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iPhone 14 vs iPhone 15: Should you upgrade or wait?

A split image with an iPhone 14 Pro concept render and a portless iPhone concept
(Image credit: EverythingApplePro/ConceptCreator)

Update: In other future iPhone news, we may soon see an iPhone Ultra.

Although we're likely about to meet the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro, it's worth thinking about next year's iPhone 15 if you're deciding on what you want to buy.

Yes, the 2023 iPhone is over a year away from launch, but if you're going to be keeping your phone for several years, you'll want to get your money's worth. And the iPhone 15 is already looking to have some substantial upgrades compared to what we've heard about the iPhone 14 up to now. And there are already several interesting changes rumored to be coming to the iPhone 14.

Below we've rounded up what rumors there are for the iPhone 15 so far, and compared them to what we should see when the iPhone 14 debuts at the Apple event on September 7. We hope by the end of this rundown, you might have a better idea of whether you want to upgrade once the iPhone 14 goes on sale, or if you can hold off another year to get those rumored iPhone 15 upgrades.

iPhone 14 vs. iPhone 15: possible price

After a few years of stable iPhone prices, the iPhone 14 series could usher in some new ones. We'd expect the iPhone 14 to still cost $799 like the iPhone 13, but the $699 iPhone 13 mini is supposedly on its way out, in favor of a larger but more expensive iPhone 14 Max model, which we'd estimate will cost around $899. 

Also, the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max models have been heavily rumored to be increasing in price compared to the iPhone 13 Pro models, possibly going up to $1,099 and $1,199 respectively.

a render of the rumored iPhone 14 Pro

(Image credit: Madmix)

There aren't any iPhone 15 price rumors at the moment, but we'd assume if Apple ups the price for the iPhone 14 Pro models, the iPhone 15 Pro models will be the same price. There's likely no benefit to buying now or waiting if you're looking to get the most iPhone possible for your money.

iPhone 14 vs. iPhone 15: design and display

As far as we know, there are no fundamental changes on the cards for the iPhone 14 family's displays. The smaller iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro will measure 6.1 inches, while the iPhone 14 Max and iPhone 14 Pro Max will be 6.7 inches. The iPhone 14 Max (or possibly iPhone 14 Plus) is a new model for this year, replacing the slow-selling 5.4-inch iPhone 13 mini.

The only other big new feature to look out for on the iPhone 14 Pro models' screens is an always-on display. This is a long-awaited feature that will let you check the time, notifications and other info without pressing the iPhone's side button.

Image of iPhone 14 Pro's rumored always-on display

(Image credit: MacRumors)

Next year, the iPhone 15 will likely follow the same template, but may also utilize a new type of LTPO OLED display that will supposedly last longer than current OLED displays. Sounds ideal for those who want the best out of their phones for the longest possible time (i.e. everyone buying smartphones).

Talking of the screen, the iPhone 15's panel may be hiding a secret. Next year's iPhones could have Face ID under the display, although the selfie camera would remain exposed in a punch-hole cutout similar to early iPhone 14 concepts we saw. It would mean more screen space in the same-size phone compared to the iPhone 14, which is said to be keeping the familiar notched design, and the iPhone 14 Pro, which is allegedly getting a pill-shaped cutout that floats a little away from the top of the display.

iPhone 14 vs. iPhone 15: cameras

The rear cameras on the iPhone 14 aren't thought to be changing from the iPhone 13. But the iPhone 14 Pro models are said to be gaining 48MP sensors for their main cameras, the first resolution upgrade to Apple's cameras in some time. 

The front camera on all four iPhone 14 models is thought to be changing however, gaining the ability to autofocus.

iPhone 14 Pro design color options

(Image credit: EverythingApplePro/YouTube)

That's exciting, but the iPhone 15 will apparently go one better by swapping to a periscope telephoto lens, possibly using parts from the same supplier as Samsung, which would allow for more than the current 3x optical magnification. It'll supposedly go up to 5x optical zoom (6x according to other sources), which beats a lot of the competition like the Galaxy S22 (which offers 3x zoom) as well as the current and upcoming iPhones. However, that's not enough to top the best telephoto photography phones like the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and its 10x optical zoom. 

One annoying caveat to that is that this new periscope zoom camera could possibly be just for the iPhone 15 Pro Max model, leaving the regular-sized Pro out in the cold and meaning there could be no major photography difference between it and the iPhone 14 Pro models.

iPhone 14 vs. iPhone 15: specs

iPhone 14 Pro renders

(Image credit: Madmix)

Beyond photography, there are some other rumors about how the iPhone 15 will (or won't) differ from the iPhone 14. For one, we'll apparently see another two-tier chipset situation with next year's iPhones, just like we expect to see this year.

To catch you up on the rumors, the standard iPhone 14 models are thought to be using the same A15 Bionic chipset as the iPhone 13 series, while only the iPhone 14 Pros will get a  new A16 chip. 

Following on from that, the regular iPhone 15 models are said to be getting that A16 chipset, while the iPhone 15 Pro models will be equipped with a fresh 3-nanometer chipset, which we'd assume will be called the A17. That'll likely mean some iPhone 14 models could be just as powerful as some iPhone 15 models, although all will still probably outperform any comparable Android phones as has happened before.

The iPhone 15 may also contain an Apple-designed 5G modem, something the iPhone 14 looks to be missing out on. While this doesn't sound like the most exciting upgrade, having additional control over the silicon could let Apple make extra power efficiencies that the iPhone 14 won't be able to match.

Another connectivity-related update tipped for the iPhone 15 is that it may not support physical SIM cards, only eSIMS. Some iPhone 14 models may only offer eSIM compatibility too, but at least some versions will still have trays for your current nanoSIM. 

Finally, the iPhone 15 may add a long-requested feature and use a USB-C port instead of Lightning, since the EU is forcing all mobile device companies to adopt USB-C by 2024, and Apple's supposedly been prototyping USB-C iPhones for some time already. We're still expecting the iPhone 14 to use Lightning, so if you're already heavily invested in Lightning accessories, this year's iPhone may be your last chance to get full use out of them.

iPhone 14 vs. iPhone 15: outlook

Trying to decide between an iPhone 14 or iPhone 15 will get a lot easier soon, when the iPhone 14 gets announced at the September Apple event and the upgrades and features are confirmed or denied. It'll still be a long wait for the 2023 iPhone, but at least you'll know for sure how much the current iPhone and its features interest you.

Anyone who wants the best possible telephoto camera, performance, display and conveniences like USB-C, and also doesn't mind holding off on upgrading for twelve months, is likely better off holding out for the iPhone 15. But if you need to upgrade sooner, the iPhone 14 series will seemingly still offer several improvements over the iPhone 13, and perhaps some similar capabilities to the iPhone 15 too in a lot of cases.

Richard Priday
Staff Writer

Richard is a Tom's Guide staff writer based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.