The iPhone 16 could use graphene to avoid problems faced by the iPhone 15

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

Great as the iPhone 15 line is, it’s not devoid of problems, and one early issue was a tendency for Apple's new phones to overheat in certain situations. In theory, these heat issues have now been fixed by an iOS 17 update, but Apple might make changes to the iPhone 16’s hardware to ensure there’s no danger of its next phones getting too hot to handle.

This is according to @KosutamiSan, who, posting on X (via Apple Insider), claims that Apple is “actively working” on a graphene thermal system for the iPhone 16 series. That presumably means all four expected models – the iPhone 16, the iPhone 16 Plus, the iPhone 16 Pro and the iPhone 16 Pro Max – would get this feature.

Graphene has ten times more thermal conductivity than copper, so it’s a great material to use as a heat sink, to pull heat away from other components that might be generating heat.

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The same source also claims that the battery in the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max will have a metal shell, so that this can act as a heat sink too.

We’d take both of these claims with a pinch of salt, especially as the source doesn’t have as much of a track record as some, but these do sound like logical ways for Apple to deal with heat build-up. Unlike a vapor chamber or other solutions, they shouldn’t require a significant redesign, or take up much more space than existing components.

Less heat might mean more power

Of course, given that Apple seems to have fixed the iPhone 15’s heat issues with a software update, it’s questionable how much need there is for hardware changes anyway. But keeping heat under control better could allow the iPhone 16 line to leverage the full power of its chipset for longer.

We’re unlikely to know for sure whether this leak is accurate until September of next year, as that’s when the iPhone 16 line will likely be announced. Even then, these are the sorts of details that Apple might not reveal, so we might actually have to wait even longer, until someone has opened up one of these phones.

There’s no need to wait until then to get one of the best iPhones though, as the current selection includes some excellent phones, and with the latest software updates, heat shouldn’t be a problem.

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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.