iPhone SE 4 suddenly sounds like the ultimate cheap iPhone

Good news for budget buyers, but not so great for budget buyers with small hands

Apple iPhone XR being used by a woman in a rain coat in the rain, with water dripping down her hood
(Image credit: Apple)

The 2022 iPhone SE is a great cheap iPhone and one of the best cheap phones full stop. But it's a very old design now, and it's also very small compared to the average budget phone. So reports that it could be getting a very big upgrade could make it a much better buy. The current model isn't selling brilliantly, partly because it's a pretty old phone despite its more modern innards. So a facelift is well overdue.

According to YouTuber Jon Prosser (opens in new tab)'s Geared Up podcast, the next generation of the iPhone SE, which Prosser refers to as the iPhone SE 4, will be "just an iPhone XR". That means moving from a 4.7-inch display to a roomier 6.1 inches, and to a phone with a much bigger battery.

In our iPhone XR review in 2021 – after it had been superseded by the iPhone 11, the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 13 - we said it delivered a great experience for a great price, with a decent screen, decent cameras and a decent processor. So what can we expect if the iPhone SE 4 takes the same body?

What to expect from the iPhone SE 4

The current iPhone SE (2022) has the same A15 Bionic system on a chip as the iPhone 13, and we wouldn't expect to see anything newer in a larger model: with some iPhone 14 models sticking with the A15, there's no way Apple's going to offer a more advanced processor in a less expensive iPhone. But that's no bad thing: the A15 is a perfectly fast processor, and if it's good enough for my iPhone 13 Pro it's good enough for any budget iPhone.

It's also significant because while the cameras on the SE and iPhone XR aren't state of the art, a lot of Apple's photographic work is based around computational photography – that is, processing that happens after the image has been acquired. So with an A15 on board the SE would be capable of running whatever improvements Apple introduces in iOS 16. It'd certainly be capable of running the Night Mode that the current iPhone SE doesn't have.

I'm quite excited by this, but then I have big hands. With the iPhone 13 mini apparently headed for the dumpster, if this rumour is true then it means the smallest Apple iPhone on offer will be a 6.1-inch device. The current iPhone SE is a good option for people who don't want or need big phones, and who find smaller models more comfortable; it looks like Apple has decided that there aren't enough of those people for smaller iPhones worth making.

Realistically we're some way away from a new iPhone SE launch: Apple tends to be on a biannual cycle with the SE, so I wouldn't expect the new SE to appear this side of Christmas. So if you're a fan of small iPhones, you've still got plenty of opportunity to take advantage of the best iPhone SE deals on Apple's soon-to-be-superseded pocket rocket.

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)).