Forget thinness – get rid of these bezels

By , Jan 29, 2016

iPhone 6 concept (Federico Ciccarese 001)

It’s no secret that for quite sometime now, Apple has been on a seemingly never-ending quest for thinness. Each new iPhone, iPad, and Mac is almost always thinner and lighter than its predecessor, as millimeters and grams are shaved off with most every hardware iteration.

Some users have voiced their willingness to deal with a slightly thicker, heavier device for the sake of better battery life, feeling that Apple’s form-over-function attitude should be put on hold in favor of more screen-on time between charges.

Being an iPhone 6s Plus user myself, I have no qualms with the battery life I’m experiencing and would like Apple to continue focusing on slimming down devices, but by cutting out the atrociously large bezels surrounding my screen rather than slicing off a couple more millimeters from the back.

The simple fact is that once the thinness of a device passes a certain point, it no longer significantly reduces the device’s footprint by making it feel anymore small or sleek in hand if the device is past a certain width. When holding my iPhone 6s Plus, it feels thin, certainly, but that’s not what I notice. More than anything it feels wide, tall, and generally rather obese, despite Apple’s attempts to reduce its physical space.


Sharp’s Aquos Cystal, an Android phone with almost no side or top bezel

If Apple could reduce the device’s face to only that necessary to house the screen, Home button, earpiece, and proximity sensor, I doubt anyone would complain that nothing was shaved off the back that year. I simply want my 5.5-inch device to be a lot closer to 5.5 inches than it actually is.

Dramatically decreasing bezels would also allow Apple to release an iPhone with a larger display, possibly a 6-inch screen, an iPhone I would certainly consider buying were its footprint approximately the same as the current Plus line. Such a move would also make the device feel much smaller – and the screen feel much bigger – in hand, creating a considerably more satisfying experience.

After trimming off the sides, Apple could then continue to focus on decrementing the millimeters, as users would actually feel a difference in depth if all they were holding was screen. Obviously, such decisions would reduce battery size and, as a consequence, battery life unless single-charge hours continue to go up while cell size reduces.

iPhone 6 concept (Federico Ciccarese 003)

Another factor is that of accidental touches around the sides of a screen with little to no bezels. Apple has already dealt with this when designing iPad, a product that has users constantly touching the screen with half a thumb, particularly when holding the device in portrait mode, by implementing a form of touch rejecting, and the same thing could be done in iPhones that lack a significant bezel.

One might argue that screens will crack easier with less protection around the glass, but as someone who has never cracked a display on any of his devices, this wouldn’t have any adverse effects with me, as I don’t make a habit of dropping my devices. Granted, many people do, but the curved edges of the iPhone 6s glass already invite cracks to the screen, and many phones currently have glass all the way to the edge of the device, even if the screen doesn’t quite reach.

Regardless of the side effects, the removal of bezels around an iPhone’s screen would do wonders for both its aesthetics and its in-hand feel – far more than millimeters off the back. This would make such a difference that I would be content if the only hardware change in the iPhone 7 was an edge-to-edge display. What are your thoughts?

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    Not having bezels is stupid. If you’re holding a screen with your hands, who would want something covering or unintentionally interfering with the content. It’d be like printing a book with words that went all the way to the edges. Pointless. The size of our phones is fine

    • Estaril

      I totally agree with you. No bezels is stupid thing.

    • Innes

      The first 20 or so pixels in from the edged may not need to be touch sensitive so that would negate any accidentally touches. When you’re holding your phone you’re only covering a small part of the screen so not a great loss. The advantages I could think of with edge to edge tech would be little magnets in the side of your iphone so you could join up two or more and have a larger screen e.g. put your phone next to your friends and have a large game of pong on the table lol! I’m sure I saw a concept video a few years ago on this site showing something along those lines.

    • Mark S

      +1 No bezels is stupid. I’m not someone who just stares endlessly at his wallpaper. I actually need to be able to USE the thing.

    • therealjjohnson

      Agreed. How would phone cases work? Just doesn’t make a lot of sense.

    • :D

      Looks stupid too

    • @sexyhamthing

      Uh-huh, that can all be software circumvented.

      Its not like samsungs edge is a failure or anything :/

      • jameskatt

        Samsung’s edge has been a failure. That is why Samsung is losing profit and marketshare.

    • mickey

      No bezels may not work but reducing the bezels would. I think the note 5 is a perfect example of how it could turn out. Smaller footprint than the plus but a slightly larger screen without causing interference/disruption.

    • ninux

      I agree that not having bezels is stupid, but reducing in 40% the side of the side ones, and 25% of the top and bottom, without even affecting the home button would be an awesome usability and looks improvement, well, maybe next year.

  • Great read and I totally agree with you. As nice as a slightly thinner iPhone might be, getting rid of the bezel would be such a greater improvement!

  • DevXav

    That would be amazing..

    With OLED technology and touch rejecting control it is totally possible AND GOOD having no bezels having a way better use of the phone’s front area.

  • Nolan I.

    “If Apple could reduce the device’s face to only that necessary to house the screen, Home button, earpiece, and proximity sensor…”

    What about my selfie camera?!

  • zustroy

    I’ve been talking that for years!
    Apple didn’t make good looking phone since iPhone 4.

    I won’t buy another iPhone untill they get rid of that stupid bezel and home button.

  • I’d like to see Apple do something about the slipperiness of an iPhone 6S without a case. Why not imbed a thin rubber grip band into the case side?

    • jameskatt

      Why not just spray the case with tacky film?

  • Joey

    Didn’t the 6S get thicker?

  • There’s still plenty of room to shave off, from the top and bottom bezels first, whilst still keeping the Home button and symmetry(Which Apple loves).

  • Andres

    I think side bezels arent the issue, just the top and bottom bezels

    • raulortiz318

      That’s a tricky one. Some bottom bezel is necessary, not only for the home button obviously, but also for where it helps situate the screen in your hand. It helps lift the screen into a good spot for typing, and without it, the angle your thumbs would point at would be extremely uncomfortable to type with.

      The sides are a good area to shrink, as it reduces how wide you have to open your hand to grip the phone, and would allow for easier use of the “go back” swiping gesture used in most apps.

      Bezels in general are pretty necessary. Whenever I see the “no bezel” phone designs, they make me laugh because there is no understanding of how humans perceive content on a screen or page. It is the reason why margins exist on documents, webpages, and books, and why directors and good photographers will use composition technique to focus our eyes on what they want us to look at.

      Without bezels and margins, the content we are looking at bleeds into the world beyond it, and causes our eyes to take in too much information, and we lose focus on what we should be looking at.

      Sorry for the long response! But I always like to point this out when I read articles regarding no bezels.

  • fiiiiine

    But cases?

  • iPhoneWINS

    yes… iPhone is boring and repetitive now fact … time too do something different and cool and make battery better

  • RedMercury

    One issue: If you remove the bezels, how do you do a “Back” swipe?

  • HamptonWalley

    I agree with the writer, apple devices have big bezel! The iphone 6s is already too big, but without all those wide sides would be more confortable To use, could be better to navigate with one hand.

  • Garrett

    What would this do to 3D Touch?

  • Jason Jones

    I agree. The bezels are much too large. Case in point….

    The Note 5 has a larger screen than the iPhone 6 Plus yet is an overall smaller device. Why? The bezels are much smaller on the Note. I see no reason Apple can’t pull it off.

  • Jayy

    This is what my dream iPhone looks like

  • Bigfoot Expert

    might as well remove bezels on macs too (joking)

  • jay

    i think that apple has to step up a bit. the galaxy s6 edge looks nice. but not a big android fan so for me an iPhone. but when i see the note 5 body screen ratio my 6 plus is way bigger with a smaller screen. so i think that apple has to do something however my battery life is way better so bigger bezel bigger battery

  • Mike S

    Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait for Apple to actually reduce the ridiculous bezel sizes, then all the apple fans below will agree with you 100%

  • Mark Mary Francis

    Have a samsung S7 Edge – can’t stand the edge to edge display. Accidental touch is a HUGE issue with it.