The lost iPhone features we want back on the iPhone 13 & 14

Without a doubt, there are many existing and upcoming features that would be a welcomed addition to the

. This year, we’re expecting

with a 120Hz display – something many people were unhappy to see missing from the


Of course, we’ve also been waiting to wave goodbye to the infamous notch. That’s highly unlikely to happen in 2021, but if we’re to put our trust in all the leaks and rumors, the notch will at least get narrower, which is also a welcomed improvement.

However, what about « new-old » features? You know – the ones that were part of the iPhone at some point in the past, but Apple decided to do away with. We’ll go through a concise list of all the ones we could think of, and then we’ll let you take the stage and vote for the one you’d most like to see return to future iPhones.

Is Apple reading, and are our wishes going to be heard and come true? We don’t know, but we certainly hope so. As a disclaimer: We don’t necessarily mean former « iPhone-exclusive » features – some of those were also omitted from the majority of Android phones. This piece will be focused on the iPhone.

You’ll find a poll at the bottom of this article which will let you vote for your « most-missed iPhone feature »!

Touch ID is… a touchy subject.

Well, this one doesn’t need much explaining, but still… In a time of masks, visors, and whatnot, Touch ID’s omission has never been more heartfelt.

Furthermore, Face ID was never perfect, to begin with. It’s absolutely brilliant when it works, but… changing your appearance is only one side of the coin, which can technically be solved by registering your « new face » in the Face ID settings.

However, other common things people do with their phone, like using them on a desk and checking something while the phone is on a bedside table, are also a challenge with Face ID.

Sure thing – that will depend on how you use your phone and what your lifestyle is, but for someone who sits on a desk all day, having to lift your phone (so it can see your face) to interact with it can be a bit annoying.

In a nutshell – we don’t want, but we need Touch ID back in some shape or form. Whether it’s going to be an under-display fingerprint reader or a side-mounted one like on Sony flagships – doesn’t really matter. Both have been proven to work just fine, and they don’t require any crazy new tech that’s not yet available. This one is a totally viable option.

Aluminum back, come back!

One not-so-viable wish is the return of the aluminum iPhone. We waved goodbye to the metal iPhone with the iPhone 7, and it’s never been the same. Sure, wireless charging is useful, but Google’s Pixel 5 proved it could be done even if the phone is (mostly) made of metal. Can Apple pull it off? Absolutely. Are they going to? That’s very unlikely.

Not only does Apple not seem to be looking back at the aluminum iPhone option, but we recently heard rumors about a glass-back iPad Pro that would aim to bring wireless and reverse wireless charging to the iPad in the future.

Still, the benefits of a metal case are pretty obvious – they can save you hundreds of dollars. You’d sometimes be better off buying a new phone rather than paying for a glass back replacement, and… it looks nice too!

3D Touch: Touch ID is not the only « touch » we miss

This one seems to be a big PhoneArena favorite. Not that everyone on the team uses an iPhone, but the people who do definitely love 3D touch, and there’s a reason…

3D touch used to set the iPhone apart from other devices. It literally and figuratively gave the user another layer of interaction with the phone. We understand that it had to go because Apple wanted to reclaim the extra real estate in the iPhone’s body, but that doesn’t stop us from protesting!

3D touch took iPhone haptics to another level. Not that they are now bad – iPhones are known for having some of the best haptics on any smartphone. Still, holding down the spacebar to jump between lines of text is SO satisfying with 3D touch. Yes, this software trick is still available, but it’s just not the same without 3D touch.

Sadly, this one is also very unlikely to come back, but it doesn’t hurt getting the word out there!

Accessories: Unboxing experience

If some of the entries on this list could depend on taste or preference, we’d find it very hard to believe that anyone would oppose this one! And… yes – we’re aware that “accessories” aren’t really a feature, but they are very much missed, so here we go!

Apple removed both the earbuds and the iPhone charging brick from the iPhone box in 2020. It would be hard to say that this move affected the sales of the iPhone 12 series, but it definitely caused an outcry on social media.

In fact, the issue isn’t that Apple decided to remove the accessories from the box. The question is – why wouldn’t the company offer a charger and earbuds at no extra cost? You know – for the people who might need them. If you happen to have a charger and a pair of AirPods, why would you bother asking for another set?

However, if you can’t afford to pay $150-250 for AirPods and don’t have a charging brick with USB-C input – that’s an immediate additional cost, which not everyone can or will be able to afford.

In the end – saving the planet is great, but it might not be enough to justify removing the accessories from the $1000 iPhone box.

The headphone jack

Classic. We simply can’t leave this one out because audiophiles will be deeply upset. Again, for a good reason! Wireless audio is clearly the future and pretty much the present too. However, there are some things that just can’t be done without an analog connection.

Take Apple’s new lossless audio feature. It’s impossible to transmit it through Bluetooth. At the moment, AirPods Max can be connected to devices playing Lossless and Hi-Res. You just need to plug them in with the help of a dongle. However, due to the analog to digital conversion in the cable, the playback will not be completely lossless. Ouch!

Is that a problem for the average user? No, not at all. But if you want to listen to lossless audio, you already don’t fall under the « average user » bracket.

Apple’s excuse to remove the headphone jack was « space ». In reality, plenty of small Android phones continue to come with a headphone jack even today. But… no smartphone is built (exactly) the same, so we’ll leave you to be the judge on this one.

We believe Apple simply wants to push AirPods as the future way of listening to music, and we don’t blame Tim Cook and the company. Bluetooth earbuds are convenient, they have a rather satisfying quality for most people, and it makes companies money. We get it!

A single iPhone model for all

That’s probably the most controversial one on the list, but give it a chance! Having a choice is brilliant. We now get four iPhone models to choose from, and if the iPhone 13 rumors are anything to go by, the tradition will continue.

The iPhone 12 Pro Max is perfect for power users who want the longest-lasting iPhone, with the biggest screen for consuming media. Then, the iPhone 12 Mini is simply godsent for people who want to use their iPhone with one hand or just don’t want to carry a brick in their pocket.

However, we’d argue that the iPhone 12 with its 6.1-inch screen is almost a sweet spot for everyone. It’s big enough to consume media while not being heavy, and it’s compact enough to be somewhat manageable with one hand, even if hand gymnastics might be necessary if you have smaller hands.

The point is – making only one iPhone will « make life simple again ». On top of that, there will be many more benefits behind the scenes, which can have a positive outcome for the user – accessories will be universal, which means their cost will come down, as they will be cheaper to produce. The same will apply to the actual phone and repair parts for it.

Is Apple going to release just one iPhone 14 model? That simply won’t happen because we live in a different time. Companies are trying to cater to everyone’s taste, and as we said – that’s not a bad thing.

No camera bump

This one really is not the biggest deal if put in perspective. However, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to use your phone flat on a desk without it rocking around? Another byproduct of this could be fitting a bigger battery inside the iPhone if the body becomes slightly thicker to eliminate the camera bump. It can also help with weight distribution.

Is that the best choice for all iPhone models? Probably not. The Max model will always be rather heavy, to begin with, so fitting a bigger battery and making it bulkier just to eliminate the camera bump might make it nearly impossible to manage.

However, smaller models seem like a perfect candidate for this intervention. Take the 2020 iPhone SE (2020), for example. Yes, the camera bump on this one is very small compared to the iPhone 12 series, but even then – making the SE a bit thicker would have rescued it from its other biggest drawback – the poor battery life. The iPhone 12 Mini is also a good candidate.

All in all, yes – the camera bump talk turned into a battery rant too, but hey – we’ll take a double win any day, Apple! Bring it on!

A curvier iPhone

Again, a controversial one. However, if you’ve had the chance to handle an iPhone 12 or the bigger 12 Pro Max, you’d know that the « feel in the hand » gets… edgy. Literally.

The sharp edges and overall flat design on the iPhone 12 series make the phones look sleek, but handling them becomes a pain. The sharp sides also make the phones feel bigger than they are supposed to.

That’s especially noticeable on the iPhone 12 Pro Max and applies to the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro. We’re leaving the iPhone 12 Mini out of this since it’s simply too small to « qualify » for the « hard to handle » race.

Wallet-friendly pricing

Again, as many of the other parts of this « wishlist », this one applies to smartphones in general – not only iPhones but since we’re talking Apple, let’s stick to it. The iPhone X was the biggest change the iPhone went through… ever. Unfortunately, this also applied to pricing. Although prices had a tendency of going up, back in 2017, buying a $1000 phone seemed like a joke.

Well, Apple’s the one to get the last laugh. Android manufacturers followed in soon, so we quickly got used to the idea of paying $1000 for a premium flagship. But! That doesn’t mean we like it. Expensive flagships opened the way for less expensive « flagship killers » and mid-range phones. Sure, they won’t give you a 10/10 balance of performance, camera, display, battery, and extras, but they come very, very close.

The fact that mid-rangers and flagship killers are becoming more and more popular is a clear call for dropping flagship prices. We know you might not see that coming, but there might be a chance after all!

Also, with the quick advancements made in the folding phone market and the opportunity for a new form factor, what we know as a smartphone today will begin shifting shape sooner or later.

Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 3 is expected to come at a lower price than the Z Fold 2, bringing it even closer to the $1000 mark. In fact, Xiaomi already released the cheapest folding phone – the Mi Mix Fold, which comes at around $1,500.

If the trend continues (and it will), Apple will either have to enter the folding phone race and sell an outrageously expensive folding iPhone compared to the competition or simply drop the price of the regular iPhone models.

Is that a bit of far-stretching theory? It is. But you know what they say – cheap phones are getting good, and good phones are getting cheap. Let’s hope that folding phones will help flagship phones to get cheap… er.