iPhone 15 Pro vs. iPhone 15 Pro Max: Exploring the Differences

Digital Trends

When the iPhone 15 was released last year, there was the customary rush of curiosity about the new models. Many wanted to know if the iPhone 15 Pro was worth the extra money above the iPhone 15. If, however, you made the decision that it was the right choice and you want a Pro, you now have another decision to make: which model—the iPhone 15 Pro or iPhone 15 Pro Max? The most recent iOS 17.4 software, which was released in March 2024, is compatible with both devices; however, the hardware specs differ.

Furthermore, it's harder to choose between Pro and Pro Max this time. With the exception of size, the prior iPhone Pro and iPhone Pro Max versions were nearly similar; however, with the release of the iPhone 15 series, this has changed. For the first time since the 2020 iPhone 12 Pro Max, you will need to consider factors other than size while deciding between the Pro and Pro Max. Read on to learn about specifications and comparisons, though—we've got all the information you need to make an informed decision.

iPhone 15 Pro vs. iPhone 15 Pro Max

Features iPhone 15 Pro iPhone 15 Pro Max
Size 146.6 x 70.6 x 8.25mm 159.9 x 76.7 x 8.25 mm
Weight 187 grams 221 grams
Screen 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR OLED
Resolution 2556 x 1179 pixels 2796 x 1290 pixels
OS iOS 17 iOS 17
Storage 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
MicroSD No No
Tap-to-pay Apple Pay Apple Pay
Processor Apple A17 Pro Apple A17 Pro
Camera 48MP main, 12MP UltraWide 48MP main, 12MP UltraWide
Video 4K at 24/30/60 fps 4K at 24/30/60 fps
Cellular 5G mmWave, 5G 5G mmWave, 5G
Bluetooth 5.3 5.3
Water Resistant IP68 IP68
Battery 20-23 hours playback 25-29 hours playback
App Marketplace App Store App Store
Network All major carriers All major carriers
Colors Natural, Blue, White, Black Titanium Natural, Blue, White, Black Titanium
Price $999+ $1,199+

The design of the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max

Joe Maring / Digital Trends

With the exception of their pronounced size differences, the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max are essentially identical in every regard when it comes to design. This year, Apple swapped out its gaudy stainless steel frame for a sleek titanium one that exudes sophistication. It complements the textured glass back, which is essentially the same material that Apple has been using on its iPhone Pro models for the past few years, and has a more matte appearance.

As usual, the frame and back match in color, but the color scheme more closely reflects the new material motif. Natural titanium, blue titanium, white titanium, and black titanium are your options. Did we already explain that this year, titanium is really important to Apple?

Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

Nevertheless, titanium is used for purposes beyond aesthetics. The iPhone 15 Pro variants are lighter thanks to the changeover; they each weigh 19 grams less than their respective predecessors. Practically speaking, this brings the weight of the iPhone 15 Pro Max closer to that of the iPhone 14 Pro from the previous year. This is a positive development for those who have avoided the larger model only because of its weight.

In order to improve grip comfort even when held without a cover, the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max also have rounder corners on the front and rear glass and thinner bezels surrounding the screen.

Along with the same IP68 dust and water resistance as previous models—which rates them for a maximum depth of 6 meters of water for up to 30 minutes—these modifications apply equally to the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max.

However, we believe that this year's iPhone 15 Pro Max has a tiny advantage over its smaller sister. Although having a bigger screen is usually a plus, the previous 6.7-inch iPhone Pro versions came with the trade-off of being heavier phones. The iPhone 14 Pro Max weighed more than Samsung's Galaxy S23 Ultra, making it one of the heaviest devices in its class. You may now obtain the bigger screen in a lighter, more manageable form because of Apple's shift in materials.

iPhone 15 Pro Max became winner.

The display of the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max

Joe Maring / Digital Trends

The same always-on Super Retina XDR Display with Apple's variable refresh rate ProMotion technology is included on the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max. Because of this, the iPhone can dynamically change its refresh rate between 10Hz and 120Hz, allowing for fluid scrolling and quick action when needed and battery savings when not. When in constant-on mode, the panels likewise dim to 1Hz.

There are no shocks here if you came from an iPhone 14 Pro model; the screens look just like Apple's from the previous year.That being said, it's not a negative thing because Apple's Super Retina XDR Display is still among the greatest screens available for smartphones today, boasting balanced and brilliant colors, a silky smooth refresh rate, and an always-on display that is unmatched.

The size is the primary distinction between the two iPhone 15 Pro versions once more, but Apple has ensured that the resolution has been appropriately adjusted for the bigger screen to maintain the same level of clarity and sharpness in both iPhones. This translates to a screen size of 2,556 x 1,179 pixels for the iPhone 15 Pro's 6.1-inch display and 2,796 x 1,290 pixels for the iPhone 15 Pro Max's 6.7-inch display. For both, that is 460 pixels per inch (ppi).

Similar to the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max from the previous year, the screens of the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max can also attain 2,000 nits of outdoor brightness and 1,600 nits of peak brightness.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max offers one display benefit over the iPhone 15 Pro, but that is all. The iPhone 15 Pro Max will provide you a larger workspace. We're tying this one since not everyone need a bigger screen.

Winner: Tie

iPhone 15 Pro versus iPhone 15 Pro Max: battery life and performance

Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

Despite this, Apple is currently saving its most potent chips for its iPhone Pro models. This year, there's the A17 Pro—a new generation of silicon that aims to make the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max gaming superpowers while doing away with Apple's "Bionic" name.

The A17 Pro boasts a new six-core GPU in addition to Apple's 16-core Neural Engine and a six-core CPU consisting of two high-performance and four high-efficiency cores. Although it seems to have just one extra core than previous A-series circuits, Apple claims that it has undergone a massive overhaul that includes the largest modifications to an Apple GPU ever produced, all with the express purpose of enhancing gaming performance.

For instance, the A17 Pro now has the best visuals you've ever seen on a smartphone thanks to hardware-accelerated ray tracing and Metal effect upscaling, which incorporates the Neural Engine. Because of the modifications, popular developers will soon release real console games for the iPhone 15 Pro, such as Assassin's Creed Mirage from Ubisoft, Resident Evil Village, and Tom Clancy's The Division Resurgence.

Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Even with the new A17 Pro chip's immense power, gaming performance is the main focus here. In daily use, you won't notice any discernible speed increases over the iPhone 14 Pro models, but since Apple's iPhones have long been known for their nearly instantaneous response times, it's difficult to see how they could be any faster at routine tasks like opening apps and browsing websites and social media feeds.

Additionally, the iPhone 15 Pro Max offers no performance benefits over the smaller iPhone 14 Pro models because both Pro models have the same A17 Pro CPU and memory, which Apple increased this year to 8GB from 6GB in the previous generations.Though games will function exactly the same on the iPhone 15 Pro as they will on the iPhone 15 Pro Max, gamers will undoubtedly prefer the bigger display.

Joe Maring / Digital Trends

However, there is one category where the iPhone 15 Pro Max clearly prevails: battery life. Longer run durations are often correlated with larger batteries. The iPhone 15 Pro Max's larger screen is the sole feature that takes more power than its smaller predecessor, and even that is insufficient to offset the larger battery found within the 6.7-inch variant. Apple claims that you can use the iPhone 15 Pro Max for five to six more hours of video viewing and twenty more hours of audio listening. However, your actual mileage may differ, particularly when it comes to gaming.These figures are comparable to those of the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max from the previous year, despite the fact that iOS 17 appears to have somewhat shortened run times overall.

Regretfully, Apple continues to not provide quicker charging rates. In contrast to wired charging, which uses 20 watts, wireless charging uses 15 watts when using a MagSafe or Qi2-compatible charger, or 7.5 watts when using a regular Qi charger. The iPhone 15 Pro Max theoretically requires more power when connected via cable, up to 27W if previous models are any guide. However, because it also has a larger battery, it requires more power to maintain the same charging pace as the iPhone 15 Pro.

The bigger battery of the iPhone 15 Pro Max provides it a clear advantage over the iPhone 15 Pro, even if both models offer the same performance and charging rates.

Winner: iPhone 15 Pro Max

Comparing the cameras of the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max

Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

In terms of camera systems, this year's iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max differ most from one another. This is because Apple has strengthened the optical zoom on its bigger model exclusively, meaning that the iPhone 15 Pro Max has a greater range than the iPhone 15 Pro.

The iPhone 12 Pro kept the 2x telephoto lens from its predecessor, but the iPhone 12 Pro Max saw a jump to 2.5x along with a bigger sensor. This only happened once before, with the 2020 iPhone 12 series.

With a 5x optical zoom for its telephoto lens, Apple is replicating last year's iPhone 12 Pro Max's photography edge over the 6.1-inch model with the iPhone 15 Pro Max. on contrast, the 3x lens that has been a feature of the iPhone 13 Pro is still present on the iPhone 15 Pro.

Physics appears to be the cause of the disparity, both in 2020 and today. The bigger sensor that Apple had intended to include in the smaller 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Pro was not able to be installed, and the 6.1-inch iPhone 15 Pro is unable to accommodate Apple's innovative new 5x tetra-prism lens.

In order to accommodate the new camera system, Apple has now altered the camera configuration on the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Since the three-camera design was unveiled in 2019, the telephoto lens has been in the top corner. Now, it is located in the right-center, beneath the flash. Apple made the same decision with the iPhone 15 Pro to maintain continuity.


Remarkably, while having a longer focal length, the 5x lens on the iPhone 15 Pro Max still has the same f/2.8 aperture as the 3x on the iPhone 15 Pro and earlier versions. Although it boasts a 10x optical zoom, Samsung's Galaxy S23 Ultra has a significantly narrower f/4.9 aperture than the Google Pixel 8 Pro, which has the same 5x optical zoom and the same f/2.8 aperture. This puts the iPhone 15 Pro Max on par with the iPhone 15 Pro for lowlight photography, since it will be able to capture a similar amount of light through its telephoto lens.It's really among the greatest 5x cameras we've seen on a smartphone, and the quality of the images it takes is almost identical to that of the primary lens.

The 48MP sensor from last year is retained in the new 24-megapixel (MP) "super high resolution" capture mode from the main sensor, which is another change to the two iPhone 15 Pro models. Additionally, the new Smart HDR 5 algorithm promises more dynamic range and more true-to-life photos, and it can record depth information for every shot you take—even if Portrait Mode isn't enabled. With this, you can create a portrait out of any photo.

Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Additionally, a nanoscale coating is added to the lenses to assist prevent lens flare, which is very beneficial for nighttime photography. The 48MP sensor on both iPhones allows them to take 12MP images with a 2x optical zoom, so choosing the iPhone 15 Pro Max's 5x lens won't deprive you of a mid-range zoom.

Practically speaking, all of these improvements result in stunning photographs that have perfectly balanced colors and appear even more realistic, lively, and natural than they did on the iPhone 14 Pro versions. Apart from the iPhone 15 Pro Max's 5x lens, which offers an enhanced optical zoom factor, the iPhone 15 Pro maintains its excellent image quality and performs admirably in low light

Though the cameras on both of the iPhone 15 Pro models are excellent, the iPhone 15 Pro Max's unwavering 5x optical zoom is by far the strongest argument in favor of the larger model. If you frequently travel with your iPhone, you'll be happy you did because the increased magnification greatly increases the number of interesting photo opportunities.

Winner: iPhone 15 Pro Max

Software and upgrades for the iPhone 15 Pro vs the iPhone 15 Pro Max

Joe Maring / Digital Trends

It should come as no surprise that the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max come pre-installed with the same version of iOS 17, which is now accessible for older handsets and will likely not get any upgrades for a while. This puts the software of the two iPhone 15 Pro models on par with each other, and with the exception of blatant hardware-dependent features like the new Action button and the 5x zoom, the iOS 17 user experience on Apple's most recent iPhone models should be nearly identical to what other recent models are receiving. Given that the iPhone 14 lineup has the same satellite capabilities as the iPhone 15, even Apple's Roadside Assistance via Satellite, which was revealed alongside the iPhone 15, will be coming to the iPhone 14 lineup.

Although it doesn't guarantee any particular updates, Apple has a history of giving its iPhones at least five years of updates. This implies that the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max should provide us with at least iOS 22.

Winner: Tie

distinct characteristics between the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max

Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Despite having a few advantages over their non-Pro predecessors, the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max share no advantages in this regard. As an illustration, Apple has (finally) converted every model in its portfolio to USB-C, which allows the iPhone 15 Pro models to have faster 10Gbps USB 3 data transfer rates. The previous versions could only record 4K/30 frames per second (fps) since they could only utilize internal storage; with those higher speeds, the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max will be able to record 4K ProRes video at 60 frames per second (fps) to external storage devices.Additionally, Apple is enabling the iPhone 15 Pro to record Spatial Videos for the company's next Vision Pro headset, which will be released the following year.

iPhone 15 Pro (left) and iPhone 14 Pro Max (right) Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

A new Action button, which takes the place of the ring/silent switch that has been a feature of Apple iPhones since the very first model, is also included with both iPhone 15 Pro variants. This customisable button may initiate custom routines in Apple's Shortcuts app and put your iPhone in quiet mode, among many other things. It's likely the most potent UI element to land on an iPhone in a long time; alas, it can only be assigned to one use, but with some creative shortcut management, the possibilities are endless.

It's a tie since the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max provide all of these unique features in equal measure.

Winner: Tie

Price and availability in the iPhone 15 Pro vs. iPhone 15 Pro Max

Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

Starting at $999 for the base 128GB model, the iPhone 15 Pro is available in capacities of 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB in $100/128GB increments, with the top capacity costing $1,499 in total.

This year, the entry-level 128GB capacity iPhone 15 Pro Max was discontinued by Apple, which resulted in a slightly higher beginning price of $1,199 for the 256GB model. It goes up in the same $100/128GB increments as the iPhone 15 Pro, with 512GB and 1TB variants going for $1,399 and $1,599, respectively.

Both versions may be purchased via Apple, your carrier, and the majority of other large stores that offer Apple products. They are available in Natural Titanium, Blue Titanium, White Titanium, and Black Titanium.

All-around victor: iPhone 15 Pro Max

Joe Maring / Digital Trends

In most cases, the bigger screen and longer battery life of the iPhone Pro Max are the only reasons to choose it. Nonetheless, the iPhone 15 Pro Max surpasses its smaller sister more significantly this time around because of an enhanced 5x optical zoom on its telephoto lens, which has no drawbacks. Additionally, since titanium is lighter than other materials, getting a bigger screen will require you to make less compromises.

The hitch is that the entry-level iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max now have a $200 pricing difference, which is even more noticeable. Since you receive 256GB for that amount, the iPhone 15 Pro Max's pricing hasn't officially changed from last year; the more economical 128GB variant is no longer available.

Despite its high price, we believe that the iPhone 15 Pro Max is well worth the investment because it represents a significant advancement over earlier iPhone models.

Even yet, if you're not a serious photographer and don't really care about the bigger screen and battery, the iPhone 15 Pro is a very good runner-up and a good purchase. With the same A17 Pro chip, you'll receive an amazing 120Hz always-on display, a superb camera system, and the lightest-ever iPhone Pro thanks to its titanium frame.

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