iPhone SE

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iPhone SE
IPhone SE logo.svg
The iPhone SE smartphone in Silver
iPhone SE in Silver
BrandApple Inc.
SloganA big step for small.
ModelA1662 (US model)
A1723 (Sprint and in most countries)
A1724 (China Mobile model)
Compatible networksGSM, LTE, 3G, 4G, EDGE, UMTS, HSPA+, DC-HSDPA, CDMA, EVDO
First releasedMarch 31, 2016; 3 years ago (2016-03-31) (16 and 64 GB); March 24, 2017; 2 years ago (2017-03-24) (32 and 128 GB)
Availability by region
DiscontinuedMarch 21, 2017 (2017-03-21) (16 and 64 GB)
September 12, 2018 (2018-09-12) (32 and 128 GB)
PredecessoriPhone 5S
RelatediPhone 5
iPhone 6S
Form factorSlate
  • 123.8 mm (4.87 in) H
  • 58.6 mm (2.31 in) W
  • 7.6 mm (0.30 in) D
Mass113 g (4.0 oz)
Operating systemOriginal: iOS 9.3
Current: iOS 13.1.2, released September 30, 2019 (2019-09-30)[2]
System on chipApple A9
CPU1.85 GHz dual-core 64-bit ARMv8-A "Twister"
GPUPowerVR GT7600 (hexa-core)
Memory2 GB LPDDR4 RAM[3]
Storage16, 32, 64, or 128 GB
Battery3.82 V 6.21 W·h (1,624 mA·h) Lithium-ion battery
Data inputsMulti-touch touchscreen display, Apple M9 motion coprocessor, 3-axis gyroscope, accelerometer, digital compass, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, Touch ID fingerprint reader
Display4.0 in (100 mm) Retina Display, LED-backlit IPS LCD, 1136 × 640 pixel resolution (326 ppi) with full sRGB standard, 500 cd/m2 max. brightness (typical), 800:1 contrast ratio (typical)
Rear cameraBacklit Sony Exmor RS 12 MP (1.22 μm), dual-tone LED flash, autofocus, IR filter, burst mode, f/2.2 aperture, 4K video recording at 30 fps, 1080p at 30 or 60 fps, slow-motion video (1080p at 120 fps and 720p at 240 fps)
Front camera1.2 MP, f/2.4 aperture, exposure control, face detection, auto-HDR, Retina Flash, 720p video recording
SoundMono speaker, 3.5 mm stereo audio jack
ConnectivityNear-field communication (NFC), Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, GLONASS, Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac), VoLTE, Wi-Fi calling, Lightning Port, 3.5 mm stereo audio jack
OtherFaceTime audio- or video-calling
SARHead SAR: 1.17 W/kg
Body SAR: 1.19 W/kg
Hearing aid compatibilityM3, T4[4]
WebsiteiPhone SE - Apple at the Wayback Machine (archived December 30, 2016)

The iPhone SE (SE for "Special Edition"[5]) is a smartphone that was designed and marketed by Apple Inc. It is part of the ninth generation of the iPhone alongside the iPhone 6S. It was announced on March 21, 2016 at the Town Hall auditorium in the Apple Campus[6] by Apple executive Greg Joswiak,[7] with pre-orders beginning on March 24, 2016.[8] It was officially released on March 31, 2016.[9][10] It was re-released almost a year later on March 24, 2017 with larger storage capacities.[11] The iPhone SE shares the same physical design and dimensions as the iPhone 5S, but has upgraded internal hardware, including the newer Apple A9 system-on-chip, greater battery capacity, and a 12-megapixel rear camera that can record 4K video. Along with the iPhone 6S and the iPhone X, the iPhone SE was discontinued by Apple on September 12, 2018.[12][13][14]


The previous major redesign of the iPhone, the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus, resulted in larger screen sizes. However, a significant number of customers still preferred the smaller 4-inch screen size of the iPhone 5 and the iPhone 5S.

Apple stated in the Let us loop you in event on March 21, 2016 that they sold over 30 million 4-inch iPhones in 2015, further explaining that some people love smaller compact phones. Later in the event they presented the iPhone SE, describing it as "the most powerful 4-inch phone ever."[9][15][16]

With a total mass of 113 grams (or 4.0 ounces), the iPhone SE is one of the lightest iPhone models released, only surpassed by the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5 (both having a total mass of 112 grams, or 3.95 ounces).

The iPhone SE, iPhone 6S, and iPhone 6S Plus were the last iPhone models to feature a standard 3.5 mm stereo headphone jack.[17]

No affordable successor to the iPhone SE was announced during the September 12, 2018 Apple Special Event, and Business Insider stated that "Apple made a big mistake by removing its smallest and most affordable iPhone from its lineup", suggesting that the company was disregarding a significant number of customers who had been worried over the loss of the smaller design.[18] This was affirmed by Computerworld, who claimed that "the harsh reality is that across some of Apple’s biggest markets, wage growth has stagnated, and people are feeling the pinch", further stating that there will always exist consumers in the mid-tier smartphone markets.[19]

In relation with the discontinuation of the iPhone SE, Quartz mentioned on September 22, 2018 that women and other smartphone users with smaller hands have reported "pain from holding, scrolling, and swiping on phones, and a review of research on the ergonomics of handheld devices concludes that bigger products, like large phones and tablets, often result in overextension of the thumb and wrist", hinting to repetitive strain injury and that oversized iPhones and smartphones in general can be physically unusable for several users.[20] The technology website Gizmodo shared the same concern, hoping that "there will be a return to smaller phones", and expressed a desire "to hold one's phone in a single hand, and be able to use it fully."[21]

On January 19, 2019 the iPhone SE was back on sale as a clearance item for $249.[22][23] However, by January 20, 2019 stock was sold out.[24] On February 20, 2019 TechRadar announced that the iPhone SE once again was on sale as a clearance item with a $100 price reduction. The price for the 32 GB version was $249, while the price for the 128 GB version was $299. The iPhones were unlocked, with AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon as optional SIM card carriers. It was available in all original colors, including Space Gray, Silver, Gold, and Rose Gold.[25][26][27][28][29] On March 25, 2019 Gizmodo reported that the iPhone SE was back in Apple's clearance shop, and added that "it’s likely the last of Apple’s stock that the company has finally put on clearance."[30]



The exterior design of the iPhone SE is nearly identical to that of the iPhone 5 and the iPhone 5S, with the exception of matte-chamfered edges and an inset stainless steel rear Apple logo. Cases designed to fit the 5 and the 5S will also fit an iPhone SE.[31] The iPhone SE was available in the colors Space Gray, Silver, Gold, and Rose Gold.[32]

Color Name Front
Space Gray Black
Silver White
Gold White
Rose Gold White


The iPhone SE incorporates the Apple A9 system-on-chip (SoC) with an M9 motion coprocessor and supports near field communication for Apple Pay. It was originally released with 16 GB or 64 GB of internal storage. It features a 12 megapixel rear-facing camera with the ability to record 4K video at 30 frames per second. Unlike the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, the SE does not include 3D Touch, nor the updated faster second-generation Touch ID sensor from the 6s and 6s Plus,[33] or its barometer.[34]

On March 21, 2017 Apple announced that it would double the storage for these models at the same launch prices. The upgraded models were released on March 24, 2017 with 32 GB or 128 GB of internal storage.[35][36]

With the introduction of iOS 13, the iPhone SE, along with all supported iPadOS devices, will support Apple’s replacement for 3D Touch, known as Haptic Touch. This process is similar to 3D Touch, but rather is created in software and doesn’t give the user any Taptic feedback, due to the lack of Apple’s Taptic Engine as seen in later iPhones such as the iPhone 6s or iPhone 7.[37]


The iPhone SE originally shipped with iOS 9.3, supporting iPhone 6- and 6S-exclusive features such as Apple Pay, Live Photos, Retina Flash, and always-on Siri voice activation.[32][34][38] The SE is compatible with iOS 13.[39] During the WWDC 2019 Keynote, Apple announced that the iPhone SE will support most of the main features of iOS 13, including the new dark mode, which aims to reduce eye strain.[40]


CNET was positive, considering the iPhone SE to be a "great choice at the small end, with no compromises".[36] CNET also lauded Apple for accomplishing the task of adapting the 6S's hardware to three different form factors; the smaller 4.0-inch SE, 4.7-inch 6S, and 5.5-inch 6S Plus.[41][36] In a later article, CNET summarized the iPhone SE to be “the smaller, more pocketable member of the iPhone family. It was Apple's compact, budget option, and its 4-inch screen and tinier overall size were total throwback stuff. Consumers loved the battery life and that it still had a headphone jack.”[26]

The Verge considered the iPhone SE to be "a much-improved, well-designed, small phone with great battery life" and a "great upgrade" for existing owners of the 4S or 5S models, noting the device's familiar form factor, high performance (going as far as considering the screen size itself to be the only hindrance to multitasking and certain apps), and improved battery life. Giving the device an 8.7 out of 10, Goode argued that "the iPhone SE is not a tiny little engine of innovation. It's today's tech in yesterday's phone body. As with anything, we should be wary of giving too much praise to something that's just doing its job."[42]

TechCrunch admired the iPhone SE's design and mentioned that the phone appealed "not just to the nostalgic and neophobic, but simply people who prefer a smaller phone. I don't have particularly large or small hands, but I preferred this highly pocketable, proven design to the new one for a number of reasons", describing the phone further as "the best object Apple ever designed, filled with the best tech it had ever developed. It was the best phone it ever made."[43]

GSMArena mentioned that the iPhone SE "struck the right balance between size, cost, and performance" and that it "helped Apple sell more phones than predicted in the summer of 2016, helping it beat analysts expectations and was strategic for Apple in price-sensitive markets such as India and China where Apple struggles to match its success from Western markets."[44]

Tom's Guide acclaimed the iPhone SE for being an affordable and compact smartphone with a headphone jack. Stating that “even worse than holding a big phone is carrying it around. When I'm done holding my iPhone SE — comfortably — I can slip it into the pocket of jeans, and almost forget that it's there. That's simply not possible with a big-screen device, which adds considerable bulk and bulge no matter how thin phone makers try to squeeze it.”, praising the possibility and practicality to “simultaneously charge my phone and listen to music”, and reported that “smartphone sales are stalling, Apple's included. Perhaps in an effort to find some way — any way — to convince people to buy a new phone, Apple might figure it needs to build a device that appeals to us compact phone devotees.”[45]

The Next Web described Apple’s iPhone SE as “the best looking phone it's ever made”, further mentioning that “the SE is essentially an iPhone 6S fitted into the compact, beautifully designed body of the iPhone 5 from 2012. It’s one of the only phones you could get with a bead-blasted aluminum body. I owned a 5S for years, and loved using it without a case because I couldn’t get enough of that unique satin finish and the classy chamfered edges. And after switching to Android some years ago, and having switched between dozens of phones over the past few years as a reviewer, I sorely miss the sort of attention to detail that these older iPhones showcased.”[46]

Macworld called the iPhone SE a "pocket-size powerhouse", and described its 4-inch screen as "easier to reach with your thumb while you’re holding the phone one-handed". The smaller size was described as "the biggest deal for me when using this iPhone. Suddenly I could drop my phone into any pocket again (pockets on women’s pants are small too), and comfortably reach the whole screen", further describing the iPhone SE as "powerful, speedy, and a worthy addition to the low end of the lineup."[47]

Timeline of models[edit]

iPhone 11 ProiPhone 11iPhone XRiPhone XSiPhone XiPhone 8iPhone 7iPhone 6SiPhone 6iPhone SEiPhone 5SiPhone 5CiPhone 5iPhone 4SiPhone 4iPhone 3GSiPhone 3GiPhone (1st generation)
Sources: Apple Newsroom Archive[48]

See also[edit]


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  2. ^ "Get your iPhone and iPad ready for iOS 13 and iPadOS 13".
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  4. ^ Apple (September 12, 2018). "About Hearing Aid Compatibility (HAC) requirements for iPhone - Apple Support". Apple Support. Retrieved October 8, 2018.
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  6. ^ Michael Calore (March 10, 2016). "Apple's Spring 2016 Event Will Be Held on Monday, March 21". Wired. Retrieved October 2, 2018.
  7. ^ Apple (March 23, 2016). "Apple - March Event 2016 - YouTube". Apple (YouTube.com). Retrieved October 2, 2018.
  8. ^ Apple (March 21, 2016). "Apple Introduces iPhone SE — The Most Powerful Phone with a Four-inch Display - Apple". Apple (apple.com). Retrieved October 6, 2019.
  9. ^ a b New Rising Media (March 21, 2016). "Apple iPhone SE Announcement - YouTube". New Rising Media (YouTube.com). Retrieved October 2, 2018.
  10. ^ Vlad Savov (March 21, 2016). "iPhone SE announced: iPhone 7 specs, iPhone 5S size, $399 price - The Verge". The Verge. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  11. ^ Chris Welch (March 21, 2017). "Apple doubles iPhone SE storage to 32GB and 128GB - The Verge". The Verge. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  12. ^ Benjamin Mayo (September 12, 2018). "iPhone SE and iPhone 6s no longer sold by Apple (and iPhone X gone too)". 9to5Mac. Retrieved September 29, 2018.
  13. ^ Avery Hartmans (September 13, 2018). "Apple just quietly killed off a bunch of older iPhone and Apple Watch models — here are the products that are gone forever - Business Insider Nordic". Business Insider Nordic. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
  14. ^ John McCann (September 13, 2018). "The iPhone SE and iPhone 6S are dead, and that's not good for the iPhone SE 2". TechRadar. Retrieved September 30, 2018.
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  34. ^ a b "5 features you don't get with the iPhone SE". CNET. CBS Interactive. Retrieved March 22, 2016.
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  37. ^ Tour of iPhone SE on iOS 13!, retrieved 2019-09-12
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  48. ^ Apple Inc. (2007-2018). iPhone News - Newsroom Archive. Retrieved September 28, 2018.

Preceded by
iPhone 5S
iPhone SE
9th generation
Succeeded by