Touch ID is dead, so the iPhone SE needs to think different

The iPhone SE is tipped for a major redesign that'll make it much more modern

iPhone SE 2022
(Image credit: Apple)

We really rate the iPhone SE (2022), which is Apple's cheapest iPhone and has been our pick of the best cheap phones since its launch. But while its innards are perfectly current, its design makes it look positively ancient – and a big part of that is the prominent chin that houses the Touch ID button. Following on from previous reports suggesting a big redesign of the iPhone SE is on the cards this year, new reports suggest the design could be even more dramatic than predicted.

Those new reports say that Apple is shutting down its Touch ID division. According to an integrated circuit expert on social network Weibo, a poster who has a decent track record in reporting Apple plans, almost all of the Touch ID manufacturing equipment has been shut down; all that remains is the machinery to make the current iPhone SE. That suggests that Face ID, not Touch ID, will be the way to unlock the 2024 or 2025 iPhone SE.

What changes are coming to the iPhone SE?

As per previous reports, the next iPhone SE is expected to look a lot like the iPhone 14 – another indication that Touch ID could be for the chop, as that's a Face ID phone with no room for a Touch ID sensor. We're expecting a single camera lens on the back instead of the iPhone 14's two, but that lens is expected to get a 48MP sensor so it should still be pretty decent. USB-C is a given now that Apple has moved over to the universal connector.

The fact that these details are leaking now suggests that plans for the next iPhone SE are fairly advanced, and that means we could see it later this year; that would be two years since the last refresh, which in turn was two years after the previous one. 

Although Touch ID appears to be dead for the foreseeable future, that doesn't mean that Apple has given up on fingerprint recognition. It's been rumoured to be working on below-screen sensors for both fingerprint and facial recognition for some time now, and while those sensors aren't expected imminently they're still apparently on the roadmap for future iPhone models.

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).