What type of titanium does iPhone 15 Pro use?

There are nearly 40 grades of titanium, and Apple currently uses Grade 5, a popular titanium alloy, for the iPhone 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max.

From spacecraft to prosthetics, titanium has always been a top choice in materials science. Many people think titanium is associated with high-tech, expensive, and futuristic equipment. Therefore, Apple received positive feedback when deciding to bring this material to the iPhone 15 Pro generation .

iPhone 15 Pro Max with titanium shell. Photo: PhoneArena

In fact, titanium is a common element in the Earth's crust. They are everywhere, in rocks, clay, soil, sand... but the metal itself is very expensive due to the difficult extraction process, requiring many stages and high temperatures. Pure titanium is also difficult to machine because it is as hard as steel in its purest form.

To improve, the types of titanium commonly found on utensils are in alloy form. Compared to its pure form, titanium alloys offer a combination of strength, corrosion resistance, weldability, and are easier to fabricate.

There are 38 different types of titanium, divided by Grade. From Grade 1 to Grade 4 are considered pure form. Grade 5 used by Apple on the iPhone 15 Pro is the most commonly used titanium alloy, containing mostly titanium with 6% aluminum, 4% vanadium, 0.25% iron and 0.2% oxygen in it.

Types from Grade 6 to 38 are used for different purposes depending on the compound inside. For example, Grade 23 (6% aluminum, 4% vanadium and 0.13% oxygen) is the titanium most commonly used in medical implants due to its biocompatibility.

Advantages and disadvantages of titanium when used for smartphones

According to experts, titanium is a suitable material for smartphones, thanks to its durability similar to stainless steel, while ensuring density, corrosion resistance, low temperature and conductivity. This means that smartphones using titanium shells will be lighter, more durable, less hot and do not need a coating to protect against corrosion.

Besides, titanium supports wireless charging capabilities, as the surface receives wireless energy better than plastic or glass casings. Many titanium medical implants can be charged wirelessly when implanted in the body.

However, the major barrier of titanium is the expensive manufacturing cost, causing the product to have a high price. For example, the 1mm thick titanium layer on the iPhone 15 Pro Max frame increases the selling price by 100 USD, even though production costs and materials are about 30-40 USD. This is also the reason why super luxury phones made with titanium shells have incredibly high prices.

Is a titanium phone necessary?

Titanium is currently present on many small electronic devices such as smartwatches, smart rings, and jewelry. However, the cost barrier makes experts believe that high-grade aluminum or steel are also suitable choices, thanks to still having most of the properties of Grade 5 titanium and lower price. However, in the context of smartphones without many breakthroughs, the appearance of titanium can be considered a new choice for users.

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