Originally Published on November 16, 2022
Apple’s iPhone has come a long way since it was first released in 2007. Over the years, the company has removed features from the device for various reasons. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the history of iPhone features that Apple removed. Therefore, if you’re wondering what was once on iPhones but is no longer present, we’ve got you covered.
The latest inclusion of the iPhone 15 is great, but there was always something special about the original iPhone. We’re taking you back in time when the technology wasn’t advanced as today, but it was no less than magic…
Let’s take some retrospectives on how far mobile innovation has come since our first iPhones came out back in 2007 – when they were nothing more than 3GS models without much fuss or fanfare. We also included some of the upgrades which Apple made to the iPhone over the years.
Table of Contents
Since the release of the first iPhone in 2007, Apple has used a SIM card known as a Mini-SIM. In 2010, Apple released the iPhone 4, which featured a new smaller SIM card known as the Micro-SIM. This was a big change from the previous iPhones, which used the larger SIM cards. The new Micro-SIM was much more compact and allowed for more space inside the phone for other components.
✅Upgrade: In the same year, Apple switched from using a TFT display to an LCD display. The TFT Display was used in the iPhone 3GS. Apple made this change in order to make the iPhone 4’s display sharper and more vibrant. However, this change was not well received by customers and led to complaints about the LCD display was harder to read in direct sunlight and that it was not as durable as the TFT display.
Plastic Rear Panel
When the iPhone 4 was released, it featured a brand-new design that incorporated a corning-glass back panel and stainless-steel frame. This was a departure from the plastic rear panel that had been used on the iPhone 3GS and many people were excited about the change.
The Micro Sim had been with the iPhone 4 from the beginning. But then the iPhone 5 came along, with its new Nano Sim technology. The Micro Sim was suddenly out of date, left behind in a world that had moved on without it. And so, Apple removed the Micro Sim in order to make the iPhone 5 thinner than its predecessor.
Corning-glass back panel
Apple once again altered the design and build of the iPhone 5 by replacing the glass back with an aluminum and glass body. The back of the iPhone 5 is constructed from anodized 6000-series aluminum, the same material used in Apple laptops. It is more resilient than the glass back.
✅Upgrade: The original iPhone was released in 2007 with a 30-pin connector, which was used to charge the device and connect it to other accessories. When Apple released the iPhone 4S in 2011, it included a new 30-pin connector port which allowed new features, such as Thunderbolt data transfer.
However, with the release of the iPhone 5 in 2012, Apple removed the 30-pin connector in favor of its new Lightning connector. The Lightning connector is smaller, faster and more durable than the 30-pin connector, and it is also compatible with a wider range of devices.
3.5mm Headphone Jack
In 2016, Apple made the controversial decision to remove the 3.5mm headphone jack from the iPhone 7. This meant that users would either have to use wireless headphones or connect their wired headphones to the iPhone using a Lightning adapter. Some people praised Apple for making this change, as it made the iPhone slimmer and more streamlined. However, many people were frustrated by the change, as it meant having to buy new headphones or adapters. Despite the complaints, Apple has continued to release new iPhone models without the headphone jack.
Dual Tone LED
✅Upgrade: iPhone 7 comes with a number of new and improved features, but one change that may not be immediately obvious is the switch from dual tone LED to Quad-LED dual-tone flash. iPhone 6s and previous models feature a dual-tone LED. The iPhone 7 takes this one step further with a Quad-LED flash that produces more consistent and natural-looking light.
✅Upgrade: Apple is always looking for ways to improve the iPhone, and in 2017 they made a big change with the screen. The iPhone X was the first model to feature an OLED display, and it was a huge upgrade from the LCD screens that had been since the original iPhone (2007). OLED screens are thinner and lighter than LCDs. They provide better contrast and colors that appear more vibrant.
Home Button and Touch ID
In 2017, Apple made a major change to the iPhone when it released the iPhone X. The iPhone did not have a Home Button or Touch ID for the first time. Instead, Face ID was introduced as a new way to unlock the iPhone and authorize payments. This change was controversial, and many iPhone users were resistant to it. While some users miss the home button, others appreciate the cleaner design of the all-screen iPhone.
The iPhone X featured a number of design changes from previous models. One of the most significant changes was the switch from an aluminum back to a glass back. The iPhone X followed suit, ditching the aluminum for glass. The move to glass was likely motivated by a desire to enable wireless charging, as aluminum cannot support this feature. Glass is also more fragile than aluminum, so the switch has resulted in an increase in iPhone repair costs.
The iPhone XR, debuted in 2018, was the first iPhone since iPhone 6S and 6S Plus without 3D Touch. 3D Touch is a pressure-sensitive display feature that was introduced with iPhone 6S. It allows users to access quick actions by pressing on the screen with varying pressure levels. iPhone XR uses an alternative called Haptic Touch. Haptic Touch is a long press with a haptic feedback vibration. It allows users to access some of the features that were available with 3D Touch.
The iPhone 11 features a dual-camera system. This gives iPhone 11 the ability to take better pictures in low-light conditions and also lets you zoom in without losing any quality. Additionally, Apple removed Quad LED with Dual LED in the iPhone 11. The iPhone 11 now has a Dual LED True Tone Flash, which is just as bright as Quad LED but uses less battery power.
Charger and EarPods
In technical terms, it’s not an iPhone feature at all, rather it’s a feature taken away from iPhone Box in order to make it thinner. iPhone users were disappointed when Apple removed the iPhone charger and EarPods from all new iPhone boxes. Many iPhone users were left scrambling to find compatible chargers and headphones. Apple’s decision to remove the charger and EarPods from the iPhone box was a bold move that saved the money, Apple reportedly saved $6.5 billion
✅Upgrade: iPhone 12 models have one of the most noteworthy changes is the switch from Scratch-resistant glass to Ceramic Shield glass. Ceramic Shield glass is four times more resistant to drops and scratches than the iPhone 11. iPhone 11 is made of a single piece of machine glass while Ceramic Shield used in iPhone 12, 13 and 14 offers four times better drop protection than the glass used for the iPhone 11.
SIM card tray
Previous year iPhone 14 model comes with many new features, but the most notable change is the removal of the built-in SIM card tray. Instead, iPhone 14 uses eSIM technology, which allows users to connect to a cellular network without using a physical SIM card. This change may be difficult for some users to adjust to, but it offers several advantages and disadvantages.
Apple’s latest flagship model, the iPhone 15, introduces a significant change by replacing the Lightning port with a USB-C port. This move was prompted by the need to comply with upcoming regulations set by the European Union. The standard iPhone 15 comes with a regular USB-C port, while the Pro version boasts a USB 3.0 port with impressive speeds of up to 10 Gbps. The shift to USB-C brings compatibility with a wider range of devices and faster data transfer capabilities, enhancing the overall user experience.
Apple removed the Ring/Mute switch with the release of the iPhone 15 to make room for touch-sensitive buttons that don’t move but provide you haptic feedback. Instead, they mimic the feeling of pushing a button using haptic feedback. Similar to the Apple Watch, iOS allows you to modify the button to suit your needs.
With the recent release of the iPhone 15, Apple finally said goodbye to the notch throughout its entire iPhone series. The notch, which debuted with the iPhone X in 2017, has been replaced by a revolutionary feature known as Dynamic Island. The front camera and Face ID module have been relocated to a large pill-shaped recess towards the upper edge of the display, called as Dynamic Island by Apple. Dynamic Island has been incorporated into the iPhone’s base models, allowing users to experience the Pro-level feature.
While it’s always fun to look back and see what used to be on our iPhones, it’s also interesting to think about why they were removed. Whether it was because of making the iPhone slimmer or Apple deciding that another feature was better suited for the iPhone, we still miss these features even though they’re no longer available. So, which one of these features did you miss the most? Let me know in the comments below!