Say goodbye to those ugly labels on the back of your iPhone


These ugly labels will soon be a thing of the past. Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac
These ugly labels will soon be a thing of the past. Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac

On otherwise flawless devices that strip away any unnecessary components, the ugly small print on the back of an iPhone or iPad — including the serial number, FCC logo, CE logo and model number — has always stood out.

Well, thankfully Jony Ive and the rest of his design-obsessed team can finally do away with it for good, thanks to the E-label Act law signed in by President Obama on Wednesday. The bill, which unsurprisingly was heavily supported by those in the tech industry, means that gadget makers can now add software-based labels as opposed to having to print the identifying information onto their hardware.

The change to Federal Communications Commission rules makes a lot of sense, particularly as devices get smaller. While this year’s iPhones are bigger than they have been previously, and we’ve heard reports of a 12.2-inch iPad, devices like the Apple Watch will certainly benefit from being without this particular eyesore. And it doesn’t hurt that our iPhones and iPads will look a lot cleaner too.

Senator Deb Fischer, who authored the bill, called it “common sense,” and said that it was designed to bring the law into the 21st century.

Source: The Hill

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  • Guest

    So, symantics perhaps, but Presidents do not pass laws, Congress does. Presidents sign them after Congress has passed them.

    • FootSoldier

      Well the president can veto the bill if he wants, so in the end I think the president may have the final say. Like Truman said “The Buck Stops Here”.

  • josephz2va

    What’s funny is that the apple products are the only ones that have it mostly.

    Motos, Damsungs and a few others don’t have serial numbers or CE logo printed on the back.

    • Paul Lloyd Johnson

      That’s because they are hidden under a cheap plastic back

  • sigzero

    Really? Who cares about that?

  • Dutchman

    What about that UGLY ‘Designed by Apple…’ crap? Bet that stays – who wants that on the back? I bet no matter how small the device, you will always find their stamp cluttering up the interface (which is what they whined about to congress in the first place).. Besides, the UK devices still have to have the CE on the back…

  • Bob Level

    Luke, go watch School House Rock on How a bill becomes a Law right now. I’d send you a copy, but my 6 year old is writing a paper on it for his homework. You’re welcome.

  • Jonathan R Wegner

    Happy about the icons — unhappy about the serial # and model # — especially when you’ve killed a device and the OS or device won’t start.

    • PMB01

      Those will surely stay. This is only about the regulatory symbols, not the stuff Apple actually WANTS to put on the back.

  • Rick

    Unlike the rest of you, I feel that there is a necesity for serial numbers on the outside of these devices; it allows for easier tracking down of lost/stolen devices. When a device is stolen/lost, if the owner knows the Serial Number, it can easily be identified and verified. In the case of a unmarked device, there is no identifying Serial Number to verify against. This is extremely evident in the case of locked out devices. So then their device is never found at least in the eyes of police who might be looking for it. It falls into the prove it’s yours senario.

    • PMB01

      And this law won’t change that.

  • Rich

    I can’t believe that really bothers anyone. On my iPhone 6 it is a bunch of very small letters under the word iPhone. Most people use a case anyway. This is a perfect example of of a “first world problem”.

  • Winski

    Well, we know that Senator Fischer has never worked in the bowels on ANY high tech organization. Clearly not smart enough.. Every engineer, design professional, manufacturing type and reasonably good marketing folk will loose a small chunk of their soles when those marks come off. To get those marks approved mandates that the specific product goes thru an almost unrational suite of tests to insure the product is safe and not emitting any form of radiation that’s harmful to life or environment… These test suites cost a boat load of money to achieve and can cause almost unrational delays or product rejection if they don’t pass the testing stipulated. But politicians don’t give a hoot about any of that… Just the press they get for doing something stupid…

  • apelosi

    This actually has a larger impact on smaller devices, such as wearables and watches, than phones. As someone who works in small consumer electronics, we actually sometimes have to design the product AROUND the rating label (either sticker, laser engraved, painted, etc.). For example, we ended up scrapping a watch back with a coin slot (twist to open) in favor of one where you have a lip tat can be popped off with a flathead screwdriver in part because the coin slot took away much needed real estate to fit all the icons and numbers necessary to sell that watch with that particular rating label in a wide range of countries (each with different certifications). I am hoping this will not only impact products sold in the US but on other countries as well, otherwise it’s only aesthetics and doesn’t help to improve the design. So I agree with those who don’t see the benefits for phones, but for wearable devices it can actually help to improve the design itself.