iPhone 16 Pro Max: latest news, rumors and everything we know so far

iPhone 15 Pro Max
The iPhone 15 Pro Max (Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

The iPhone 15 Pro Max is the best iPhone you can buy, at least if money is no object, and it's one of the absolute best phones from any company. So we're understandably rather looking forward to the iPhone 16 Pro Max.

While we probably won't see this phone officially until September, Apple revealed iOS 18 at WWDC 2024 (checkout our WWDC 2024 live blog for a beat-by-beat account of the keynote), complete with some slick features and a new smarter Siri with ChatGPT skills. So from that we can posit the iPhone 16 Pro Max will have a host of AI-centric features, and access to Apple Intelligence

So there are certainly upgrades Apple can make, beyond just adding more power, and from what we've heard so far it's likely that the iPhone 16 Pro Max will be a significant upgrade, with talk of a larger screen, an extra button, and a longer distance optical zoom, among other things.

You'll find all the leaks we've heard about this phone below, and we'll add to this article whenever we hear anything new. Or for a deeper dive into what we want from the iPhone 16 Pro Max, head to the second half of this article, where you'll find our wish list.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? The larger-screened/batteried version of the iPhone 16 Pro
  • When is it out? Probably September 2024
  • How much will it cost? Likely from $1,199 / £1,399 / AU$2,099

iPhone 16 Pro Max latest rumors and news

Latest news

The iPhone 16 Pro Max might be able to charge faster than the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

iPhone 16 Pro Max: Expected release date and price

  • Likely to launch in the first half of September 2024
  • Shipping date will probably be a week or so later
  • May cost even more than the iPhone 15 Pro Max

Apple has a habit of launching iPhones on a Tuesday or Wednesday in the first or second week of September, usually placing the phones on sale the following Friday.

For reference, the iPhone 15 Pro Max was unveiled on September 12 at Apple's September event, hitting pre-order on September 15 and going on sale on September 22, priced from $1,199 / £1,199 / AU$2,199 for the base 256GB version. It also has a 512GB build in the middle of the range and a 1TB model costing $1,599 / £1,599 / AU$2,899 at the top.

We expect the availability of the iPhone 16 Pro Max to mirror this availability pretty closely (along with the rest of the iPhone 16 lineup). That said, it might cost more, with one report suggesting the iPhone 16 Pro Max's camera upgrades will add to the price.

We've also heard that production of the iPhone 16 line is reportedly on schedule, so there's currently no reason to think Apple will stray from its usual release patterns.

iPhone 16 Pro Max or Ultra?

In the run-up to the iPhone 15 series' release, there was rampant speculation about whether 2023 would be the year that Apple introduced an 'Ultra' entry into the  lineup; a suffix that companies like Samsung, Motorola and Xiaomi already employ across their rival phone lines.

With the company's 'Wonderlust' event having now been and gone without so much as a whisper of an iPhone 15 Ultra, it stands to reason that talk of an Ultra iPhone entry must instead apply to Apple's iPhone 16 lineup, expected in late 2024.

At present, there's ambiguity around whether the Ultra will replace the Pro Max or launch or launch alongside it. However, if Apple pursues the latter option, it'll raise the ceiling for the iPhone portfolio, allowing the company to charge even more for its best and brightest iPhone of the moment.

iPhone 16 Pro Max: Expected design and display

iPhone 15 Pro Max

The 15 Pro Max's ProMotion 6.7-inch display (Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)
  • Rumored larger 6.9-inch 120Hz 'ProMotion' screen
  • Possible under-display Face ID system
  • Probably a titanium frame, like the 15 Pro Max
  • A new, capacitive 'Capture' button rumored for every model

While we're nowhere near anything like a complete spec sheet at this early stage, some talk around the iPhone 16 Pro Max's design has already surfaced.

One report by South Korean publication The Elec claims that the Face ID system, which was first relocated to the Dynamic Island on the iPhone 14 Pro line, will make its way under the pixels of the screen, leaving only the front camera visible on the 16 Pro Max.

Speaking of the screen, Apple managed to make the bezels thinner across both iPhone 15 Pro models, but a key analyst at Display Supply Chain Consultants expects the entire panel to grow in size next year. If true, this could mean the iPhone 16 Pro Max would clock in with a 6.9-inch screen, compared to the 15 Pro Max's current 6.7-inch offering, and making it the largest iPhone yet. DSCC's key analyst Ross Young also suggests that Apple might finally deviate from the 19.5:9 aspect ratio sported by the last few iPhones, opting instead for a 19.6:9 ratio. This would make the iPhone 16 Pro range fractionally taller and narrower than the 15 Pros.

We've also heard this larger iPhone 16 Pro Max screen size mentioned by another source, while a third similarly points to a 6.86-inch screen for the iPhone 16 Pro Max, so this sounds fairly likely.

Another source again points to a 6.9-inch display for the iPhone 16 Pro Max, but adds that thanks to smaller bezels the overall size of the phone might not increase. Another source has also pointed to the iPhone 16 Pro Max having smaller bezels, while a third has said the iPhone 16 Pro Max might have the thinnest bezels of any phone, at just 1.15mm. So smaller bezels is looking likely.

Another leak has echoed this, saying that each of the iPhone 16 Pro Max's bezels are 1.153mm, and adding that the phone's dimensions are 163.024 x 77.575 x 8.26mm (making it bigger than the iPhone 15 Pro Max) because its screen is 6.883 inches,

One other rumor (again, from The Elec) suggests that the already-bright displays that Apple places into its iPhones will be surpassed in grand fashion by a new 'Multi-Lens Array" (MLA) AMOLED panel. Thought to be exclusive to the Pro (and possibly Ultra) members of 2024's iPhone family, MLA tech reportedly helped LG make its TV panels 60% brighter and Samsung is already apparently using MLA AMOLED screens on the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra.

The trade-offs with MLA technology are that viewing angles can be reduced and that the panels are more expensive, which could have a knock-on effect on the final price of the 16 Pro Max, if Apple decides to go down this route.

Beyond this, the Action button – which replaces the long-standing silent/ring switch – on the side of the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max - will almost certainly be retained for next year's model. But there's more: solid-state buttons, which were originally expected on 2023's Pro iPhones, are rumored to make their debut on every iPhone 16 model, including the iPhone 16 Pro Max. 

On top of which, we've heard that the iPhone 16 Pro Max and its siblings may be getting an entirely new, solid-state 'Capture' button instead. The source of this rumor doesn't say what the button is for, but a later leak points to the Capture button being a dedicated video recording button.

We've now also heard another source mention the addition of a new button to the entire iPhone 16 line, and this one added that the Action button will apparently be made solid-state too, but that the power and volume buttons won't.

Likewise a third source has now said to expect solid-state/capacitive Action and Capture buttons on the iPhone 16 Pro Max, so this is sounding likely.

That said, a more recent leak claims that the Capture button will instead be mechanical, and has gone into more detail about how it will apparently work. Supposedly, you'll be able to use it for both photos and videos, and swipe across the top of it to zoom in and out. Then, with a light press you can focus the camera, and with a hard press you can activate the shutter.

Meanwhile, the USB-C port introduced this year and the new lightweight titanium frame will all also undoubtedly make another appearance. Here's hoping Apple serves up more interesting colors on next year's Pro Max, though, as this year's lineup looks a little... bland.

An unofficial render of the iPhone 16 Pro and Pro Max

(Image credit: MacRumors)

We've also now seen how the iPhone 16 Pro Max might look (alongside the iPhone 16 Pro) in mockups from MacRumors, supposedly based on Apple's internal designs. You can see one of these above.

These shows that rumored Capture button and include a 6.9-inch screen, but the rest of the design seems largely unchanged from the iPhone 15 Pro Max, meaning no under-display Face ID, at least according to this information.

This leak also mentions colors, with the iPhone 16 Pro Max apparently being tested in the same shades as the iPhone 15 Pro Max, but with one extra mystery color apparently planned too.

This design has since been backed up by leaked dummy units of the entire iPhone 16 line, which you can see below. A second set of iPhone 16 series dummy units also shows this design.

Yet another iPhone 16 Pro Max dummy unit has also leaked with this design, and this time showing it alongside an iPhone 15 Pro Max, which it's only a tiny bit bigger than, despite the rumored larger screen.

However, another leak is at odds with aspects of this design in claiming that the iPhone 16 Pro Max and iPhone 16 Pro will house its trio of camera lenses in a triangular block. We doubt this though, so for now we'd say the design in the images above is more likely.

Back on the subject of colors, and another leak has suggested that the iPhone 16 Pro Max will be available in Space Black, White, Gray, and Rose. Those are similar to the current shades except Rose, which might be more of a Rose Gold, and will reportedly replace the Titanium Blue of the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

We've also since heard this same selection of iPhone 16 Pro Max colors from another source, so there's a good chance that it's an accurate list.

iPhone 16 Pro Max: Expected cameras

iPhone 15 Pro Max

(Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)
  • Talk of a 'super telephoto' periscope camera
  • One report mentions a 48MP ultra-wide too
  • Rumors of a stacked sensor that could improve low-light performance

The camera hardware across the last two generations of iPhones has represented significant progression for the line, with the iPhone 14 Pro/Pro Max embracing a new 48MP main sensor (up from 12MP previously) that added lossless 2x zoom by way of sensor cropping, along with a few other new photographic tricks. 

Fast-forward to this year's iPhone line and, along with an enhanced 48MP main sensor, the iPhone 15 Pro Max also benefits from Apple's first periscope telephoto lens, which zooms up to 5x. Some sources suggest its successor will go further, however.

According to popular tipster Digital Chat Station, the iPhone 16 Pro Max camera might finally challenge Samsung in one key area - namely that next year's model could boast a "super telephoto" camera. That implies a snapper with a focal range that meets or exceeds 300mm, which would surpass the zoom range of the Galaxy S23 Ultra, its current key rival in this department.

Depending on Apple's approach, the sensor could use either an extended prism design (like Samsung's Ultra phones) or a folded prism (like the tetraprism found on the 15 Pro Max's 5x telephoto snapper) for a lower-profile camera module. Alternatively, the company could pair its existing prism and sensor-cropping tech together to achieve this impressive target zoom range.

We've also heard that Apple might use thinner molded glass to help achieve this extended zoom in the iPhone 16 Pro Max. This would mean that whichever of the above approaches Apple uses, the resulting lens would be smaller than otherwise.

Assuming the iPhone 16 Pro Max's primary sensor maintains the current 24mm focal length of the 15 Pro/Pro Max, a 6x telephoto camera (sporting a 150mm focal range), paired with a larger sensor (the Pro Max currently sports a 12MP telephoto sensor) that allows for a 2x zoom sensor crop could be used to reach the magic 300mm figure.

As already touched on, it remains unclear whether this super telephoto camera will come to the iPhone 16 Pro Max or the iPhone 16 Ultra, or if they are one and the same. But either way, we're crossing our fingers on 2024 being the year we see this tech make its way to the iPhone. That said, recent leaks haven't mentioned this much, so we wouldn't count on it.

iPhone 14 Pro Max review camera

The cameras on the iPhone 14 Pro Max (Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

Beyond the headline long-range snapper, Apple's use of Sony camera hardware may also extend to the stacked Exmor T for Mobile sensor technology currently found in the Xperia 1 V and Xperia 5 V. By rearranging the layout of the sensor's internals, Sony has been able to build a smartphone camera that can suck in more light at the same resolution; seasoned Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, for one, claims the iPhone 16 Pro models will also get this camera sensor upgrade.

Separately, fellow respected tech analyst Jeff Pu claims the iPhone 16 Pro and 16 Pro Max will get more key upgrades over the iPhone 15 Pro, including a 48MP ultra-wide camera, something which Pu reiterated in October.

We've also heard from another source that the iPhone 16 Pro Max will get a 48MP ultra-wide camera, plus a new (but still 48MP) main sensor, but that the telephoto snapper will be the same as last year.

Indeed, talk of a 'super telephoto' lens has died down, so we're now thinking that's unlikely to make an appearance this year.

iPhone 16 Pro Max: Expected specs and features

  • Assumed Apple A18 Pro chip
  • At least 8GB of RAM, as with the 15 Pro Max

On the day of the iPhone 15 Pro Max's launch, Apple also released the Xcode 15 Release Candidate, which revealed that the phone sports 8GB RAM – up from 6GB on previous generations. As such, it's assumed that the 16 Pro Max will continue this trend, supporting the assumed successor to the latest Apple-made A17 Pro chipset which debuts in the 15 Pro Max – presumably the A18 Pro SoC.

Indeed, one leak has now specifically mentioned the A18 Pro paired with 8GB of RAM for the iPhone 16 Pro and Pro Max.

The same source has also claimed that these phones will support Wi-Fi 7 and have a new 5G modem, allowing for higher data speeds than on the current models.

Three months after that initial claim, this source has once again said to expect 8GB of RAM and a new 5G modem in the iPhone 16 Pro Max. The latter might not just allow for faster 5G, but also be more power efficient, thereby conserving battery life.

If that is the case then it could be bad news for the iPhone 16 Pro Max as 8GB of RAM might also limit the iPhone 16 Pro Max's AI abilities. But then again, Bloomberg reporter Mark Gurman has said you’ll need either an iPhone 15 Pro or an M1 Mac (or better) to use many of Apple’s AI features, which should mean the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max will be fine. 

On the storage side, one tipster suggests the iPhone 16 Pro Max will top out at 2TB rather than the current limit of 1TB. That's apparently down to a different type of storage being used, which takes up less space and is cheaper to produce, but offers slower write speeds.

As far as the model's new-found USB-C connectivity goes, Apple seems unlikely to change charging or data speeds only one year after making the switch, but we can dream.

One change we might see though is to some internal materials, with the iPhone 16 Pro Max reportedly set to get a graphene heat sink and a metal battery shell, in order to help keep the phone cool.

We've also now seen leaked images supposedly showing a battery for the iPhone 16 Pro, and this is housed in a metal shell, adding credence to the above.

Speaking of the battery, one source claims the iPhone 16 Pro Max will have a 4,676mAh one, up from 4,441mAh in the iPhone 15 Pro Max. We've heard that iPhone 16 Pro Max battery capacity mentioned multiple times now, while another source says less specifically that the iPhone 16 Pro Max will have a bigger battery than the current model and that it will be the longest lasting iPhone battery yet.

We've also elsewhere heard that Apple might use a higher energy density battery for the iPhone 16 Pro Max, which could either mean it has more capacity (so it can last longer), or that Apple will shrink the size without reducing the capacity.

On the charging front, the iPhone 16 Pro Max might support 40W wired charging and 20W wireless charging, up from around 27W and 15W respectively with the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

It's also expected that Apple will pack some AI features into the iPhone 16 line, possibly powered by Google Gemini, with one source claiming that at least some of these AI features will be exclusive to the iPhone 16 Pro and Pro Max.

We've heard on this note that the A18 Pro chipset powering the iPhone 16 Pro Max might have significantly more cores for its Neural Engine – which handles AI tasks – than the A17 Pro in the iPhone 15 Pro Max. The A18 Pro chipset might also have a larger die area, which should make it better for on-device AI.

However, the A18 Pro might not have much more raw power, with one leak stating that the A18 Pro is only around 10% more powerful than the A17 Pro. Another leak meanwhile suggests the A18 Pro might be less powerful than the Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 expected in rival Android phones.

The A18 Pro might also not support as fast RAM as the Snapdragon 8 Gen 4, which could limit the iPhone 16 Pro Max's ability to perform on-device AI tasks.

We've also heard that the microphones in the iPhone 16 Pro Max (and the rest of the iPhone 16 line) might be improved, so that the AI-backed Siri upgrade we're expecting later this year will be able to hear you better.

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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.

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