Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max
Our top pick
The iPhone 15 Pro Max is the best iPhone out there right now.
The iPhone 15 Pro Max really is Apple’s most pro iPhone to date. The A17 Pro chipset makes this the first iPhone that’s capable of running console-grade games, there’s a new telephoto lens, USB-C charging, and the all-new Action button, all built into a lighter frame with the same stunning display.Pros
- A17 Pro chip and updated GPU
- Action button
- High-speed USB-C port
- Design has stayed much the same
- No real improvement in battery life
Apple / Pocket-lint
Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max
A great alternative
A stunning display, great battery life, and decent cameras.
The iPhone 14 Pro Max is a great phone with a battery that can easily see you through the day, and a stunning always-on display. It was the first iPhone to introduce us to the Dynamic Island, and has a decent cameras on board. As an added bonus, it doesn’t render your existing lightning cables redundant.Pros
- More than all-day battery life
- Beautiful always-on display
- Dynamic Island
- Can’t handle console-grade games
- Slow transfer speeds and heavier in the hand
At its launch event in September 2023, Apple described the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max as ‘the most pro lineup we have ever created.’ Putting aside questions about what ‘most pro’ actually means (or whether pro-est might be a word) it’s certainly the case that the iPhone 15 Pro Max is Apple’s most powerful iPhone to date.
The question is, how does it compare to the former king, the iPhone 14 Pro Max? And if you’re an iPhone 14 Pro Max user, is there enough in the iPhone 15 Pro Max to make it worth the upgrade? We put the iPhone 15 Pro Max and iPhone 14 Pro Max head-to-head to see how they compare.
Price, specs, and availability
The iPhone 14 Pro Max was launched in September 2022 and was priced at $1099/£1199 at launch. It comes in four colours: Silver, Gold, Space Black, and Deep Purple. Although the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus are currently still available through the Apple website, the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max are no longer for sale. You may be able to find them on other retail websites, although the majority of the options are for refurbished handsets rather than brand-new devices.
The iPhone 15 Pro Max launched in September 2023 and is available from $1199/£1199 with 256GB of storage. You can upgrade to 512GB for $1399/£1399, or 1TB for $1599/£1599. It’s available in four colours: Natural Titanium, Blue Titanium, White Titanium, and Black Titanium.
For an at-a-glance breakdown of how the iPhone 14 Pro Max and iPhone 15 Pro Max compare, here are some of the key specs.
Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max SoC A17 Pro A16 Bionic Display 6.7-inch, OLED, 2796 x 1290, HDR, 2000nits, 120Hz 6.7-inch, OLED, 2796 x 1290, HDR, 2000nits, 120Hz Storage 256/512GB/1TB 128/256/512/1TB Camera (Rear, Front) 48MP main, f/1.78; 12MP ultrawide, f/2.2; 2x telephoto from main; 12MP 5x telephoto, f/2.8; 12MP front, f/1.9 48MP f/1.78 main, 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide, 12MP f/2.4 telephoto Dimensions 159.9 x 76.7 x 8.25mm, 221g 160.7 x 77.6 x 7.85mm, 240g Colors Black Titanium, White Titanium, Blue Titanium, Natural Titanium Space Black, Silver, Gold, Deep Purple IP Rating IP68 IP68 Material Titanium Stainless Steel
Design and build
The iPhone 12 Pro Max was the first of the Pro Max iPhones to include a 6.7-inch display, and the iPhone 15 Pro Max continues this tradition, but it manages to fit it into the smallest frame of any 6.7-inch iPhone Pro Max. The iPhone 14 Pro Max is 6.33 x 3.05 inches, and the iPhone 15 Pro Max manages to shave a little off the height and width, at 6.29 x 3.02 inches. It is a fraction thicker, however, at 0.32 inches compared to the 0.31 inches of the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
As well as being a fraction smaller than the previous model, the iPhone 15 Pro Max is also considerably lighter, which is a welcome relief for anyone who’s currently hefting around an iPhone 14 Pro Max. The weight loss is thanks to the iPhone 15 Pro Max being built from aerospace-grade Titanium that Apple says is the same alloy that’s used on spacecraft designed for missions to Mars. The use of titanium, which has a high strength-to-weight ratio, means that the iPhone 15 Pro Max is the lightest Pro Max iPhone to date, at just 221g. In fact, the iPhone 15 Pro Max comes in even lighter than the smaller 6.5-inch iPhone 11 Pro Max. The weight difference is really noticeable, especially in comparison to the 240g iPhone 14 Pro Max.
The overall design of the iPhone 15 Pro Max is the same as the iPhone 14 Pro Max, sticking with the flat edges which have been the design of choice since the iPhone 12 models. However, the edges of the iPhone 15 Pro Max are slightly contoured when compared to the fairly abrupt edges of the iPhone 14 Pro Max. It’s only a small difference to the eye, but it has a big impact in the hand, making the iPhone 15 Pro Max feel much nicer to hold.
There are two significant differences to the exteriors of the two phones. On the iPhone 15 Pro Max, the Ring/Silent switch has been replaced with the new Action button. The slide switch that has been a feature of the iPhone since the first model was released in 2007 is replaced by a push button that can be used to perform one of a set of specific actions. You can set it to turn Silent mode on or off, but it can also be used to open the camera app, turn on the torch or flashlight, record a voice memo, and more. In fact, with the Shortcuts app, you can use the Action button to do different things under different circumstances.
Possibly the biggest news to come out of the announcement of the new iPhone 15 lineup, however, is that the Lighting port has been replaced with a USB-C port. The difference is barely noticeable, but if you look closely, you can see the small plastic tab inside the port that your USB-C cable slides onto. In comparison, the Lightning port on the iPhone 14 Pro Max is an empty void. The USB-C port is also a fraction larger than the Lightning port. Whilst the change comes with some downsides, including suddenly having a collection of useless Lightning cables on your hands, there are some benefits, such as transfer speeds that are 20 times faster than on the iPhone 14 Pro Max, and the ability to charge your Apple Watch or AirPods Pro directly from your iPhone 15 Pro Max.
Both the iPhone 15 Pro Max and iPhone 14 Pro Max have 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR OLED displays. Both displays have the same 1290×2796 resolution and 120Hz ProMotion refresh rates. There’s no real difference in brightness either, with both the iPhone 15 Pro Max and iPhone 14 Pro Max having a peak brightness of 1,600 nits or up to 2,000 nits outdoors. There’s no notch on either model; the iPhone 15 Pro Max keeps the Dynamic Island, which was a new feature on the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
The display on the iPhone 15 Pro Max may not be any more ‘pro’ than the iPhone 14 Pro Max, but they’re both still stunning displays with vibrant colours that really pop and deep blacks.
The iPhone 14 Pro Max runs on the A16 Bionic chipset with a 16-core Neural Engine and 5-core GPU. The A16 Bionic is built on a 4nm process. The iPhone 15 Pro Max uses the new A17 Pro Chipset with a 16-core Neural Engine and 6-core GPU. The A17 Pro is the first Apple chipset to be built on a 3nm process, which allows the A17 Pro to use up to 35 per cent less power whilst also being up to 10 per cent faster.
In typical use, the 19 billion transistors in the A17 Pro aren’t likely to make a noticeable difference when you’re scrolling through the internet or posting on Instagram. However, the more powerful and more efficient chip, combined with a new GPU with hardware-accelerated ray tracing, has meant that the iPhone 15 Pro Max is finally capable of running some genuine console-grade games. Capcom’s Resident Evil Village is due to be released for the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max very shortly, with the Resident Evil 4 Remake due for release by the end of the year. Death Stranding Director’s Cut and Assassin’s Creed Mirage are also coming to the iPhone 15 Pro Max.
Another welcome change when it comes to the internals of the iPhone 15 Pro Max is that the base model now comes with 256GB of storage compared to the rather paltry 128GB on the base model of the iPhone 14 Pro Max. It means that even the base model of the iPhone 15 Pro Max can support ProRes recording in 4K at up to 60 fps, whereas the iPhone 14 Pro Max with 128GB storage maxed out at 1080p 30 fps, presumably due to the much larger file sizes. The higher transfer speeds of the USB-C port also means that the iPhone 15 Pro Max can also support ProRes 4K recording at 60 fps using an external storage device and a USB-C 3.0 cable.
Both the iPhone 15 Pro Max and iPhone 14 Pro Max have a triple camera system, with a 48MP main camera, and a 12MP ultrawide camera. The big difference comes with the telephoto camera. The iPhone 15 Pro Max ups the 3x zoom from the iPhone 14 Pro Max and replaces it with a 5x zoom telephoto lens that gives the equivalent of a 120mm focal length. You can push the 5x optical zoom up to 25x digital zoom, which is a significant increase on the 15x digital zoom on the iPhone 14 Pro Max. The iPhone 15 Pro also tops out at 15x digital zoom.
The new triple-camera system on the iPhone 15 Pro Max allows you to switch between focal lengths that will be recognisable to photographers. By default, your iPhone 15 Pro Max will use a 24mm focal length, with the option to choose a 28mm or 35mm focal length instead. You can also change the default setting if you prefer shooting with one of the other options.
The camera hardware isn’t the only change on the iPhone 15 Pro Max when it comes to your photos, though. It’s now possible to apply Portrait mode to your photos after the fact. If your iPhone 15 Pro Max detects a face or an animal in the frame, it will record depth information, even when you’re shooting in the default camera mode. You can then edit the photo to turn it into a Portrait and even shift the focus to different parts of the image. The feature is available across all the iPhone 15 models.
While the hardware and software changes make shooting photos on the iPhone 15 Pro Max even better than on the iPhone 14 Pro Max, we’ve not seen a significant change to how you take or edit your photos, such as the new AI tools revealed with the Pixel 8 Pro.
The battery in the iPhone 15 Pro Max is a little larger than in the iPhone 14 Pro Max, at 4422 mAh compared to 4323 mAh. Apple states that this gives up to 29 hours of video playback, 25 hours of streamed video playback, and up to 95 hours of audio playback, which are exactly the same figures for the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
This seems to bear out in real life. In our hands-on testing, the iPhone 14 Pro Max would easily make it through the day with plenty of charge left to spare, and the iPhone 15 Pro Max has been similar; there’s usually still a fair bit left in the tank at the end of the day. The charging speed hasn’t increased with the iPhone 15 Pro Max; you still get the same speed as you did with the iPhone 14 Pro Max, allowing you to charge up to 50 per cent in around 30 minutes with a 20W or higher charger.
iPhone 15 Pro Max vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: Which should you choose?
If Apple telling you that the iPhone 15 Pro Max is the most pro iPhone ever created isn’t enough to convince you, then here’s our two cents, too. The iPhone 15 Pro Max really is the best iPhone that we’ve seen, with an updated chip that’s fast enough to power genuine console games, improved cameras, the addition of the Action Button, and a lighter titanium frame that feels much better in your hand.
Apple / Pocket-lint
Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max
Is all of that enough to make the upgrade from your iPhone 14 Pro Max? It’s a tough call; the iPhone 14 Pro Max has the same display, same battery life, mostly the same design, and still has a decent triple-camera system. And you don’t have to replace all of your Lightning cables, either. In our opinion, the iPhone 15 Pro Max does just enough to make it worth the upgrade, especially if you want to take advantage of the excellent games that are coming to the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max.
Apple / Pocket-lint
Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max
A great alternative