iPhone 15 Pro will have a secret new chip to power features even when it's off

iPhone 15 Ultra concept
(Image credit: Jonas Daehnert)

A new inside report claims that Apple's iPhone 15 Pro will feature an all-new microprocessor that will power certain functions of the device even while it's switched off, to enable certain features like Find My iPhone

An anonymous source posting to MacRumors' forum claims that Apple's new iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max will indeed feature capacitive buttons for volume and mute but that these will be powered by a new microprocessor that will replace the Super Low Energy Mode used on the iPhone 14 Pro. 

"This micro-processor will replace Apple's current “Super Low Energy Mode” which is in use currently via the main SoC (AX) chip inside current models," the source states. This is the same inside source that accurately revealed the iPhone 14 Pro's Dynamic Island upgrade prior to launch, so it has a limited but accurate track record. 

iPhone 15 Pro's new microprocessor

Currently, Apple's best iPhones offer very limited features even when powered off. For instance, you can use Find My to locate the phone if you've lost it even once the battery has died, or use Apple Pay's express transit feature.

That is set to continue in the new iPhone 15 Pro (notably NOT in the regular iPhone 15) and may even improve thanks to this secret new chip. 

"The new microprocessor that will ship in the 15 Pro models will not only manage those tasks but will also be able to immediately sense capacitive button presses, holds, and even detect their own version of 3D Touch with the new volume up/down button, action (currently ringer switch) button, and power button, while the phone is dead or powered down," the source revealed. The new feature is currently being tested with and without Taptic Engine feedback and will reportedly power Find My, Bluetooth/UltraWide band functionality, and Apple Pay's express transit feature. 

The source claims that Apple's iPhone volume will increase or decrease faster depending on how much pressure you apply to each button, or that you may also be able to control the volume by swiping your finger up or down on the buttons, but that only one will likely ship. 

What's more, the source for this info says that Apple might not even announce the new chip when the iPhone 15 Pro rolls around, but it will definitely be there. 

Apple's iPhone 15 Pro is expected in September alongside iOS 17 and will feature an updated design, a new A17 chip, and USB-C for the first time. 

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9