iPhone 16 Pro just tipped for a big camera upgrade to fight Galaxy S24 Ultra

iPhone 15 Pro shown in hand
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Apple’s iPhone 16 lineup is a long way from launching, but the company's plans for the cameras on the iPhone 16 Pro models appear to be taking shape. And it could mean some significant upgrades to the rear camera array.

Apple reportedly plans to include a pair of 48MP camera sensors on the iPhone 16 Pro, according to Weibo user Instant Digital. That's no surprise for the main camera — the Pro models have used a 48MP main lens since the iPhone 14 Pro came out in 2022. But it would be a big step up for the ultrawide angle lens, where Apple has used a 12MP sensor for years.

Instant Digital said Apple is planning to use its “pixel binning” technology for the ultrawide lens, allowing for better performance in low-light environments. The technology effectively combines four smaller pixels into a single “super pixel” to take in more light without needing additional components. That would match what the main camera is already capable of on the iPhone 15 Pro's main camera. 

It's unclear from the Weibo report exactly how Instant Digital obtained information on Apple’s plans. And since Apple has always been loath to talk about future launches, there’s no way to verify the claim.

However, there have been earlier reports about Apple’s plans to make significant improvements to the iPhone 16 Pro’s cameras, including one claim that the company was indeed planning to upgrade to a 48MP ultrawide camera on this fall's Pro phones. 

Previous reports had claimed that Apple would look to upgrade the telephoto lens on the iPhone 16 Pro to match the one introduced this past fall on the iPhone 15 Pro Max. That telephoto camera uses a tetraprism design to extend the zoom length to 5x. The iPhone 15 Pro only offers a 3x zoom.

The new Weibo post only asy that the telephoto lens on the iPhone 16 Pro would use a 12MP sensor, the same megapixel rating as the telephoto camera for both iPhone 15 Pro models.

Apple will certainly be under pressure to make some camera improvements to its 2024 iPhones. By the time the iPhone 16 gets released, we'll already have seen the Galaxy S24 lineup. And it's rumored that the Galaxy S24 Ultra is getting some camera improvements of its own with a larger main camera sensor to capture more light and a 50MP telephoto lens replacing one of the 10MP zoom cameras on the current Ultra model. The ultrawide lens on the Galaxy s24 Ultra is expected to remain at 12MP.

Looking ahead, there’s no doubt plenty more rumors will surface about Apple’s plans for its iPhone 16 Pro. But don’t expect to know anything for certain until the company unveils the handset in the fall of 2024.

More from Tom's Guide

Don Reisinger is CEO and founder of D2 Tech Agency. A communications strategist, consultant, and copywriter, Don has also written for many leading technology and business publications including CNET, Fortune Magazine, The New York Times, Forbes, Computerworld, Digital Trends, TechCrunch and Slashgear. He has also written for Tom's Guide for many years, contributing hundreds of articles on everything from phones to games to streaming and smart home.