The new flagship
If you’re after one of the best iPhones you can get, the iPhone 15 Pro makes a very strong case. It has Apple’s latest chip, a superb 48MP triple-camera system, and a durable and lightweight titanium chassis. It packs in other premium features, such as a faster USB-C port and an always-on display, but you’ll pay for the privilege.
- A17 Pro chip
- Triple-camera setup
- Titanium chassis
- More expensive
- Lacks the Plus’s large display for movies
Larger base model
The iPhone 15 Plus takes everything from the iPhone 15 and stretches it into a more substantial frame, making it ideal for watching movies and playing games on its expansive screen. It misses a few features found in the iPhone 15 Pro, but still gets a 48MP camera, USB-C, and an OLED display. Its battery life is also very impressive.
- Longer battery life
- Expansive display for media consumption
- A little cheaper
- Not as powerful as iPhone 15 Pro
- Slower USB-C
Apple has launched the new iPhone 15 range, and there are plenty of new models to choose from. But if you’re looking to spend between $900/£900 and $1,000/£1,000, it really comes down to two main options: the iPhone 15 Pro and the iPhone 15 Plus.
While the former is in Apple’s high-end range, the latter is more of an entry-level model, yet its larger size pushes its price up. There are a lot of points of comparison – sometimes the two phones differ significantly, other times they are very much alike. Understanding where these differences lie can help you decide which device to purchase.
That’s what we aim to do with this buying guide. By the end of it, you should have a clearer idea of which iPhone model is right for you.
iPhone 15 Pro vs iPhone 15 Plus: Features and specs
Not sure where these two iPhones differ and where they’re the same? There are plenty of points of comparison, and keeping track of them can be tricky. Not to worry though, as we’ve summarised all the key points in the table below. It should help you see which model you need at a glance.
|Specs||iPhone 15 Pro||iPhone 15 Plus|
|Price||From $999/£999||From $899/£899|
|Display size||6.1 inches||6.7 inches|
|Display type||Super Retina XDR (OLED) with ProMotion and always-on display||Super Retina XDR (OLED)|
|Capacity||128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB||128GB, 256GB, 512GB|
|USB-C||Yes (supports speeds up to 10Gbps with compatible cable)||Yes (supports speeds up to 480Mbps)|
|Chip||A17 Pro||A16 Bionic|
|Camera||48MP triple-camera system + TrueDepth front camera with autofocus, ƒ/1.78 aperture||48MP dual-camera system + TrueDepth front camera with autofocus, ƒ/1.6 aperture|
|Optical zoom options||0.5x, 1x, 2x, 3x||0.5x, 1x, 2x|
|Video||4K video recording at 24 fps, 25 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps, Action mode, macro video recording||4K video recording at 24 fps, 25 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps, Action mode|
|Safety||Emergency SOS, Emergency SOS via Satellite, Crash Detection||Emergency SOS, Emergency SOS via Satellite, Crash Detection|
|Splash, water, dust resistance||IP68||IP68|
|Power and battery||Video playback: Up to 23 hours Audio playback: Up to 75 hours||Video playback: Up to 26 hours Audio playback: Up to 100 hours|
iPhone 15 Pro vs iPhone 15 Plus: What’s new?
Both the iPhone 15 Pro and the iPhone 15 Plus come with a bunch of new features compared to the iPhone 14 series, while the former has a few new things that the latter misses out on.
Chassis and Action button
While the iPhone 15 Plus looks fairly similar to last year’s model from the outside, some of the biggest changes to the iPhone 15 Pro are to be found externally. The Pro model now has a titanium frame versus the stainless steel in the iPhone 14 Pro, and Apple says this new material is both durable and lightweight. The company also highlights its heat dissipation abilities, as well as the new contoured edges on the titanium models.
On the Pro, Apple has also added a new Action button, which replaces the mute/unmute toggle. Much like the equivalent on the Apple Watch Ultra, this is a programmable button that lets you assign one of various different functions to it. By default it’s set to mute or unmute, but you can change it to launch the camera, start a voice memo, activate a shortcut, and much more.
At the bottom of the chassis are other changes. Gone is the Lightning port, replaced by USB-C on both the Pro and Plus models. There’s a key difference here though – the iPhone 15 Pro’s USB-C port is USB 3 certified and can reach speeds of up to 10Gbps. On the Plus, the port is USB 2 and is limited to 480Mbps transfer speeds. Note that you’ll need a compatible USB 3 cable to hit the Pro’s 10Gbps target.
As with last year’s phones, the iPhone 15 Pro has three lenses while the iPhone 15 Plus sticks with two. There are plenty of new features here, though.
One of the niftiest additions is the ability to add Portrait mode depth to photos even if you weren’t using Portrait mode at the time you took them. In other words, you can enable Portrait mode after the fact. That’s available for both iPhone models compared here.
Both devices also add Smart HDR 5 versus the Smart HDR 4 found in last year’s versions, while the iPhone 15 Plus gets a 48MP main camera lens to match that on the iPhone 15 Pro – a huge step up from the Plus’s previous 12MP shooter.
iPhone 15 Pro vs iPhone 15 Plus: Processor and memory
On the inside, there are changes afoot to the chip that powers these iPhones, with the iPhone 15 Pro getting a new A17 Pro chip. Compared to the A16 Bionic, Apple says it offers 10% faster CPU performance, 20% faster GPU performance, and double the performance for the Neural Engine.
The iPhone 15 Plus steps up to last year’s A16 Bionic chip. It’s not quite as zippy as the A17 Pro, but it’s still miles ahead of the Android competition, as well as being a welcome upgrade over the A15 Bionic in the iPhone 14 Plus.
iPhone 15 Pro vs iPhone 15 Plus: Color choice
The iPhone 15 Pro comes in four colour options: Natural Titanium, Blue Titanium, White Titanium and Black Titanium. The iPhone 15 Plus, meanwhile, has five colour choices: Blue, Pink, Yellow, Green and Black.
Note that the different materials used for the edges of each model produce slightly different looks from each other. There’s another thing to note with the iPhone 15 Pro – its titanium edges are much less glossy than those found on the iPhone 14 Pro’s stainless steel borders.
iPhone 15 Pro vs iPhone 15 Plus: Battery life
Apple hasn’t increased the battery life of either model this year, which was slightly disappointing to see. Interestingly, the actual capacities of these devices’ batteries have been raised, although not by much. According to regulatory filings, the iPhone 15 Pro has a 3,274mAh battery compared to 3,200mAh in the iPhone 14 Pro, while the iPhone 15 Plus has increased from 4,325mAh to 4,383mAh versus last year’s version.
In practice, Apple says you’ll get 23 hours of video playback and 75 hours of audio on a single charge with the iPhone 15 Pro. With the iPhone 15 Plus, it’s 26 hours of video and 100 hours of audio. That’s the same as last year in both cases.
Fast charging is present in both models. With a 20W charger, Apple says the iPhone 15 Pro charges to 50% in 30 minutes. It takes 35 minutes for the iPhone 15 Plus to reach the same amount, Apple says.
iPhone 15 Pro vs iPhone 15 Plus: Which should you buy?
With prices only $100/£100 apart for these models, there’s not a huge gulf in cost, so deciding between them comes down to more than just the financial outlay. Really, it depends on whether you want a large phone or not.
There’s no doubt that movies and games look superb on the iPhone 15 Plus’s 6.7-inch OLED display. If that’s primarily what you’ll be using your iPhone for – or you just feel that the iPhone 15 Pro is a bit too small for your taste – then the iPhone 15 Plus should be a good fit.
There are still plenty of great reasons to get the iPhone 15 Pro, though. From its titanium frame and faster USB-C port to its third camera lens and more performant chip, it’s the flagship iPhone that packs in (almost) all of Apple’s best features. Only the $1,199/£1,199 iPhone 15 Pro Max offers more, and even then it’s a close-run thing.
So it essentially comes down to this: do you want a larger phone or more high-end features? Get to the bottom of that and you’ll know which iPhone is best for you.
Master your iPhone in minutes
iMore offers spot-on advice and guidance from our team of experts, with decades of Apple device experience to lean on. Learn more with iMore!
Alex Blake has been messing around with Apple tech ever since he caved to the pressure and bought an iPhone 3G “just to see what all the fuss was about.” He’s spent the subsequent 15 years prattling on about Apple and has somehow managed to do so professionally. Don’t ask him how.