iPhone 15 camera predictions: rumored sensor sizes and zoom ranges

iPhone 14 Pro Max on a yellow background
(Image credit: Future / Apple)

Apple is set to lift the lid on its iPhone 15 line on September 12, with the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max (which may yet be called the iPhone 15 Ultra) set to replace the iPhone 14 and its siblings as the company’s best iPhones.

We’ve already detailed our iPhone 15 specs, iPhone 15 design, iPhone 15 battery, iPhone 15 screen, and iPhone 15 price predictions elsewhere on TechRadar, but what of the phones’ respective camera arrays?

In this article, we break down all the iPhone 15 camera rumors we’ve heard so far, with dedicated sections for the standard iPhone 15, the iPhone 15 Plus, the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max.

iPhone 15 camera

iPhone 14 on a blue background

The iPhone 15's camera arrangement could look the same as its predecessor's (above) (Image credit: Future / Apple)

Just like the iPhone 14, the iPhone 15 is expected to get a dual-sensor camera setup, though rumors indicate that the iPhone 15 will inherit the 48MP main sensor boasted by the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, rather than the 12MP main sensor used by its predecessor.

That said, a more recent report suggests that while the iPhone 15's main sensor will be 48MP, it will be a smaller size (and therefore probably worse) than the one used by the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max.

Either way, this is great news for fans of Apple’s standard iPhones. While the iPhone 14’s cameras are adequate enough for general photography tasks, they’re essentially unchanged from the iPhone 13 (save for the upgraded imaging pipeline powering them). 

The iPhone 15, then, could give existing iPhone owners a tangible – and long-awaited – reason to upgrade vanilla models, even if we don't expect to see any improvements over the iPhone 14’s measly 5x digital zoom.

Indeed, a report from TrendForce suggests that the main sensor of the iPhone 15 could be the highlight of this phone, with it apparently offering extended dynamic range compared to the iPhone 14's camera.

We haven't head much about the ultra-wide camera though, so we're assuming this will once again be a 12MP one, as found on the iPhone 14. The selfie camera is also expected to once again be 12MP.

iPhone 15 Plus camera

An iPhone 14 Plus

The iPhone 14 Plus (Image credit: Apple)

The iPhone 14 Plus has exactly the same cameras as the standard iPhone 14, and we're expecting the same to be true of the iPhone 15 Plus as compared to the iPhone 15.

That means it will probably have a 48MP main sensor, up from 12MP last year. However the sensor size might be 1/1.5 inches, making it smaller than the 1/1.28-inch sensor used by the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max.

The other cameras may not get an upgrade, with a 12MP ultra-wide and a 12MP selfie camera both likely.

iPhone 15 Pro camera

A closeup on the iPhone 14 Pro series' triple camera system, the device depicted is the Deep Purple colorways

A closeup on the iPhone 14 Pro's triple camera system (Image credit: Apple)

The iPhone 15 Pro isn’t expected to stray too far from its predecessor’s (admittedly excellent) triple-sensor setup, which comprises the following three lenses:  

  • 48MP wide (24mm f/2.8)
  • 12MP ultrawide (13mm f/2.2)
  • 12MP telephoto (77mm f/2.8) w/ 3x optical zoom

A periscope camera is the only real upgrade that’s been rumored for the iPhone 15 Pro, but most recent leaks suggest this technology will be reserved for the photography-focused iPhone 15 Pro Max.

In fact, of the four iPhone 15 models it looks like the iPhone 15 Pro will have the fewest camera upgrades. But according to some leaks, the iPhone 15 Pro may at least sport new Sony-produced sensors that capture more light.

Otherwise, the phone's main upgrades seem likely to come in the design department (which isn't necessarily a bad thing, given the strength of the iPhone 14 Pro's cameras).

iPhone 15 Pro Max camera

The iPhone 14 Pro Max (front) and iPhone 14 Pro (back) in black on a blue background

(Image credit: Apple)

The iPhone 15 Pro Max (or iPhone 15 Ultra as it might be called) is rumored to improve upon its predecessor’s triple-sensor setup in a few keys ways, which we'll get to below. 

First though a look at the current Pro Max's cameras. As with the iPhone 14 Pro, the iPhone 14 Pro Max boasts the following three rear lenses:

  • 48MP wide (24mm f/2.8)
  • 12MP ultrawide (13mm f/2.2)
  • 12MP telephoto (77mm f/2.8) w/ 3x optical zoom

As mentioned for the iPhone 15 Pro, a periscope camera was rumored for the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max, but analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has since predicted that the iPhone 16 Pro will be the first to get a periscope lens, owing to its potentially larger display. 

There's still a high chance that the iPhone 15 Pro Max – being larger than its standard Pro sibling – could get a periscope camera in 2023 though, as a number of recent leaks have suggested it will. We're just not certain.

If it does, there's been some talk the iPhone 15 Pro Max could be getting a telephoto camera with a variable zoom lens, which would let it move between multiple different focal lengths optically. This though hasn't been mentioned much, and it's a rare feature on phones, so we doubt it.

As for how long range the zoom might be, we've variously heard 5x, 6x, and even 10x optical zoom mentioned for the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

As with the iPhone 15 Pro, the Pro Max might also get a new sensor for its main camera, specifically the Sony IMX903, which is rumored to measure a whopping 1/1.14 inches, meaning the iPhone 15 Pro Max could ship with the biggest camera sensor ever used in an iPhone.

Early rumors had also suggested that the iPhone 15 Ultra will have more advanced image processing skills than the iPhone 15 Pro Max, but given that we're unlikely to see a phone with Ultra in the name this year, we're inclined to believe that these superior processing skills will be making their way to the iPhone 15 Pro Max, instead. 

And lastly, the iPhone 15 Pro Max might have a dual-lens front-facing camera, improving upon its predecessor's single 12MP front-facing TrueDepth camera. However, we doubt this, as only one source has mentioned it, and they don't have a good track record.

Axel Metz
Phones Editor

Axel is TechRadar's UK-based Phones Editor, reporting on everything from the latest Apple developments to newest AI breakthroughs as part of the site's Mobile Computing vertical. Having previously written for publications including Esquire and FourFourTwo, Axel is well-versed in the applications of technology beyond the desktop, and his coverage extends from general reporting and analysis to in-depth interviews and opinion.  Axel studied for a degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick before joining TechRadar in 2020, where he then earned an NCTJ qualification as part of the company’s inaugural digital training scheme.