The smaller of the two
The iPhone 15 Pro was a pretty cool update over the previous model, with a big spec bump and a fancy new material. It’s not the biggest phone in the line – and it doesn’t have all the features of the phone that is. But would you go without them for the saving in price?
- Slightly cheaper
- Doesn’t have the cool zoom camera
The biggest and most powerful iPhone
The iPhone 15 Pro Max is, mostly, the same as the iPhone 15 Pro. The same chip, same materials, etc. The differences start with the camera — the iPhone 15 Pro Max has a snazzy zoom lens inside. It’s also much bigger, at 6.7 inches from corner to corner.
- Bigger screen
- Tetraprism zoom lens
- Excellent battery life
- Very expensive
The iPhone Pro lines are always the most desirable of all the devices, equipped with the best processors, screens, materials, and cameras. The Pro line this year is no different, with both the iPhone 15 Pro and the iPhone 15 Pro Max filled to the brim with loads of wicked features.
As you come to choose which one to buy, you may well be left wondering which one is the phone for you — do you spend the extra on the Max, or go without that snazzy new zoom lens and spend a little less on the standard Pro. Decisions, decisions.
We’ve put together a comparison so that you can make an informed decision, and make sure that you’ve got the right iPhone for you.
iPhone 15 Pro vs iPhone 15 Pro Max: Specs
Before we even get into the list, this one is going to be close; after all, bar the camera, battery, and screen, these are effectively the same devices. Weight, and overall size are going to be different as well, however, so make sure you check the specs table to see which is going to be better for you.
|Specs||iPhone 15||iPhone 15 Pro Max|
|Display size||6.1 inches||6.7 inches|
|Material||Titanium, matte glass back||Titanium, matte glass back|
|Display type||OLED, ProMotion, Always-On||OLED, ProMotion, Always-On|
|Capacity||128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB||128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB|
|Splash, water, dust resistance||IP68||IP68|
|Chip||A17 Pro chip, 6 core CPU, 6-core GPU, 16-core neural engine||A17 Pro chip, 6 core CPU, 6-core GPU, 16-core neural engine|
|Camera||48MP 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||4K video recording at 24 fps, 25 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps, Action Mode|
|Zoom:||.5x, 1x, 2x, 3x optical zoom options||.5x, 1x, 2x, 5x optical zoom options|
|Safety||Emergency SOS via satellite, Crash Detection, Roadside Assistance via satellite||Emergency SOS via satellite, Crash Detection, Roadside Assistance via satellite|
|Location||GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS, and BeiDou||GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS, and BeiDou, Digital compass, WiFi, Cellular, iBeacon microlocation|
|Power and battery||Video playback: up to 20 hours||Video playback: up to 29 hours|
|Sensors||Face ID, Barometer, High dynamic range gyro, High-G accelerometer, Proximity sensor, Dual ambient light sensors||Face ID, Barometer, Three-axis gyro, Accelerometer, Proximity sensor, Ambient light sensor|
|Operating system||iOS 17||iOS 17|
Looking at the above specs table, you can see where the iPhone 15 Pro Max has the advantage — and it's almost entirely within that new camera. It's got 5x zoom for those closeup shots thanks to the new tetraprism lens, which the iPhone 15 Pro does not have in its 48MP camera.
The screens are technically the same, but you’ll get a bigger one with the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Both have 120Hz refresh rate with ProMotion for that buttery smooth iOS experience, and both have Always-on tech on board so that you can see the time when your phone is asleep.
Interestingly, the iPhone 15 Pro Max has one less storage option — the base 128GB is gone. It starts at 256GB instead, and the price for the base model matches the increase at $100 more than the iPhone 14 Pro Max base model.
iPhone 15 Pro vs iPhone 15 Pro Max: What’s new
Most of the new features this year have come to both the iPhone 15 Pro and the Pro Max, although one of the aforementioned ones (the camera) is only on the iPhone 15 Pro Max.
The camera on the iPhone 15 Pro Max is a 48MP shooter with zoom up to 3x. It is a very capable shooter, with great image quality, and some portrait mode improvements that let you choose a subject for the bokeh effect when taking a picture. You can also now change a picture to a portrait mode picture after the picture has already been taken, which is a cool extra.
The iPhone 15 Pro Max has an extra feature up its titanium sleeve — the tetraprism zoom lens. This lens bounces the picture around more lenses so that it can zoom in closer to the subject, taking the zoom capability from 3x to 5x. That’s optical zoom rather than digital zoom as well, so it captures more detail and definition.
Both of the new devices have a USB-C port at the bottom for charging and data transfer. In the case of these Pro iPhones, charging speed has been upped to 35w for faster battery filling potential, and data transfer has been sped up as well so that you can record video directly to a storage device.
If you’re coming from a previous iPhone, this might mean that you need some new accessories — or a new dongle to connect stuff up. Thankfully, loads of accessory makers have already started changing their standards over to USB-C, so you shouldn’t worry too much about it being an issue.
iPhone 15 Pro vs iPhone 15 Pro Max: Colors
Both iPhones are available in the same titanium finishes — Black titanium, White titanium, Natural titanium, and Blue titanium. All are classy, subdued, and very pleasing to look at.
A little more about that titanium frame as well. It’s lighter than the stainless steel of previous iPhones, and it has a more matte tone as opposed to a shinier sheen. Be wary, however — the surface does not take to fingerprints well, no matter what color you use.
iPhone 15 Pro vs iPhone 15 Pro Max: Battery life
The iPhone 15 Pro is going to get you Apple’s standard ‘all-day battery’, which according to its own comparison sheet means up to 20 hours of streamed video playback, and up to 75 hours of audio playback.
The iPhone 15 Pro Max, with its bigger battery, is going to give you more battery. That means 25 hours of video playback and up to 95 hours of audio playback.
While Apple’s parameters for testing these numbers are as mysterious as what Tim Cook has for breakfast, the Pro Max is going to last you longer, no matter your use case.
iPhone 15 Pro vs iPhone 15 Pro Max: Which should you buy?
This one is an easier one than most; What do you want from your iPhone? You’re looking at the iPhone 15 if you want something that’s super powerful and still fits in most pockets. The only stuff you’ll miss is the slightly more impressive camera, a bigger screen, and more battery life. You will however, save money, roughly to the tune of $200.
The Pro Max is for when you want the biggest, most impressive phone. You’ll pay more for the privilege, but it is a stunning device that gives you everything you could want. That screen, the fancy camera, and monster battery life.
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!
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.