appleinsider logo
Affiliate Disclosure
If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Read our ethics policy.

Leaked iPhone 15 board with A17 is a Photoshop fake

Leaks can be poor-quality Photoshop efforts [Source: iFixit. Edited in Pixelmator Pro]

With six months before Apple shows off its iPhone 15 family of smartphones, an A17 leak is a quick and low-effort Photoshop edit that Monday's poster stole.

Leaks are the lifeblood of outlets like AppleInsider, and in many cases, they are reasonably sound or have supportive evidence that makes it seem reasonable to believe. Then there are ones that are just pathetic in their attempts to get attention.

In the case of an attempted leak that came to the attention of AppleInsider early on Monday, an attempt was made but had so much wrong with it that it couldn't be taken seriously. But, we're certain that it will pop up elsewhere, so we're getting ahead of it.

In brief, they passed off an iPhone 14 Pro Max board as an iPhone 15 version, by slapping "A17" on the chip.

Low-effort leakage

On Monday, one self-styled yet relatively unknown leaker showed just how low the barrier to entry is for creating fake leaks.

The Twitter account "@lipilipsi," which identifies with the name "fix Apple" and describes itself as an iPhone ICC engineer "at Apple and huwai" offers all of the trappings of someone who works in electronics and repair work. They have also secured a decent following, with over 2,800 followers as of March 2023.

The problem is that the content that relatively anonymous Twitter account provides is low-effort stuff taken from elsewhere or, in Monday's post, a complete fabrication that was also stolen.

Monday's missive claims to show an image of an "iPhone 15 pro PCB board" that apparently looks like the iPhone 14 Pro version, complete with the "same nand chip ic with A17 CPU."

This "leak" is nothing more than an iFixit photograph with A17 edited onto it.

While this leak would be considered iffy at best at this time, it is undermined by the first reply. Another user, Omar Sohail, claims they created the edited image, simply placing "A17" on the die on an image sourced from iFixit.

AppleInsider searched for the original, and found an exact match on iFixit's teardown of the iPhone 14 Pro Max. About halfway down the page, there is a clear shot of the A16 version of the board, complete with all components in exactly the same places as the supposed leak.

The quality of the leaked image is low, but you can certainly tell it's a low-res version of the iFixit photograph, but with A17 edited onto the chip without that much effort. The text of the edited version is much larger, and doesn't really attempt to properly match up to the original.

Even the drop shadow from the iFixit original image has made it into the leak.

While Apple does reuse designs in its products, it doesn't tend to use identical board layouts. If the board was genuine, you would expect at least one component on the board to have been moved or adjusted, but there is no evidence of this.

The key here is that, yes, Apple will almost certainly be including an A17 in the next generation of iPhone models. It's pretty much guaranteed to happen.

There's just no way that this composited image legitimately shows it.

iFixit's original shot [top] and the
iFixit's original shot [top] and the "leak" [below]

The low effort of the account's attempt to garner authority in the field spreads further than just sharing a poor quality image-edit. Scanning the rest of the account's posts reveals shots taken from other sources without crediting, such as 3D-printed models of the iPhone 15 lineup that spread on Sunday, initially produced by Macotakara.

Sometimes, attention seekers don't know where to stop, or simply don't care.

"Leaks" not leaks

An entire industry has spawned around the creation and spread of rumors and leaks for many devices and other products. Apple is, naturally, one of the biggest targets for such attempts, with genuine and wannabe leakers sharing details about the iPhoneand other desirable products.

However, while there are some online who decide to share leaks created by others to try and get attention, some do so with complete fabrications. Pranksters creating a fake leak can secure eyeballs, but don't do anything but disappoint fans searching for legitimate new information.

With the time to Apple's traditional launch window for its iPhone refresh hitting six months, leaks will start to ramp up in quantity, if not necessarily quality. That means there's more opportunity for people to try and get away with fooling people with lies and deceit.

Instances such as this should serve as a warning when it comes to searching for rumors and leaks on the Internet. Not all leaks will be genuine, even if the leaker has the best of intentions, as sometimes fake stories do get circulated.

Indeed, even with leaks for things Apple is probably working on, the company can still make changes to what it will sell to consumers months ahead of launch. There's never a guarantee until Apple actually launches its products during its slick fall presentation.

For the moment though, this should serve as a reminder that leaks should be taken with a pinch of salt at best. That there are people who want to share fake leaks to get attention and influence rather than circulating something approximating news.

AppleInsider and other Apple news outlets all spend days combing over the Internet's rumors, separating the plausible from the unlikely. We do try to get things right as far as possible, but given the sophistication of some so-called leaked documents, it can sometimes be difficult to detect.

If you do your own search for leaks on social media, it's worth taking a few minutes to really consider the leak's content, as well as its source. There are legitimate leakers out there with reasonably good track records, but there are also so many who are spreading things they've made up or slapped together in Photoshop.

The adage "Don't believe everything you read on the Internet" is still alive and well, and especially holds true to leaks.

Like any other media, just take a moment to think about the leak before taking it as the truth.