iPhone 16 design secrets leaked by new project drawings — here are the big changes

Apple iPhone 15 held in the hand.
(Image credit: Future)

Engineering drawings of the iPhone 16, posted to Twitter/X by leaker Majin Bu, have provided a fresh look at the big changes Apple could be making to this year's iPhone models.

The front shows one pill-shaped and one circular cut-out in the display, the two parts of the Dynamic Island. This is something that you don't see on the iPhone 15 models that already use it due to the way iOS blacks out that part of the display.

Alleged project drawing of the basic iPhone 16, from the front and back

(Image credit: Majin Bu / X)

On the back, we have a pair of vertically aligned cameras, which we assume will be the same main and ultrawide combination as the iPhone 15. Apple's moving back to this vertical arrangement after a few years of diagonal cameras to make recording Spatial video possible, say the rumors. You can currently only do this on the iPhone 15 Pro, which has vertically aligned main and ultrawide cameras already.

There’s also what looks to be the flashlight sitting by itself outside the camera block. That seems to be a natural consequence of the block shrinking to fit more tightly around the camera lenses.

Taking a look around the edges of these drawings, we can see what seems to be the outline of the capacitive Capture button on the right side under the power button. This is a new button that all iPhone 16 models will apparently have to allow for faster photo and video taking than using the on-screen shutter button in the camera app.

However, it’s possible that this could still be the mmWave 5G antenna seen on previous generations of iPhone. The Capture button will supposedly be taking its place but we can’t tell from these drawings alone if that’s true.

Elsewhere on the sides, we can see the familiar volume buttons and SIM tray, plus what looks like the Action button. This is something that's been rumored to be coming to the basic iPhone 16 after debuting on the iPhone 15 Pro models only, replacing the mute switch with a more customizable button. Between that and the Capture button, there could be quite a lot of changes to the sides of the iPhone 16.

These drawings can't reflect the internal changes we've also been hearing about from the iPhone 16 rumor mill. We're expecting that Apple could reveal a lot of AI-powered features for the new iPhones through iOS 18, and that we may see larger batteries too.

Keep an eye out in the run-up to September for more details on the iPhone 16, iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max, since the rumor mill likely isn't done yet. And once Apple makes things official, we'll be sure to bring you our thoughts and verdicts on the new iPhones as soon as possible.

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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.