The iPhone 15 got a Pro modem upgrade, teardown reveals

The complete iPhone 15 lineup at Apple's Regent Street store in London, U.K.
(Image credit: Apple)

The iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus aren't Apple's range-topping models, but they do have one component in common with the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max. It turns out that all of Apple's new iPhones use the same modem.

We already knew that Apple used Qualcomm's X70 modem in its best iPhones, but now we have confirmation that it also has pride of place in those a little further down the lineup.

While the move means that there is no difference between the modems used in the latest iPhones, Apple would surely still prefer to have used something different entirely. The company has been working on its own in-house 5G modem for years and has, to date, been unable to get it into a state that would allow it to be used in a shipping product.

More Pro than you might think

It's fair to say that it's unlikely most people will notice which modem they have in their iPhone, but the decision to use the Snapdragon X70 modem is still an interesting one. It means that Apple can use the same baseband software across its entire iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro lineup in particular, likely streamlining development.

In terms of real-world use, the biggest improvement over the Snapdragon X65 that some had expected Apple to use will be improved power consumption and better signal strength.

This is all according to iFixit teardown expert Shahram Mokhtari who shared the news via X, the social media network previously known as Twitter.

With Apple giving the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus last year's A16 Bionic it was thought it might also use last year's modem, too. That's not the case, however.

Apple and Qualcomm recently signed a multi-year deal that will see the latter continue to provide modems for iPhones. Apple will hope to have its own modems ready by the time that deal runs out.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.