Skip to main content

iPhone 13: Everything we know so far

iPhone 13 concept render
(Image credit: Concept Creator x LetsGoDigital )

Exciting iPhone 13 rumors are already beginning to circulate – even though the release of the iPhone 12 family is still far from a distant memory. Even though the iPhone 13 isn't likely to arrive until at least September 2021, we're already beginning to see some interesting leaks – including a 120Hz refresh rate screen, at least one portless handset and Touch ID under the display. 

We've rounded up the most exciting iPhone 13 rumors below to help you discover exactly what we can expect from Apple's latest handset. We're sure that we'll see plenty of similarities to the iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini, but there's a good chance that we'll see some significant differences as well. 

• Read more: Best camera phone

This is because the iPhone 12 family was hit with manufacturing issues in the lead-up to its release. These problems even seemingly lead to Apple deciding to drop the 120Hz refresh rate screens from the iPhone 12 family (which is part of the reason why it seems probable that we'll see it in at least one of the iPhone 13 handsets).

Latest iPhone 13 rumors

UPDATE 23/06: Unofficial renders of the iPhone 13 have been released, showing off some of the brand new features that are rumored to appear on the newest Apple handsets. Created by Jermaine Smit (aka Concept Creator) in collaboration with LetsGoDigital, these renders show the sleek body that we've come to expect from Apple products.

LetsGoDigital also expands on some of the updates that we're due to expect later this year when the iPhone 13 models finally appear. Apparently, the iPhone 13 Pro will have an energy efficient ProMotion screen that will offer support for the 120Hz refresh rate (which will ensure faster scrolling and smoother gameplay). 

Apparently, the iPhone 13 Pro models will also have an 'Always-on Display' that will continue to show information such as the time and how much battery is left even when the phone is turned off. 

We're also set to see the return of Touch ID – although this time it will be placed below the display, rather than as part of a physical button. However, this doesn't mean the end of Face ID, so users will be able to choose which method they would like to unlock their handset with. It would be interesting to know whether the decision to bring back Face ID has been influenced by the exponential rise in mask-wearing (which obviously makes Face ID redundant). 

(Image credit: Concept Creator x LetsGoDigital )

iPhone 13: release date and pricing

Traditionally, Apple has released its iPhone handsets in its annual September event. However, with the difficulties caused by the pandemic, 2020 was a little different. The iPhone 12 family was announced in October, with the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro released the same month. However, the iPhone 12 mini and the iPhone 12 Pro Max were delayed until November – reportedly due to manufacturing delays. However, we'd expect Apple to return to its usual September Apple event – as long as there are no further difficulties caused by the ongoing global pandemic. 

We haven't seen any specific rumors or leaks regarding the pricing for the iPhone 13, but we would expect it to be in line with the iPhone 12 family. The iPhone 12 was a little more expensive than the iPhone 11 handsets, due to the addition of 5G. However, it's currently unlikely that Apple will be making any significant technology upgrades that will require a boost in pricing for the iPhone 13 handsets.

iPhone 13 or iPhone 12s?

For many years, we saw Apple working on a cycle of a major change one year and an incremental change the next. This smaller update would often be marked with an 's', such as in the iPhone 6s. However, once the iPhone 7 came out, Apple seemed to drop this convention (possibly because the camera phone market was becoming so competitive that it made more sense from a marketing perspective for each new upcoming handset to be seen as a 'major update'). 

However, there's speculation that Apple could potentially be returning to this naming convention. This is because 13 is an unlucky number in many parts of the world, including the US. It's very possible that Apple would prefer to skip this number for its latest iPhone update. 

This could mean that we'll actually be discussing the iPhone 12s and the iPhone 12s Pro when Apple releases its latest handsets in 2021. Alternatively, perhaps Apple will just skip over both possibilities and go straight to the iPhone 14 – just as it went from the iPhone 8 to the iPhone X

This renders were created by Technizo Concept in collaboration with LetsGoDigital. You can see more here. (Image credit: Let's Go Digital x @technizoconcept)

iPhone 13 rumors

Camera updates

Apparently, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo (via Mac Rumors), most of the iPhone 13 series will feature the same wide angle lens that's offered on the iPhone 12. However, the iPhone 13 Pro Max's wide angle camera will have a slightly improved aperture of f/1.5 (compared to the current f/1.6). 

Meanwhile, according to Barclays analysts, all four of the iPhone 13 models will include upgraded ultra wide cameras that will feature an f/1.8 aperture rather than the f/2.4 aperture currently found on the iPhone 12 family. 

Another exciting development could concern the image sensors used in both the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max. Apparently, one of the three rear cameras ( we would place our bets on the main wide angle camera) could be receiving a larger sensor. This would mean that users would be able to enjoy better image quality from their iPhone 13 Pro models. 

Other reports suggest that Apple will add a LiDAR scanner to all four iPhone 13 models, rather than just the Pro models. The same source has also mentioned that it believes all four iPhone 13 handsets will get sensor-shift OIS (optical image stabilization) and that the two Pro models will get a larger main lens. 

Apparently, we could also see sensor-shift OIS and autofocus added to the ultra-wide cameras in the new iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max models, rather than just the main wide angle cameras. 

Meanwhile, LetsGoDigital has reported thatApple is apparently planning to use sapphire glass to cover all three lenses. 

The functionality of the cameras on the iPhone 13 models will also be upgraded, with image stabilization seeing a new feature that will try to keep the subject in the center of the frame as the user is shooting. Plus, Apple has reportedly tried to improve Portrait mode by using data from the LiDAR sensor for a cleaner separation between the subject and background. Apparently, Portrait mode will also be available for videos as well. 

(Image credit: 数码疯报)

Camera module redesign

It seems as though the camera module on at least one of the iPhone 13 models could be facing a redesign, thanks to a recently leaked hands-on photo of a prototype of the iPhone 13 mini. Rather than sticking with the vertical dual camera design found on the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini handset, the leaked iPhone 13 mini shot shows a diagonal arrangement instead.

This isn't the first time we've seen this new diagonal design, as they were also shown in the CAD-based renders by xleaks7 and Pigtou that were released last week. 

Rumor website GSMArena suggests that we won't see a similar camera redesign on the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max models. This is because they have to fit three cameras in their rear camera module, including a LiDAR sensor as well. GSMArena also notes that the reason for this new layout on the iPhone 13 mini (and possibly the base iPhone 13 model) is to potentially fit a larger sensor. It's also been rumored that the camera bumps on every iPhone 13 model will get thicker, which is also an indication that Apple is tinkering with the camera technology for the upcoming handsets.

While seeing this new diagonal camera design from two different sources definitely lends credence to the rumor, there's no certainty that we'll actually see the design come to production. After all, the iPhone 13 mini photographed is just a prototype and Apple won't be putting the handsets into mass production for months. 

Redesigned selfie camera

A new report from DigiTimes (via PetaPixel) suggests that Apple is planning to shrink the size of its FaceID sensor chip, enabling them to scale down the front-facing notch that houses the selfie camera. By scaling down the Vertical-Cavity Surface-Emitting Laser (VCSEL) chips that are used in the FaceID scanner, Apple will reportedly be able to reduce production costs and produce more chips on a single wafer. 

Ming-Chi Kuo says, via Mac Rumors, "For the coming iPhone 13 cycle in 2H21, we foresee a more tightly integrated version of the existing structured light system, which will enable the long awaited reduction in the notch. On the rear, we do not anticipate Apple to broaden the adoption of the Lidar 3D sensor beyond the Pro models.

For the 2H22 product cycle, we anticipate an architectural shift from structured light to time-of-flight, allowing for an even smaller footprint. Based on our industry conversations, we do not think structured light beneath the screen is likely to be ready for mass deployment in 2H22. We also view the adoption of fingerprint-under-glass, that likely is added in the 2H21 iPhones, as a structural headwind for additional 3D sensing content at Apple and could be the security feature of the future."

Camera bump updates

It seems that the iPhone 13 models will feature a slightly thicker body and larger camera bumps than previous generations, according to this new rumor from MacRumors. The iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro models are expected to be 7.57mm thick, up from the iPhone 12's 7.4mm. While a difference of 0.17mm isn't going to be massively noticeable, it could suggest that Apple's internal upgrades are substantial enough to require more physical room inside.

Meanwhile, MacRumors says, "changes coming to the camera bumps of the new iPhones may be more noticeable". The iPhone 13 and the iPhone 13 Pro will have thicker bumps, with the base model featuring a 2.51mm bump (up from 1.5mm on the iPhone 12) and the Pro models featuring a pretty large 3.65mm bump (up from 1.7mm). 

Apparently, the reason for the larger camera bumps is to prevent the individual lenses protruding as much as they do on the iPhone 12. This means that cameras on the iPhone 13 will sit flush to the bump. 

In addition to these changes, it seems that we might also be seeing feature parity across the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max model. The 12 Pro's camera is smaller than the 12 Pro Max's, but MacRumors suggests that the 13 Pro is expected to gain a larger camera bump that's similar in size to the 13 Pro Max. This could mean that both Pro models will have similar cameras and features. 

(Image credit: MacRumors)

Image stabilization

The new iPhone 13 range will feature sensor stabilization in all of its models, according to a new report from DigiTimes (via PetaPixel). This report suggests that Apple will be increasing the amount of voice coil motors (VCM) it purchases over the next few months – it's even reported that Apple will be outpacing Android manufacturer orders as well. 

This VCM component is the basis for sensor-shift image stabilization technology. At the moment, Apple only needs enough VCMs for the iPhone 12 Pro Max. However, with VCM manufacturers having reportedly been told to increase production by 30-40% to meet "strong demand for iPhones", it seems that Apple is definitely planning to add sensor-shift image stabilization to more handsets in the future. 

Whether this means that all four of the expected iPhone 13 models will use this technology is unclear, but DigiTimes sources believe so, stating that since "demand for VCMs to support the function will grow three to four folds after all new iPhones incorporate the capability", that all of the upcoming iPhone 13 handsets will use this tech in some way. 

New battery

Apple has reportedly got a new battery in development for the new iPhone 13 family. While there's currently no indication on whether this will be a higher capacity battery that allows for better battery life, this new battery will apparently be a soft-board battery. This means that it would be smaller than the current battery Apple uses. 

This could potentially free up space for Apple to place more components inside – perhaps even an upgrade to the 5G module?

Renewed OLED display

The iPhone 13 will feature LTPO AMOLED panels from Samsung Display, according to this new rumor from The Elec. Apparently, Samsung Display will be converting its OLED line for Apple into one that makes "low temperature polycrystalline oxide (LTPO) thin-film transistor (TFT)". 

This new panel consumes less power than the previous LTPS screen that Apple used for its iPhones. This means that the new display will be capable of supporting a 120Hz refresh rate, which will give users a smoother experience when playing games or scrolling through their phone.

The iPhone 12 series was originally due to feature a 120Hz refresh rate, but it appeared that manufacturing issues possibly caused by the pandemic caused Apple to have to choose between a high refresh rate screen or including 5G. Thankfully, it seems that we're set to have at least two iPhone 13 handsets (the Pro and the Pro Max) with 120Hz displays.

• See Best iPhone microphone in 2021

iPhone 12

The iPhone 12 came in a range of stylish colors – but will the iPhone 13? (Image credit: Apple)

WiFi 6E technology

Apparently, the iPhone 13 handsets are expected to come with support for WiFi 6E technology. If you're not familiar with WiFi 6E, it essentially means that users could enjoy high levels of performance, low latency and fast data rates. 

As reported by India Today, there have also been recent rumors that the iPhone 13 family will use sensor-shift optical image stabilization, as seen in some of the best cameras. Apparently, the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max could also feature 120Hz ProMotion displays – something that had originally been rumored for the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max

Handset options

Some of the most interesting rumors come from Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. He predicts that the iPhone 13 series will also come in four different handset options, just like the iPhone 12 does. He also said that the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max will receive a significant upgrade to their camera modules, compared to the iPhone 12 models.

The Space Gray color is reportedly being reformulated as well. This means that it will appear darker (almost black) and will have a matte finish. There could also be a new orange finish on the horizon, but it's not likely to make an appearance with the iPhone 13 release. 

What about the iPhone 14?

While the iPhone 13 series is set to be an S-type update with minimal changes, it seems that the 2022 iPhone 14 could be a significant and exciting upgrade. Apparently, not only could we be seeing a notchless and portless design, but the iPhone 14 camera will wildly exceed anything Apple has produced before. 

A new report from Ming Chi Kuo, via MacRumors, says that: "We believe that the camera quality of the mew 2H22 iPhone will elevate mobile phone camera photography to a new level". Apparently, the 2022 iPhone model will feature 48MP output and 12MP output simultaneously, with the sensor size increasing from 1.7um (as seen in the current iPhone 12) to 2.5um.

According to MacRumors, the 108MP camera unit in Samsung's arsenal is only 2.4um, which means that Apple could be set to produce the best camera phone on the market in 2022 (as long as no other manufacturer beats them to the punch!). 

Ming Chi Kuo also suggests that, while we'll see an iPhone 13 mini, we shouldn't expect to see a mini version of the 2022 iPhone 14. Instead, Apple is reported to be developing a pair of 6.7" phones with pro and non-pro features instead. 

Read more

Best iPhone for photography in 2021: from the iPhone 7 Plus to 11 Pro
Best camera phone in 2021: which is the best smartphone for photography?
Best phablet in 2021
Best phone cases in 2021: protect your camera phone in style
The best TikTok lights
Best camera for TikTok

Louise Carey

With over a decade of photographic experience, Louise arms Digital Camera World with a wealth of knowledge on photographic technique and know-how – something she is so adept at that she's delivered workshops for the likes of ITV and Sue Ryder. Before joining the site, her formidable hands-on abilities served her well as features editor for Practical Photography. Louise currently shoots with the Fujifilm X-T200 and the Nikon D800, capturing self-portraits and still life images.