The iPhone 15 Pro Max is Apple’s premium smartphone offering, with titanium and an entirely new camera the main improvements over the iPhone 14 Pro Max. Here are all the differences.
The 2023 update to Apple’s iPhone range has made a bit of a departure from the norm, with Apple including a feature specific to the iPhone 15 Pro Max that the others do not have. The enhanced zoom capability will make the model even more attractive to photographers and videographers.
While Apple does usually make changes to its Pro lineup each year, this serves to be a bigger change than usual. Especially when you consider it’s just for this model.
Here’s how it stands when measured against the 2022 iteration, the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. iPhone 14 Pro Max — Specifications
|Specifications||iPhone 14 Pro Max||iPhone 15 Pro Max|
|Dimensions (inches)||6.33 x 3.05 x 0.31||6.29 x 3.02 x 0.32|
|Processor||A16 Bionic||A17 Pro|
|Storage||128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB||256GB, 512GB, 1TB|
|Display type||6.7-inch Super Retina XDR,
ProMotion, always-on display
|6.7-inch Super Retina XDR,
ProMotion, always-on display
|Resolution||2,796 x 1,290 at 460 ppi||2,796 x 1,290 at 460 ppi|
|Biometrics||Face ID||Face ID|
|Connectivity||5G (Sub-6GHz and mmWave)
Emergency SOS via Satellite
Roadside Assistance via Satellite
|5G (Sub-6GHz and mmWave)
Emergency SOS via Satellite
Roadside Assistance via Satellite
|Rear Cameras||48MP Wide
12MP Ultra Wide
12MP Telephoto with 3x optical zoom
12MP Ultra Wide
12MP Telephoto with 5x optical zoom
4K 60fps HDR with Dolby Vision,
1080p 240fps Slo-Mo
ProRes 4K 30fps,
4K 60fps HDR with Dolby Vision,
1080p 240fps Slo-Mo
ProRes 4K 60fps with external recording,
|Front Camera||12MP TrueDepth with Autofocus||12MP TrueDepth with Autofocus|
|Battery Size (Video playback time)||Up to 29 hours||Up to 29 hours|
iPhone 15 Pro Max vs iPhone 14 Pro Max – Physical Dimensions
The iPhone 14 Pro Max was the largest iPhone Apple made in 2022, with a length of 6.33 inches and a width of 3.05 inches giving it a sizable footprint. Even so, it was still fairly thin at 0.31 inches.
At 6.29 inches long and 3.02 inches wide, the iPhone 15 Pro is a tiny bit shorter than its predecessor, but it’s slightly thicker at 0.32 inches.
At 8.47 ounces, the iPhone 14 Pro Max tipped the scales in the range, simply because of its size. The iPhone 15 Pro Max is a lot lighter at 7.81 ounces.
Just as with the iPhone 14 Pro, the Pro Max reuses Apple’s standard iPhone aesthetic of flat edges and rounded corners. It continued its pattern of using a stainless steel enclosure paired with a glass back and a front glass panel sporting a Ceramic Shield protective layer.
Where the 2023 edition differs is that Apple’s going down the titanium route. Using Grade 5 titanium for a strong frame and a striking appearance, the change allowed Apple to save some weight as well as reduce the size without sacrificing the screen, resulting in thinner bezels.
Apple has also made a change to the switch on the side, removing the Ring/Silent toggle in favor of an Action button. This can be used to silence the iPhone’s ringer, but it can be set to perform many different actions too.
iPhone 15 Pro Max vs iPhone 14 Pro Max – Displays
The iPhone 14 Pro Max has a 6.7-inch all-screen OLED display, namely Apple’s Super Retina XDR display. At 2,796 by 1,290 pixels, the screen has a pixel density of 460 pixels per inch.
For the iPhone 15 Pro Max, the specifications are effectively identical, with the same size and resolution as the year-ago model.
The OLED screen in both devices has a contrast ratio of 2 million to one, as well as a brightness that has a typical maximum of 1,000 nits, 1,600 nits at a peak for HDR content, or up to 2,000 nits of peak brightness when you’re outdoors.
Apple used an always-on screen for the iPhone 14 Pro Max, which displays a standby screen when the device is sleeping so that users can see some important information at a glance without fully waking it. ProMotion support was also included, offering adaptive refresh rates that go up to 120Hz, depending on the type of content viewed on the screen.
All of these return in the iPhone 15 Pro Max.
At the top of the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s screen was the Dynamic Island, the replacement for the notch that added more interactive UI elements. With a year on the clock, it’s back once again, and will benefit from iOS 17’s tweaks.
Wide Color (P3) support, True Tone, HDR support, and a fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating are also included in the iPhone 14 Pro Max and iPhone 15 Pro Max displays.
iPhone 15 Pro Max vs iPhone 14 Pro Max – Cameras
On the back of the iPhone 14 Pro Max are three cameras, including a 48-megapixel Main camera with an f/1.78 aperture, a second-gen sensor-shift optical image stabilization system and a seven-element lens. A 12-megapixel Ultra-Wide camera is next with an f/2.2 aperture six-element lens, and a 120-degree field of view.
The third of the trio is the 12MP 3x Telephoto, complete with an f/2.8 aperture, optical image stabilization, and a six-element lens.
For the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s Main camera, the high resolution allowed Apple to crop the image to create a virtual 12MP 2x Telephoto camera. Overall, the iPhone 14 Pro has a 2x optical zoom out and a 3x optical zoom in, with digital zoom reaching up to 9x.
The iPhone 15 Pro Max also uses three cameras, with a 48MP Main heading up the list with an f/1.78 aperture and second-gen sensor shift. That Main camera gains a new 24MP default image, and allows users to switch between effective focal lengths of 24mm, 28mm, and 35mm.
The Ultra Wide is a 12-megapixel version with an f/2.2 aperture once again, complete with a 120-degree field of view.
The 12MP Telephoto camera is an outlier, as it uses a whole new tetraprism design to enable a 5x optical zoom. There’s also a 3D sensor-shift optical image stabilization and autofocus at play for the camera, which also has an f/2.8 aperture.
The changes enable the digital zoom to reach up to 25x, dwarfing not only the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s 15x, but also the 9x of its non-Pro counterpart.
All of the cameras have 100% Focus Pixel coverage, to assist with focusing on subjects. The Pro line also benefits from the inclusion of a LiDAR sensor, which assists with focusing and can greatly improve night shot images.
Apple’s Photonic Engine and Deep Fusion computational photography helps improve shots taken with the rear cameras. There’s also support for Portrait Mode with six-effect Portrait Lighting, Night Mode, Smart HDR 4 and 5 depending on device vintage, and other usual functions.
To video, and the iPhone 14 Pro Max can handle 4K 60fps Dolby Vision HDR, 4K 30fps in Cinematic mode, and 2.8K 60fps Action mode. ProRes video at up to 4K 30fps, and 1080p 240fps Slo-Mo also available.
Macro Photography, Cinematic video stabilization, Audio Zoom, and stereo recording round out the video list.
The figures don’t change that much for the iPhone 15 Pro Max, as it too can handle 4K 60fps Dolby Vision HDR, 4K HDR Cinematic Mode at 60fps, and 2.8K 60fps Action Mode. 1080P 240fps Slo-mo is also the same.
This time around, Apple is making more of a play to videographers, with ProRes video at up to 4K 60fps with external recording support. This refers to attaching an external drive to the iPhone, and recording video straight to it.
This was’t possible under the iPhone 14 Pro Max, as it used Lightning which has a slow data rate of 480Mbps. With the use of USB-C, the iPhone 15 Pro Max can transfer data along the cable 20 times faster, which is more than enough to enable external drive recording.
Even better for video production, Apple includes log video recording, as well as support for the Academy Color Encoding System.
Around the front, the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s TrueDepth camera at the front has a 12-megapixel sensor and an f/1.9 aperture, Focus Pixels, and a six-element lens. It has Portrait Mode and Portrait Lighting effects, 4K60fps video, Cinematic Mode 4K HDR at 30fps, Dolby Vision at 4K60fps, and Pro-Res to 4K30fps.
There’s no change for the iPhone 15 Pro Max here, with the exception of enabling externally recorded 4K ProRes footage at 60fps, log video, and the Academy Color Encoding System.
The TrueDepth camera’s depth-mapping system, which persists into 2023, further helps with security, namely powering Face ID, and is usable for applications such as Animoji and Memoji.
iPhone 15 Pro Max vs iPhone 14 Pro Max – Processing Performance
Every year, Apple moves the Pro models to the next chip in its A-series range. For 2023, that means a change to the A17 Bionic for the iPhone 15 Pro Max, up from the A16 Bionic of the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
The A16 Bionic has a six-core CPU with two performance cores and four efficiency cores, along with a five-core GPU and a 16-core Neural Engine.
Apple originally promoted the A16 as being “up to 40 percent faster than the competition,” that the GPU has 50% more memory bandwidth, and the Neural Engine was capable of nearly 17 trillion operations per second.
Apple is moving on to the A17 for the iPhone 15 Pro Max, except it’s also moving another element too: the name. Now, the chip is known as the A17 Pro, not the Bionic.
The A17 Pro is the first 3-nanometer mobile chip, with it including the same six-core CPU setup as the A16. Except it happens to be 10% faster thanks to microarchitectural and design improvements.
The 6-core GPU is also new, 20% faster than the A16, and even includes hardware-accelerated ray tracing. An onboard AV1 decoder will help improve video streaming for those late-night Netflix sessions.
Apple also says that the Neural Engine is also twice as fast as before.
For the moment, we can only go on what Apple has claimed about the new chip, so we can’t really compare performance using benchmarks yet, but that should change in the next few weeks.
iPhone 15 Pro Max vs iPhone 14 Pro Max – Connectivity
The iPhone 14 Pro Max, like the rest in the range, has 5G connectivity that supports both sub-6GHz and mmWave bands. In black spots without cellular communications, there’s the then-new Emergency SOS via Satellite feature that used satellites to send messages to get assistance.
The iPhone 14 Pro Max sports Wi-Fi 6 for local networking, Bluetooth 5.3 for accessories, Ultra Wideband, and NFC for services like Apple Pay.
The iPhone 15 Pro Max differs by having Wi-Fi 6E support, a second-generation Ultra Wideband chip that enables more location features, and explicit Thread support.
The physical connectivity of the iPhone 14 Pro Max consists of a Lightning port in the base, used for both data transfers and charging. For 2023, as part of Apple’s shift away from Lightning, it has finally moved the iPhone 15 Pro Max over to USB-C.
This change has a number of implications for charging, but more importantly it changes data transfer speeds. Rather than 480Mbps transfer speeds, USB-C in the Pro models works at 10Gbps, which will make it quicker to move files on and off the iPhone.
This is very useful for videographers who shoot with an iPhone but need to get hefty ProRes video off their devices in a timely fashion. Apple says that it is also possible to record video directly to an external drive using the connection, too, but how well this will work in practice remains to be seen.
iPhone 15 Pro Max vs iPhone 14 Pro Max – Power and Battery
According to Apple, the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s battery life allows up to 29 hours of video playback for locally stored footage, or up to 25 hours of streamed video playback. For audio, you can get up to 95 hours of playback.
The iPhone 15 Pro Max is claimed to run for exactly the same periods of time. At present, it’s not clear if the battery is the same, or if the iPhone 15 Pro Max draws more power from a battery with more capacity than the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
The lithium-ion battery in both devices can be recharged by a physical cable or using wireless charging, over Qi or MagSafe. Wireless charging is usually slower than wired, as Qi works at up to 7.5W under Apple-imposed limits, and MagSafe up to 15W.
Fast charging is handled over a wired connection. For both the iPhone 14 Pro Max and iPhone 15 Pro Max, you can get to a 50% charge using the Lightning port in about 35 minutes, if you’re using a 20W or higher charging adapter.
iPhone 15 Pro Max vs iPhone 14 Pro Max – Other Features
The iPhone 14 Pro Max is rated at IP68 for water and dust resistance, which the iPhone 14 Pro Max also meets. For water, this means it can survive at a maximum depth of 6 meters (19.7 feet) for up to half an hour.
Apple introduced Crash Detection in the iPhone 14 Pro, which uses a collection of sensors on the iPhone to determine if there has been a significant impact, such as a car accident. Once an incident is detected, the iPhone will automatically call the emergency services for help unless the device owner or a passenger stops the countdown.
Now, Apple has introduced Roadside Assistance via Satellite, which is the same feature but aimed at getting assistance for your broken-down vehicle in a cellular deadzone. This feature isn’t limited to the iPhone 15 Pro Max, as it will also be available on the iPhone 14 Pro Max too.
iPhone 15 Pro Max vs iPhone 14 Pro Max – Capacity, Color, and Pricing
At launch, the iPhone 14 Pro Max cost $1,099 for the 128GB model, 256GB cost $1,199, the 512GB capacity was $1,399, and 1TB was available for $1,599.
The iPhone 14 Pro was sold in four colors: Space Black, Gold, Silver, and Deep Purple.
The iPhone 15 Pro Max has the same pricing, except that it eliminates the 128GB capacity, leaving the 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB options. It’s available in four colors: Black Titanium, White Titanium, Blue Titanium, and Natural Titanium.
iPhone 15 Pro Max vs iPhone 14 Pro Max – What to Buy
The Pro iPhone line has always benefited from being at the forefront of Apple’s technological advances. You’d pay a premium, but you will know that you’re getting the best smartphone the company produces.
Now, not only do you have to get a Pro model, you also have to get the biggest if you want the best.
The main updates affecting all iPhone 15 Pro models are good on their own, such as the switch to USB-C from Lightning and the performance and graphical improvements brought along by the A17 Pro chip. Adding in titanium for a more durable device is also a great move by Apple.
When you add in the camera change for extra optical zoom on the iPhone 15 Pro Max, you realize this model is a videographer’s dream smartphone. You have that expansive zoom, Log recording support, and fast USB-C, with that latter point solving the issue of getting footage quickly off the iPhone and enabling external recording too.
For the average user, the iPhone 15 Pro Max isn’t a massive upgrade worth considering if they already own an iPhone 14 Pro Max. Keen photographers, video producers, and creatives of many different types will see the camera and USB-C changes, and suddenly the upgrade becomes more viable.
Add in that it’s the same cost on a capacity basis as the iPhone 14 Pro Max at its year-ago launch, and the upgrades seem like a bargain.
Owners of earlier iPhones wanting to make a big jump will find themselves happy with their purchase. Anyone involved in the visual arts will be ecstatic.
Where to buy the iPhone 15 Pro Max
Apple is opening preorders for the iPhone 15 Pro Max on September 15, with shipments starting September 22.