iPhone 15 design — here’s the biggest changes to expect

iPhone 15 concept by 4RMD
(Image credit: 4RMD/YouTube)

Update: Check out our Apple Event live blog for the latest from Cupertino on the iPhone 15 and more.

Several iPhone 15 design changes have been rumored, leaked and near-enough confirmed in the past few months. So it's good to get familiar with them in ahead of the Apple September event.

A few changes are tipped for the standard iPhone 15 and the iPhone 15 Plus, but even more are claimed to be coming to the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max/ iPhone 15 Ultra. This includes things like more models with Dynamic Islands, titanium side rails, an Action button and a more rounded silhouette.

We won't have to wait long to find out the truth about the iPhone 15's design, since Apple's Wonderlust event is set to take place later today (September 12), which is prime iPhone reveal time when you look back at previous iPhone launches. So until the details are official, here's the rundown of all the iPhone 15's key design details.

iPhone 15 design: Size and types

Starting with the basics, Apple is believed to be launching four total iPhone 15s: two measuring 6.1 inches and the other two measuring 6.7 inches. More specifically these are thought to be the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro at 6.1 inches, then the 6.7-inch iPhone 15 Plus and one other model. We'd expected this one would be the iPhone 15 Pro Max initially, but now there's a chance that the name could change from Pro Max to Ultra but whatever it's called, we're fairly certain we'll be getting just one 6.7-inch premium iPhone.

Dummy models of (left to right) the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max

(Image credit: Macotakara)

No size difference though, and no re-introduction of a 5.4-inch mini model last seen with the iPhone 13 mini. We're a little sad that there's no iPhone 15 mini for buyers who like smaller handsets, but considering the mini iPhones suffered from poor sales, it would be a logical choice from Apple to not bring it back.

iPhone 15 design: Display

You can check out our iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro display guide for everything that's been rumored about the specs for these phones' screens, but here let's talk about the changes that relate to the look of the new phones.

The big one is the iPhone 15 Dynamic Island, which we're told is coming to standard and Pro models alike. As this was previously an iPhone 14 Pro-exclusive feature, it's welcome news for non-Pro iPhone buyers that they'll be able to use features like Live Activities more effectively.

A screenshot of a video showing an iPhone 15 dummy with a Dynamic Island notch display

(Image credit: alpha856697 / Twitter)

The displays on the Pro models specifically have been tipped to get slimmer bezels, giving us a few more lines of pixels in the same-sized body. Hopefully this doesn't mean an increase in accidental screen touches like edge-to-edge curved displays are prone to though.

iPhone 15 design: Sides

A lot of the action for iPhone 15 design upgrades is around the edges of the phone, with three out of the four side rails tipped to get potential changes.

One of the biggest is that we should get iPhone 15 USB-C port charging, instead of the familiar Lightning connector. We've had ten years' worth of iPhones with Lightning ports, but now Apple's decided (ahead of the EU forcing it to) to swap to the common USB-C port you've likely seen on other recent phones, tablets and devices. This could bring faster charging and data transfer speeds to the iPhone 15 series, though possibly only to the Pro models.

iPhone 15 dummy units

(Image credit: MacRumors / YouTube)

We're expecting the sides of the standard iPhone 15 models to be made out of aluminum as has been the case before. However, there could be titanium side rails on the Pros, marking out the more expensive models as the more premium devices, and making them lighter overall compared to previous Pro iPhones and their stainless steel sides.

iPhone 15 Pro CAD render camera bump and buttons

(Image credit: 9to5Mac)

The mute switch, seen on iPhones since the very first model, seems to be disappearing on the iPhone 15 Pro in favor of an Action button instead. This is supposedly a button that you can still use to mute and unmute the iPhone, but is also renbindable to perform other actions or open different apps as you need.

One small change, but one you may also notice easily when you handle the iPhone 15 itself, is repositioned buttons. Apple often tweaks the precise height of the power and volume buttons on each year's iPhone, which may mean older iPhone cases may not work with the latest models, but otherwise won't make a huge difference to how you use the phone.

Lastly, a change that has been confirmed as not happening: Touch ID. We're only expecting Face ID and PIN unlocking once again as methods for opening up the iPhone 15 series. Bad news for anyone who enjoys the reliability of a fingerprint scanner over Apple's sophisticated but sometimes inconvenient facial recognition.

iPhone 15 design: Back

Finishing up with the iPhone 15's back panel, there are still some rumored changes here that may be hard to see but will still have an impact.

Dummy model of the iPhone 15 Plus in an iPhone 14 Plus case

(Image credit: Macotakara)

The back of the iPhone 15 could be where the alleged curved edges are most visible. These could make the new iPhones sit more comfortably in your hand compared to the right-angled edges on current iPhones. It's hard to judge this just from dummy units that we've seen images of, but the phones seem to be rounder than the iPhone 14, but not as round as the iPhone 11 series, which were the last iPhones with fully round edges.

The iPhone 15 will supposedly also include a more easily removable back glass panel for easier repairs. Hopefully not a feature you'll ever need to use on your particular iPhone (and one you'll likely still need specialist tools to make use of), but one that's good to have just in case. 

iPhone 15 design: Colors

Colors are of course a key part of a phone's design, and it just so happens that the iPhone 15 colors have already been thoroughly leaked. For color options on the Pro models, we'll apparently get new Titan Gray and dark blue colors, as well as black and white. That means no gold option for the first time on a Pro iPhone, which could annoy some users.

iPhone 15 colors via Sonny Dickson

(Image credit: Sonny Dickson/Twitter)

As for the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus, your choices will be black and white as usual, plus more unique light blue, pink and possibly cyan/mint green options.

iPhone 15 design: Outlook

The iPhone 15 is still going to look like an iPhone you already know. There's no sign of an iPhone X-style overhaul this year. But there are quite a number of potential changes to look out for when the phone arrives.

With several new available colors, softened edges, updated materials and new buttons and ports, you could play a decent game of Spot the Difference between the iPhone 14 and iPhone 15, especially the Pro models. Perhaps it's something you could try along with us while watching the Apple Wonderlust event live on September 12.

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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.