iPhone 13 leak just revealed big camera upgrades

iPhone 13/iPhone 12S concept
(Image credit: Jermaine Smit/LetsGoDigital)

Apple's iPhone 13 is tipped to come with some major upgrades to its ultra-wide and telephoto cameras.

According to the latest rumors, compared to the iPhone 12, new hardware is lined up to offer a big boost to the iPhone 13's photography skills; it's just what Apple needs to help beat back rivals like the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra.

A report by Barclays analysts Blayne Curtis and Thomas O'Malley, seen by MacRumors, claimed that the ultrawide lens on the iPhone 13 will have a size of f/1.8, instead of f/2.4. 

A smaller number means a larger aperture. And a larger aperture means more light passing through the lens to the sensor, which is ideal for low-light photography. 

Apple already offers great low-light images thanks to the iPhone 12's night mode. But this hardware improvement would, in theory, make taking pictures in the dark easier and deliver better low-light photos.

On the iPhone 13 Pro, the telephoto lens is predicted to get a small upgrade. Curtis and O'Malley said it's going to get the same lens as the iPhone 12 Pro Max, (65mm focal length and ƒ/2.2 aperture), which offers a 2.5x optical zoom, a modest increase on the iPhone 12 Pro's 2x optical zoom telephoto sensor.

Ming-Chi Kuo made a similar prediction about the new ultrawide lens, but he claimed only the iPhone 13 Pro models would get it. It won't be until 2022 that all iPhone models, including the basic and Mini versions, get the f/1.8 lens.

Other past rumors have mentioned more iPhone 13 models will get the sensor-shift technology found on the iPhone 12 Pro Max, and the LiDAR sensors from the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max. With the iPhone 12 Pro Max sitting pretty at the top of our best camera phones list, we're excited to see how more iPhones with the same tech will further shake up the pecking order.

However, we should expect this year's iPhone to resemble the iPhone 12 on the whole. Aside from a smaller Face ID notch, most of the changes will be internal, such as a new A15 chipset, more storage, and an under-display Touch ID sensor.

Don't be alarmed if we don't see an iPhone 13 this September though. This year's iPhone may be called the iPhone 12S instead of iPhone 13, to better reflect the smaller scale of changes compared to the latest models. Yet even with only minor upgrades, we'd still expect the next iPhone to be an easy pick for the best phones of this year.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.