New iPhone 12 design brings back Touch ID in the weirdest way

iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max concept render
(Image credit: Ben Geskin/Smazizg)

The last major iPhone redesign happened in 2017 when Apple debuted the iPhone X. There haven't been significant changes since then, but some fans long for the classic aesthetic with its Touch ID home button and lack of camera notch.

This goes some way to explaining why we’ve got these iPhone 12 renders to show you, which look either old-fashioned or from an alternate timeline (and in the weirdest possible way). They come from SlashLeaks (via BGR), although the original URL has been taken down — presumably because they’re not actually leaks but unofficial designs, made by alga_kg and techonelogy, going by the watermarks on the images.

(Image credit: Slashleaks/BGR)

What makes these unique compared to other renders of the iPhone 12 we’ve seen is the reintroduction of the Touch ID sensor, albeit as a new kind of semi-circular notch at the bottom of the phone rather than as a home button. In other words, this design would still presumably use the gesture-based navigation introduced on the iPhone X, and featured on every model up to and including the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro.

The front camera notch, on the other hand, has vanished. It is uncertain where the designers picture the front camera would go instead, but the most likely place is probably in the thin bezel between the display and the metal frame of the phone.

(Image credit: Slashleaks/BGR)

On the back, you’ll see a camera patch similar to the one found on the iPhone 11 Pro. However, the camera located where you'd expect the 2x optical zoom telephoto sensor to be has shrunk for some reason, perhaps to accommodate a different type of lens. Meanwhile, on the sides, the mute slider, power and volume buttons are colored differently from the main chassis, which makes it look like a less-vivid version of what Google did with those keys on the Pixel 4.

(Image credit: Slashleaks/BGR)

Like we say though, this phone is not going to be what Apple unveils in September. It’s less realistic than many of the other iPhone 12 designs we’ve seen that have echoed established leaks and rumors, and some of the craziest examples even have built-in projectors.

Ming-Chi Kuo, a well-respected Apple analyst, is our best insight into what the company’s plans are for the iPhone 12. While he’s mentioned some specifics, like Apple offering four versions to choose from, 5G capabilities and a time-of-flight sensor within the rear camera block, there’s nothing to suggest Touch ID will return, or that the camera notch will finally meet its demise.

If you are a fan of Touch ID, you may want to keep an eye on the iPhone SE 2 instead. Rumors, introduced by Kuo himself, say that at least the larger Plus variant of this mid-range iPhone (also called the iPhone 9), will have a Touch ID sensor, except it will be mounted on the power button on the side of the phone instead of on the home button of old. And we could even see that particular device before the end of next month.

If instead you want an iPhone you can actually buy right now, maybe the iPhone 11 is what you should be looking at. It's the best Apple smartphone you can get for your money, and there's not much that separates it from the Pro variants that cost hundreds more.

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.