iPhone 14 Pro Max vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max: All the biggest upgrades

iphone 14 pro max vs iphone 13 pro max
(Image credit: Tom's Guide / Shutterstock)

The iPhone 14 Pro Max was unveiled during the Apple event September 7th, revealing everything you need to know to make an informed iPhone 14 Pro Max vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max comparison. 

This is the new top dog in the iPhone 14 lineup, and it offers some significant upgrades over the iPhone 13 Pro Max that make the 14 Pro Max a strong contender for the best phone you can buy right now. However, topping the iPhone 13 Pro Max figures to be a tall order, given that it won the Tom's Guide Award 2022 for the best phone of the past year.

Now that we've heard all the details straight from Apple, here's an in-depth breakdown of the key differences between the iPhone 14 Pro Max vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max.

iPhone 14 Pro Max vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max specs

Swipe to scroll horizontally
iPhone 14 Pro Max (rumored)iPhone 13 Pro Max
Starting price$1,099$1,099
Screen size6.7 inches6.7 inches
Refresh rate1-120Hz10-120Hz
CPUA16 BionicA15 Bionic
Storage128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
Rear cameras48MP main; 12MP ultrawide, 12MP telephoto12MP main; 12MP ultrawide, 12MP telephoto
Front camera12MP (f/1.9) with autofocus12MP (f/2.2)
Battery size4,323 mAh4,352 mAh
ColorsGold, silver, black, purpleGraphite, gold, silver, blue, green

iPhone 14 Pro Max vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max price

Despite the fact that rumors indicated the price of the iPhone 14 Pro models is going up by $100, Apple chose to keep the iPhone 14 Pro Max at the same $1,099 starting price as its predecessor. That maintains the Pro Max's status as being just a smidge cheaper than Samsung's Galaxy S22 Ultra, the nearest competitor to the iPhone Pro Max model.

If you balk at the thought of paying four figures for your new phone Apple's also releasing the iPhone 14 Pro at $999, though after taxes and fees you'll still pay over $1k. Check out our iPhone 14 vs. iPhone 14 Pro comparison to get a sense of what the price increase gets you over the base iPhone 14.

iPhone 14 Pro Max vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max design and display

At first glance, the iPhone 14 Pro Max resembles its predecessor, with flat edges surrounding a 6.7-inch display that takes up much of the phone's face. The big difference isn't so big at all, once you notice it -- there's a new pill-shaped cutout in the center of the top of the display that houses the phone's camera array, replacing the smaller notch from last year's phones.

iPhone 14 Pro at Apple Event

(Image credit: Apple via YouTube)

Apple has branded this oblong cutout the Dynamic Island, and iOS is being designed to animate around it so things like notifications and status indicators will appear to surround or pop out of the cutout. 

iPhone 14 Pro Max dynamic island animation

(Image credit: Apple)

Up front the iPhone 14 Pro Max maintains the same 6.7-inch OLED display as its predecessor, but this time it's designed with an always-on display that's built to show off your lock screen, which is more customizable than ever in iOS 16

iPhone 14 Pro at Apple Event

(Image credit: Apple via YouTube)

The graphite, silver and gold colors from the iPhone 13 Pro Max are still available on the new model, as is a new Deep Purple shade -- regrettably, Apple appears to have ditched the blue and green color options offered on last year's model. 

The new iPhone 14 Pro Max has the same adaptive refresh rate technology as its predecessor, but while the iPhone 13 Pro Max could only go from 120Hz down to 10Hz, the new iPhone 14 Pro Max can go from 120Hz to as low as 1Hz. That helps the always-on display conserve power, matching a similar feature offered on Samsung's Galaxy S22 Ultra. 

iPhone 14 Pro Max vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max cameras

While the iPhone 14 Pro Max sports effectively the same rear camera array as its predecessor, featuring wide, ultrawide and telephoto lenses is coming to the iPhone 14 Pro Max, expect a big change to that main camera. 

The iPhone 14 Pro Max now has a 48MP main camera up front, ending years of 12MP sensors appearing on Apple's phones. That new sensor should help the iPhone 14 Pro Max deliver better photos, and Apple claims its new Photonic Engine tech will further improve the quality of low-light photos captured with the iPhone 14 Pro Max.

iPhone 14 Pro at Apple Event

(Image credit: Apple via YouTube)

The iPhone 14 Pro Max is also better at capturing video than its predecessor, since it can now record videos in cinematic mode (for shallow depth of field) at up to 30 fps in 4K HDR, whereas its predecessor could only manage the same at 1080p with no HDR. The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max also have access to a new Action Mode for capturing videos full of high-speed action.

Add up all these changes, and it's looking like the iPhone 14 Pro Max will provide a better camera experience than the iPhone 13 Pro Max — impressive, since that latter phone already ranks as the best camera phone in our estimation. You can also check out the results of our detailed iPhone 14 Pro Max vs iPhone 13 Pro Max camera comparison.

iPhone 14 Pro Max vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max performance

The iPhone 14 Pro Max packs Apple's A16 Bionic chip, an upgraded version of the A15 Bionic that powered last year's phone. This new A16 Bionic packs a 6-core CPU with 2 performance cores and 4 efficiency cores, as well as a 5-core GPU and a 16-core Neural Engine.

A16 Bionic chipset render

(Image credit: @VNchocoTaco/Twitter)

The new chipset is also built on a 4-nanometer process vs. its predecessor's 5nm process. Put simply, these specs suggest you should expect the iPhone 14 Pro Max to be faster and more powerful than the iPhone 13 Pro Max, but not by a huge margin. Our A16 Bionic vs. A15 Bionic comparison suggests it won't be a big jump, though Apple claims the A16 uses 20% less power than the A15 and sports a GPU with 50% more memory bandwidth than its predecessor.

Power management is key now that the iPhone 14 Pro Max comes with an always-on display, and the A16 is designed to smartly manage the display and its 1-120Hz refresh rate to conserve power.

iPhone 14 Pro Max vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max battery life and charging

For the iPhone 13 lineup, Apple increased battery sizes all around, with the iPhone 13 Pro Max jumping to a 4,352 mAh cell. That helped the phone last 12 hours and 16 minutes on our battery test, putting the iPhone 13 Pro Max on our best phone battery life list.

iPhone 13 Pro Max review

Like the iPhone 13 Pro Max pictured here, the new iPhone 14 Pro Max relies on 20W charging and can get a 50% charge after 30 minutes plugged in. (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

It appears as though Apple hasn't changed the battery much for the iPhone 14 Pro Max, instead only slightly upping its mAh rating. Still, given the likely power efficiency improvements of both the A16 Bionic chipset and the phone's 1-120Hz display, the iPhone 14 Pro Max should be able to keep pace with its predecessor. Apple claims the iPhone 14 Pro Max can achieve up to 29 hours of video playback on a full battery, which is one hour longer than the 28 hours it promised for the iPhone 13 Pro Max. 

Both iPhones continue to charge at 20W, while rival Android devices push for faster and faster charging speeds. Despite a rumor earlier this year said that Apple was working on 30W charging, the iPhone 14 Pro Max still relies on a 20W charger, and like its predecessor Apple claims it can reach 50% capacity after 30 minutes of charging.

iPhone 14 Pro Max vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max outlook

The iPhone 13 Pro Max was a near-perfect phone that raised the bar for every phone that came after it — the iPhone 14 Pro Max, included. Now that Apple has unveiled the new model, we're eager to go hands-on and perform our ow]n performance testing -- so stay tuned! 

We'll soon see if Apple's upcoming phone is up to the challenge of topping last year's model, but we're already excited about the arrival of a 1-120Hz always-on display and a wider, fatter camera cutout that's integrated more tightly with iOS. 

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.

  • Rejoicefulone
    Now that Apple is purchasing the iPhone displays from Samsung, they might see some of the benefits that Samsung has had for several years.
    Puch hole for more screen ratio and maybe bringing back Touch ID. Samsung has their Touch ID under the display. Samsung phones are a little more secure, because with Touch ID, you can't unlock with a photo. Game changer!