iPhone SE 4 tipped for USB-C, Face ID and the new Action Button too

Leaked specifications indicate a pretty major upgrade for Apple's most affordable iPhone

iPhone SE 4 phone in silver, red and gold
(Image credit: 4RMD)

The iPhone SE 4 isn't expected to arrive any time soon – the most recent reports indicate that it's been delayed into 2025 – but it could be an iPhone worth waiting for. A new leak suggests that Apple's best iPhone for budget buyers could be getting some significant upgrades for its fourth incarnation.

The leak comes via Unknownz21 on Twitter, who has a reasonable track record of reporting things Apple isn't ready to reveal. According to the leak, the iPhone SE 4 will follow the rest of the iPhone line by swapping out the Lightning connector for USB-C, something required by EU legislation, but it's the other upgrades that are the most interesting. It looks like the SE 4 is going to have a very dramatic design change.

What's new in the iPhone SE 4?

If the leak is correct, the iPhone SE 4 is about to drop one of the SE's most divisive features: the Touch ID button at the bottom. That gives the current model the same large chin as earlier iPhones, and it's long since been abandoned in the mainstream iPhone line: Apple dropped it in favour of Face ID in the iPhone X, back in 2017.

I think that change is long overdue, because of course having to have a big button in the front of the iPhone means there's less room for a display – and while I'm all for smaller phones, I'd rather their screens weren't made even smaller. An iPhone SE with the same all-screen design as other iPhones would be very welcome, even if it does mean getting the dreaded notch at the top instead.

The leak also details two other key specifications: a single-lens rear camera and, interestingly, the same side-mounted Action Button previously reported as an iPhone 15 feature. If it's also coming to the iPhone SE it suggests that it won't just be the Pro models that get the button, which made its debut in the Apple Watch Ultra

I'm a fan of the iPhone SE – my eldest has one – but it's looking awfully old even though it was updated only last year, and while the inside is completely current – its A15 processor is very fast – the outside feels positively ancient. A move to USB-C, Face ID and a whole-screen design would bring it in line with the rest of the iPhone range without sacrificing its pocket-friendly size; as we said in our iPhone SE (2022) review, "while the small size will be welcome for many, it also means a screen that will be too small for others". 

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; her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, was shortlisted for the British Book Awards. When she’s not scribbling, Carrie is the singer in Glaswegian rock band Unquiet Mind (unquietmindmusic).