The iPhone 14 Pro Max is the best phone Apple's ever made — better than even the iPhone 13 Pro Max, which was no slouch in its own right. But the 48MP main camera, always-on display and new A16 Bionic chipset reveals that there's plenty too like about this phone. Just be prepared to pay top dollar if you want to tame one.
- Superb 48MP camera
- Very smart Dynamic Island
- Superb battery life
- Lack of SIM Card slot will annoy some
- A bit thicker and heavier
Though the iPhone 14 Pro Max offers a faster processor and better cameras, the iPhone 13 Pro Max remains a formidable phone. It introduced variable display refresh rates to the iPhone lineup, yet it was still able to turn in a top time in our battery testing. The iOS 16 software brings a number of features to the iPhone 13 Pro Max, too.
- Superior performance
- Cinematic video mode
- Brighter display
- Could use faster charging
- Cinematic mode capped at 1080p
The iPhone 14 Pro Max made its debut last September, making all the iPhone 14 Pro Max vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max differences crystal clear.
This is the new top dog in the iPhone 14 lineup — the best iPhone you can buy right now. More importantly for our purposes here, the iPhone 14 Pro Max offers some significant upgrades over the iPhone 13 Pro Max, previously the best phone in Apple's lineup.
Now that we've heard all the details straight from Apple and have had the chance to use the latest iPhone extensively, 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
|Row 0 - Cell 0||iPhone 14 Pro Max||iPhone 13 Pro Max|
|Screen size||6.7 inches||6.7 inches|
|CPU||A16 Bionic||A15 Bionic|
|RAM||6GB LPDDR5||6GB LPDDR4X|
|Storage||128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB||128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB|
|Rear cameras||48MP main; 12MP ultrawide, 12MP telephoto||12MP main; 12MP ultrawide, 12MP telephoto|
|Front camera||12MP (f/1.9) with autofocus||12MP (f/2.2)|
|Battery size||4,323 mAh||4,352 mAh|
|Colors||Gold, silver, black, purple||Graphite, gold, silver, blue, green|
iPhone 14 Pro Max vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max price
Apple chose to keep the iPhone 14 Pro Max at the same $1,099 starting price as its predecessor in the U.S. (U.K. shoppers will pay a little bit more for the iPhone 14 Pro Max — £1,199 compared to £1,049 for its predecessor.) With the Galaxy S23 Ultra starting at $1,119, the iPhone 14 Pro Max remains a relatively cheaper end option among premium flagship phones.
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 while our iPhone 14 Pro vs iPhone 13 Pro comparison looks at what's changed in the past year.
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.
Apple has branded this oblong cutout the Dynamic Island. Not only does it contain a front camera and Face ID sensors, it's also designed to animate so that status alerts and notifications pop out of the cutout. The Live Activities feature in iOS 16 also centers around the Dynamic Island, keeping you alerted to ever-changing conditions like the score of a game you're tracking.
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.
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, 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.
We ran an iPhone 14 Pro Max vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max camera comparison, and saw the greatest differences between the two phones when taking photos at night. In the shot above, the iPhone 14 Pro Max takes a sharper photo of the London skyline; there's a bit too much noise in the iPhone 13 Pro Max photo.
Similarly, a monument to the Great Fire of London is warmer and more natural looking when the iPhone 14 Pro Max captures it. You also see more details that tend to get lost in the shadows of the iPhone 13 Pro Max shot.
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 we'd argue the iPhone 14 Pro Max provides a better camera experience than the iPhone 13 Pro Max — impressive, since that latter phone already spent a lot of time in our best camera phone rankings. But with the iPhone 13 Pro Max now out of Apple's lineup, it's the iPhone 14 Pro Max's turn to be among the top-ranked camera phones.
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.
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 iPhone 14 Pro benchmarks showed a big gain for both the iPhone 14 Pro Max and iPhone 14 Pro over their A15 Bionic-powered predecessors in Geekbench 5. The uplift in graphics testing was less substantial, perhaps because the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max used a version of the A15 Bionic with an extra GPU core. (That chip now powers the standard iPhone 14.)
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 when it first came out. (The phone has since dropped off the list, as we remove devices that have been out for 18 months or more.)
Apple didn't change the battery much for the iPhone 14 Pro Max, instead only slightly upping its mAh rating. That, coupled with the power efficiency improvements from the A16 Bionic and a refresh rate that's more aggressive about conserving power, helped the iPhone 14 Pro Max improve upon the battery life of its predecessor. It last 13 hours and 39 minutes on our test, making it the second longest-lasting phone we've tested recently.
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. We got to 42% in our testing.
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. But after testing the iPhone 14 Pro Max and using it in daily life, we think the newer iPhone has cleared that bar.
The iPhone 13 Pro Max may have taken great pictures, but they're even better on the iPhone 14 Pro Max. The same goes with performance and battery life — the iPhone 14 Pro Max improved upon its predecessor. You can confidently buy the iPhone 14 Pro Max knowing you're getting the best Apple has to offer and that improves upon the phone that came before it.