iPhone 15 vs iPhone 15 Plus: Which one should you buy?

Forgoing the cost of Apple’s most expensive iPhones doesn’t mean you have to make do with a sub-standard alternative. That’s because the company’s consumer-facing iPhones – the iPhone 15 and the iPhone 15 Plus – are absolutely packed with quality that belies their lower prices.

The question is, which one is right for you? The key difference here is the size, with the 6.1-inch iPhone 15 squaring up alongside the 6.7-inch iPhone 15 Plus. But there’s more to it than that, and making the right choice can help you avoid a bad case of buyer’s remorse.

That’s where our guide comes in. We’ve analysed both iPhones to help you decide which one is right for you, whatever your circumstances. By the end, you should be ready to pull the trigger on your brand-new iPhone.

iPhone 15 vs iPhone 15 Plus: Features and specs

The iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus may both be aimed squarely at entry-level Apple consumers, but there are still plenty of ways to pick them apart. We’ve laid out the main similarities and differences in the table below to help you pick between the two devices.

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SpecsiPhone 15iPhone 15 Plus
PriceFrom $799/£799From $899/£899
Display size6.1 inches6.7 inches
Display typeSuper Retina XDR (OLED)Super Retina XDR (OLED)
Capacity128GB, 256GB, 512GB128GB, 256GB, 512GB
Chassis materialAluminiumAluminium
USB-CYes (supports speeds up to 480Mbps)Yes (supports speeds up to 480Mbps)
ChipA16 BionicA16 Bionic
Camera48MP dual-camera system + TrueDepth front camera with autofocus, ƒ/1.6 aperture48MP dual-camera system + TrueDepth front camera with autofocus, ƒ/1.6 aperture
Optical zoom options0.5x, 1x, 2x0.5x, 1x, 2x
Video4K video recording at 24 fps, 25 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps, Action mode4K video recording at 24 fps, 25 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps, Action mode
Face IDYesYes
Dynamic IslandYesYes
Action buttonNoNo
SafetyEmergency SOS, Emergency SOS via Satellite, Crash DetectionEmergency SOS, Emergency SOS via Satellite, Crash Detection
Splash, water, dust resistanceIP68IP68
Video callingYesYes
Audio callingYesYes
Power and batteryVideo playback: Up to 20 hours Audio playback: Up to 80 hoursVideo playback: Up to 26 hours Audio playback: Up to 100 hours
Fast chargingYesYes

iPhone 15 vs iPhone 15 Plus: What’s new?

The complete iPhone 15 lineup at Apple's Regent Street store in London, U.K.

(Image credit: Apple)

The iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus are fairly alike (aside from the display size, of course). That means they’ve both received a slate of similar updates.

Perhaps the most significant change has come to the camera system. Both phones are now capable of shooting 48MP photos, something that was previously reserved for Apple’s Pro handsets. There’s also 2x zoom for the first time, as well as next-generation Portrait mode and an upgrade to Smart HDR 5.

The Lightning port has been replaced by a USB-C slot, while the edges of the chassis have been smoothed for a better feel in the hand. On the inside is the A16 Bionic chip that was found in last year’s iPhone 14 Pro phones. It’s still one of the best chips you can get in any smartphone (more on that below).

Finally, the display on both the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus has been tweaked and improved. Both phones now get the Dynamic Island, while their maximum brightness has ramped up from 1,200 nits to 2,000 nits.

iPhone 15 vs iPhone 15 Plus: Processor and memory

The iPhone 15 being introduced at Apple's special event in September 2023, with the phone's Dynamic Island on display.

(Image credit: Apple)

As we mentioned above, both the iPhone 15 and the iPhone 15 Plus are now outfitted with Apple’s A16 Bionic chip. This comes with a six-core CPU, a five-core GPU and a 16-core Neural Engine. At the time this chip launched, Apple said its GPU offered 50% more memory bandwidth than its predecessor, while the company also claimed the CPU was 40% faster than the competition. Against this year’s phones, it’s still a phenomenal chip.

As for memory, both the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus come with 6GB of RAM. That’s a little less than the 8GB found in the Pro models, but still more than enough to handle almost anything you’ll be looking to do.

iPhone 15 vs iPhone 15 Plus: Colour choice

The iPhone 15 Plus in all of its available colours.

(Image credit: Apple)

Both devices have a range of colour choices, with five options to pick from: Blue, Pink, Yellow, Green and Black. This year Apple says the back glass itself is infused with colour, whereas in past years this was not the case.

iPhone 15 vs iPhone 15 Plus: Battery life

Apple gives a few different figures for the battery life of these phones, and the numbers differ depending on what you want to do. According to Apple, the iPhone 15 will give you 20 hours of video playback, 16 hours of streaming and up to 80 hours of audio.

The iPhone 15 Plus lasts a bit longer thanks to the larger battery Apple can fit into its heftier chassis. It gets 26 hours of video playback, 20 hours of streaming and 100 hours of audio, as per Apple’s numbers.

iPhone 15 vs iPhone 15 Plus: Which should you buy?

The iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus being presented at Apple's September 2023 special event.

(Image credit: Apple)

On the surface, the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus might appear pretty different thanks to their obvious size disparities. But look a little closer and you’ll notice they’re more similar than you’d first think.

Both have received a raft of parallel upgrades to their cameras, chips, ports and more. You can expect 48MP photos, 4K video recording, up to 512GB of storage and a beautiful OLED display whichever model you pick.

That means your choice comes down to a handful of key factors. These two phones diverge in a couple of key ways: size, price and battery life. How much you value each of those aspects will likely determine which model you pick.

If you regularly use your phone to watch movies or play games, you’ll love the larger display on the iPhone 15 Plus. The extra screen space is perfect for immersing yourself more fully in the action, and the extra battery life certainly helps there too.

On the other hand, the iPhone 15 hardly misses out on anything that its larger sibling has, and its lower price makes it a more palatable purchase too. If you’re not fussed about the larger display (or feel it would be too bulky for your hands anyway), the iPhone 15 will be a great choice.

Alex Blake

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.