I dumped my iPhone 14 Pro after one day — here's why

iPhone 14 Pro on table with display facing up
(Image credit: Future)

I should start with a disclaimer: I’m perfectly ready to admit that I’m in a very fortunate position. Some of the best phones around are purchased for me so that I can do my job, and that includes my iPhone 14 Pro

I actually own the iPhone 13 Pro Max. This meant dumping my iPhone 14 Pro after just one day was pretty easy for me, as I hadn’t paid for it and had other phones to use. I know the same won’t be true for most people.

Hopefully, though, my circumstances, however privileged, can help you make the right decision on whether or not to buy an iPhone 14 Pro, especially if you’re coming from a Pro Max model.

If my experience is anything to go by, it could save you from laying down over $999/£1,099 on a phone that might not be right for you. So with that out of the way, here’s why I dumped my iPhone 14 Pro and went back to my faithful iPhone 13 Pro Max after just one day.

This Pro’s battery life is distinctly amateur

I love my iPhone 13 Pro Max for two reasons. The first is its battery life, which is nothing short of phenomenal. I’m on my phone all day for general usage, but also for work.

On office days, my iPhone is my primary work tool during 3 hours of train commuting, being used for video calls, IMs and emails, as well as browsing for feature ideas and tethering my laptop to for editing. The 13 Pro Max gets insanely heavy use, and the ‘all day battery life’ as promised and delivered by Apple is truly a necessity.

iPhone 13 Pro Max review

The iPhone 13 Pro Max features 'all day battery life', which actually lasts all day (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

So when I started using my new iPhone 14 Pro, which also promised ‘all-day battery life’, it was pretty disappointing to literally watch the battery icon deplete while charging. That’s right: I was using the iPhone 14 Pro while on charge via a 5W charging brick and saw the battery percentage slip from 90% to 89%. Even with a piddly 5W brick, that shouldn’t happen — you shouldn’t need a 20W adapter just to keep your battery level.

After disabling the always-on display and enabling auto brightness, an afternoon of mild usage at my desk drained the battery over half way. In comparison, my iPhone 13 Pro Max is usually still at 40% after an entire day of commuting and office work.

Admittedly, the backward charging seems to have been a one off, but things didn’t get much better throughout the day either. After a full charge, and after disabling the AOD and enabling auto brightness, an afternoon of mild usage at my desk (internet browsing, podcasts, messaging and emails) drained the battery over half way. In comparison, my iPhone 13 Pro Max is usually still at 40% after an entire day of commuting and office work.

In short, I believe Apple’s claim of ‘all day battery life’ on the iPhone 14 Pro to be stretching the truth — it’s ‘all day’ if you don’t use your phone perhaps. So after just one day, it was clear the phone couldn’t keep up with my demands and I had to revert back to my 13 Pro Max.

If, like me, genuine all-day battery life is important to you, I’d advise you ignore the 14 Pro in favor of either the iPhone 14 Pro Max, or the iPhone 13 Pro Max (if you’d like to save a little cash and can find one).

Three fifths of an inch makes all the difference

iPhone 14 Pro Max and iPhone 14 display

The iPhone 14 Pro Max and iPhone 14 Plus feature a 6.7" screen versus the 6.1" screen on the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 (Image credit: Future)

The second reason I dumped my iPhone 14 Pro is because it's smaller than my ex. Now, this is neither my, nor the phone’s fault. I wasn’t in control of the phone I was given and, had I the choice, I’d have gone for a Pro Max due to my arthritis-ridden oaf hands.

But it may nevertheless serve as a lesson for anyone considering a cheaper Pro model — a feasible money-saving tactic in today’s challenging times. After all, the delta in screen size is only 0.6 of an inch. How much difference can that really make?

Well, a lot of difference if you genuinely need a large phone like a Pro Max. It’s difficult for me to type on a screen any smaller than my iPhone 13 Pro Max due to my hand size and a form of immuno-arthritis. I’ve no doubt the same will apply for others out there too.

If the iPhone 14 Pro vs iPhone 14 Pro Max is currently a debate you’re trying to settle, and you have big hands, I’d advise spending the extra money on the Max. Again, to save a few dollars, you could opt for the iPhone 13 Pro Max, or even the iPhone 14 Plus. Personally, I'd choose the iPhone 13 Pro Max thanks to its higher refresh rate display.

Are there any saving graces?

As my iPhone 13 Pro Max battery health degrades, I’ve been wondering whether or not I’ll pick up the 14 Pro in the future, out of necessity if nothing else. And honestly, I don’t think I will. Now that all the hype has died down from Apple, it’s clear that the iPhone 14 Pro is a relatively bland release, all things considered.

A lot has been made out of the iPhone 14 Pro camera, and it does have some cool features, such as Action Mode (also available on the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus). But I’ve tested out the camera a fair bit and the 48MP sensor really hasn’t made a noticeable enough difference to my life to warrant the extra money.

I write a lot about cameras, and therefore fully understand that megapixels aren’t everything. If I want to pull out the stops for a beautiful photo, I’ll use my Fuji over any iPhone any day, despite it having 22 million fewer pixels than the iPhone 14 Pro.

The Dynamic Island on an iPhone 14 Pro Max

The Dynamic Island found on the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

There’s also the much-touted Dynamic Island, which, logically speaking, seems just a gimmick to distract from Apple’s self-consciousness in regards to front camera placement. There’s about as much actual point to it as James Corden’s PR manager. It isn't doing anything.

So what, if anything, does the iPhone 14 Pro have over older models? There’s the 2,000 nits peak screen brightness, granted, but that’s really about it in terms of day-to-day usage. I don’t notice any performance differences between my 14 Pro and my 13 Pro Max, despite the former having a more powerful chip, and unless they benchmark their phones against others daily, I’m sure most users won’t either.

At the end of the day then (with no battery left), do any of the iPhone 14 Pro’s features overcome its major flaws? And as far as consumer advice is concerned, is it worth spending $999 on the phone? Nope and nope.

Next: The iPhone 15's titanium design just leaked. Here's your first up-close look. 

Peter Wolinski
Reviews Editor

Peter is Reviews Editor at Tom's Guide. As a writer, he covers topics including tech, photography, gaming, hardware, motoring and food & drink. Outside of work, he's an avid photographer, specialising in architectural and portrait photography. When he's not snapping away on his beloved Fujifilm camera, he can usually be found telling everyone about his greyhounds, riding his motorcycle, squeezing as many FPS as possible out of PC games, and perfecting his espresso shots.