What the black dot above the display of older iPhones means

On older iPhones, it immediately catches the eye: a small black one above the speaker. But hardly anyone knows its function. Many smartphones, such as the iPhone, have even more “dots” next to the camera on the front. But what do these actually stand for?

Before the iPhone got the fullview screen with notch, you saw the black dot above the display on every device. This is the case, for example, on the iPhone 7 and 8, but also on the more recent iPhone SE (2020). But what is hidden behind it? Iris scanner, camera, microphone or speaker? After all, smartphones have all kinds of practical technology built in. atechbook uses an example to explain which sensors are located where on the iPhone.

The function of the smartphone in detail

Die verschiedenen Sensors on the iPhone
What is what? The different iPhone sensors explained. Photo: atechbook

The black dot above the upper speaker is the proximity sensor. This ensures that you don’t accidentally trigger a touch command when making a phone call to your ear. As soon as you approach the sensor during a phone call, the iPhone display turns off.

Brightness sensor almost invisible in the white iPhone

In addition to the proximity sensor, there is another sensor on the iPhone that scans the environment to help the display set the right brightness. In strong sunlight, the screen is then automatically brighter than when walking at night. On white iPhones, the brightness sensor is barely visible – on a black iPhone, however, the sensor is easier to recognize.

Sensors on the iPhone
Clearly visible on the black iPhone: The two sensors for proximity (left) and brightness (right) above the speaker. Photo: atechbook

Another interesting feature is a small black hole on the back of many smartphones. atechbook has explained the meaning of the dot next to the camera here.

By the way: Just because you might not see a sensor right away does not mean that they are not there. Newer models like the iPhone 12 also come with the aforementioned sensors. However, they are often integrated in the notch and only visible when the device is held at a certain angle due to the dark color.

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