Apple introduced the iOS 14.2 update in November, which added 100 new emojis, new wallpapers, and other quality of life improvements. While the company is typically candid in stating exactly what each new software update brings to the table, the list of improvements did not include 1080p FaceTime support on older iPhones. Low and behold, the update introduced that very thing.
As spotted by MacMagazine, Apple updated the product comparison pages for iPhone 8, iPhone X, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, iPhone SE, and iPhone 11. These devices now all state that they support 1080p FaceTime calls over Wi-Fi. Previously, the older models would only display images at 720p over cellular data and on Wi-Fi.
The Verge later confirmed this with their own trial testing. Conducting a FaceTime session over a Wi-Fi connection, the differences were fairly noticeable. If a FaceTime call is made over cellular data, the displayed image would still render at 720p. Even though the iPhone 12 is able to display FaceTime calls at 1080p, this is under the caveat of being attached to a 5G networking connection.
It’s also worth pointing out that the device the other person is using can affect the quality of the image being relayed to your device. The iPhone X only has a 7MP front-facing camera. This will likely result in a more grainy image displayed on the other device during a FaceTime call. An iPhone 11, however, has an 11MP front-facing camera. In this case, the difference between 1080p and 720p could be a bit more noticeable for the other user.
It’s still not known why Apple didn’t flag this update when the company released the iOS 14.2 update. Perhaps Apple didn’t see it as a hot ticket issue with a lot of its focus now on iPhone 12. Nonetheless, users of older iPhone models can now take advantage of the newly added 1080p FaceTime support. This is a welcoming bonus, especially this year.