Apple may soon eliminate the notch from your Mac and iPhone

So many Apple devices have the divisive notch cutout these days that the feature has almost become its own brand, yet it continues to stir disapproving glances and attempts to hide it wherever it’s seen. Apple could now be on the brink of eliminating it for good.

That’s because the company recently filed a patent in Europe outlining how future Apple devices, from Macs to iPhones, could do away with the notch once and for all, giving you a borderless experience that’s unbroken around the screen. It’s a grand idea, and Apple thinks it knows how to make it work.

An Apple MacBook laptop with the macOS Ventura background wallpaper and the notch seen at the top of the display.
Bram Van Oost / Unsplash

The problem at the moment is that your Mac or iPhone display contains a whole heap of tech that’s used every day, such as a webcam, Face ID sensors, an ambient light sensor, and more. People want an all-screen display with thinner bezels, Apple’s patent explains, but that would require putting all these components underneath the screen. And doing that seriously restricts how much light they get, and how well they will work as a result.

Apple believes it has found a solution, though, by adding transparent areas to a display that could let in the necessary amount of light for these components. That way, all the necessary components could be hidden under the main display and get all the light they need to function properly.

Paving the way for under-display Face ID

mbile trends FaceID
Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

But hold on, you might say — if there are transparent areas on the display, won’t that look ugly? Surely you’d be able to see your Mac or iPhone’s internals through these gaping holes? Well, Apple believes it knows how to fix that problem too.

The patent notes that the transparent areas of the display could be extremely small — just a few dozen millionths of a millimeter across, for example. These transparent areas would be densely packed, yet so small that you wouldn’t notice them in use.

In other words, you get the best of both worlds: a borderless Mac or iPhone display with no notch in sight, and all the cameras and sensors you need for your device to work as expected.

If Apple decides to put this idea into action, we could finally get the under-display Face ID tech many people have been requesting for years. We already know that Apple is still working on bringing Face ID to the Mac, and we may soon get that fantastic piece of facial recognition tech without needing to grimace at an unsightly notch every time we want to use it.

All that said, this is just a patent filing, and Apple might never put it into action. That would be a shame, though, because while the notch (and the Dynamic Island it evolved into) is recognizable, it’s a necessary compromise. With any luck, it’s a compromise that might not be around for too much longer.

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