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iPhone 14 Pro’s new design could hide this handy feature

An alleged real-life image of the iPhone 14 Pro, in a user's hand
(Image credit: Sleepy Afternoon/Weibo)

The iPhone 14 Pro’s notch replacement looks increasingly like a mere relocation. Yesterday the news dropped that rather than two isolated cutouts, the two will be joined for a sort of elongated pill design

This report, which felt a little dicey at the time, has since been backed up by the extremely well connected Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman, who tweeted that “having that separation would look odd during use.” 

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But it may not be purely aesthetic, with 9to5Mac (opens in new tab) providing an interesting insight into what else this new design could offer. 

According to the site, a “source with knowledge of Apple’s plans” says that the space between the two cutouts will house two privacy indicator lights: one for the microphone and one for the camera. That way you can know if you’re being surveyed without your knowledge.

This isn’t strictly speaking new — it’s the relocation of existing privacy indicators. On current iPhones, two lights sit slightly to the right of the notch, with a green dot indicating the camera is on and an orange dot informing users that the microphone is running. 

A mockup of the iPhone 14 Pro's privacy indicator lights and new camera UI, by 9to5Mac

(Image credit: 9to5Mac)

The new placement is far more obvious, and on top of that Apple reportedly plans to make them more useful: tapping a live indicator will apparertly tell users which applications are using (or have recently used) the camera and microphone, helping owners track down rogue software more easily.

Interestingly, this new layout will also lead to a redesign of the camera app interface, the site continues. The controls will be moved to the top of the screen to sit below and next to the camera cutout. Flash and Live Photo will apparently sit in the status bar, while “more granular photo and video settings” will sit below it. 

The result is a larger view of the camera preview, as you can see from the site’s mockup, based on the new information.

This, combined with the improved 48MP main camera and larger pixels on the ultra-wide lens, should make the iPhone 14 Pro the photographer’s choice — assuming that early reports of weak low-light performance are wide of the mark.

The long pill cutout and changed camera UI makes plenty of sense, and the sources appear legitimate, so there’s not that much reason to doubt any of it. But we should find out for sure if it’s true very soon indeed. The Apple event is just a week away, and we’re expecting to see not just the iPhone 14, but the Apple Watch 8 and possibly the AirPods Pro 2, too.

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.