New iPhones could get a front camera upgrade — but not the iPhone 16

iPhone 15 Pro with mute icon shown in top corner
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Dissatisfied with the quality of your iPhone-shot selfies? Relief could be on the way in the form of an upgraded front camera — though it's apparently not part of the plans for the iPhone 16 models due to come out this fall.

Instead, it's the iPhone 17 that will ship with a 24MP front-facing camera, longtime analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in a new post on Medium. The analyst claims that the upgraded lens will have six elements and deliver substantially improved selfie image quality.

Upgrading to a 24MP lens would be a major improvement for the iPhone lineup. Since the iPhone 11, Apple has used a 12MP TrueDepth cam to take self portraits. There've been changes here and there — the front camera on the iPhone 14 added autofocus and went with a new f/1.9 aperture, but megapixels have remained the same.

Current iPhone front camera use a five-element lens. More elements in  lens let in more light for brighter pictures with less distortion. So a six-element lens would be an upgrade.

Kuo’s report would be bad news for those planning to get an iPhone 16 this year, since he believes Apple will stick with the same 12MP front camera in whatever comes out this fall. The 24MP would appear in the iPhone 17 — or whatever Apple winds up caling its 2025 handsets.

When the change of front iPhone camers does hapen, the combination of additional resolution and the six-element lens should allow for substantially improved photos that will be clearer when zoomed in on, have fewer distortions, and ultimately enhance the camera’s performance in low-light conditions.

It may seem weird to talk about iPhone 17 features when the iPhone 16 is still nine months from shipping at the earliest. But this isn't the first we've heard about Apple's phone plans for 2025 — the phone maker is reportedly planning serious under-the-hood upgrades for next year’s iPhone 17, too. 

Of course, Apple hasn’t confirmed any details on the iPhone 16, let alone next year’s iPhone 17, as the company never comments on product rumors. Kuo, however, has been one of the more accurate Apple trackers over the years and has issued a host of reports based on supply chain information that ultimately wind up in Apple phones and tablets.

Kuo’s front-facing camera claim follows a handful of reports last year that suggested Apple is planning some other major upgrades to the iPhone 17, including rumors that it may start manufacturing its own batteries for the device and has plans to bundle its first 2nm chip in next year’s launch, making it the most powerful iPhone ever produced. 

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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.