iPhone 16 — Apple code leak reveals chip for all four new iPhones

Four alleged iPhone 16 dummies, featuring their sizes written above them.
(Image credit: Sonny Dickson / X)

For the past two iPhone update cycles, Apple has used different silicon in different phones, reserving newer chipsets for the latest Pro models while turning to last year's system-on-chip for the standard iPhone. It sounds like that practice ends this fall with the arrival of the iPhone 16.

A bit of code in Apple's backend hints that the four iPhone 16 models expected later this year will all have the same A-series chip. The code was found by Nicolás Alvarez who shared it with MacRumors

The code spotted by Alvarez features a number that indicates the system-on-chip powering the phone. Note that Apple identifiers in the code use a lower number than the public "name" of the chip — the A16 is listed as 15, the A17 is listed as 16 and so on.

There are five new iPhone identifiers listed thusly:

  • iPhone17,1
  • iPhone17,2
  • iPhone17,3
  • iPhone17,4
  • iPhone17,5

For comparison, here is how the iPhone 15 is identified in code:

As you may recall, the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus use the A16 Bionic chip that was in the iPhone 14 Pro models. Meanwhile, the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max feature A17 Pro silicon, hence their 16,x listing.

With this leaked code, it's looking like the iPhone 16 lineup will all have the same chip, which we assume is the A18. That's a move we've been begging Apple to do for at least the last couple of generations.

There have been rumors of Apple changing up the iPhone 16 lineup, and the fact that five devices listed could add fuel t that speculation. MacRumors thinks the extra model could be a future iPhone SE — past SE models have featured the same chipset found in the flagship iPhones released the previous fall, so that would track with a rumored 2025 release of the iPhone SE 4

There's also the possibility that the extra model refers to the rumored iPhone 16 Ultra, which some people have touted as a possible Pro Max successor. Still, there haven't been many Ultra rumors springing up ahead of the likely iPhone 16 release date in a few months, so that's a less likely scenario.

Even with the 17,x identifier, it's not certain that all four (or five) future iPhones will have the exact same A18 processors. Apple could differentiate between the Pro and standard models by splitting the chip between a standard and a 'Pro' version.

Or, as the Apple did with the recently released M4 iPads, the number of GPUs or cores available to the standard model iPhone 16 might be reduced compared to what's available in the Pro variants. 

Why Apple would change its split chip strategy for the iPhone 16 is most likely related to Apple Intelligence which looks like it will require quite a bit of power to run properly. AI is already limited to the A17 Pro-powered iPhone 15 Pro models, and despite rumors that Apple Intelligence might go subscription based, we don't imagine Apple wants to limit AI to just its Pro phones going forward. Thus, the need for a powerful chipset in all of the next generation of iPhones.

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Scott Younker
West Coast Reporter

Scott Younker is the West Coast Reporter at Tom’s Guide. He covers all the lastest tech news. He’s been involved in tech since 2011 at various outlets and is on an ongoing hunt to build the easiest to use home media system. When not writing about the latest devices, you are more than welcome to discuss board games or disc golf with him.