Did Apple just leak the iPhone 14 always-on display?

The latest beta of Apple's software for developers includes some always-on images

iPhone 14 always on display leak
(Image credit: Twitter / Steve Moser)

No, we haven't gone over to the dark side: that gloomy looking image above is the always-on display for the iPhone 14 Pro. The feature, which isn't expected to come to the standard iPhone 14 models, but will bring the iPhone up to speed with a feature some of the best Android phones have had since forever – and it looks like this time the leak has come from Apple itself.

The leak was spotted by MacRumors' Steve Moser, who posted images to Twitter and explained: "A preview of the rumored iPhone 14 Pro ‘Always on Display’ feature might have been leaked by Xcode 14 beta 4 Simulator." And the feature appears to be a lot more interesting than you might think from the static image above. Apple's taken an interesting approach to waking up your widgets.

How widgets will work on Apple's always-on iPhone 14 display

With the usual beta software caveat that Apple may change things before the iPhone 14 ships, the interface that appears in the Xcode beta doesn’t just go sleep/wake. Instead, it adjusts the amount of detail widgets provide – so when your iPhone 14 is awake your Lock Screen will show your chosen widgets in all their glory, but when your phone is sleeping it'll reduce the detail to the very minimum (like on the Apple Watch Series 7). It also appears that coloured widgets will become monochrome for sleep mode.

If you're wondering why the always-on display is only coming to the Pro and Pro Max iPhones, it's because of their display technology: both models are expected to have displays with refresh rates – how frequently the screen is updated – ranging from a silky-smooth 120Hz to a battery-saving and sloth-like 1Hz; that’s a tenth of the refresh rate in the current iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max

Apple's best cameras for the iPhone 14 are Pro and Pro Max only, and that means the iPhone 14 Pro is looking like the pick of the range for power users: the standard iPhone and its new, larger variant the iPhone 14 Max are going to be relatively minor upgrades over the iPhone 13 and so far at least, I don't think there's going to be a really compelling reason for iPhone 13 owners to upgrade unless they're going Pro.

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written thirteen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote another seven books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com (opens in new tab)).