Apple recently unveiled the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max as the successors to the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, featuring a new titanium design, an Action button, a USB-C port, the A17 Pro chip, and more. As Apple’s premium flagship offerings, the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max are the most fully-featured iPhones available.
The iPhone 15 Pro starts at $999 and the iPhone 15 Pro Max starts at $1,199. For the Pro Max model, this is a $100 price increase over last year’s model, but there is also no longer a 128GB storage configuration available for this device, meaning that it is effectively only a price hike if you normally buy this model.
Both phones have the same OLED Super Retina XDR always-on display with ProMotion and the Dynamic Island, the A17 Pro chip, 5G connectivity, a “Pro” rear camera setup, and are available in the same color options. Although the two phones share the vast majority of features, there are ten important differences between the devices. Our guide highlights the crucial differences between the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max, and helps to answer the question of how to decide which of these two iPhone models is best for you.
|iPhone 15 Pro||iPhone 15 Pro Max|
|6.1-inch OLED Super Retina XDR display with 2532-by-1170-pixel resolution||6.7-inch OLED Super Retina XDR display with 2778-by-1284-pixel resolution|
|12-megapixel Telephoto camera with ƒ/2.8 aperture||12-megapixel Telephoto camera with ƒ/2.8 aperture and larger sensor|
|Telephoto camera with second-generation sensor-shift optical image stabilization||Telephoto camera with folded tetraprism design and autofocus 3D sensor-shift module|
|0.5x, 1x, 2x, 3x optical zoom||0.5x, 1x, 2x, and 5x optical zoom|
|23-hour battery life (during video playback)||29-hour battery life (during video playback)|
|5.77-inch (146.6mm) height||6.29-inch (159.9mm) height|
|2.78-inch (70.6mm) width||3.02-inch (76.7mm) width|
|6.60-ounce (187 grams) weight||7.81-ounce (221 grams) weight|
|128GB, 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB storage||256GB, 512GB, or 1TB storage|
|$999 (128GB), $1,099 (256GB), $1,299 (512GB), or $1,499 (1TB)||$1,199 (256GB), $1,399 (512GB), or $1,599 (1TB)|
Just like some previous iPhone models offered in two sizes, such as the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max, there is a major additional camera feature to be gained with the larger model. This year, that’s 5x telephoto optical zoom, which is ideal for sports or wildlife photography since it can get even closer to a subject.
iPhone 15 Pro Max provides the longest optical zoom ever on iPhone: 5x at 120mm. Great for close-ups, wildlife photos, and catching the action from further distances, the new Telephoto camera on iPhone 15 Pro Max has an innovative tetraprism design with a combined optical image stabilization and autofocus 3D sensor-shift module, Apple’s most advanced stabilization system yet.
The iPhone 15 Pro has a maximum optical zoom of 3x and lacks the hardware enhancements of the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s telephoto camera. The Main and Ultra Wide cameras, are, however, identical between the two devices.
The iPhone 15 Pro Max represents the most you can get out of an iPhone with the best possible battery life, but that does not necessarily translate into a worthwhile purchase for all users. Some users may prefer a 3x optical zoom over a 5x optical zoom, in which case the iPhone 15 Pro is a better choice. Ultimately, the alternative photography capabilities of the devices come down to this single difference. If you are more likely to use your new iPhone to take portrait photos, the 3x telephoto of the iPhone 15 Pro is a better choice, while the iPhone 15 Pro Max is unrivalled for sports and wildlife photography where you are looking to shoot subjects that are much further away.
Combined with longer battery life and a larger display, the iPhone 15 Pro Max differs from the iPhone 15 Pro relatively significantly. The added $200 in price for the iPhone 15 Pro Max seems fair for its additional display area, battery life, storage, and camera technology but it is important to weigh up these factors in your personal use case. This shrinks to a $100 price difference if you normally buy a 256GB model.
If you normally purchase a 128GB iPhone “Pro Max” model, it may be time to look at the smaller model this year, since getting the larger model will necessitate spending $100 more than usual and getting 256GB of storage, which you may not use up. On the other hand, if you always purchase an iPhone with 256GB of storage, you may be more inclined to buy the iPhone 15 Pro Max.
Likewise, a larger, heavier 6.7-inch iPhone is not for everyone. Some may find the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s size excessive or uncomfortably large to hold, while others will love the larger display for consuming media. Screen size is ultimately a matter of personal preference, and since the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max share most of their other features, it comes down to individual taste.
The most important decision point when choosing between the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max is undoubtedly screen size, but comfort, pocketability, weight, battery life, and camera technology are also important considerations that will depend based on your personal needs and preferences. If you are hesitant about the size and weight of the iPhone 15 Pro Max, it may be better to stick with the iPhone 15 Pro, but it otherwise unlikely to disappoint, especially if price is not an issue.