On iPhone Notch Sizes

No spoilers, but on yesterday’s episode of Connected, we had to contend with how big the iPhone’s notch is, and how it may have changed sizes over the years since the introduction of Face ID in 2017.

Just looking at a pile of iPhones isn’t that helpful when trying to investigate such minutiae. What you need is detailed documentation.

Thankfully, Apple provides just that, in the form of a document named “Accessory Design
Guidelines for Apple Devices,” which is freely available on Apple’s developer website.

The document is for companies creating chargers, cases and just about anything else that can be clipped on, paired to or used with an iPhone. Thankfully, it also works for podcasters with ridiculous jobs, as it includes detailed drawings of every iPhone going back to the iPhone 5.

Using that information, I put together these charts showing the size of the notch1 on various iPhones:

Right off the bat, it’s easy to see that the LCD panel used on the iPhone XR and 11 resulted in a larger notch. At the time, Apple made a big deal of being able to use an LCD panel for a design with rounded edges, but this was a trade-off of that work. As you can see, the iPhone 12’s move to OLED brought the mainstream iPhone more in line with its more expensive siblings.

The thing that really surprised me was how much the notch has changed over the years. Side-by-side, notches on OLED iPhones all look the same, but clearly Apple has done a fair bit of tinkering over the years to the design. In fact, the notches on the iPhone 12 line are taller than any other models.

I wonder what that means when it comes to vastly shrinking the notch, which I think Apple really wants to do at some point in the future…

  1. Please note that the last chart showing area doesn’t account for the radiuses found on the notch. I’m not a mathematician.