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iPhone 14 Pro vs. iPhone 13 Pro: Which should you buy?

From the outside looking in, the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro may not look very different, but there are some major changes that took place between 2021 and 2022. Advancements in the chipset, camera, and design will prove well worth the purchase for most buyers, but there's one big change that may make it less attractive to certain iPhone users. 

iPhone 14 Pro vs. iPhone 13 Pro: Breaking things down

These two iPhones may not look like two entirely different models when you see them side-by-side, but the proof is in the specs. The chart below breaks down the lineup of technical details for both the iPhone 14 Pro and the iPhone 13 Pro. Pay attention to added features and camera specs especially.

iPhone 14 ProiPhone 13 Pro
DesignCeramic Shield front, Surgical-grade stainless steelCeramic Shield front + Glass back and aluminum design
ColorsDeep Purple, Gold, Space Black, SilverSilver, Graphite, Gold, Sierra Blue
ProcessorA16 Bionic A15 Bionic
Display6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display6.1-inch OLED ProMotion display
Back camera48MP Main, Ultra Wide, TelephotoTriple-lens 12-megapixel wide and 12MP ultra-wide
Front cameraAdvanced dual-camera system, 12MP Main Ultra Wide12MP TrueDepth
SOS emergencyYesNo
Crash detectionYesNo
Dynamic IslandYesNo
Storage128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
BatteryUp to 23 hoursUp to 22 hours
Always-on displayYesNo
SIM trayNoYes
Size5.81 by 2.81 by 0.31 inches5.78 by 2.81 by 0.30 inches
Weight7.27 ounces7.19 ounces

As you can see, the size, storage, and battery life of these two models are roughly the same, but most other specs have changed. The camera seems like the biggest difference at first but added features and the lack of the SIM card tray on the 14 Pro could make a big difference for certain users. 

iPhone 14 Pro vs. iPhone 13 Pro: Goodbye notch, hello Dynamic Island

Apple iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro colors

(Image credit: Apple)

The iPhone 14 Pro design change that jumps out at you right away is the Dynamic Island. That's what Apple's calling the pill-shaped cutout that replaced the notorious black notch. But this little pill is no longer an ugly stain on an otherwise gorgeous display; this shall now and forevermore be known as the Dynamic Island. 

What Apple has done here is a stroke of genius. They have taken a static, unsightly cutout and transformed it into a useful interactive feature. The black space will move and animate to provide important updates, notifications, and alerts without interrupting the user's current activities. If you're tired of that old boring notch, then the iPhone 14 Pro is definitely an improvement over the iPhone 13 Pro. 

Apple has taken a static, unsightly cutout and transformed it into a useful and interactive feature.

Besides the Dynamic Island, the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro are almost identical in design and display. The colors are the same except for the new Deep Purple offering in the iPhone 14 Pro lineup. The ProMotion display is also the same, although the iPhone 14 Pro does has an adaptive refresh rate that can decrease all the way down to 1Hz. This makes it possible to support an always-on display without draining the battery.

The 14 Pro also offers double the brightness in sunny or high-light situations to improve visibility. So if you really love that always-on display and extra brightness, the iPhone 14 Pro may be the way to go. When it comes to visual design, size, and graphics, the rest will be about the same as the iPhone 13 Pro. 

iPhone 14 Pro vs. iPhone 13 Pro: Quadruple the pixels

iPhone 13 Pro versus iPhone 14 Pro cameras

(Image credit: Apple)

There's no denying that the camera on the iPhone 14 Pro is a giant leap forward. The 48-megapixel powerhouse offers new frontiers in photo quality, resolution, and zoom. Add to that the improved dual-lens TrueDepth camera in the front and 4K video recording at 24 frames-per-second, and the 14 Pro has got the 13 Pro beat when it comes to photography and videography. It even has a new Action mode for stabilizing rough video shots.

Now, that's not to say that the iPhone 13 Pro doesn't offer excellent photo quality with its triple-lens 12-megapixel camera that shoots beautifully in wide, ultra-wide, and macro modes. If you just use your camera to shoot pretty photos of everyday memories, this will be more than enough. For creators, photographers, and videographers, however, the iPhone 14 Pro has a lot more to offer. 

iPhone 14 Pro vs. iPhone 13 Pro: Safety versus SIM

iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro display

(Image credit: iMore)

We've talked about Dynamic Island and 48-MP cameras, but I think that the new SOS emergency systems integrated into the iPhone 14 lineup may have the biggest implications for the future of smartphones. For the first time, a cell phone can send out an SOS signal for emergency assistance without data or cellular coverage. So if you get lost in the middle of the Sahara Desert, the iPhone 14 Pro can use satellite communication technology to call for help. It also has crash detection sensors that will automatically detect an automobile accident and send out a message to your emergency contact. 

My first thought here is, is this the end of cellular? But that's a question for another day. The important thing to note is that if you're an adventurer, extreme sports enthusiast, or risk-taker, the new emergency features provided by the iPhone 14 Pro could literally save your life. 

The new emergency features provided by the iPhone 14 Pro could literally save your life.

With that being said, the new eSIM system may or may not be a dealbreaker for you. Most, if not all, cellular providers in the United States will support eSIM cards, so most people will likely welcome this technological advancement. There are some small local carriers that do not yet support eSIM cards, however, and a lot of foreign carriers as well. If you're like me and spend a lot of your time in South America, for example, the local cellular providers south of the border may not yet support eSIM systems. Without a SIM card tray to use in these situations, the iPhone 14 Pro could become the source of a lot of frustration and headaches.

Granted, eSIMS are the wave of the future, but it may take several years for smaller carriers and developing countries to catch up. In the meantime, the iPhone 14 Pro may not be a viable option for those that still need a SIM card tray. 

iPhone 14 Pro vs. iPhone 13 Pro: Which should you buy?

iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro design

(Image credit: Apple)

In my opinion, the choice is pretty clear which is the best iPhone. The small increase in price you will pay for the iPhone 14 Pro will be more than worth the new advancements and added benefits. The iPhone 14 Pro offers a convenient always-on interface and the new Dynamic Island to keep your experience interactive and streamlined. This newer model also has a better camera and a faster, more powerful chipset. And perhaps the most impressive advancement is the development of emergency SOS services through satellite communication and crash detection.

Really, the only reason I can see to choose the iPhone 13 Pro over the 14 Pro is the lack of the SIM card tray, and this would only apply to some unusual cases. For those that live in the United States and use a small local carrier, or spend a lot of time in developing countries, you might not find ready support for eSIM technology. If that's the case (and I doubt this is the case for most), then the iPhone 13 Pro may be the better choice for you. Otherwise, go for the upgrade! 

Jaclyn Kilani
Contributor

Jaclyn Kilani is a content writer at iMore. She's a longtime Apple addict with a flair for creating (written works, design, photos; you name it!) on her devices. Jaclyn has also worked in the marketing sector for over 16 years, dabbling in a bit of everything from writing to graphic design and digital marketing. In her heart of hearts, however, she is a born writer and an avid reader who adores everything about the written word. Someday she may even churn out a book or two.

Throughout her career, Jaclyn has also developed something of an addiction to all things Apple. Her professional and personal life is enhanced by an ever-growing collection of iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, Apple Watches, and even AirTags. Luckily, this expensive habit is of great use to her work at iMore, where she writes with authority on Apple products and the accessories that go with them.