Mystery Patch on Edge of iPhone 12 is a mmWave 5G Antenna Exclusive to U.S. Models

We've been getting a number of questions from readers about a mysterious "patch" on the edge of all of the iPhone 12 models introduced today. The patch is unlabeled on Apple's specs page, but The Verge has confirmed that it is a window for the mmWave 5G antenna.

iphone 12 antenna window
mmWave 5G support is only included on U.S. models of the iPhone 12 lineup, and thus the window is only present on those devices, as seen in images shared on Apple's pages for various countries.

iphone 12 mmwave comparison

Side-by-side comparison showing U.S. phones with the antenna window and international phones without (via Apple and The Verge)

The mystery patch was first seen in leaked schematics dating back many months, and was initially speculated to potentially be a Smart Connector or docking site for a small Apple Pencil, given its similar appearance to the magnetic ‌Apple Pencil‌ attachment site on iPad Pro models. That speculation was, however, quickly dispelled as new rumors indicated it was for a 5G antenna.

Related Forum: iPhone

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Top Rated Comments

AstroBackpacker Avatar
48 months ago
It should have been a fingerprint reader like the new iPad. :(
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TSM Avatar
48 months ago
Rest of the world: pay more for less.
That's taking care of costumers.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JimmyBanks6 Avatar
48 months ago
So what’s the technical reason this is USA only, and why aren’t non-USA phones $50 cheaper since they don’t need the mmWave modem.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
farewelwilliams Avatar
48 months ago
inb4 youtubers make Antennagate test videos by covering up that patch with their hand.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
twistedpixel8 Avatar
48 months ago

It should have been a fingerprint reader like the new iPad. :(
Yep, that’s why I’m skipping iPhone 12. Maybe TouchID will make a return next year. As good as FaceID is, I really miss it.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TantalizedMind Avatar
48 months ago

inb4 youtubers make Antennagate test videos by covering up that patch with their hand.
Is it not normal to hold the phone with your hand?... I’m scared to ask what you use to hold your phone.... ?
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)