Hate the iPhone notch? You might love Apple's weird new patent

The notch is one of the most contentious aspects of today's iPhone designs. While it houses the all-important camera and Face ID tech, it's also seen as a blight on the supposedly all-screen design of contemporary models – and many are keen to see it disappear. But rather than remove it entirely, it seems Apple is exploring some inventive methods to minimise its impact.

Apple has just won a patent that suggests the company is experimenting with a notch that is able to 'disappear' when required, thanks to a moving display that would be able to hide the front sensors when not in use. We've been hoping to see a notch-less iPhone hit our best camera phones line up, but perhaps we could settle for a disappearing notch in the meantime.

iPhone 13 render

Will a fully notch-less iPhone like this fan-made render ever become a reality? (Image credit: Ben Geskin)

The patent, spotted by Patently Apple, reveals an "expandable display" that can literally eliminate the notch on demand. In short, when the display is "closed", the movable portion of the display overlaps the notch area. This could either be achieved using a hinge-based "flap", or a sliding component. The latter sounds more desirable to us – a flap sounds rather like something you might find on a pair of 1970s sunglasses.

Apple notch patent

A screenshot from Apple's patent filing (Image credit: Patently Apple)

It's fair to say that iPhone users are crying out to see the notch make an exit – it's currently our readers' number one request for future devices. And for creatives, the benefits are obvious – anything that frees up precious screen real estate for your favourite iPhone apps can only be a good thing. But of course, as with all Apple patents, there's no guarantee that this tech will ever see the light of day. (We're yet to see those teeth-controlled AirPods become a reality.) 

Hopefully we'll find out whether any immediate notch adjustments are in store next month. But remember – 2020 proved that even the normally steadfast iPhone release slot can become a moving target, with the iPhone 12 eventually popping up in October. Thankfully, the 12 proved to be a worthy upgrade – check out today's best deals below, and head over to the Apple Back to School sale for more offers.

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Daniel Piper
Senior News Editor

Daniel Piper is Creative Bloq’s Senior News Editor. As the brand’s Apple authority, he covers all things Mac, iPhone, iPad and the rest. He also reports on the worlds of design, branding and tech. Daniel joined Future in 2020 (an eventful year, to say the least) after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more. Outside of Future, Daniel is a global poetry slam champion and has performed at festivals including Latitude, Bestival and more. He is the author of Arbitrary and Unnecessary: The Selected Works of Daniel Piper (Selected by Daniel Piper).