iPhone 15 vs iPhone 15 Pro: All the biggest differences

Apple iPhone 15 held in the hand.
(Image credit: Future)

There's a pretty big gap with iPhone 15 vs iPhone 15 Pro. While the iPhone 15 picks up some major features we first saw on the iPhone 14 Pro series, the iPhone 15 Pro brings in those same features while adding some new ones.

The iPhone 15 packs in the Dynamic Island camera cutout, an enhanced 48MP camera, the powerful A16 Bionic chipset and a 2x zooming feature without the need for an additional camera lens. Meanwhile the iPhone 15 Pro has the lightweight titanium frame, Super Retina XDR display with ProMotion, the ultra-powerful A17 Pro chipset and a brand new Action button.

So no matter how good the iPhone 15 is on paper, the iPhone 15 Pro seems to be even better. The question is whether the differences between the two phones actually matter — and whether it's actually worth paying an extra $200 for the iPhone 15 Pro. This iPhone 15 vs iPhone 15 Pro comparison can help you figure that out.

iPhone 15 vs iPhone 15 Pro: Specs

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Row 0 - Cell 0 iPhone 15iPhone 15 Pro
Display6.1-inch6.1-inch OLED
Refresh rate60Hz120Hz
CPUA16 BionicA17 Bionic
Storage128GB, 256GB, 512GB128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
Rear cameras48MP main, 12MP ultrawide48MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 12MP telephoto (3x zoom)
Front camera12MP12MP
Battery3,877 mAh (rumored)3,650 mAh (rumored)
Charging portUSB-CUSB-C
Size5.81 x 2.82 x 0.31 inches 5.77 x 2.78 x 0.32 inches
Weight6 ounces6.6 ounces
ColorsPink, yellow, blue, black, green Black, white, blue, gray

iPhone 15 vs iPhone 15 Pro: Price and availability

iPhone 15 lineup prices

(Image credit: Apple)

Pre-orders for the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro open on September 15, ahead of a full release on September 22. Despite rumors of potential delays, all iPhone 15 models will be going on sale at the same time, both from Apple and the usual array of carriers and retailers.

The iPhone 15 starts at $799 / £799 / AU$1,499, while the iPhone 15 Pro starts at $999 / £999 / AU$1,849. Both starting prices get you 128GB of storage, but both models offer 256GB and 512GB options for a higher price — which is still unknown. The iPhone 15 Pro is also available with 1TB of storage

iPhone 15 vs iPhone 15 Pro: Design and Display

Apple iPhone 15 held in the hand.

(Image credit: Future)

Despite the fact both phones come with a 6.1-inch display, the iPhone 15 is actually slightly larger than the iPhone 15 Pro. The basic model measure 5.81 x 2.82 x 0.31 inches, whereas the Pro is 5.77 x 2.78 x 0.32 inches. 

This slight difference is no doubt due to Apple slimming down the bezel on the Pro model, allowing Apple to reduce the size of the phone while maintaining the size of the display. Both displays use Apple's Ceramic Glass, which it claims is the strongest display glass on the market.

The two phones also feature contoured edges, for a slightly more comfortable fit, and have had their weight reduced this time round. The iPhone 15 Pro has the biggest gain in this department, thanks to Apple swapping the stainless steel frame for the durable and lightweight titanium. However at 6.6 ounces it is still slightly heavier than the base iPhone 15 Pro.

Both devices come with USB-C instead of the old-fashioned Lightning port, which means you can use the same charger as all your other devices. The Pro model gets the advantage, though, witrh USB 3.0 data transfer speeds of 10 GBps. The iPhone 15 is still limited to the same 480 Mbps as Lightning. 

iPhone 15 Pro front

(Image credit: Future)

The iPhone 15 Pro also swaps out the mute switch, and in its place is the new solid state Action button — which gives users the option to customize what the button does.

The iPhone 15 Pro certainly has the advantage in the screen department. Both phones come with a 6.1-inch OLED display, offering Apple's Super Retina XDR display and peak brightness of 2,000 nits when you're outdoors. Like last year the Pro model also comes with Apple's Always On ProMotion display, which offers an adaptive 120Hz refresh rate — while the base model is limited to 60Hz once more.

But both phones do come with the Dynamic Island, with the iPhone 15 ditching the ugly display notch in favor of the pill-shaped cutout that first debuted on the iPhone 14 Pro. Like last year, the Dynamic Island is capable of expanding to offer additional features like mini media players, navigational directions and better notification access.

iPhone 15 vs iPhone 15 Pro: Performance

Apple iPhone 15 held in the hand.

(Image credit: Future)

The iPhone 15 is powered by the A16 Bionic chipset, the same one that debuted in the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max last year. Since we've had a year with that chip, and have run the benchmarking tests already, we have a good idea of how that chip should perform. 

The specifics won't be confirmed until we do some more hands-on testing of our own. Still, the A16 Bionic has managed to outperform the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy, the fastest Android chip available right now, in single and multi core testing. However the Qualcomm made chip wasn't far behind, and even managed to beat the A16 in graphics benchmarking tests

With the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 on the way there's a good chance the A16 could be surpassed by some of the best Android phones.

a17 pro chipset

(Image credit: Apple)

The iPhone 15 Pro may not have this issue, since it comes with the A17 Pro chipset — the world's first 3nm smartphone chipset. The small size alone promises boosts to both performance and efficiency, while Apple has also added an extra GPU core (for a total of 6) to help boost the phone's graphical power.

While we haven't had time to properly test the A17 Pro, we've been very impressed with our experiences so far. In fact Apple even claims that the chip enables console-tier gaming on the iPhone, confirming titles like Assassin's Creed Mirage, Resident Evil Village and Resident Evil 4 remake will be playable on the iPhone 15 Pro.

Of course we won't know just how much of an improvement the A17 Pro has to offer until we can do some thorough benchmarking tests.

iPhone 15 vs iPhone 15 Pro: Cameras

iPhone 15 Pro cameras close up

(Image credit: Future)

The iPhone 15 Pro doesn't have any major updates to camera hardware this year, though the iPhone 15 has had a brand new 48MP camera system. Frankly that is a well overdue upgrade. 

Alongside the 48MP main sensor Apple has included a 12MP ultrawide angle lens and a 12MP selfie cam — safely stowed away inside the Dynamic Island cutout. Meanwhile the iPhone 15 Pro has a 48MP main lens, with a larger sensor than the one in iPhone 15, and a pair of 12MP ultrawide and telephoto lenses. That also includes 3x optical zoom and a 12MP selfie camera.

The rest of the changes are all happening in the software side of things. iPhone 15 has what Apple refers to as a 2x telephoto zoom without an additional lens, though this is actually some digital trickery. Zoomed images are actually cropped 12MP photos, but without all the noise and loss typically associated with digital zoom.

Both phones also offer new focus and depth controls, with depth information being recorded when a photo is taken — regardless of whether you're in Portrait mode or not. Not only does this mean you can take bokeh-infused portrait photos without being in portrait mode, it also lets you add depth and focus effects long after the photo has been taken.

Apple iPhone 15 held in the hand.

(Image credit: Future)

The iPhone 15 Pro still gets a bunch of exclusive features that you can't get in the standard model. That includes ProRAW and HEIF photography, as well as shooting video at 4K resolution and 60fps. The 3x optical zoom may not be as impressive as the iPhone 15 Pro Max's 5x zoom, but it does give the Pro an long-distance advantage over the iPhone 15.

Also coming this year is an improvement to low light performance, smart HDR that Apple promises will also capture more accurate skintones, and ProRes video support to record footage directly to external storage — another advantage of switching to USB-C.

The Pro will also be able to combine the main and ultrawide camera lenses to record spatial video which Apple says will be compatible with the Vision Pro headset when it arrives next year. Assuming you have $3,500 to pay for one.

iPhone 15 vs iPhone 15 Pro: Battery and charging

iPhone 15 Pro USB-C

(Image credit: Future)

Apple didn't make any announcements about the iPhone 15's battery during the launch event, beyond the fact that both iPhone 15 and 15 Pro will have an "all day battery life".  So we're just going to have to wait a little while longer to get the specifics.

Rumor is that the phones benefit from a new "stacked battery", similar to those found in electric cars. The design allows more power capacity to fit into the same area, boosting the overall power reserves without taking up additional space inside the phone.

Rumors claim the iPhone 15 will have a 3,877 mAh battery, while the iPhone 15 Pro may have a 3,650 mAh. This hasn't been confirmed yet, and neither has any possible boost to charging speed. In fact Apple documentation says that an iPhone 15 Pro would take 30 minutes to reach 50% — suggesting that we'll be stuck with the same 20W charging speeds as last year.

However Apple did confirm that both iPhone 15 and 15 Pro will support the MagSafe-inspired Qi2 wireless charging standard when those chargers actually go on sale. MagSafe is still around too, and means you should be able to use the same Apple wireless chargers as previous iPhones.

iPhone 15 vs iPhone 15 Pro: Outlook

iPhone 15 Pro cameras

(Image credit: Future)

The iPhone 15 has made huge leaps this year, which is great news considering how disappointingly similar the iPhone 14 was to the iPhone 13. The addition of the Dynamic Island, the brand new 48MP camera and the A16 Bionic chipset means there's a lot to look forward to.

Then again the iPhone 15 Pro still has a lot of features the base model lacks. A more advanced camera, better computational photography support, the titanium frame and the super-smooth 120Hz adaptive fresh rate. The iPhone 15 may be good, but it seems like Apple wants the iPhone 15 Pro to be better.

We will have a much better idea of how different these phones are after we've spent more time with them, and done some actual testing. So stay tuned to Tom's Guide to find out more.

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Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.