iPhone 16 storage could max out at 2TB – but leaker wrong before

January 21, 2024

A sketchy report suggests that iPhone 16 storage could max out at 2TB on the two Pro models. It should be noted that the same source said the same thing about the iPhone 15 Pro.

This time around, it’s suggested that Apple would achieve this using a new form of flash memory which is denser and cheaper …

Where have we heard this before?

During the run-up to the iPhone 15 launch, Korean blogger yeux1122 said that there would be a 2TB storage option for the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max models.

This is the supplier source. The Apple iPhone 15 Pro and Max models will have a new 2-tera option this time.

This, of course, didn’t happen, with the maximum storage tier remaining at 1TB.

They also said the same about the upcoming OLED iPad Pro models.

Today’s iPhone 16 storage report

The same source today makes the same prediction about the iPhone 16.

In the Apple iPhone 16 Pro lineup, due to the addition of QLC flash memory, a 2TB super-large storage version will be released for the first time in the series.

9to5Mac’s Take

Yeux1122 has a mixed track-record. They have gotten enough things right in the past to give some credence to their reports, but been part-right, part-wrong about both the iPad mini 6 and iPhone SE 3, wrong about the iPad Air storage tiers, wrong about the RAM in the iPhone 14 Pro, and only half-right about the iPhone 15 Pro storage.

My view is that they do have some decent supply-chain sources, but are also prone to extrapolation and outright guesswork when those sources don’t provide enough of a steer.

An argument could be made for a 2TB tier, especially now that the iPhone 15 Pro supports Apple ProRes with LOG support. As we noted at the time of the announcement, that generates some huge files.

While shooting 4k30fps video in the iPhone’s standard H265 video will capture take up 190MB of storage, that same minute of 4k30fps ProRes video uses a whopping 6GB of storage. 

However, the iPhone 15 Pro models also added support for shooting to external SSDs, and that’s very practical when shooting with any kind of rig, as serious iPhone videographers are likely to do. That likely reduces demand for higher storage tiers.

Yeux1122 this time provides a little support for the claim by suggesting Apple will use QLC flash memory for the 2TB tier, compared to the TLC chips used today. This would reduce Apple’s costs, and allow higher capacity in the same size chip.

TLC aka Triple Level Cell has three bits per cell, giving eight possible voltage states. QLC aka Qual Level Cell does, as the name suggests, increase this to four bits per cell, giving 16 possible voltage states. In simple terms, it doubles the storage capacity in the same size chip.

QLC storage has slower read and write speeds, as there are more voltage states to check and set, but there are workarounds for this when faster speeds are needed (one of which is simply to treat some QLC cells as TLC cells).

For now, we’re filing this one in the sketchy category.

Photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash

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