iPhone 16 Pro Max — 7 biggest rumored upgrades

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

The iPhone 16 Pro Max is expected to launch this fall, and the rumors and leaks are starting to paint a picture of Apple's next flagship. But will the new features be compelling enough for you to upgrade?

So far, we've heard about a possible larger display, a new A18 Pro chip and hardware changes like a new Capture button. And there's a lot more rumored for the iPhone 16 Pro Max, including lots of generative AI features — some of which will be included with iOS 18 and some we suspect will be exclusive to the new iPhone.

Here's the 7 biggest rumored upgrades for the iPhone 16 Pro Max so far. 

An even bigger display

Unofficial renders of the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max from the front and back

(Image credit: MacRumors)

The iPhone Pro Max series has had a 6.7-inch display since the iPhone 12 Pro Max was introduced back in 2020. But it looks like the iPhone 16 Pro Max will be the biggest model yet. Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicts that the iPhone 16 Pro Max will feature a 6.9-inch display. That would make it even bigger than the 6.8-inch Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

Interestingly, the regular iPhone 16 Pro is also tipped for a screen size increase, growing from 6.1 to 6.3 inches. So if 6.9 inches is just too big you'll have a medium size option. The good news is that the iPhone 16 Pro Max's bezels are expected to get thinner, too. 

New Capture button

iPhone 16 dummy units

(Image credit: @SonnyDickson on X)

The iPhone 15 Pro Max gave us the first iPhone with a customizable Action button, but Apple apparently isn't done as the iPhone 16 Pro Max and iPhone 16 Pro are both reportedly getting a new Capture button as well. The same thing goes for the regular iPhone 16

The button will allegedly feature a solid state capacitive design with haptic feedback and it will lie underneath the power button. The Capture button will presumably be used to launch the camera and take photos quickly but its "force sensor functionality" could open up other possibilities. For example, you could make a more forceful press to record video. 

A leaker on Weibo also says that the Capture button could be used to focus the iPhone 16's camera, similar to how focusing is done with some of the best mirrorless cameras

iPhone 16 Pro Max camera upgrades 

iPhone 15 Pro Max shown in hand

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Apple needs an encore for adding a tetraprism 5x optical zoom lens to the iPhone 15 Pro Max, and apparently the iPhone 16 Pro series will be getting an upgrade to the ultrawide lens. Both the Pro and Pro Max are expected to feature a 48MP ultrawide camera, up from 12MP on previous models. 

This ultrawide sensor is supposed to be bigger, too, growing from a 1/3.6-inch sensor to a 1/2.6-inch sensor. Plus, the main 48MP sensor is tipped to have a 1/1.4-inch sensor — up from 1/1.28-inches. This should let in even more light. 

A separate leak claims that only the iPhone 16 Pro Max will be getting a 48MP main camera based on Sony's newer IMX903 sensor, and will feature a combination of 1 glass and 7 plastic lens parts for better performance. This would be a surprise. 

A18 Pro chip 

A render of the Apple A18 Pro chip

(Image credit: Wccftech)

The A17 Pro chip was powerful, but Apple will need to speed things up with the A18 Pro if it wants the iPhone 16 Pro Max to be the fastest phone around. If leaked Geekbench scores are a guide, the A18 Pro could reach a single-core result of 3,570 and a multi-core score of 9,310. That's higher than the iPhone 15 Pro Series (2,890/7,914) but Qualcomm isn't standing still.

The Galaxy S23 Ultra posted scored of 2,300 and 7,249 with its Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip, but a leaked single-core result of 3,500 for the upcoming Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 chip should give Apple plenty of competition. 

We're most interested in the machine learning performance of the A18 Pro's Neural Engine — which will help with generative AI tasks — but we haven't seen any leaks on that yet. 

Generative AI 

iOS Photos app

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The iPhone 16 Pro Max should get a ton of generative AI upgrades from iOS 18, which is expected to launch this fall alongside the new iPhones and be unveiled at WWDC 2024 in June. 

Apple is apparently investing heavily in multiple generative AI tools for the iPhone, including automating tasks that would normally take multiple steps using your voice, as well as a new version of Siri based on Apple's large language models (LLM). 

Apple is said to be boosting may of its own apps with AI, including Music, Pages, and Keynote. We would be shocked if Apple didn't offer generative AI features in apps like Photos, such as removing objects from images or filling in backgrounds. 

Apple is also said to be in conversations with Google to potentially license its Gemini product for generative AI. The question is which AI features will be exclusive to the iPhone 16 Pro Max and iPhone 16 Pro, or it's possible that the new iPhones will simply offer better performance due to its more advanced Neural Engine. 

Wi-Fi 7

A smartphone showing the logo for Wi-Fi 7

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you haven't heard of Wi-Fi 7, we don't blame you as the technology is still fairly new and the best Wi-Fi 7 routers are quite expensive. But over time it will make a big difference. Wi-Fi 7 delivers a lot faster speeds along with more channels, which means more bandwidth for your devices. And with Multi-Link Operation, the iPhone 16 Pro Max will be able to send and receive data across different bands and channels all at once. 

Longer battery life 

iPhone 16 Pro render blue bg

(Image credit: @MajinBuOfficial)

The iPhone 15 Pro Max already offered amazing battery life based on our testing, lasting an epic 14 hours and 2 minutes when surfing the web over 5G. That was with a 4,422 mAh battery, and a leaker on Weibo says the iPhone 16 Pro Max's battery is going to be even bigger at 4,676 mAh.

And this upgrade comes at a good time because our best phone battery life list has devices that last 16 hours or longer, including the Galaxy S24 Ultra (16:45) and OnePlus 12 (18:42). Both of these handsets have even larger batteries paired with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip, so it will be very interesting to see if the iPhone 16 Pro Max can top our list. 

A recent leak says the iPhone 16 Pro Max could offer up to 30 hours of battery life, but we'll have to see what Apple winds up claiming and test it for ourselves. 

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Mark Spoonauer

Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.