The iPhone 15 might not get the big camera upgrade we were expecting

Apple iPhone 14 camera array
The iPhone 14 (Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

We’ve long expected the iPhone 15 to include two big upgrades over the iPhone 14, specifically a Dynamic Island and the same 48MP main camera as on the iPhone 14 Pro. However, while the former still looks set to happen, the latter might not.

That's according to reputable leaker Digital Chat Station, who, on Chinese site Weibo (via MacRumors), has claimed that while the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max will apparently retain the 48MP camera of their predecessors, the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus will get a different 48MP camera.

Different how? Digital Chat Station says it'll be a 48MP camera with a 1/1.5-inch sensor, which is smaller than the 1/1.28-inch sensor used by the 48MP camera on the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max.

When it comes to sensors, bigger is better

That smaller sensor size means it won’t be able to capture as much light, and therefore probably won’t perform as well in low-light conditions. Beyond that, a larger sensor size can benefit depth of field and dynamic range, and can improve the overall image quality – though in the latter case the size of the sensor is just one of several factors at play.

So if Digital Chat Station is right, the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus may have less-capable main cameras than the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max.

We’d take this with a pinch of salt, but this leak doesn’t necessarily conflict with earlier rumors, which tended to simply say that the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus would have a 48MP camera, and didn’t get into the specific sensor sizes.

If this claim is correct it’s certainly disappointing, but it’s not all bad news. A 48MP iPhone 15 camera will still likely be a slight upgrade on the 12MP snapper found on the iPhone 14, even if it doesn’t match the cameras of the Pro models. This would also make for a larger sensor than the 1/1.7-inch one used by the iPhone 14.

So this could still be one of the more useful improvements that the iPhone 15 offers over its predecessor – just not quite as useful as we’d hoped, leaving it less likely to rank among the very best camera phones.

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.