iPhone 14 vs 14 Pro vs 14 Pro Max: Which is the iPhone for you

iPhone 14 vs iPhone 14 Pro vs iPhone 14 Pro Max hero
(Image credit: Future/ iMore)

The iPhone 14 line-up launched with great fanfare, and great spec sheets, making it a tough decision to work out which one is going to be best for you. Some even look exactly the same if you were to see them in a shop at first glance, but differences between the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max are there.

Let's put it simply. The iPhone 14 is the base model and comes in at the lowest price. If you don’t care about having the most powerful iPhone, then this is the model for you. The iPhone 14 Pro is the more powerful model with a similarly sized screen. If you want the specs but don’t want a massive phone, then this one is your goldilocks zone. The iPhone 14 Pro Max is the iPhone 14 Pro with a monster-sized screen. If you want the biggest and most impressive iPhone to show off to your friends, then this will give you the bragging rights you desire.

But how do they compare in more detail, and which one is the best iPhone for you? For while a phone may be the best handset on paper, it might not be the phone you’re looking for. We have all these phones reviewed, the iPhone 14 review, and the iPhone 14 Pro review (which is going to tell you everything you need to know about the iPhone 14 Pro Max as well). That will tell you what we think of the models individually - but let's see how they stack up head to head. We've also looked at the core differences between iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro to narrow things down further.

Apple iPhone 14 Pro

(Image credit: iMore)

iPhone 14 vs iPhone 14 Pro vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: Specs comparison

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Row 0 - Cell 0 iPhone 14 iPhone 14 ProiPhone 14 Pro Max
DisplaySuper Retina XDR OLEDSuper Retina XDR OLED with ProMotionSuper Retina XDR OLED with ProMotion
Screen resolution2532x11702556x11792796x1290
ChipA15 BionicA16 BionicA16 Bionic
Storage128GB / 256GB / 512GB128GB / 256GB / 512GB / 1TB128GB / 256GB / 512GB / 1TB
Main Camera12MP48MP48MP
Ultrawide camera12MP12MP12MP
Telephoto cameraN/A12MP12MP
Dimensions5.78x2.82x0.31 inches5.81x2.81x7.85 inches6.33x3.05x0.31 inches
Battery mAh3,279 mAh3200 mAh4,323 mAh
PriceFrom $799From $999From $1099

iPhone 14 vs iPhone 14 Pro vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: Price comparison

iPhone 14 Pro Max Deep Purple and iPhone 14 Pro Space Black

(Image credit: Future)

Storage is what will drive up the price of each iPhone model the most, beyond the expected ‘less power’ < ‘more power’ < ‘more screen’ dynamic the range scales at. . Base models of all three handsets come with 128GB, and none of the colors cost more than the others. The iPhone 14 starts at $799, the iPhone 14 Pro goes up to $999, and the iPhone 14 Pro Max is $1099.

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Row 0 - Cell 0 iPhone 14iPhone 14 ProiPhone 14 Pro Max
1TBRow 4 - Cell 1 $1499$1599

Those prices do go up if you want more storage. The iPhone 14 doubles its storage up to 512GB, with a first increase of $100, and then a $200 increase to its largest option. The top-end model will set you back $1099. That's where a sneaky good iPhone 14 deal could help matters.

The iPhone 14 Pro starts with 512GB and then doubles up its capacity up to 1TB. The first increase is $100, and ensuing upgrades will cost you $200. The biggest storage option will cost you $1499. The iPhone 14 Pro Max follows this same increase, from $1099 to $1599 for the 1TB version, the most expensive of all iPhone 14 models.

iPhone 14 vs iPhone 14 Pro vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: Design differences

iPhone 14 Pro Max Deep Purple and iPhone 14 Pro Space Black

(Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

The iPhone 14 looks much like the iPhone 13 that came before it. There’s a notch at the top of the screen, a metal frame around the edge, a glass back panel, and a slim-ish camera bump on the back. It is, as sequels come, mostly defined by internal spec changes, which we’ll discuss a little later.

iPhone 14 color options are different here, though. There are fewer than found on the iPhone 13, although more than the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max. There are Blue, Purple, Midnight, Starlight, and (PRODUCT)RED options. The latter is, as always, red.

iPhone 14 Review

(Image credit: iMore / Stephen Warwick)

The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max have many of the same design cues, with large screens and stainless steel frames, glass rears, and massive, three-lens camera bumps. There is one key difference, however – the notch is gone. Instead, there is the ‘Dynamic Island’, an animated pill-shaped cutout at the top of the screen that hides the Face ID camera and other sensors that aw works double duty by ‘dynamically’ showing different parts of the UI or an app’s features, depending on your usage. When listening to Apple Music and browsing Twitter, for example, it will show the currently playing track. It also shows the lock status of the screen.

The other big design decision is the always-on screen. This is the first thing you’ll notice if you spot it sitting on a table — the screen simply dims rather than turning off, giving you a constant view of the time and incoming notifications. This is a feature exclusive to the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, rather than the iPhone 14.

iPhone 14 vs iPhone 14 Pro vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: Display comparison

iPhone 14

(Image credit: Stephen Warwick / iMore)

The main difference between the two Pro models is the size. The iPhone 14 Pro Max has a bigger, 6.7-inch display rather than the 6.1-inch of iPhone 14 Pro. The iPhone 14 has the same size screen as the iPhone 14 Pro, with 6.1 inches to its name.

The iPhone 14 features a 6.1-inch OLED Super Retina XDR display. That’s at  2532x1170 resolution. These displays both feature ‘True Tone’, which changes the color profiles to match the lighting that the phone is in, as well as HDR. It’s good for 800nits peak brightness. These are not high refresh rate displays, though.

Those on the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, however, are. They feature what Apple calls ‘ProMotion’, which ups the refresh rate of the screens to 120Hz. That will make using your iPhone feel slicker, faster, and altogether a little more premium. It’s not until you go back from a ProMotion display to a non-display that you notice how much of a difference those extra hertz make. You’re also going to get a brighter screen, with a peak brightness of 1,600 with HDR turned on outdoors.

iPhone 14 Pro Dynamic Island

(Image credit: iMore)

Resolution-wise, the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max have slightly differing numbers due to their screen sizes. The iPhone 14 Pro has a 2556x1179 screen resolution over its 6.1 inches, whereas the iPhone 14 Pro Max has 2796x1290 over its 6.7-inch display.

It’s fairly conclusive: the two iPhone Pro models have the better displays, with the massive panel of the iPhone 14 Pro Max coming out on top.

iPhone 14 vs iPhone 14 Pro vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: Camera comparison

iPhone 14 Pro lifestyle

(Image credit: Apple)

All the iPhone models feature camera bumps that sit proudly on their rear sides, although the camera bumps on the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max are significantly more pronounced. That’s because they have better cameras, with larger sensors capable of capturing more detailed images.

There are three lenses on the back of the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max. There’s a massive 48MP main lens, a 12MP ultrawide lens, and a combined 12MP 2x and 3x telephoto lens. There are all the usual image processing engines that Apple packs in, and it means that shots taken with the camera are stunning. Zoomed shots retain detail, and close-ups are clear and sharp. The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max have some of the best smartphone cameras ever. Before even talking about the iPhone 14, these are the phones to go for.

Path in woods taken on iPhone 14 Pro

A shot with the iPhone 14 Pro (Image credit: Luke Filipowicz / iMore)

iPhone 14 Test Shot

A shot taken with an iPhone 14 (Image credit: iMore / Stephen Warwick)

That's not to say the iPhone 14 camera is any kind of slouch. The iPhone 14 has two camera lenses on the back, a 12MP main shooter, and a 12MP ultrawide. This camera will still take pretty impressive shots, with all that good Apple image processing on board. It might not be quite so good at capturing far-off detail and its close-ups won’t be quite so good, but for everyday shots and holiday snaps it's going to be perfect.

iPhone 14 vs iPhone 14 Pro vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: Processors and performance

The iPhone 14 is equipped with nearly the same processor as the iPhone 13 that came before it. That’s the A15 Bionic chip, with a 6-core CPU, and 16-core neural engine. The GPU has been upped to 5-cores from the 4-core of the iPhone 13, however, so there will be more graphics performance than last year's model.

Live sports scores on the iPhone 14 Pro's Dynamic Island

(Image credit: Paul Bradford)

The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max feature the new A16 Bionic chips, with extra goodies on board. There’s a 6-core CPU with a 16-core Neural engine, and a 5-core GPU to get everything running nicely. On paper, that doesn’t seem like much but put the two against each other side by side and differences emerge.

Stress tests may not be the be-all and end-all of these things, but they are a useful performance metric. The A16 performs better in single and multicore tests, with increased efficiency to boot. Geekbench for example notes a +12% increase in Multi-core performance on the A16 and a +8% difference in single core.

If you go for the iPhone 14, however, you’re still getting a powerful phone. It won’t be as powerful as the iPhone 14 Pro or Pro Max, but you may struggle to spot the difference in day-to-day use.

iPhone 14 vs iPhone 14 Pro vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: Battery life

The iPhone 14 has a 3,279mAh battery, which Apple states is good for up to 16 hours of streamed video content and 80 hours of audio playback. In real life, you might not quite get that, but we’ve found battery life to be excellent in our testing.

Charging-wise it's going to be nice and fast. Invest in a 20W charger and you’ll get up to 50% charge in 30 minutes. There’s also MagSafe charging on board, a safer and easier-to-use version of wireless charging that uses magnets to stick a charging puck to the back of the iPhone. It’s good for 15W charging.

Space Black iPhone 14 Pro

(Image credit: Luke Filipowicz / iMore)

The battery in the iPhone 14 Pro is only going to last you any longer with streamed video content, giving you 20 hours. That extra efficiency in the processor is evidently used up by the always-on display, because the iPhone 14 remains otherwise unchanged battery-wise, even down to charging.

The iPhone 14 Pro Max is going to give you the most battery life with its bigger frame that’s able to hold a bigger battery. You’ll get up to 25 hours of streamed video, and 95 hours of audio playback. Charging specs, however, remain the same.

iPhone 14 vs iPhone 14 Pro vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: Additional features

iPhone 14 Review

(Image credit: iMore / Stephen Warwick)

If you’re after unique features then it's the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max you’ll want. There’s the aforementioned Dynamic Island in place of the notch, as well as the ProMotion displays. There’s also the extra camera clarity you’ll get with both, as well as a LiDAR sensor if you want to map out 3D models of rooms.

Beyond that, the iPhone feature set is common throughout all models. There’s crash detection that senses if you’ve been in a road collision and calls emergency services to your location in the event that you can’t. There’s also the Apple Home app which acts as a hub for your HomeKit-enabled smart home devices, and the Apple App Store, filled with thousands of apps (for better or worse).

All can access Apple's subscription services too, such as Apple TV Plus, Apple News Plus, and Apple Music. With the purchase of a new iPhone, you get three free months of each as well so that you can try them out.

iPhone 14 vs iPhone 14 Pro vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: Which should you buy?

iPhone 14 Pro Max Deep Purple and iPhone 14 Pro Space Black

(Image credit: Christine Romero-Chan / iMore)

There are some key differences between the Pro line iPhones and the standard iPhone 14. Those screens are prettier and slicker, the cameras are better, and there are some additional features on board. If you opt to spend more there’s no doubt about it — you’re getting the better phone with a Pro-level iPhone.

The differences between the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max are minimal. Effectively, you’ll get a bigger screen on the iPhone 14 Pro Max, and some extra battery juice. For big-screen fans, the iPhone 14 Pro Max was already the phone you were going to go for, and the iPhone 14 Pro was likely not even on your radar. If you’re wondering if you’ll miss much with the iPhone 14 Pro? No, it’s the same phone with a smaller battery and screen. It does the same with the same features.

If those two seem too expensive for you, however, then the iPhone 14 is still an excellent choice. The screen is the same size as the 14 Pro, it’s still good and bright, and the less powerful processor doesn’t make much of a difference in real-world usage. You might notice the absence of Dynamic Island, but then you’ll look at your monthly device payments and remember you’re saving around $200 overall.

Tammy Rogers
Senior Staff Writer

As iMore's Senior Staff writer, Tammy uses her background in audio and Masters in screenwriting to pen engaging product reviews and informative buying guides. The resident audiophile (or audio weirdo), she's got an eye for detail and a love of top-quality sound. Apple is her bread and butter, with attention on HomeKit and Apple iPhone and Mac hardware. You won't find her far away from a keyboard even outside of working at iMore – in her spare time, she spends her free time writing feature-length and TV screenplays. Also known to enjoy driving digital cars around virtual circuits, to varying degrees of success. Just don't ask her about AirPods Max - you probably won't like her answer.