iPhone 13 to have biggest cameras ever, but still won't match Samsung Galaxy in one area

iPhone 13 may have bigger sensors and better stabilisation, but still no sign of a giant zoom

iPhone 13 camera size
(Image credit: Apple)

The iPhone 13 will have the biggest camera module of any iPhone ever, most likely to make room for bigger camera sensors and improved optical stabilisation. That’s according to leaked CAD documents shared by EverythingApplePro (via MacRumors).

According to the CAD documents, the iPhone 13 mini, the iPhone 13 Pro and the iPhone 13 Pro Max camera modules will all be perfectly square, and the iPhone 13 Pro Max camera will be more prominent: it’ll stick out 0.87mm more than the one in the current iPhone 12 Pro Max. The module will be 3.38mm taller and 4.77mm wider, which is quite dramatically bigger.

The Pro and Pro Max modules are reportedly becoming bigger to make room for larger LIDAR sensors, which should improve augmented reality experiences and focusing. The iPhone 13 mini won’t be getting the same sensors, but its bigger module will still be necessary for the better sensors and sensor-shift optical stabilisation it's claimed we'll see across the iPhone 13 range.

Samsung is still ahead in one key area

While we’re excited about any improvements in flagship cameras, we’re a little disappointed not to see any plans for the periscope lens it's said that Apple has in development: such lenses enable you to get much greater optical zooms without having to put enormous lenses all over your camera. 

That means Samsung remains ahead of Apple in this space: the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, for example, includes this kind of camera. It uses its periscope lens to get 10x optical zoom; the optical zoom in the iPhone 12 Pro Max is 2.5x, with digital zoom kicking in thereafter. Reports say that periscope lenses are coming to the iPhone, but it doesn’t look like we’ll see them in the iPhone 13.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com).