally be the one to get a smaller notch, and while that’s certainly starting to seem more plausible each year, we have to really wonder how much of a priority it is for Apple to actually reduce the size of the notch, and it’s more likely the company is focusing its efforts simply on getting rid of it.

Notch Sizes Over the Years

A new set of charts from 512 Pixels illustrates just how unconcerned Apple seems to be about reducing the notch size, since Apple’s own Accessory Design Guidelines for Apple Devices shows that the entire iPhone 12 lineup actually sports larger notches than any of Apple’s prior OLED-equipped models.

Granted, we’re talking about differences in the millimetres here, but it’s still an increase, rather than a decrease. In fact, despite rumours that the iPhone 12 mini was getting a smaller notch, it actually comes in at the exact same dimensions as its larger siblings — any perception of it being smaller is entirely an optical illusion.

Apple’s design guidelines are published for companies creating chargers, cases, and just about any other accessory that can attach to an iPhone in some way, but the document also includes detailed drawings of every iPhone model since the 2012 iPhone 5.

As the charts reveal, while the LCD-equipped iPhone XR and iPhone 11 had the largest notches of all compared to their corresponding OLED models — a difference that was almost certainly attributable to their Liquid Retina displays — the entire iPhone 12 lineup took a jump in height that exceeded even these by about the same margin.

However, since the iPhone 12 models retained about the same width as the iPhone 11 Pro (with an insignificant increase of a mere 0.03mm), the actual notch area of most of the iPhone 12 lineup still comes in slightly smaller than the iPhone XR and iPhone 11, but not by much — it’s still far closer to those models than all prior OLED iPhones — 0.59 square millimetres less than the iPhone 11 but 10.95 square millimetres more than the iPhone 11 Pro, and 14.94 square millimetres more than the original iPhone X.

This is true even on the iPhone 12 mini, which is the smallest notched iPhone ever made, although to be fair, it’s not that much smaller than the prior iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone XS, and iPhone X, which all featured 5.8-inch displays, putting them almost right in between the 6.1-inch iPhone 12 and the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 mini.

Of the iPhone 12 family, only the 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max is the outlier, with the largest notch of all, coming in a hair bigger in overall area, with almost all of that as a result of its increased height.

To be fair, these differences are virtually impossible to discern with the naked eye, but now only does this show how Apple has actually adjusted the size of the notch over the years, but most significantly, it’s never reduced the size; with the exception of the now-defunct LCD models, the notch has actually been growing year after year.

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