iPhone 15 Pro Max may not get a larger camera sensor after all

iPhone 15 Pro renders
(Image credit: 9to5Mac)

Yesterday we heard a rumor that the iPhone 15 Pro Max could come with a major camera upgrade — thanks to the inclusion of a larger sensor. Today, however, another leaker has dispelled that rumor, meaning we may have to wait until the launch of the iPhone 16 Pro series.

The original rumor came from Ice Universe, who claimed that the iPhone 15 Pro Max would come with the Sony IMX903 sensor. That’s a 1/1.4-inch (0.87-inch) sensor, which is 11% larger than the one on the iPhone 14 Pro lineup. Unfortunately Tech_Reve has countered claiming that the iPhone 15 Pro Max will feature the same sensor as last year.

It’s quite disappointing news to hear, especially given how a number of flagship Android cameras are starting to come with 1-inch camera sensors. The newly-unveiled Xiaomi 13 Ultra is one notable example. While the Sony IMX903 isn’t quite that big, it would still be the biggest iPhone camera sensor to date.

The bigger the sensor, the more light a camera can take in, which leads to brighter and more colorful images in the process. The iPhone 14 Pro Max is already one of the best camera phones, and this kind of upgrade could push the iPhone 15 Pro Max ahead of the mighty Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra.

A previous report claims that the iPhone 15 cameras will double the level of captured light, compared to the iPhone 14, and a bigger sensor would be one of the simplest ways to do that.

But there’s a chance this particular upgrade won’t launch until next year. Sadly, at this stage, there’s no way of telling which leaker has the correct details. We may see other leakers chime in with their two cents, but we won’t find out for sure until Apple officially unveils the iPhone 15 Pro Max later this year.

 iPhone 15 Pro Max: other rumored camera features

In either case, various rumors have pointed towards the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max offering significant improvements where the camera is concerned. The one we’ve heard the most about is the new periscope-style telephoto lens, which could offer enhanced optical zoom without increasing the phone’s overall thickness. 

However, this may be reserved for the iPhone 15 Pro Max, enabling the phone to reach 6x optical zoom. That’s double the amount of optical zoom available in the iPhone 15 Pro Max. That lens may even be capable of variable zoom, allowing the phone to switch between different levels of magnification, all without using digital zoom or requiring a second telephoto lens.

Other rumors include the use of an 8P sensor, which would help reduce distortion on wide-angle shots. An improved LiDAR sensor is also said to be coming, which would improve Portrait mode and AR capabilities, while also improving power efficiency in the process.

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Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.