Apple might switch storage tech for the iPhone 16, and it could mean a 2TB Pro model

iPhone 15 Pro review front angled handheld
The iPhone 15 Pro (Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

The maximum iPhone storage you can get has been 1TB for quite a while now, with the iPhone 13 Pro introducing that capacity and even the iPhone 15 Pro Max not exceeding it, but with the iPhone 16 line, Apple might double that, with a 2TB option.

This is according to leaker yeux1122 posting on Naver (a South Korean blogging site), via 9to5Mac. The source claims that the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max will be offered in a 2TB size, and that this is due to Apple switching to QLC (Quad-Level Cell) flash memory.

Currently Apple uses TLC (Triple-Level Cell) memory, and a switch to QLC would allow for more storage capacity in the same physical space, so Apple could potentially deliver 2TB of storage without that taking up much if any more space inside the phone than 1TB of storage currently does.

Not the first mention of QLC

We also heard from another source recently that the iPhone 16 line might switch to QLC memory, though they didn’t mention a new 2TB storage option.

Yeux1122 has a mixed track record, so we’d take this new claim with a pinch of salt, especially as they previously said the iPhone 15 Pro would be available in a 2TB storage variant, which didn't happen.

It could make sense for Apple to up the storage capacity if QLC memory is used, but this switch in memory technology is also just a rumor for now, and it’s also possible that yeux1122 is simply guessing that 2TB will be offered if this switch happens.

Even the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra tops out at 1TB, so in terms of Apple’s competition there’s no major incentive to boost the storage on the iPhone 16 Pro line. But then again, by the time these phones launch it will have been three years since the last storage increase, which is quite a long time, and for videographers, a boost in capacity could come in handy.

If we do see a 2TB iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max then Apple could also potentially boost the standard iPhone 16 and the iPhone 16 Plus to 1TB at the top end, and perhaps drop the 128GB capacity for at least some models, but that’s just speculation.

Upsides and downsides

There are other reasons why Apple might switch to QLC storage in any case. Rather than offering more storage in the same physical space, it could enable the company to reduce the size of the storage components, thereby freeing up space for other components, such as a larger battery.

QLC storage is also potentially cheaper to produce, and those savings could be passed on to consumers; although on the other hand it’s also less reliable, and could result in slower write speeds.

Those negative points cast doubts on whether Apple would actually switch to QLC storage, but presumably Apple would see the positives as outweighing the negatives if it does happen. And if it does lead to 2TB models then that will at least benefit some people.

We won’t know for sure until the iPhone 16 line launches, which likely won’t be until September, and there are sure to be plenty more leaks and rumors in the meantime.

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James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.