The iPhone 15 is a great choice of phone for a lot of people, but if you want to make sure, you can check all the key details out here.
Now it's 2024, the iPhone 16 is on the horizon. But if you can't or don't want to wait until this fall to see what the next Apple phone is capable of, here's what you need to know about the iPhone 15.
iPhone 15: The official features
- The 6.1-inch iPhone 15 (from $799) and 6.7-inch iPhone 15 Plus (from $899) gets the Dynamic Island, previously a feature exclusive to the iPhone 14 Pro. This allows you to see alerts and live activities more easily.
- The display has now been cranked up to 2,000 nits of brightness in direct sunlight, twice what the iPhone 14 could manage.
- Apple's made the back glass panel a single colored piece of material. It's also got a slight contour for a softer feel in-hand.
- The available colors are pink, yellow, blue, black and green.
- More recycled materials are present in the iPhone 15, including 100% recycled cobalt in the battery and 75% recycled aluminum in the frame.
- Apple's upgraded the main camera to a 48MP unit, which will help take more detail or brighter shots as you need. It can shoots 24MP images instead of just 12MP, and can zoom in at 2x magnification without losing sharpness.
- Portrait mode in the camera has been upgraded so it can be enabled during or after taking photos, or let you switch subjects when editing. There are now dedicated controls for focus and depth, smarter HDR colors, and skin tones are more "true to life."
- Running the show is the A16 Bionic chip from the iPhone 14 Pro, offering greater CPU, GPU and ML performance.
- Apple promises "all-day battery life", but the iPhone 15 Plus will last longer thanks to its larger overall battery.
- iPhone 15's ultra wideband capabilities have improved, offering connections from three times as far. You can use it find a friend's location through Find My by using it.
- Your voice should be clearer on iPhone 15 calls thanks to machine learning improvements. You can also enable a Voice Isolation mode to cut out more external noise.
- Emergency SOS via Satellite now can be used to summon roadside assistance (currently from AAA in the U.S.) even if you're away from a cell signal. This and Emergency SOS are available for free for two years.
- The Lightning connector has gone, with the iPhone 15 using USB-C for charging, data transfer and more. You can charge an Apple Watch or new pair of AirPods Pro from your iPhone with a USB-C cable too.
- Apple's not offering leather accessories, instead introducing a FineWoven alternative.
You can get your hands on both the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus. Those two phones debuted alongside the rest of the iPhone 15 lineup during the Apple September 12 event, and now they've gone on sale.
While the iPhone 15 Pro represents Apple's ultimate iPhone experience, the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus are more accessible models that'll likely be the best fit for most people, and have still received several major upgrades.
Apple's brought some previously Pro-only features to the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus, such as Dynamic Island and a 48MP main camera. It's also seen improvements to its display, in-camera features and enhanced battery and computing performance. The Lightning port has been removed in favor of the more universal USB-C too, one of the biggest changes Apple's made to the iPhone.
Fortunately, the price remains the same as last year, landing the iPhone 15 a spot in our best phones guide.
iPhone 15: Specs
|iPhone 15 Plus
|48MP main, 12MP ultrawide
|48MP main, 12MP ultrawide
|Pink, yellow, blue, black, green
|Pink, yellow, blue, black, green
iPhone 15: Release date and price
For pricing, you'll pay at least $799 for the iPhone 15, and $899 for the iPhone 15 Plus. That's the same pricing as last year's iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus, so good news for users who already find this price high enough.
iPhone 15: Design
You've got a choice of four iPhone 15 models, like with previous iPhone launches. There's the 6.1-inch iPhone 15 and 6.7-inch iPhone 15 Plus, which offer a basic flagship level of specs, then the 6.1-inch iPhone 15 Pro and 6.7-inch iPhone 15 Pro Max which offer Apple's best tech, for some extra money of course. Sadly, the iPhone mini model remains dead, with the iPhone 13 mini also being discontinued as part of Apple's device refresh.
If you've been following the rumors, you may have noticed we've got an iPhone 15 Pro Max, not an iPhone 15 Ultra. This was rumored to be the name of the phone for several months, but Apple's sticking with its current naming scheme for at least the next year.
The iPhone 15 still looks like the past few generations of iPhone, but its aluminum enclosure is now contoured to give it a more comfortable feel in the hand. It's also got a slightly different look on the back, with a matte finish and the color being infused with the back glass. It's a charming look, especially compared to the neutral color tones of the iPhone 15 Pro series. Even with the refreshed design, it still features an IP68 dust water resistance rating.
Apple's offering a range of five colors for the standard iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus: black, green, blue, yellow and pink.
If you're interested in Apple's eco credentials, then the iPhone 15 is promised to use 100% recycled cobalt in its battery, and 75% recycled aluminum in its frame.
iPhone 15: Display and Dynamic Island
The Dynamic Island that debuted on the iPhone 14 Pro is now present on all iPhone 15 models, giving users a few extra display pixels compared to notched iPhones of the same size, plus the fun of using the adaptive widgets unique to the Island.
The screen itself has had its brightness boosted, with a rated maximum of 1,600 nits HDR brightness, and 2,000 nits when outdoors according to Apple. In our testing, however, it peaked at 1,401 nits with HDR turned on. Even though it's short of Apple's claim, we still found it easy to use in direct sunlight.
|Samsung Galaxy S23
|212.1% (Vivid); 128.6% (Natural)
|150.2% (Vivid); 91.1% (Natural)
|0.34 (Vivid); 0.24 (Natural)
iPhone 15: USB-C
Perhaps the largest change to the iPhone 15 is the addition of a USB-C port. Gone is the familiar Lightning connector, and in its place we have the more universal USB-C that iPads, Macs and Android phones have been using for several years. It'll mean you need to trade out your existing iPhone cables if you're not already using another device with USB-C.
There's a slight difference between the USB-C used on the standard iPhone 15 and the iPhone 15 Pro. As befits its Pro title, the iPhone 15 Pro can transfer data at a higher speed (up to 10 Gbps, to be exact).
Thanks to the new port, you can also charge accessories, like an Apple Watch or AirPods Pro with the new USB-C charging case, by plugging it into the iPhone 15.
iPhone 15: Cameras
Apple's given all iPhone 15 models a 48MP main camera, rather than just the Pros. The 48MP sensor on the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus is different than the one used by the Pro models though.
Instead of shooting in 12MP resolution with a simple 1x magnification like before, the new camera now offers a 24MP mode that allows you to prioritize detail, and a 2x lossless zoom mode that gives you some of the benefits of having a telephoto camera like the iPhone 15 Pro has. You can check out some of the samples below we captured on the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus, to give you an idea of its performance.
There's been no change to the selfie or ultrawide cameras, but software-level changes, like improved HDR and skin color accuracy, will still make shooting with these sensors better. The familiar Portrait mode has been made smarter too, with it now automatically enabling when it detects a suitable subject, and letting you adjust its focus and depth while you take the shot or when editing it afterward.
iPhone 15: Performance
The basic iPhone 15 has adopted last year's Pro model's chipset: the A16 Bionic chipset. This gives the phones enhanced performance across CPU, GPU and machine learning benchmarks.
In our own testing, the A16 Bionic in both the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus saw considerable gains over their predecessors. Gaming performance also wasn't too shabby, aside from the fact that you'll have to live with a 60Hz display refresh rate. We found it more than capable of running today's action titles, but it's missing the same buttery smooth animations that accompany displays with refresh rates of 90Hz and higher.
|iPhone 15 Plus
|Samsung Galaxy S23
|Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy
|iPhone 14 Pro
|Google Pixel 7
Apple's promising all-day battery life once again for the iPhone 15 series, and our custom TG battery test reveals that it's accurate. Apple itself admitted that the iPhone 15 Plus, with its larger battery, lasts longer than the standard iPhone 15 — and our testing showed us that. The iPhone 15 Plus is one of the best battery life phones around with its time of 14 hours and 14 minutes, which is much longer than the iPhone 15's time of 11 hours and 5 minutes.
Charging speeds haven't changed despite the new charging ports, so don't expect super speedy charging from any of the new iPhones. But at least wireless charging is now at 15W whether you're using MagSafe or a third-party Qi2 charger.
|iPhone 15 Plus
|Battery life (Hrs:Mins)
|Recharge percentage (15 mins)
|Recharge percentage (30 mins)
Storage options haven't changed from previous years, meaning you get 128GB storage by default on either the iPhone 15 or iPhone 15 Plus, or can spend more to get 256GB or 512GB on-board instead.
iPhone 15: Software and special features
Unique to the iPhone 15 however is enhanced ultra wideband connectivity, allowing you to use Precision Finding mode to locate lost objects (or your friend's location) from up to three times further away.
Emergency SOS via Satellite has also been enhanced with a roadside assistance mode that will allow users to summon the AAA to their location, even if you're outside of cell range and not already a member (though there will be a per-use fee). You get this for two years for free with an iPhone 15 purchase, with Apple not telling us what it'll charge for these features when the two years are up.
Apple's also using new machine learning system to help you sound clearer on phone calls. The iPhone 15 offers an even more powerful Voice Isolation mode if you need it as well, cutting out more background noise.
iPhone 15: Outlook
We get why people will be especially excited for the Pro iPhone models, but there's been enough overall improvement to the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus' specs that they look like phones you may still want to consider.
For one, the price remains the same as last year, except now you get a comfier design, a Dynamic Island camera cutout, a 48MP camera on the back (with 24MP photos and 2x lossless zoom) plus USB-C charging. That's quite a few extra toys on top of the iPhone 14.
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Richard is 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.