iPhone 13 leak reveals always-on display, portrait mode video and a way to shoot the night sky

iPhone 13/iPhone 12S concept
(Image credit: Jermaine Smit/LetsGoDigital)
  • The iPhone 13 will reportedly feature an always-on display, which will allow you to quickly review notifications, battery level and the time. 
  • Apple will introduce several camera upgrades, including an improved ultra-wide lens, an astrophotography mode and a portrait video mode.
  • The iPhone 13 design will feature a matte surface with an improved grip, as well as stronger magnets for MagSafe charging. 

A big iPhone 13 leak has revealed an always-on display, design changes and some smart new photography modes.

Being able to see the time and notifications without picking up the phone is common on Android devices, but would be a first for iPhones. You can also expect Apple to extend its lead on our best camera phone list and some welcome design upgrades.

There are several intriguing pieces of information from the latest video published by YouTuber EverythingApplePro and leaker Max Weinbach. However, the juiciest leak is the always-on display. 

iPhone 13 always-on display

The display will look like a simplified lock screen, and will always show the clock and battery level, comparable to the one on the Apple Watch 6, and will offer some minor customization options. 

To save on battery life, notifications will only activate the portion of the screen where the alert pops up, and only briefly before switching off again.

Weinbach also said iPhone 13 Pro models could come with an LTPO 120Hz display, much like the Samsung Galaxy S21. But this is a rumor we've heard from several reliable sources already.

iPhone 13 camera upgrades

We can expect a few camera upgrades too. The main hardware change is a better ultra-wide camera on all models. This is thanks to a new sensor, plus a six-piece (up from a five-piece) lens that will help make shots less prone to distortions.

Within the camera app itself, Apple's going to introduce a dedicated astrophotography mode. Similar to how night mode is enabled when you're in a low-light environment, you'll activate this mode when you point the phone at the stars or the moon, with the settings helping you record the night sky in greater detail.

The final new feature EverythingApplePro revealed is a portrait video mode. This will offer a blurred background on video footage when enabled, but you'll be able to customize the depth of field after shooting so you can get it just right. There are no specifics given on whether this can be used on any of the iPhone 13's cameras or just a select few.

iPhone 13 design tweaks

Since this year's iPhone is widely considered to be only a minor upgrade to the iPhone 12, it follows that the flat-sided design will be returning. However, there are a few differences in store, according to EverythingApplePro.

Some models are going to get a new matte back with a "slightly more grippy texture," comparable to the one on the back of the Google Pixel 5. This likely refers to the Pro models, since the iPhone 12 Pro has a matte back while the basic iPhone 12 has a glossy finish, although Apple could decide to change this.

Beneath the surface of the next iPhone, Apple will be swapping out the current MagSafe magnets for stronger ones, making attaching a MagSafe charger or accessory easier to do. Weinbach claims that these new magnets won't affect the thickness of the phone, although EverythingApplePro mentioned that Japanese outlet MacOtakara said there will be a slight increase in thickness to account for the new magnets.

AirTags and Apple Watch 7 news

The video also mentions some other Apple accessories. The AirTags trackers are finally arriving in March or April, with the related software already rolled out. Meanwhile, the Apple Watch 7's mental health-tracking features are now poised for a 2022 release at the earliest.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.