iPhone 15 Pro Vs iPhone 13 Pro: Worth the upgrade?

The iPhone event has come and gone now, and we have a much better idea of what the latest handsets from Apple are going to look like. The most exciting iPhones are the Pro and the Pro Max — two extremely powerful phones packed with features and new finishes that look to draw you away from the iPhone that’s already in your pocket.

Will they succeed? Most likely; When you compare the older iPhone with the brand-new models, it’s almost ridiculous how improved the iPhone 15 Pro is. With the Dynamic Island, 48MP camera, and the USB-C port on the bottom, the iPhone 15 Pro is really a no-brainer when it comes to an upgrade — especially when you consider that if your phone is in good shape, then you can trade it in and end up paying little to nothing for the new iPhone.

Of course, you’ll want to know about all the bits inside before you make any kind of decision as to whether it’s an iPhone that you want to grab for yourself. This is the iPhone 15 Pro vs iPhone 13 Pro — and whether you should upgrade to the latest iPhone.

iPhone 15 Pro vs iPhone 13 Pro: Specs

iPhone 15 Pro front and back

(Image credit: Apple)

One of the best ways to stack the iPhone 15 Pro against the iPhone 13 Pro is to compare their specs. This year has brought some big boosts to the iPhone line, mostly in terms of the 3nm produced A17 Pro chip that now powers everything in the background. The new 3nm process means that Apple has been able to make a more powerful chip in the same space as an old one, with massive shrunk-down components and structures.

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Specs:
Specs iPhone 13 ProiPhone 15 Pro
Display size14 Pro: 6.1 inches | 14 Pro Max: 6.7 inches15 Pro: 6.1 inches | 15 Pro Max: 6.7 inches
Display type OLED OLED
Capacity 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
Splash, water, dust resistanceIP68IP68
Chip A15 bionic chip, 6 core CPU, 5-core GPU, 16-core neural engineA17 Pro chip, 6 core CPU, 6-core GPU, 16-core neural engine
Camera 12MP triple-camera system + TrueDepth front camera with autofocus, ƒ/1.5 aperture 48MP triple-camera system + TrueDepth front camera with autofocus, ƒ/1.5 aperture
Video 4K video recording at 24 fps, 25 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps, Action Mode 4K video recording at 24 fps, 25 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps, Action Mode
Face IDYes Yes
Apple Pay Yes Yes
Safety Emergency SOS via satellite, Crash Detection, Roadside Assistance via satelliteEmergency SOS via satellite, Crash Detection, Roadside Assistance via satellite
Location GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS, and BeiDou, Digital compass, WiFi, Cellular, iBeacon microlocationGPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS, and BeiDou, Digital compass, WiFi, Cellular, iBeacon microlocation
Video calling Yes Yes
Audio calling Yes Yes
Siri Yes Yes
Power and battery Video playback: up to 20 hours, audio playback: up to 80 hoursVideo playback: up to 23 hours, audio playback: up to 80 hours
MagSafeYesYes
Fast chargingYesYes
Sensors Face ID, Barometer, High dynamic range gyro, High-G accelerometer, Proximity sensor, Dual ambient light sensorsFace ID, Barometer, Three-axis gyro, Accelerometer, Proximity sensor, Ambient light sensor
Operating systemiOS 17iOS 17
SIM eSIMeSIM

You don’t need to look closely at the spec sheet to see that the iPhone 13 Pro is completely outclassed by the iPhone 15 Pro. There’s way more power on tap than you’d find on the iPhone 13 Pro, the camera is far superior, and the USB-C port on the bottom really brings the phone up to modern speed.

You might expect that you have to pay a great deal more for all these spec bumps and extra power — but you don’t. The iPhone 15 Pro launches at $999, the same price as last year's iPhone 14 Pro. Also, given that Apple has plastered the deal all over the iPhone product page, it looks like there’s a chance that you’ll be able to potentially grab an iPhone for free, with up to $1000 off when you trade in an old device at a bunch of different carriers. That will depend on the cosmetic quality and whether it works or not, but you could stand to save lots of money.

iPhone 15 Pro vs iPhone 13 Pro: What’s new

Spatial Video

(Image credit: Apple)

There's some wicked new features on the iPhone 15 Pro over the iPhone 13 Pro — some of which you may have missed by skipping the iPhone 14 Pro last year. From Dynamic Island to the USB-C port on the bottom, there's loads to make the iPhone 15 Pro feel super fresh.

Dynamic Island

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While this isn’t a new feature to this year's Pro model iPhones, it’s one that will be new to you coming from an iPhone 13. It replaces the unsightly notch that you will no doubt have become used to with a kind of digital pill that changes shape and size depending on what notification it’s tracking — It’s great for showing things like takeaway orders while doing something else, such asplaying a game or browsing social media. It’s far less intrusive than the notch and brings back a little more useable display real estate at the top of the iPhone — which can only ever be a good thing.

The screen otherwise remains about as fancy as is humanly possible for the top-shelf iPhone. 120Hz refresh rate with ProMotion, and 6.1 inches of OLED goodness. This year you’ll also get a couple extra screen features too, with an improved 2000 nits peak brightness, and the Always-On display feature from last year's iPhone 14 Pro. 

Titanium finishes

There’s a new material around the sides of the iPhone 15 Pro, and it’s designed to make the iPhone 15 Pro feel lighter than the Stainless Steel iPhones that we’ve had before. It’s a more premium-looking option as well, with a brushed finish and some more refined color options. More refined and polished than the previous finishes, it will also make the latest iPhones a few grams lighter than the last models — great if you’ve got smaller hands.

Camera

The biggest updates this year to the Pro line are reserved for the Pro Max, which is receiving the new zoom that offers 5x zoom. That will, unfortunately not make it to the standard iPhone 15 Pro, but you’ll still get some camera improvements with the latest iPhone. There’s a big bump over the iPhone 13 Pro in the form of a 48MP sensor, that will make your photos really pop, with buckets of detail. Portrait mode will be the first big camera software update, with some cool extras that you might not expect. You can now choose subjects while taking a portrait mode picture, and even go in and make a non-portrait mode picture a portrait mode picture after it’s already been taken.

USB-C

The most talked about new feature of them all; the USB-C port that’s now made it’s way to the bottom edge of the device. Spelling the end of proprietary Apple connections, this new port will bring (to the Pro models, at least) quicker charging and faster data transfer — including allowing you to take video directly to external storage. You can hook it up to a photography rig as well so that you can really dial in all the settings and formats you need when taking professional photos with your iPhone.

iPhone 15 Pro vs iPhone 13 Pro: Processor

A17

(Image credit: Apple)

The iPhone 15 Pro has a massive update over the iPhone 13 Pro in the shape of its new processor. The A17 Pro is the first Apple chip that uses the 3nm process, a manufacturing method that can pack more processing bits (transistors) into the same die (chip) size as before. That makes not only for a more powerful chip, one with an extra GPU core but also a more efficient one, likely allowing for more battery life.

It also means that the iPhone 15 Pro is pegged to run some very demanding games, such as Resident Evil 4 Remake, Resident Evil Village, and even the latest Assassin’s Creed, Mirage. This won’t just make it a monster of a smartphone, but a very impressive gaming machine as well. You’d hope that a brand-new device would be more powerful than one from two years ago — but it looks like it’s going to be even more impressive than that. If you want power, then the iPhone 15 Pro is going to be a big upgrade from the 13 Pro.

iPhone 15 Pro vs iPhone 13 Pro: Colors

Colours

(Image credit: Apple)

So alongside the new Titanium material, the color lineup of the Pro model iPhones is also receiving a refresh. This time around, there’s going to be a Natural Titanium, Black Titanium, White Titanium, and Blue Titanium. In the grand scheme of things, these colors aren’t all that different from the colors that the iPhone 13 Pro was available in; Blue, Gold, Silver, and Black. The difference this year is the lack of Gold, replaced by the natural Titanium finish.

The colors are also more muted than prior models, although the matte Blue of the 15 Pro is very fetching indeed. The color finish is different as well. Rather than the shiny Stainless Steel luster of iPhones we’ve seen before, the 15 Pro has a much fancier and less flashy brushed finish.

If you want something more colorful, then you might miss the iPhone 13 Pro's more ‘out there’ color selection — but the new colors for the 15 Pro bring their own brand of class, elegance, and sophistication. As always, worth getting a good look in person before you make a final decision, if color is something that matters to you.

iPhone 15 Pro vs iPhone 13 Pro: Battery life

15 Pro max

(Image credit: Apple)

It’s worth noting here that if you’ve got a two-year-old iPhone 13 Pro, then it’s likely that the battery is starting to go off now after goodness only knows how many charging cycles, so any new phone is going to have better staying power than the one that's currently in your pocket.

Having said that, the iPhone 15 Pro should bring some improvements to battery life, thanks to its new, more efficient processor. Apple, however, remains tight-lipped to actual battery life, only saying so much as ‘all-day battery life’ — whatever that means. Expect it to last you a full working day, in essence, with regular, nightly charging. 

This is much the same as the iPhone 13 Pro on release; Apple didn’t give houred estimates around the battery life, instead sticking with that ‘all-day battery life’ line. Reviewers and testers put the battery life at around 20 hours — a number we think will likely be similar to the latest iPhone models.

iPhone 15 Pro vs iPhone 13 Pro: Should you upgrade?

Is your contract up? If yes, then you should absolutely upgrade, and for more reasons than those above — Upgrading to the iPhone 15 Pro might actually save you some money. Over the course of the Apple event, the firm commented on a trade-in deal around some of the most popular carriers in and around the US, like AT&T and Verizon.

Take your iPhone 13 Pro to trade in, and if it’s in good condition, you could get up to $1000 off the new device. That means that you could get the $999 completely paid for by your old device, leaving you with no monthly device cost — only your data plan.

Even then, you’d expect the new, improved device to cost loads more than the old one did on release: But it doesn’t. Despite being a great upgrade to the Pro line, it’s still going to cost a nice, round $999, just like the Pro models have cost now for some time.

Overall, the iPhone 15 Pro is a massive upgrade to the iPhone 13 Pro, and given the above trade-in deal, you should absolutely be considering upgrading as your contract comes to it’s end. If nothing else, it is always a good idea to make sure that your phone is future-proofed — after all, a new iPhone 15 Pro is going to receive more software updates down the line, and feel faster for longer with that fancy new processor.

The iPhone 15 Pro is available to preorder now, and it will be shipped out on September 22.

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.