It seems the iPhone 14 will get our most wanted new feature after all

iPhone 14 render
A fan-made render of the iPhone 14 (Image credit: Matt Talks Tech)

From better battery life to the addition of USB-C, there are a few features that have been topping iPhone users' wish lists for years now. One of the most rumoured enhancements is the inclusion of an always-on display, which is already a huge hit on the Apple Watch. And now, new leaks (courtesy of Apple itself, no less) suggest it might finally happen in 2022.

An always-on display could allow basic information such as the time, date, and notifications to remain on-screen without needing to press the power button. And the latest beta of iOS 16, released this week, reveals that Apple's new iPhone wallpapers appear optimized for the always-on treatment. (Don't fancy waiting? Check out the best iPhone 13 deals available now.)

iPhone 13 render

An always-on display could show basic information all the time (Image credit: EverythingApplePro)

As spotted by 9to5Mac, the new iOS 16 wallpapers (which include a delightful blast from the past) are in fact multi-layered vectors, capable of being rendered in various brightness modes. And a new state in Beta 4, titled 'Sleep', is particularly dark. As anyone with an Apple Watch will know, wallpapers in 'always-on' mode are often much darker versions of the standard visual.

iPhone 14 wallpaper in normal and sleep modes

An iOS 16 wallpaper in normal mode (left) and 'sleep' mode (right) (Image credit: Future owns)

Indeed, it seems iOS 16 is taking more than a few design cues from the Apple Watch. Not only are dynamic wallpapers such as the 3D 'portrait mode' making the jump to iPhone, but the Fitness app will no longer require an Apple Watch to be used on iOS.

iOS 16

iOS 16 is taking design cues from WatchOS (Image credit: Apple)

Quicker access to essential information can only be a good thing for creatives – being able to glance at the time on your iPhone while it's sitting on your desk certainly sounds more convenient than having to reach for the power button to illuminate it. Plus, in his Power On newsletter, seasoned Apple leaker Mark Gurman recently explained how the refresh rate of the lock screen could be significantly reduced, allowing the screen to display constant information without a huge impact on battery life.

To be honest, the feature doesn't sound quite as essential here as it has proven on the Apple Watch. The inability to glance at the time on the Watch without tapping it (or using the awkward 'raise to wake' option) rather hindered its usefulness as a, you know, watch. But if it could speed up creatives' workflows on iPhone, then it's certainly worth having. While time will tell if always-on will indeed arrive this year, it's yet exciting addition to the ever-growing pile of iPhone 14 rumours.  

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Daniel John
Senior News Editor

Daniel John is Senior News Editor at Creative Bloq. He reports on the worlds of art, design, branding and lifestyle tech (which often translates to tech made by Apple). He joined in 2020 after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more.