Now you see it. Now you don’t...

There’s a small groove on the US iPhone 12 models that appears to be missing from the UK models.

We’re all utterly mesmerised by the four brand new iPhones release by Apple earlier this month, but for those of you with hawk eyes who pay close attention to the details, you may have noticed something on the US models that’s absent from the UK ones.

The iPhone 12 series in all five available colours.
The groove appears to be missing from the UK models above.

Just below the power button on each US iPhone 12, you’ll spot a slight groove that’s a lighter colour than the rest of the iPhone’s design. Those of us in the UK with our eyes set on an iPhone 12 are starting to feel a little left out here and want to know exactly what it is.

Is it an extra SIM tray? A storage slot for a stylus or pencil perhaps? Some advanced way of connecting with aliens in outer space? (Ok, nobody’s asked that but with Apple's NASA inspired LiDAR camera feature, who knows!)

Well, it turns out that this mysterious groove on the US iPhone 12 models is for their 5G tech, and not for making calls to outer space. Weird. It’s in fact a window for mmWave signals and we think Apple have made it visible, so users don’t cover it when holding their phone!

We’ve learnt that Apple’s new iPhones boast top 5G technology, giving users access to the fastest ever 5G network, and they also have more 5G bands than any other smartphone.

So, if this groove is for this incredible 5G technology, then why don’t the UK models have it? There’s a simple explanation; the iPhone 12 doesn’t support mmWave 5G outside of the United States.

Apple’s frequency bands page shows that compatibility with bands n260 and n261 are missing everywhere else in the world which explains why the UK models don’t feature the mmWave 5G ‘window’.

Although mmWave 5G offers incredibly high speeds, we don’t want UK iPhone 12 users to feel bogged down. It seems that this band of 5G is actually inconsistent which certainly makes us feel that little bit better about not having it here!

Apple’s 5G in the UK brings some great perks and we all know that Apple just love to put their own spin on things – and their 5G is no exception to that.

The iPhone 12 displaying 5G and movie and TV downloads.
Apple's 5G brings superfast downloads and high quality streaming. 

Apple have stated that they wanted to bring their users the best 5G experience possible, without any compromise – so they made a few changes! They’ve engineered custom antennas and radio components for higher sensitivity and efficiency.

They also took a look at their software stack and optimised it to take full advantage of 5G, meaning many of your favourite apps can benefit from the perks of 5G without using additional power – clever, right?

One of the major perks of Apple’s 5G is that it’s super-fast AND super-smart. When your iPhone doesn’t require 5G speeds, for example when it’s making updates in the background, the iPhone 12 series will automatically use LTE to save battery life.

However, for those crucial moments like when you’re downloading your favourite shows or movies, your iPhone will jump to 5G. The option to choose to use 5G, whenever it’s available, is always there too – it really is the best of both worlds!

A photo of a girl holding the iPhone 12 horizontally.
The iPhone 12 is the perfect phone for gaming!

So, the mystery of the missing groove is solved. But one thing we’re certain of is that Apple’s 5G here in the UK offers us so much more than we could’ve ever imagined. We’re so glad Apple and 5G finally met up!