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iPhone 13 Pro vs iPhone 13 Pro Max: What are the differences?

iPhone 13 Pro vs iPhone 13 Pro Max
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

An iPhone 13 Pro vs iPhone 13 Pro Max comparison is what you need if you're on the fence between Apple's new premium flagships. The good news is that there are less differences this year between the two Pro iPhones, as they have more features in common. But there are some key things you need to know before you buy. 

As you'll see in our iPhone 13 Pro review and iPhone 13 Pro Max review, Apple's latest Pro iPhones both feature some exciting upgrades. They feature brighter displays, improved cameras and more powerful A15 Bionic chips. The main differences come in the form of display size, battery life and price.

Overall, we really like the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max based on our testing, so whether you buy one or the other, you're getting a fantastic smartphone. However, we think the iPhone 13 Pro Max is slightly better overall for some shoppers.

All four iPhone 13 models are now available to buy, and we've put together a best iPhone 13 deals page so you can make sure you get yours for the best price. Before you do that, read on to learn about all the similarities and differences between the two iPhone 13 Pro phones, and see which one suits you best. 

iPhone 13 Pro vs iPhone 13 Pro Max: Specs compared

iPhone 13 Pro iPhone 13 Pro Max
Starting price$999$1,099
Storage128, 256, 512, 1TB128, 256, 512, 1TB
Screen size6.1 inches6.7 inches
Resolution/ppi2532 x 1170/4602778 x 1284/458
Adaptive refreshUp to 120HzUp to 120Hz
ProcessorA15 BionicA15 Bionic
Rear camerasPro 12MP (Telephoto, Wide, Ultra Wide)Pro 12MP (Telephoto, Wide, Ultra Wide)
Zoom3x optical / 15x digital3x optical / 15x digital
Front camera12MP TrueDepth12MP TrueDepth
ColorsGraphite, Gold, Silver, Sierra BlueGraphite, Gold, Silver, Sierra Blue
Size5.8 x 2.8 x 0.3 inches6.3 x 3.1 x 0.3 inches
Weight7.2 ounces8.5 ounces
Water resistanceIP68IP68
Battery life (web surfing11:4212:16

iPhone 13 Pro vs iPhone 13 Pro Max: What’s the same?

Design

Other than the size difference, the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max are pretty much identical. There's a smaller Face ID notch at the top of both phones' displays, flat edges and a fairly square camera bump containing three cameras and a LiDAR sensor on the back.

Both iPhone 13 Pro models are available in the same four colors, too — Graphite, Gold, Silver and Sierra Blue.

ProMotion display with 120Hz refresh rate

One of the new features this year for both iPhone 13 Pro models is the ProMotion display. This allows for a maximum 120Hz refresh rate, which results in smoother performance and animations. What's more, the refresh rate can dynamically scale all the way down to 10Hz, which can save battery life.

iphone 13 pro

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Cameras

The main cameras on the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max consist of three photo sensors: a 12MP main camera with sensor-shift stabilization, a 12MP ultrawide camera and a 12MP telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom. There's also a LiDAR sensor that aids with AR apps and low-light photography. Last but not least, you have a 12MP selfie camera on the front.

These cameras enable the same new features too, such as Apple's Cinematic mode for video, real-time filters with Photographic Styles, and the option for high detail video recordings with ProRes video. However, ProRes only supports 4K resolution if you opt for 256GB storage or higher. 

The bottom line is that these are the same set of cameras. This is different from last year, where the iPhone 12 Pro Max had a 2.5x telephoto zoom and a sensor-shift main camera, whereas the iPhone 12 Pro had a 2x zoom and no sensor shift.

A15 Bionic chip and performance

Under the hood, the Pro and Pro Max are the same. They both use Apple's new A15 Bionic chipset, coupled with (a rumored) 6GB RAM. Apple's particularly proud of the GPU built into this chip, claiming its the most powerful mobile GPU ever, and is over 50% more powerful than its competitors.

In our benchmark testing, the Pro and Pro Max turned in comparable results, but the regular Pro was a bit faster. On the Geekbench 5 general CPU benchmark, the iPhone 13 Pro turned in scores of 1,733 single-core and 4,718 multi-core compared to 1,720 and 4,549 on the Pro Max.

The two phones turned in similar graphics performance as well, with the iPhone 13 Pro hitting 70 fps on the 3DMark Wild Life Unlimited test, compared to 68.3 fps for the iPhone 13 Pro Max. 

Storage

When figuring out how much room you want for photos, videos and apps, you have four storage options to pick from with either phone. The base amount is 128GB, but additional money will get you 256GB, 512GB or a whopping 1TB of storage.

Software

All the new iPhone 13 models ship with iOS 15 as standard. This brings several welcome improvements compared to iOS 14, including overhauled notifications, Live Text copy/paste from images, new FaceTime audio features plus more general refreshes of other Apple apps.

iPhone 13 Pro vs iPhone 13 Pro Max: What’s different?

Price

The iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max have a fair price gap between them. The starting price for the iPhone 13 Pro is $999 or £949, while the iPhone 13 Pro Max is $1,099 or £1,049. The $100/£100 gap persists through all the higher storage options, too.

The iPhone 13 Pro at 1TB costs $1,499, and the iPhone 13 Pro Max for 1TB is $1,599.

Display size

Unsurprisingly, the two differently sized phones have two differently sized displays. The iPhone 13 Pro uses a 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED panel (2532 x 1170) whereas the iPhone 13 Pro Max uses a 6.7-inch display (2778 x 1284 pixels). 

iPhone 13 Pro Max

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Battery and battery life

Apple has increased the size of all its iPhone 13 batteries this year, but it's more noticeable on the Pro Max than the Pro. The Pro Max's battery is 4,373 mAh according to third-party analysis, whereas the Pro's battery is reportedly 3,125 mAh. In Apple's own terms, this translates to up to 28 hours of video playback on the iPhone 13 Pro Max and 22 hours on the iPhone 13 Pro.

In our own testing, the difference was narrower, but still in favor of the larger iPhone 13 Pro. The iPhone 13 Pro Max lasted 12 hours and 16 minutes on the Tom's Guide battery test, which involves continuous web surfing over 5G at 150 nits of screen brightness.  The iPhone 13 Pro lasted 11 hours and 48 minutes, which isn't quite as long, but both phones are good enough to make our best phone battery life list. 

Charging

There's been no change from last year's iPhone 12 series with charging. Both iPhone 13 Pro versions are sold without a charging brick included, but can be powered up with up to a 20W wired connection or a 15W wireless MagSafe connection. 

However, we found the relative charging speeds are different during testing, presumably due to the difference in battery size. In half an hour of charging with the official Apple 20W charger, the iPhone 13 Pro Max reached 40% full, whereas the iPhone 13 Pro got to 53% full instead.

iPhone 13 Pro vs iPhone 13 Pro Max: Bottom line

The winner of the iPhone 13 Pro vs iPhone 13 Pro Max fight really comes down to what you're looking for in your next phone. If you want a bigger display and longer battery life, our money is on the Pro Max despite the higher price.

However, the regular iPhone 13 Pro delivers the same great cameras, ProMotion display and overall performance, so you're not sacrificing anything if you prefer a more compact design and smaller screen.

Be sure to check out our full iPhone 13 Pro review and iPhone 13 Pro Max review to help you decide. 

Richard Priday

Richard is a Tom's Guide staff writer based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, gaming, audio and whatever else people need advice on. 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.