Wind turbines on the mountain

Unboxing iPhone SE (2020)

I needed a new phone for development and demo use for a side project, so I had a look at what was available. In December 2019 when I bought an iPhone 11 it was around £1500. In June 2020 the iPhone SE (2nd generation) was £419. Now (November 2020) it is available for under £400 but is no longer provided with a power adapter of Earpods as part of Apple's efforts to reach their environmental goals. The iPhone SE (2nd generation) is the least expensive iPhone in the Apple online store. As you can see I chose the Product Red one, as there was no difference in price and it looks distinctive as well as helping a good cause. Don't ignore it because it is the least expensive iPhone - it has the same processor as my iPhone 11!

iPhone SE (2nd generation) iPhone 11 Pro
Processor Apple A13 Bionic
Speed 2.66GHz
Architecture 64bit ARMv8.4-A
Cores Hexa-core (2 high performance Lightning + 4 high efficiency Thunder)
Built-in Memory 3GB 4GB
Graphics Apple-designed 4 core GPU
Source: Wikipedia


Press release image

iPhone SE press image personal or editorial use

Source: Apple newsroom, for personal or editorial use


Note: This is the original version of the iPhone SE (2nd generation) which did come with a power adapter and EarPods.

iPhone SE (2020) Shipping Container iPhone SE (2020) Box shot iPhone SE (2020) Open box iPhone SE (2020) Whats in the box? iPhone SE (2020) Stickers iPhone SE (2020) Lightning cable, Lightning headphones iPhone SE (2020) Lightning cable, Lightning headphones iPhone SE (2020) Product Red edition


Extend the warranty

AppleCare is £79 and covers accidental damage for 2 years.

Protect the new phone

A clear case shows off the red colour and provides some drop protection. A glass screen protector resists scratches.

Developer Setup

It is easy to transfer all the account settings from an existing iOS device by following the instructions from the Apple support guide - Set up your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

Once completed plug the phone in to the macOS based computer you plan to use for development and Xcode will configure the phone for development. You might want to go to Settings -> Display & Brightness -> Auto-Lock to 'Never' so as to avoid having to keep unlocking the device to successfully deploy software for it

You'll also have to register the device with Apple via Xcode. It will ask you the first time you try to deploy a build to it. Use automatic profiles in your Xcode project and this will keep you from having to deal with the complexity of provisioning profiles as much as possible.

Xcode iPhone SE in devices


First impressions

Fast. Lovely screen. Apple call it an aerospace-grade aluminum and durable glass design with an all-black front. It is a quality item nothing low cost or flimsy here. Having to get used to having a button again takes a while after the iPhone X and 11 Pro. Absolute bargain for a new iPhone. For any reasonable end-user or developer this device makes perfect sense.

Long view

This phone now has iOS 15 developer beta installed.

The device runs beautifully quickly and only the black edges around the display and the physical home button betray the older design of the components. I haven't noticed any real world difference between the Haptic Touch on the iPhone SE and its predecessors 3D Touch. It just feels natural to use although if you have got used to buttonless iOS devices it has to be re-learned. Its pretty perfect for a phone and also pretty perfect for a developer device attached to Xcode.

I was surprised to find it supports wireless charging too and also supports fast-charging, giving up to 50 percent charge in just 30 minutes. I had assumed as a lower cost device that it did not have wireless charging.

One year on this is still my go to developer phone. Its on all the time, its fast and it has plenty of battery life even though I often leave it plugged in to my Mac for development. I have had no issues with it and its great.