Here’s the iPhone 13 camera upgrade rumored for 2021

iPhone 12 Pro review
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A new rumor suggests the forthcoming iPhone 13 series will get camera upgrades, including improved ultra-wide snappers on all four models, and a telephoto upgrade for the iPhone 13 Pro.

These aren’t huge upgrades: the ultra-wide cameras could get better apertures, from f/2.4 in the iPhone 12 range to f/1.8 in the iPhone 13 range, according to a Barclays analyst’s investor note seen by MacRumors

This should mean better low-light performance, which had already been improved in last year’s iPhones which added night mode capability to ultra-wide cameras.

This reaffirms a previous prediction by noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who made the prediction about an ultra-wide camera with f/1.8 aperture upgrade and noted that the iPhone 14 coming in 2022 would likely pack the same.

However, Kuo claimed that the aperture upgrades aren’t coming to the lower-end iPhone 13 or the iPhone 13 mini (assuming one is coming), only the pricier models. 

The Barclays note also mentioned that the iPhone 13 Pro could get the Pro Max’s better telephoto camera, improving the 12 Pro’s f/2.0, 52mm focal length equivalent camera to the f/2.2, 65mm focal length equivalent camera that the iPhone 12 Pro Max had.

In simpler terms, this would increase the phone’s telephoto clarity, going from 2x optical zoom to 2.5x optical zoom.

The iPhone 13: incremental upgrades, again

This new Barclays note exemplifies all we’ve heard before about the iPhone 13: its improvements sound largely incremental. 

Whether it’s a smaller notch and better cameras, Wi-Fi 6E, LiDAR across its entire line, most of its additions are welcome but not exciting; heck, its most drastic potential upgrades – in-screen touch sensors and 120Hz refresh rate screens – came to Android phones years ago.

On the other hand, the iPhone 12 line was expected to improve incrementally, too, though the actual upgrades were substantial in total: a ‘mini’ version, camera hardware upgrades, a new raw photo format, and the MagSafe system for wireless charging and attaching accessories. So it’s anyone’s guess if we’re going to see more dramatic features hinted at, and eventually unveiled, in the iPhone 13 line.

David Lumb

David is now a mobile reporter at Cnet. Formerly Mobile Editor, US for TechRadar, he covered phones, tablets, and wearables. He still thinks the iPhone 4 is the best-looking smartphone ever made. He's most interested in technology, gaming and culture – and where they overlap and change our lives. His current beat explores how our on-the-go existence is affected by new gadgets, carrier coverage expansions, and corporate strategy shifts.