iPhone SE 4 could be like iPhone 14 — but with three key changes

Unofficial renders of the iPhone SE 4
(Image credit: Jon Prosser/Ian Zelbo)

More iPhone SE 4 details have been leaked, giving us a vivid picture of a phone that sounds a lot like last year's iPhone 14, but with some important differences and upgrades (via MacRumors).

The next-gen iPhone SE (supposedly called D59 or Ghost inside Apple) is apparently going to be a big departure from the current iPhone SE, which is based on 2017's iPhone 8. For one, it'll take the iPhone 14's basic body shape, meaning Apple's cheapest iPhone will finally get a flat-sided aluminum chassis, and a bigger 6.1-inch display with a notch and Face ID. 

A possible Midnight color option is also said to be being tested for this device, which would follow on nicely from the iPhone SE 3's options of Midnight, Starlight and Product RED colorways.

As it stands, this sounds like a big upgrade from the iPhone SE 3, although some users will probably miss having a Home button or Touch ID, or find the larger size of the handset less to their taste. But as the rest of the leaked details explain, this won't be a simple relaunch of Apple's 2022 base iPhone model at a lower price.

iPhone SE 4: The biggest differences

For one, the iPhone SE 4 will apparently use a USB-C port, in-line with the iPhone 15 series which has abandoned Lightning in order to comply with incoming EU legislation. This could frustrate some long-time iPhone users who are used to Lightning cables, but should mean the iPhone SE 4's easier to charge in a pinch, since many other devices use this connector.

Another feature tipped to be taken from the iPhone 15 series and added to the iPhone SE 4 is the Action button. This is something we've only seen on the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max so far, but which has been tipped for the iPhone SE 4 previously, and the upcoming iPhone 16 as well. It replaces the mute switch seen on iPhones going back to the 2007 original, and serves the same purpose by default, but can also be reconfigured to act as a shortcut for several other apps or functions.

The last big change applies to the new iPhone SE's rear cameras. It'll reportedly be equipped with a single 48MP rear camera, which would be a big resolution bump from the 12MP sensor on the back of the iPhone SE 3, but there would be no ultrawide photo abilities as found on the iPhone 14. It would also have the knock-on effect of making the new iPhone SE 4 weigh less than the iPhone 14, and have a different rear panel design to accommodate the different camera arrangement.

With the iPhone SE 4 believed to be launching in 2025, there's still plenty of opportunity for Apple to develop the next-gen budget iPhone in a different direction to what we've heard here. But going by the steadiness of the rumors up to this point, it feels like Apple's got its collective mind made up on what the future holds for its budget iPhone models.

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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.