Teardown Shows iPhone 13 Pro Camera Module is Much Larger

The iPhone 13 series may look like an incremental update from the outside, but the team from iFixit shows that after a teardown, there are some notable differences from the 12 Pro series, especially when it comes to the camera.

The iFixit team reports that there are seven main upgrades between the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro. Specifically, the iPhone 13 Pro features an A15 Bionic chip with a new 5-core GPU and 6-core CPU as well as a 16-core Neural Engine. It also has 6GB of RAM and a base 128GB of storage that is configurable up to 1 TB. It also has support for Sub-6 GHz (and mmWave on the US models), 4×4 MIMO LTE, 2×2 MIMO 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, Ultra Wideband, and NFC.

The display has also been upgraded and on the iPhone 13 Pro is a 6.1-inch (2532 × 1170 pixels) Super Retina XDR OLED display with ProMotion, which means the display can intelligently shift the refresh rate from very low all the way up to 120Hz. It also gets 15W wireless charging and IP68 water resistance.

But most notably for photographers, the camera array looks very different. The specifications sheet says it’s a 12-megapixel triple camera system made up of an ultra-wide-angle (ƒ/1.8), wide-angle (ƒ/1.5), and 3x telephoto (ƒ/2.8) cameras, plus a LiDAR module. But the on-paper specifications don’t really do the changes to this system justice.

In the photo above, iFixit shows that the iPhone 13 camera module (left) is much larger than the one found in the iPhone 12 Pro’s array (right). Side by side, there is a clear difference.

But the iPhone 12 Pro did not have the most robust camera system of the last generation — that went to the Pro Max. So how does the iPhone 13 Pro camera’s size compare? Honestly, it’s hard to say from the photos iFixit has provided since the organization did not take photos from the same angles of the two models. It looks similar, but there are definitely some differences. For example, Apple added stabilization to all three cameras on the iPhone 13 Pro, up from just one on the 12 Pro Max.

The photos below are from iFixit’s 2020 teardown of the iPhone 12 Pro Max:

On a related note, a report from GSMArena claims that the camera sensors in the 13 Pro series are completely different from the ones found in the 12 Pro Max. A Chinese enthusiast claims that all three have a new Sony IMX 7-series sensor behind them. The main camera is supposedly a Sony IMX703, the ultra-wide is apparently a Sony IMX772, and the telephoto is supposedly a Sony IMX713. The iPhone 12 Pro Max reportedly used Sony 6-series sensors.

As interesting as it is to see these modules outside of their home, the main reason iFixit performs its teardowns is to provide a repairability score to electronics. Last year, the iPhone 12 Pro Max scored a 6 out of 10 for repairability, and this year the iPhone 13 Pro scores a 5 out of 10. iFixit says that in addition to the glass back that made the iPhone 12 Pro Max difficult to repair, the iPhone 13 Pro software component pairing “needlessly complicates” many repairs.

iFixit’s full teardown of the iPhone 13 Pro can be seen on its website.

Image credits: All teardown images by iFixit.