iPhone 16 Design Rumors: New Buttons and Bigger Screens

Rumors suggest the iPhone 16 won't be a drastic departure from the iPhone 15. But the Pro models may get a bump in screen size.

Lisa Eadicicco Senior Editor
Lisa Eadicicco is a senior editor for CNET covering mobile devices. She has been writing about technology for almost a decade. Prior to joining CNET, Lisa served as a senior tech correspondent at Insider covering Apple and the broader consumer tech industry. She was also previously a tech columnist for Time Magazine and got her start as a staff writer for Laptop Mag and Tom's Guide.
Expertise Apple | Samsung | Google | Smartphones | Smartwatches | Wearables | Fitness trackers
Lisa Eadicicco
5 min read
iPhone 15 Pro Max with modified camera lens and the neon number 16 on a black background

The iPhone 16 (not pictured) is rumored to have some subtle design differences compared to the iPhone 15. 


Apple's next iPhone, likely to be called the iPhone 16, is expected to take a lot of design cues from last year's iPhone 15

Among the biggest rumored changes is the addition of new buttons for both models. Otherwise, the Pro versions could get slightly larger screens, while the standard model may get a redesigned camera module. None of these reports have been confirmed or acknowledged by Apple, so we'll have to wait until September to know what's truly in store for the iPhone 16. 

The iPhone's design has largely remained the same over the last couple of years, aside from the iPhone 15 Pro's titanium build and the iPhone 15's color-infused glass. It also removed the SIM card slot from new iPhones in the US, starting with the iPhone 14 in 2022, meaning new iPhone buyers must rely on electronic SIMs. But arguably the biggest overhaul in recent memory came in 2020 when Apple changed the iPhone's shape by giving it flatter edges, starting with the iPhone 12.

Now, here's what we're expecting from the iPhone 16. 

Read more: AI Is Changing Our Phones, and It's Just Getting Started

Watch this: What Google Gemini AI on the iPhone Could Look Like

iPhone 16 may get a new camera bump

Apple may switch up the camera arrangement on the iPhone 16 and 16 Plus, according to MacRumors. The cameras will reportedly be stacked vertically on both phones, similar to the iPhone 12. 

Australian tech commentator Trevor Long claims to have obtained a dummy unit of the iPhone 16, which he unboxed on his YouTube channel, EFTM. These "dummy" units aren't actual iPhones; they're models meant to help case manufacturers figure out the size and dimensions of new phones before they're released. The purported iPhone 16 dummy in Long's video shows vertically oriented cameras just like those mentioned in the MacRumors article. 

It's unclear why Apple would change the positioning of the cameras on the iPhone 16 and 16 Plus specifically. The iPhone 16 Pro and Pro Max, on the other hand, are expected to keep the same camera bump design, according to 91Mobiles, which claims to have obtained drawings of the phones' design.

When Apple shifted from a vertical arrangement to a diagonal one starting with the iPhone 13, it said doing so made it possible to fit a larger module in the device, as noted in CNET's review. It's possible that it no longer needs to position the cameras in that way to fit the iPhone 16's sensor, but this is just speculation at this point. 

Action and camera capture buttons for the iPhone 16

Expect your next iPhone to come with more buttons. 

The iPhone 16 is reportedly getting a dedicated button for shooting video, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, although it's unclear if it would be available on all phones or just the Pro models. At the same time, Apple is expected to expand the Action button to all iPhone 16 models, Bloomberg also reports. Both buttons will be capacitive, according to MacRumors. 

The Action button, which can be used as a shortcut to launch the camera or turn on Do Not Disturb among other tasks, is currently exclusive to the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. In addition to extending the Action button to the standard iPhone this year, I'm also hoping Apple expands what it can do. For example, as my colleague Patrick Holland writes, the ability to trigger different actions with multiple presses could open up a bunch of possibilities. 

Read more: The iPhone May Get a Big Dose of AI This Year. Here's What to Expect

17 Hidden iOS 17 Features You Should Definitely Know About

See all photos

Larger sizes for the iPhone 16 Pro and Pro Max

The iPhone Pro's screen size has remained the same for years, but that could soon change. Both the iPhone 16 Pro and 16 Pro Max models are expected to include bigger screens, according to reports from Bloomberg, well-known analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, MacRumors and Display Supply Chain Consultants CEO Ross Young

The iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max currently measure 6.1 and 6.7 inches respectively. If the reports from Young and MacRumors end up being true, the Pro's screen could end up measuring 6.2 or 6.3 inches, while the Max could be 6.8 or 6.9 inches. 

A social media photo posted by well-known leaker Sonny Dickson showed what are said to be mockups of the next iPhone. Two of those models had labels indicating they have 6.3- and 6.9-inch screens, providing further speculation that Apple will give its pro-level iPhones a bump in display size.

That jump from 6.1 to 6.3 inches may not sound like a big difference. But in a device as small as a phone, even a fraction of an inch can go a long way.

Another purportedly leaked photo claims to show how the iPhone 16 Pro Max will compare to the iPhone 15 Pro Max in terms of size. Daniel Rotar of the tech YouTube channel ZoneOfTech published a photo on X of what is said to be a dummy unit of the iPhone 16 Pro Max alongside last year's Pro Max. Based on that photo, the iPhone 16 Pro Max could be slightly taller than its predecessor. 

Apple hasn't updated the iPhone's screen size of its Pro Max iPhone since 2020, when it introduced the 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max to replace the 6.5-inch iPhone 11 Pro Max. The Pro model also got a size bump that year, growing to 6.1 inches compared to the 5.8-inch iPhone 11 Pro.

Read more: Best iPhone to Buy in 2024

iPhone 16 possible colors

Apple may have a couple of new color options in store for the iPhone 16 Pro, if rumors turn out to be true. The iPhone 16 Pro and Pro Max may come in space black, gray, rose and white colors, according to a leak that surfaced on the Chinese social network Weibo. The rumor was reposted by a notable leaker who goes by the alias ShrimpApplePro on X. That would differ from the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max's color options, which include natural titanium, blue titanium, white titanium and black titanium.

All told, the iPhone 16 and 16 Pro sound like they will be an incremental upgrade over the iPhone 15. Check out our full preview of what we're expecting from the iPhone 16 to learn more about what we may see from the camera and other key areas.