iPhone 17 Plus could come with a smaller screen — and that's a shame

Apple iPhone 15 Plus review.
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

There are two very big reasons why you might have wanted to buy a Plus model iPhone over the other models on sale — like the base model iPhone. One of those benefits is the larger battery, which may be reduced on the iPhone 16 Plus, and the other is the larger screen. Sadly the iPhone 17 Plus may miss out on that.

According to display analyst Ross Young, the iPhone 17 Plus will have a smaller screen than the 6.7-inch iPhone 15 Plus that’s currently on sale. While he didn’t say how much smaller the screen might be, it sounds like one more way Apple could be chipping away at the Plus series’ most defining traits.

The iPhone 15 Plus is essentially an iPhone 15 in an iPhone 15 Pro Max’s body. The phone shares the majority of its hardware with the entry-level iPhone 15, but has the same size and basic shape as an iPhone 15 Pro Max — minus premium features like the brush titanium frame. Which means you are getting a larger version of the iPhone 15, plus a bigger battery to keep that screen going.

Starting from the iPhone 16 Plus, things seem to be changing. We’ve already heard rumors that the iPhone 16 Plus may have a smaller battery than last year, and the only iPhone 16 model not to do so. Word is that the battery in the Plus will drop by 9% from 4,383 mAh down to 4,006 mAh.

Battery life

It’s not clear how much of an impact that will have on the phone’s battery life, but it doesn’t bode well. The iPhone 15 Plus has the longest battery life of any iPhone, based on our testing, and stripping that perk away is only going to make the 16 Plus a lot less popular than it could be.

Presumably the iPhone 17 Plus won’t be making any major battery gains either. So by reducing the screen size, its appeal is going to be less than it could have been — though how much depends on how much the screen shrinks. No doubt this is all to better differentiate the Plus from the similarly-sized iPhone 17 Pro Max. 

Honestly, if both these rumors do end up being true, it makes me wonder whether Apple might be trying to deliberately push people away from the Plus model. It’s already pretty unpopular compared to its 3 siblings, and pulling the Plus model could streamline the whole lineup. Especially if the iPhone 16 Pro and Pro Max end up with larger screens, as the rumors have already suggested.

We’re not going to find out the truth for a long time yet, so in the meantime you can catch up on all the latest news and rumors in our iPhone 16, iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max hubs.

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Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.