iPhone 13 could be thicker than the iPhone 12 — but it's not what we wanted

Render of the back of an iPhone 13 Pro in matte black
(Image credit: EverythingApplePro)

We've already heard plenty of rumors about the iPhone 13 and we've even seen a convincing dummy unit to give us an idea of what to expect. But a new leak claims to have actual numbers for the new dimensions of the iPhone 13 models.

According to MacRumors, they were provided schematics for the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro that reveals an increase in the overall thickness of the phone and a much more pronounced bump for the rear camera array (via SlashGear).

I was initially thrilled to see that the iPhone 13 would get thicker; it could use the added space to resolve the battery issues from the iPhone 12. Unfortunately, the increased thickness to the body of the phone should be almost imperceptible as it will only be going from 7.4mm to 7.57mm, according to this report. That is an increase of 0.0067 inches. Going back to the leaked dummy unit from last week, this lines up with Hilsenteger saying that he could barely tell the difference when running his finger across the two devices resting on a table.

That means virtually no additional space for a larger battery gained by that larger frame. The reduction to the size of the notch could offer some added space. No, the battery doesn't extend that high on the phone, but the notch-less screen could allow Apple to reconfigure some internal components and free up additional real estate for a larger battery. 

iPhone 13/13 Pro comparison images with iPhone 12/12 Pro by MacRumors based on alleged leaked schematics

(Image credit: MacRumors)

With the projected move to 120Hz displays for the iPhone 13, the deck was already a bit stacked against its battery life after seeing the toll that 5G took on the iPhone 12, so hopefully, Apple has some tricks up its sleeve. 

More troubling from a design standpoint is that the iPhone 13 camera array is getting noticeably thicker and will now stick out 2.51mm on the iPhone 13 versus 1.5mm on the iPhone 12, or about 0.04 inches. That may not sound that bad, but the iPhone 13 Pro will reportedly jump to 3.65mm from 1.7mm on the iPhone 12 Pro, or around 0.077 inches. 

Is this a catastrophic change that will render the iPhone design terrible? Of course not. It's mainly aggravating to see Apple not simply increase the overall thickness of the iPhone a bit more to accommodate a larger battery, which would also make the larger camera array less pronounced. Apple was a longtime leader in smartphone battery life, but it faltered with iPhone 12 and could be on a similar path with iPhone 13.

Sean Riley

Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more.  Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.