iPhone 15 Pro Max vs iPhone 14 Pro Max — biggest upgrades

One way to instantly determine whether or not a phone is worth buying is to compare it against its predecessor. That’s why an iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. iPhone 14 Pro Max comparison is necessary, to really prove if Apple made enough significant changes to the best iPhone — or perhaps give people the reason to hold off and wait for next year’s iPhone 16.

There's plenty of changes introduced with the iPhone 15 Pro Max, including a new Action button for custom commands, camera improvements, a USB-C port, titanium alloy design, and the new A17 Pro processor. These upgrades all look good on paper, but do they add up to a big gain over the iPhone 15 Pro Max's predecessor?

After all, improving upon the iPhone 14 Pro Max is a tall order. Last year's phone can capture outstanding photos, hold out for a long time on a charge and deliver the best performance we've seen from a smartphone (at least at the time). Now that we've fully reviewed the iPhone 15 Pro Max, we have a much better idea of how this iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. iPhone 14 Pro Max face-off turns out.

iPhone 15 Pro Max vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: Specs

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iPhone 15 Pro Max vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: Specs
iPhone 15 Pro MaxiPhone 14 Pro Max
Price$1,199$1,099
Display6.7-inch OLED6.7-inch OLED
Refresh rate120Hz adaptive120Hz adaptive
CPUA17 ProA16 Bionic
Storage256GB, 512GB, 1TB128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
Rear cameras48MP main/12MP ultrawide/12MP telephoto w/ 5x zoom48MP main/12MP ultrawide/12MP telephoto w/ 3x zoom
Front camera12MP12MP
Battery4,852 mAh [rumored]4,323 mAh
Charging PortUSB-CLightning
Size6.29 x 3.02 x 0.32 inches6.33 x 3.05 x 0.31 inches
Weight7.8 ounces8.5 ounces
ColorsBlack, white, blue, grayPurple, gold, silver, black

iPhone 15 Pro Max vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: Price and availability

Buying the iPhone 15 Pro Max costs more this time because Apple raised the price of its most premium iPhone. With a starting price of $1,199, the iPhone 15 Pro Max turns out to cost more $100 than the iPhone 14 Pro Max did at launch. On the bright side, the iPhone 15 Pro Max does come with double the storage in its base model. To get 256GB of storage in the iPhone 14 Pro Max, you would have had to have paid $1,199 anyhow.

Following Apple's standard practice, the iPhone 14 Pro Max has been phased out of the official iPhone lineup. You might still find stock at third party retailers and carrier stores, though you should try to find a price below its original $1,099 asking price.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max is available in four colors to highlight its new titanium alloy frame: natural titanium, blue titanium, white titanium, and black titanium. Meanwhile, the iPhone 14 Pro Max came in deep purple, gold, silver, and space black.

iPhone 15 Pro Max vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: Design

iPhone 15 Pro Max and iPhone 14 Pro Max next to one another.

(Image credit: Future)

Fundamentally, the two iPhones follow Apple’s design philosophy of being incredibly well built and adorned with premium materials. On the surface it appears as though they’re identical, but there are several new changes that make the iPhone 15 Pro Max a more refined model.

It all starts with the brand new titanium alloy frame that the iPhone 15 Pro Max fashioned in to replace the stainless steel band of the iPhone 14 Pro Max. Titanium maintains a similar strength to high grade stainless steel, but at half the weight — resulting in a noticeable differential when we hold the two in our hands. The iPhone 15 Pro Max tips the scales at 0.7 ounces less than the iPhone 14 Pro Max.

iPhone 15 Pro Max shown in hand

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

What makes the iPhone 15 Pro Max more comfortable to hold in the hand is how the edges are now contoured, which is a stark contrast to the hard lined edges of the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s stainless steel band. As a result, we easily prefer the lighter and more comfortable feel of the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

Secondly, the longtime mute switch in the iPhone 14 Pro Max is now replaced by a programmable Action button with the iPhone 15 Pro Max. While that button still can silence your calls by default, you can now customize it for other functions — giving the iPhone 15 Pro Max yet another layer of utility over its predecessor.

iPhone 15 Pro Max

(Image credit: Future)

You can trigger the Action button to launch features like the camera or flashlight, but it can also be set to activate accessibility functions or record a voice memo. Where it earns extra brownie points is how it can be further customized with the help of the Shortcuts app on your phone. Frankly, the Action button makes it convenient to launch stuff without going through all the normal menus and options.

And finally, Apple has finally moved past its tried and true Lightning port and adopts USB-C with the iPhone 15 Pro Max. While controversial for some longtime iPhone owners, USB-C on the iPhone 15 Pro Max delivers a substantial boost to its data transfer speed at up to 10 Gbps — a 20x improvement over the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s Lightning port.

iPhone 15 Pro Max and iPhone 14 Pro Max next to one another.

(Image credit: Future)

All told, these new additions and changes give the iPhone 15 Pro Max a better design, despite the fact that both phones still offer the same IP68 rating for dust and water resistance.

iPhone 15 Pro Max vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: Display

iPhone 15 Pro Max and iPhone 14 Pro Max next to one another.

(Image credit: Future)

Looking at the two displays, it’s almost hard for us to tell the difference between them — as they both sport 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR displays that offer refresh rates of up to 120Hz. They look stunning, showcasing punchy looking colors, excellent black levels, and outstanding viewing angles. These are all the typical hallmarks of OLED-based panels, but our testing reveals something interesting.

For starters, the iPhone 14 Pro Max features a slightly brigher display. It reaches a peak brightness level of 1,565 nits, while the iPhone 15 Pro Max isn’t too far behind at 1,550 nits. While we typically prefer better results on the newer model, they both reach close to Apple’s claim of 1,600 nits. In real world scenarios, we didn’t find one display to be better than the other.

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iPhone 15 Pro Max vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: Display Test Results
Row 0 - Cell 0 iPhone 15 Pro MaxiPhone 14 Pro Ma
Max brightness (HDR)1,550 nits1,565 nits
sRGB119%118%
DCI-P384.5%83.2%
Delta-E (lower is better)0.140.26

The only other quality that sticks out between them is slightly thinner bezels around the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s screen. It’s thinner than the iPhone 14 Pro Max upon closer inspection, but we wouldn’t go far to say it adds any meaningful improvement to the display. The Dynamic Island is present on both iPhones, so notifications and mini players are better disguised than with iPhones that don’t have it.

iPhone 15 Pro Max vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: Cameras

iPhone 15 Pro Max and iPhone 14 Pro Max next to one another.

(Image credit: Future)

Out of all the changes Apple gives to the iPhone 15 Pro Max, the most noteworthy one is found with its new triple camera system. This year’s entry makes a small step forward in the telephoto zoom war, with the iPhone 15 Pro Max now boasting a 5x telephoto zoom camera — up from the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s 3x zoom.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max incorporates what Apple calls a tetraprism design, allowing it to mimic a 120mm focal length that professional photographers leverage for long range subjects. Adding to this, Apple also incorporates a combined optical image stabilization and autofocus 3D sensor-shift module into its telephoto lens setup.

The end result is a telephoto lens on the iPhone 15 Pro Max that delivers a 5x optical zoom, which can be pushed all the way to a whopping 25x digital zoom — up from 15x on the iPhone 14 Pro Max. That allows the iPhone 15 Pro Max to get closer to subjects, all while offering better definition and clarity, which is made more prominent with additional digital zooms.

All the hoopla may be around the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s new 5x telephoto zoom camera, but we can’t forget the other two cameras on the back of the new phone. Once again, you get a main 48MP main camera and 12MP ultrawide shooter, the same setup found on the iPhone 14 Pro Max.

iPhone 15 Pro Max vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: Video

Creators and editors will love what the iPhone 15 Pro Max has to offer with video. Even though recording still tops out 4K 60fps (the same as the iPhone 14 Pro Max), Apple introduces a number of video upgrades — such as digital zoom up to 3x with Cinematic mode and exporting ProRes footage via USB-C. We saw this in action 

The iPhone 15 Pro Max packs a number of video upgrades. Cinematic mode now supports digital zoom up to 3x. And pros will appreciate the ability to export ProRes footage via USB-C at up to 4K and 60 frames per second. This enables them to quickly transfer video files to their laptops much faster than the iPhone 14 Pro Max and its Lightning connection.

Apple has been slow to give users more control over how they capture video, but the iPhone 15 Pro Max makes up some ground. Support for Log encoding with the iPhone 15 Pro Max gives video editors greater control with color grading in post, so that they can tune it to the exact settings they desire.

iPhone 15 Pro Max vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: Performance

iPhone 15 Pro Max gameplay

(Image credit: Future)

The A16 Bionic chip inside the iPhone 14 Pro Max was one of the fastest in a phone, but the new A17 Pro powering the  iPhone 15 Pro Max takes things even further.

Built on a 3nm process, you'd expect the A17 Pro to boost speeds while handling power with greater efficiency. Our own benchmark tests confirm the obvious here, as the iPhone 15 Pro Max posts better results. In GeekBench, it achieves single core and multicore scores of 2,783 and 6,945 respectively — easily eclipsing the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s 1,882 and 5,333 scores.

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iPhone 15 Pro Max benchmark results
Row 0 - Cell 0 iPhone 15 Pro MaxiPhone 15 Pro Max
Geekbench2,783 / 6,9451,882 / 5,333
3DMark Wild Life Unlimited92 fps / 15,39974 fps / 1,2366
Adobe Premiere Rush (video editing)24.5 seconds30 seconds

Over on the graphics side, the A17 Pro posts the superior results with 3DMark Wild Life Extreme — while also finishing 5 seconds faster at rendering video with Adobe Premiere Rush. 

These tests reveal what we all expected, but in all honesty, the average user may not notice a whole lot different with everyday tasks like running their favorite apps, surfing the web, and even playing the occasional game in their spare time. Nevertheless, the scores give the iPhone 15 Pro Max the advantage in this department.

iPhone 15 Pro Max vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: Battery life and charging

iPhone 15 Pro Max shown in hand

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The power efficiency of the A17 Pro is on display yet again when we look at how long the iPhone 15 Pro Max lasted in Tom’s Guide’s custom battery benchmark test. Tasked with surfing the web over cellular until it ran out of battery, the iPhone 15 Pro Max lasted 14 hours and 2 minutes, which lands it on our best phone battery life list. The iPhone 14 Pro Max is on that list, too, but at 13 hours and 39 minutes, it lags behind the 15 Pro Max. 

You might not think it’s a tremendous boost, but still a better one that shows off the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s endurance. A teardown reveals that the iPhone 15 Pro Max is carrying a larger 3,274 mAh battery, while a 3,200 mAh one powers the iPhone 14 Pro Max. Sure, we were hoping for a longer tally than what it actually posted in our testing, but Apple didn’t claim that it was any better than the iPhone 14 Pro Max.

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iPhone 15 Pro Max vs iPhone 14 Pro Max battery life (hrs:mins)
iPhone 15 Pro Max14:02
iPhone 14 Pro Max13:39

One of the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s underwhelming qualities is that its new USB-C port doesn’t change the fact that it’s still just as slow to charge as the iPhone 14 Pro Max before it. In our testing, the new phone reached charge levels of 20% and 41% respectively after 15 and 30 minutes of charging. Last year’s iPhone 14 Pro Max got up to 21% and 42% respectively with the same amount of time.

iPhone 15 Pro Max vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: Verdict