iPhone 16 storage leak teases both good and bad news for the 2024 flagships

iPhone 15 home screen
Remember the iPhone 15? (Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

It might seem strange to say it so soon after the iPhone 15 launch, but the iPhone 16 is coming later this calendar year – and we've already seen a smattering of leaks around the 2024 flagships. The latest rumor to reach us teases both good and bad news about the internal storage on these phones.

As per sources speaking to DigiTimes (via AppleInsider) Apple is one of a few smartphone manufacturers mulling a switch over to Quad-Level Cell (QLC) NAND flash memory modules in handsets with larger 1TB capacities.

Don't worry if you're not familiar with QLC, or the Triple-Level Cell (TLC) memory currently used by Apple: essentially, QLC stores four bits of data per memory cell, rather than three. That means more capacity with the same number of cells, or the same amount of capacity with fewer cells.

We'll start with the good news – QLC potentially means the 1TB iPhone 16 won't be as expensive to make for Apple, savings which might be passed on to the user. In theory, it could also mean more room for other components in the iPhone 16 to expand into... such as, for example, a larger capacity battery.

And now the bad news

This switch to QLC wouldn't necessarily be all good news though, even if the lower production costs are attractive to phone makers. QLC flash memory is less reliable than the TLC equivalent, and as a result the write speeds for the iPhone 16 storage could end up slower than they were for the iPhone 15.

As we're not privy to Apple's engineering labs, this is all speculation – but that's the nature of leaks and rumors. It's something worth bearing in mind as the expected launch date of September 2024 draws closer.

One substantial upgrade that we have heard about with the iPhone 16 is that more RAM is on the way for the standard and Plus handsets – something that would improve performance, especially when multitasking. At the same time, the Pro models are also expected to get a boost to 5G speeds.

As for the physical design of the iPhone 16, it would seem that Apple can't make up its mind about whether or not to tweak the Action button introduced on last year's models. A new Capture button on the other side has also been rumored.

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David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.