iOS 16 clue makes it clear to me Apple is plotting a folding iPhone

In the betas of Apple's iPhone software, a really big hint might be hiding in plain sight

iOS 16 lock screen
(Image credit: Apple)

I love folding phones, and I really want Apple to make a folding iPhone; the arrival of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4, Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 and the Motorola Razr 2022, all three of which are genuinely clever and desirable devices, has me even more convinced that an Apple foldable would be one of the best foldable phones around. 

And having used the beta of iOS 16, the software that'll launch alongside the iPhone 14, I'm increasingly convinced that a really big hint is hiding in plain sight right there on my Lock Screen. Here's why.

If you look at the image above, you can see the new Lock Screen widgets that'll be available on every iPhone and which will also work on the always-on display coming in the iPhone 14 Pro. But when you look at the available customisation, you're limited to a very small area of the display. Given that you've got a whole iPhone screen to play with here, there's no real reason why you should be cramming all your info into the top third of the Lock Screen.


iOS 16 Lock Screen

(Image credit: Future)

Is the iOS 16 Lock Screen future-proof for a foldable?

The basic design of folding phones is pretty well established now. You have a big folding screen inside, and a smaller panel on the outside. That panel doesn't need to do everything; that's what the big screen is for. All you really need is the time, key notifications and maybe a couple of status widgets.

With that in mind, look at the widget version of the iOS 16 Lock Screen I've posted above from my iPhone 13 Pro, which has the same size of display as the iPhone 14 Pro is expected to have. Now, imagine that the top third is the front display of a folding iPhone. And when you factor in that one rumour says that Apple was considering a monochrome E-ink panel instead of an OLED, those simple, single-colour widgets on the Lock Screen look tailor-made for that – and just as useful for an always-on OLED that isn't too distracting.

I'm purely speculating, of course. But a folding iPhone 15 or iPhone 16 with that widget setup on the front, the camera bump on the back and a normal iPhone screen on the inside would be pretty much my perfect phone. And I think it'd be pretty appealing to a lot of other iPhone fans too.

Whatever foldable Apple is working on, we won't see it any time soon: so far it seems like the most likely launch of an Apple foldable is 2025, and it's possible that Apple may make a folding iPad first because it's been having trouble getting the right amount of glass for a folding iPhone. So for now I'm just going to have to Photoshop my widgets onto a Samsung Galaxy Flip 4 and hope that I'm thinking what Apple's thinking.

Carrie Marshall

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 more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (