The iPhone 16 Pro Max could bring in a big battery boost – but there's a catch

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Tired of your iPhone battery not lasting long enough? There could be good news on the way, as one prominent leaker has alleged Apple is working to boost the juice of its future phones. But despite that positive development, there’s a significant catch attached.

The news comes from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has built up a reputation for sourcing accurate information from Apple’s supply chains. This time, Kuo claims that future iPhone batteries will feature increased energy density. This means Apple could choose to either increase battery life and keep the current battery size, or offer the same battery life in a smaller package, thereby making room for other components inside its iPhones.

As well as that, Kuo states that Apple is planning to switch out the existing aluminum battery case inside its phones with a stainless steel replacement. While this is not quite as effective at heat dissipation compared to aluminum, it is “more robust and less susceptible to corrosion,” Kuo maintains. That could help to strengthen your iPhone and might provide similar protection as the metal bracket Apple has added to the interior of the 2024 iPad Pro.

There’s another potential angle to this, according to Kuo: regulation. As the analyst puts it: “The use of a stainless steel battery case also reduces the difficulty of removing the battery, which will help Apple comply with the European Union’s requirements for mobile phone batteries’ replaceability in the future.” No doubt that’s weighing heavily on the minds of Apple’s decision makers, although how far the company will go to make user-replaceable batteries is open to question.

iPhone 16 Pro Max priority

iPhone 14 Pro Max review camera

(Image credit: Future | Alex Walker-Todd)

Now, about that catch we mentioned earlier. Kuo’s report initially only mentions this year’s rumored iPhone 16 Pro Max getting the upgrades. It then goes on to explain that, if all goes well with testing and production, these features should be rolled out to every iPhone in 2025. That means you’ll have to wait an extra year if you don’t want to fork out for Apple’s flagship iPhone 16 Pro Max.

It’s a shame, but not entirely surprising. Apple often rolls out premium features in its Pro Max phones first as a way to differentiate them and justify their higher prices. And with the increased size of this year’s model – the iPhone 16 Pro Max is expected to have a 6.9-inch display, up from 6.7 inches – that gives more room internally for other components should Apple decide to shrink the battery’s footprint.

Elsewhere, a second report, this time from Display Supply Chain Consultants’ Ross Young, has claimed that Apple’s suppliers will start manufacturing screens for the iPhone 16 range this June, suggesting that everything is on course for the usual September release date. With that in mind, it means we don’t have long until we find out exactly what Apple has decided to do about the iPhone’s battery situation.

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Alex Blake
Freelance Contributor

Alex Blake has been fooling around with computers since the early 1990s, and since that time he's learned a thing or two about tech. No more than two things, though. That's all his brain can hold. As well as TechRadar, Alex writes for iMore, Digital Trends and Creative Bloq, among others. He was previously commissioning editor at MacFormat magazine. That means he mostly covers the world of Apple and its latest products, but also Windows, computer peripherals, mobile apps, and much more beyond. When not writing, you can find him hiking the English countryside and gaming on his PC.