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iPhone 13 vapor chamber cooling could blow away Android phones

iPhone 12 Pro review
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The iPhone 13 is already likely going to be a powerhouse, thanks to it having what's likely to be the A15 Bionic chip. But there’s another killer feature that could be added to its repertoire: vapor chamber cooling.

According to leading Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via AppleInsider), Apple is “aggressively testing” a miniaturized version of the technology, which is already found in gaming PCs and the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. That means the iPhone 13 could sport boosted cooling and be able to work its chip harder as a result.

Vapor chamber cooling works by evaporating liquid, typically water, with heat coming from the phone’s internal components. That then spreads the heat across the whole phone and means there’s less risk of the device itself overheating. Less heat meant a machine can potentially run faster, offering better processor and graphics performance in the process.

Lots of smartphones already feature liquid cooling systems, and vapor chamber cooling has also appeared on several phones including the LG 5G V40 ThinQ and gaming handsets like the Asus ROG Phone 3.

Kuo claims Apple has been working on this technology for a while, but apparently it hasn’t been of a high enough standard to include in one of its phones. Right now it’s not clear whether it will be appearing in the 2021 iPhones, but if it does it’ll give the iPhone 13 a major edge over competitors.

We’ve already seen that Apple’s A14 Bionic chip performance leaves Android chipsets in the dust, and there’s no doubt that the A15 Bionic will be continuing that trend when it launches later this year. Vapor chamber cooling sucking away more excess heat could see it run even better, turning the iPhone 13 into a serious mobile powerhouse, especially for extended periods. 

It’s even more important when you consider the role of 5G. The iPhone 12 has been known to heat up when connected to 5G networks, and an improved heat management system would help handle that and prevent the phone from crashing if it gets too hot. Cooler temperatures would likewise be a benefit for battery life, which does deplete faster when it gets too hot.

Considering how much worse the iPhone 12’s battery life was with 5G switched on, future iPhones are going to need all the help they can get as 5G availability expands.

We won’t know for sure until September, when Apple is expected to unveil the iPhone 13 range. That said we’ll likely hear more about it in the coming months, as more concrete details leak online.

Tom Pritchard

Tom covers a little bit of everything at Tom’s Guide, ranging from the latest electric cars all the way down to hot takes on why Christopher Nolan is wrong about everything. Appliances are also muscling their way into his routine, which is a pretty long way from his days as Editor at Gizmodo UK. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining that Ikea won’t let him buy the stuff he really needs online.