Who says the iPhone 16 can't be an action cam? These are the GoPro features I want Apple to copy

GoPro Hero 12 Black with iPhone 16 Pro render.
(Image credit: Tom’s Guide/Jonas Daehnert)

After test driving a Ford F150 Lightning and capturing the experience of charging at a Tesla Supercharger location on video, I have a newfound appreciation for the best action cameras like the GoPro Hero 12 Black. As much as I thought the best camera phones deliver better video performance, it takes more than good quality to truly capture what I need with car rides. That’s why I’m hoping for Apple to steal a few of the GoPro Hero 12 features I love and somehow incorporate them into the iPhone 16 later this fall.

I’ve rarely ever had the need to use action cameras before because I didn’t think they were of much purpose when I had a phone on me. But in my GoPro Hero 12 Black review, I discovered how they’re better for certain situations — like capturing the wide interior view while driving a car, or how it acts as a better dash cam.

While the iPhone 16 Pro and 16 Pro Max are rumored to get bigger camera upgrades in the form of a larger camera sensor and a new 48MP ultrawide camera, the standard iPhone 16 and 16 Plus could also get its own set of meaningful upgrades; like the potential of capturing spatial video. Yet, after using the GoPro Hero 12 Black, the iPhone 16 series could be a more formidable camera for content creators by adopting these GoPro features that I love.

AirPods as a wireless microphone

AirPods Pro 2 in charging case

(Image credit: Future)

This one’s a no-brainer. One of the new features I absolutely love of the GoPro Hero 12 Black is its support of wireless earbuds for audio recording. While the quality is by no means perfect, it does give me extra utility of having clearer audio if I get too far from the GoPro's built-in mics. The further I’m away, the more distant I sound — but that’s not a problem using a pair of wireless earbuds like the AirPods Pro 2.

Apple could very well adopt this feature in the iPhone 16, especially when its main rival, Samsung, already offers this in its Galaxy phones that have Pro Video mode. I’ve tested it out with good results with the Galaxy S23 Ultra, S24 Plus, and S24 Ultra. The audio recordings can sometimes sound thin, but I can usually clear them up in post.

Since AirPods and iPhones are commonly used together, this feature of using AirPods as a wireless microphone would be a match made in heaven for the iPhone 16.

Upgrade to 5.3K 60fps video recording

Apple iPhone 15 Pro Video Recording USB-C.

(Image credit: Future)

Another feature I love about the GoPro Hero 12 Black is its maximum video capture of 5.6K at 60fps. Current iPhones top out at 4K 60fps, which is the industry standard for flagship phones, but I’d like more room for editing the footage later on. That’s why I’d want the iPhone 16 to match the GoPro Hero 12 Black’s 5.6K 60fps video capture.

Usually, I would take the 5.6K clips from my GoPro and then export them in 4K. By increasing the iPhone 16’s video recording to 5.6K 60fps, I would be able to apply a little bit of slow motion to the footage and crop into certain areas when needed — all without sacrificing the quality. That’s because most of the best TVs on the market are 4K TVs, so the extra bump to 5.6K would make the iPhone 16 a little more future proof.

Ultra-wide angle front facing camera

iPhone 15 Pro Max Dynamic Island

(Image credit: Future)

While the first two GoPro Hero 12 Black features could easily be added, this last one involves a hardware change. Since the GoPro Hero 12 Black has a tiny front screen that lets me preview my self recordings, it’s much better at framing shots. I tried using the front-facing cameras in my iPhone 15 Pro and Pixel 8 Pro, but the quality is a downgrade because the cameras aren’t wide enough.

In fact, I’m able to barely cover my face and upper chest relying on the front-facing cameras of my smartphones, which inherently get worse when switching to video mode. By adding a wider front-facing camera, it could match the framing I get with the GoPro Hero 12 Black — which comes in handy in tight situations, like inside of a car. But this one’s tough to do because it could take up more room than what the Dynamic Island could hide.

I suppose Apple could effectively get that GoPro wide angle look with an iPhone Flip, which could lean on an outer screen and rear cameras for a similar frame. Flip phone styled foldable phones like the Motorola Razr+ and Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5 are designed more like an action camera — so I presume an iPhone Flip would be no different.

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John Velasco
Senior Channel Editor for Phones

John’s a senior editor covering phones for Tom’s Guide. He’s no stranger in this area having covered mobile phones and gadgets since 2008 when he started his career. On top of his editor duties, he’s a seasoned videographer being in front and behind the camera producing YouTube videos. Previously, he held editor roles with PhoneArena, Android Authority, Digital Trends, and SPY. Outside of tech, he enjoys producing mini documentaries and fun social clips for small businesses, enjoying the beach life at the Jersey Shore, and recently becoming a first time homeowner.