iPhone 15 vs iPhone 15 Plus vs iPhone 15 Pro vs iPhone 15 Pro Max: Models compared

iPhone 15 colors
(Image credit: Future)

Knowing which of the iPhone 15 models is right for you can be hard to figure out, since it means juggling four different sets of specs to see which has the features you want. So let's make that job easier for you by putting everything you need in one place.

To get the introductions out of the way, we'll be covering the iPhone 15 (and iPhone 15 Plus), the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max in this article, showing you where the specs converge and diverge. Once you've got a better idea of which specific models are interested in, you can check out our relevant guides and reviews to learn more.

Want to know what we think of each phone? We've tested all four models and have posted all our of iPhone reviews based on hands-on time with each device.

iPhone 15 models: Specs

Swipe to scroll horizontally
iPhone 15iPhone 15 PlusiPhone 15 ProiPhone 15 Pro Max
Display size6.1 inches6.7 inches6.1 inches6.7 inches
Refresh rate60Hz60Hz120Hz120Hz
CPUA16 BionicA16 BionicA17 ProA17 Pro
Base storage128GB128GB128GB256GB
Rear cameras48MP main, 12MP ultrawide48MP main, 12MP ultrawide48MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 12MP 3x telephoto48MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 12MP 5x telephoto
Front camera12MP12MP12MP12MP
Charging portUSB-CUSB-CUSB-C (with fast data transfer)USB-C (with fast data transfer)
Battery size (rumored)3,349 mAh4,383 mAh3,274mAh4,422mAh
Battery life (Hrs:Mins)11:0514:1410:5314:02
Size5.81 x 2.82 x 0.31 inches (147.6 x 71.6 x 7.80 mm)6.33 x 3.06 x 0.31 inches (160.9 x 77.8 x 7.80 mm)5.77 x 2.78 x 0.32 inches (146.6 x 70.6 x 8.25 mm)6.29 x 3.02 x 0.32 inches (159.9 x 76.7 x 8.25 mm))
Weight6.02 ounces (171 grams)7.09 ounces (201 grams)6.6 ounces (187 grams)7.81 ounces (221 grams)
ColorsPink, yellow, blue, black, greenPink, yellow, blue, black, greenBlack titanium, white titanium, blue titanium and raw titaniumBlack titanium, white titanium, blue titanium and raw titanium

iPhone 15 models: Release date and price

All iPhone 15 models are available for pre-order, arriving in stores on September 22. But the prices you'll pay for them are quite different.

The iPhone 15 is the cheapest phone in the range, costing $799/£799/AU$1,499 for the basic 128GB model. It costs $899/£899/AU$1,649 to get the larger iPhone 15 Plus, and 

$999/£999/AU$1,849 if you want to upgrade to the iPhone 15 Pro. The iPhone 15 Pro Max costs $1,199/£1,199/AU$2,199, but starts at 256GB storage unlike the others.

iPhone 15 deals can help you save on the model you prefer. Note that the iPhone 15 Pro models are proving to be in short supply, with lengthy delays in shipping currently listed.

iPhone 15 models: Design and display

Apple is sticking to its 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch handset offerings for another year, with the design of its iPhone 15 models different only a little between size and spec level.

New for the iPhone 15 is a slightly contoured edge that makes it feel better in-hand. The basic rounded rectangle shape and flat-sided profile remain the same though, and applies to all iPhone 15 models.

iPhone 15 pro action button

(Image credit: Apple)

One thing that the Pros get uniquely is a titanium alloy chassis, which has reduced their weight without sacrificing their toughness. The normal iPhone 15 and the iPhone 15 Plus have stuck with aluminum frames.

The iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus have also stuck with the good old mute switch for quickly toggling your phone's sounds on and off. The iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max meanwhile have swapped to an Action button, a press-and-hold switch that can perform one of several tasks, including muting the phone, opening an app or switching on the flashlight, depending on what you set it to do.

All the models have adopted a USB-C charging connector instead of a Lightning port, allowing for more convenient charging and also reverse wired charging for some accessories. However, the Pro models have also received a data transfer speed boost with their ports, allowing them to move files to external drives or other devices at 10Gbp/s speed, instead of the 480Mb/s offered by the basic or Plus models.

Apple iPhone 15 held in the hand.

(Image credit: Future)

As we saw with last year's iPhone 14 series, the iPhone 15 Pro displays offer ProMotion 120Hz refresh rates for smoother movement through different parts of the interface, and also an Always-On display to allow you to keep your lock screen and notifications in view at all times. The iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus still use OLED displays with the same resolutions and brightness ratings as their Pro counterparts but are still using 60Hz refresh rates.

Also, every iPhone 15 version gets a Dynamic Island notch, a feature that only the iPhone 14 Pro had last year. This gives a user easier access to active apps and Live Activities, and offers a bit more display space compared to a standard notch.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Peak brightnes (nits)
iPHone 151,401
iPhone 15 Plus1,310
iPhone 15 Pro1,550
iPhone 15 Pro Max1,550

Apple has also boosted tne brightness on the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus, which now have the same 2,000-nit peak brightness as the Pro models. In our testing, the displays on all four models proved to be very bright, even if the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max produced higher numbers on our light meter.

iPhone 15 models: Cameras

Starting with the main rear cameras, all iPhone 15s get 48MP sensors, but with slightly different aperture sizes for the regular and Pro models. Both camera flavors are still capable of 24MP and 48MP photos, with the Pros also offering ProRAW format images for improved editorial control after shooting.

iPhone 15 Pro cameras close up

(Image credit: Future)

All the iPhone 15s feature 12MP ultrawide cameras, but the iPhone 15 Pros again get a different version with a different aperture size that are capable of taking close-up macro photos. The same 12MP selfie cameras is used on all iPhone 15s though.

The most significant difference is with telephoto cameras. The iPhone 15 Pro uses a 3x 12MP telephoto camera like previous Pro iPhones, while the iPhone 15 Pro Max has received an improved 12MP 5x zoom that can close in further on a subject without losing image quality.

You don't get a telephoto camera on the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro. However, thanks to their higher-res sensor it can take a 12MP image at 2x zoom, meaning you still in theory get a detailed zoomed-in image without a dedicated telephoto camera.

iPhone 15 models: Performance and battery

Inside the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus is an A16 Bionic chip, a highly capable chipset borrowed from last year's iPhone 14 Pro models. But the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max feature the new A17 Pro chip, which offers an additional GPU core as well as other performance enhancements to achieve what we expect will be some of the best benchmark results on any smartphone.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Geekbench (single core/multicore)3DMark Wild Life Unlimited (fps)
iPhone 152,518 / 6,17972
iPhone 15 Plus2,551 / 6,28074
iPhone 15 Pro2,890 / 7,19494
iPhone 15 Pro Max2,783 / 6,94592

For storage, the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus are available with 128GB, 256GB or 512GB capacities, with the iPhone 15 Pro also offering these options plus an extra 1TB option. The iPhone 15 Pro Max starts at 256GB unlike the other phones, and can also be specced with 512GB or 1TB.

iPhone 15 Pro Max gameplay

(Image credit: Future)

Apple doesn't give out specific battery capacities for its phones, but if we look at Apple's own battery estimates. When it comes to video playback, the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max last for 20 hours, 26 hours, 23 hours and 29 hours respectively. 

A recent iPhone 15 leak based on a listing from a regulatory body in China provided some more specifics. The base iPhone 15 reportedly sports a battery capacity of 3,349mAh and a wattage of 12.981Wh. While its bigger sibling, the iPhone 15 Plus, has a 4,383mAh battery with a wattage of 16.950Wh. For the high-end models, the iPhone 15 Pro comes with a 3,274mAh (12.70Wh), and the iPhone 15 Pro Max sports the biggest battery of the bunch at 4,422mAh (17.109Wh). 

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Battery life (Hrs: Mins)
iPhone 1511:05
iPhone 15 Plus10:53
iPhone 15 Pro14:14
iPhone 15 Pro Max14:02

Now that we've reviewed all four models, we have some good news on the battery life front. All four iPhone 15 models beat the average smartphone on our battery test, in which phones surf the web over cellular until they run out of power. The iPhone 15 Pro had the shortest time at 10 hours and 53 minutes, but that's still nearly an hour better than the average result. Both the iPhone 15 Plus and iPhone 15 Pro Max rode their bigger batteries to a spot on our best phone battery life list, with times topping 14 hours.

For charging speeds, Apple promises that in 30 minutes, or 35 minutes for the iPhone 15 Pro Max and iPhone 15 Plus, you'll be able to charge the battery to at least 50% with a 20W charger. 

iPhone 15 models: Software and special features

All iPhone 15s come with iOS 17 pre-installed, giving access to features like StandBy mode, Messages Check-in and offline Apple Maps. Read our iOS 17 review for our assessment of Apple's iPhone software.

But there are also some new features unrelated to the annual iOS update. One example is improved ultrawide band connectivity for more precise locating of AirTags, other Find My-enabled items or a friend's given location. Also, the iPhone 15 adds to the iPhone 14's Emergency SOS via Satellite and Crash Detection safety features by offering Roadside Assistance via satellite on top, allowing you to more easily get mechanical help if your car breaks down out of cell range.

Apple iPhone 15 held in the hand.

(Image credit: Future)

AS you may expect, the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max models get a little more. They get access to Wi-Fi 6E connectivity (instead of Wi-Fi6) for faster and more reliable wireless connections with compatible adapters. The Pros get Thread network support on top of that too, a feature that should allow it to connect with future smart home devices more easily.

iPhone 15 models: Outlook

The gap between the different iPhone 15 models can look quite wide or quite small depending on which phones you compare against each other. The biggest difference is between the Pro and non-Pro phones, but there are still some gaps between the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus, and the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max, that could inform your buying decision.

The bottom line is that the iPhone 15 Pro Max boasts the biggest improvements, but also the highest price. The iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus gain many of the features added to last year's Pro models, making them a more attractive option than before. And the iPhone 15 Pro has many of the Pro Max's feature in a smaller, more affordable package.

More from Tom's Guide

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

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.

With contributions from