iPhone 16 Pro’s 1TB model could see a surprising downgrade — here’s what we know

Unofficial renders of the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max from the front and back
(Image credit: MacRumors)

Apple could be facing a tough choice when it comes to the storage in the upcoming iPhone 16 Pro. It could use a flash memory that's higher-density and less expensive, or go with lower-density memory that's pricier, but faster and more reliable.

That's the dilemma according to a DigiTimes report, which says that Apple is considering the change for the 1TB version of the next generation of its smartphone.

The company is reportedly speculating on the choice to swap from the more expensive Triple-Level Cell (TLC) NAND to a higher-density Quad-Level Cell (QLC) NAND flash memory, which could allow Apple to push the storage to as high as 2TB.

However, QLC NAND is reportedly less durable and reliable than the more expensive option. It also trades its larger storage capacity with slower speeds for both reading and writing. This means that the iPhone 16 Pro could offer worse performance. 

A mock-up render of an alleged iPhone 16 Pro prototype featuring a punch hole cutout instead of a Dynamic Island

(Image credit: Majin Bu/X)

The lower speeds could be an issue if the iPhone 16 Pro’s RAM remains at 8GB. While Apple's reluctance to increase the RAM in its phone is supposedly down to the increased price of semiconductors, it's counter to what other smartphone makers are doing; for example, the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra could have up to 12GB of RAM and the Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro packs up to 24GB of RAM.

However, Apple has a reputation for getting the most out of its hardware, so it may not need additional RAM. Especially with a faster new A18 Pro chip on the way. 

While the hardware may not be much different for the iPhone 16 Pro series, Apple will reportedly focus more on AI for this generation. Rumor has it that Apple will offer AI features across several of its own apps, as well as a revamped Siri

For now, stay tuned to our iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 hubs for all the latest rumors and leaks. 

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Staff Writer

Josh is a staff writer for Tom's Guide and is based in the UK. He has worked for several publications but now works primarily on mobile phones. Outside of phones, he has a passion for video games, novels, and Warhammer.