iPhone 15 Pro Max vs iPhone 13 Pro Max: is the time to upgrade coming? (2023)

Intro

We are well on our way towards another Apple iPhone event — alls we have to get through is summer. For another year in a row, we expect to see a quadruple launch of two non-Pro models and two Pro-branded variants.

The biggest and most advanced will, as usual, be the Pro Max — the iPhone 15 Pro Max. It will come with some upgrades in the camera department, an always-expected performance boost, possibly slight display upgrades. Nothing much if you are comparing the

iPhone 15 Pro Max vs the iPhone 14 Pro Max, but it may be a proper jump if you are on an older model — an

iPhone 13 Pro Max, for example.

So, is 2023 the time to upgrade? How much better is the

iPhone 15 going to be? Is the iPhone 13 Pro Max still good enough? Let's explore everything we know:

iPhone 15 Pro Max vs iPhone 13 Pro Max expected differences:

  • Slight redesign
  • Dynamic Island vs Notch
  • Titanium frame on the 15
  • Mute switch to be upgraded to Action Switch
  • A17 Bionic to be a noticeably faster processor
  • 8 GB of LPDDR5 RAM (upgraded from 6 GB LPDDR4X)
  • Same storage options
  • Upgraded 48 MP main camera
  • New periscope zoom
  • USB Type C instead of Lightning

Table of Contents:

  • Design and Size
  • Display Differences
  • Performance
  • Camera
  • Audio Quality
  • Battery and Charging
  • Specs
  • Summary

Read more:

  • Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: expected differences
  • iPhone 15 Pro Max vs Galaxy S23 Ultra: Main differences to expect

Design and Size

A small hop into the future

The iPhone 13 Pro Max still has the "old style" design — with a notch cutout at the top of the screen, that is. The iPhone 15 Pro Max is expected to have the same Dynamic Island cutout, as on the 14 Pro Max... for better or worse.

Well, reportedly, Apple is working hard on making the Dynamic Island... better.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max is expected to come with a slight re-design. The screen-to-body ratio up front it so be reduced, meaning the frame around the screen will be becoming very, very thin. And also, the back won't be entirely flat — instead of meeting the frame of the device with a right angle, the back will ease into it with soft curves.

Oh, double also — the iPhone 15 Pro Max could be lighter, built with a different material than the stainless steel that Pros have been using for some years now. Yep, and it will be titanium — still expensive and premium, still tough, but definitely lighter than steel.

Another first for the series — the mechanical mute switch might be gone from the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Instead, it will be replaced by an "action button" of some sort — a-la Apple Watch Ultra. Supposedly, you'd be able to program any function onto it, so muting the phone via a button is not out of the question. In fact, the action button could be used to automatically cycle through your Focus scenes, effectively working as a mute button++.

And to round off the list of firsts — the iPhone 15 Pro Max will come with a USB Type-C port, all thank the EU for that. With USB 3.2 speeds at that, while the Lightning-equipped iPhone 13 Pro Max is still stuck to USB 2.0 — about 10 times slower than the newest standard. However, it's still possible Apple might pull a fast one with the new iPhones and only unlock fast transfer speeds and fast charging if you have an MFi USB Type-C cable.

Display Differences

The Pro Max series hasn't changed much about its screens for some years now — the iPhone 15 Pro Max and iPhone 13 Pro Max are both to have 6.7-inch OLED panels, 120 Hz ProMotion, and 1290 x 2796 resolution. Of course, the iPhone 15 Pro Max will get the Dynamic Island where the iPhone 13 Pro Max has a Notch. Which one do you prefer?

Furthermore, the iPhone 15 Pro Max will have the better maximum brightness — possibly up to 2,500 nits, which is pretty insane at this point. Are we going to be watching HDR movies while at the beach? No, we don't recommend you do, imagine the heat.

The iPhone 13 Pro Max taps out at 1,200 nits during HDR playback, and we'd say that was already plenty enough. But hey, the 15 Pro Max will give you more brightness on tap.

Performance and Software

A generational leap

The iPhone 15 Pro Max's A17 Bionic chip is going to be built on a 3 nm process — reports say Apple has already reserved the production lines, basically locking in TSMC's production capacity to be dedicated to the next iPhone.

It's a small jump over the 4 nm process of 2022's Apple A16, and a bigger jump over the 5 nm A15, which powers the iPhone 13 Pro Max. What does that all mean for you, though?

More transistors inside the chips, smaller pathways for the electrons to travel — we expect better energy efficiency from the Apple A17, and better performance. The iPhone 13 Pro Max already has a pretty good battery life — the 15 Pro Max should beat it by a small but noticeable margin. The iPhone 13 Pro Max already has great performance, the 15 Pro Max should come with more and more headroom for future-proofing.

iPhone 15 Pro Max vs iPhone 13 Pro Max: is the time to upgrade coming? (1)

Camera

You've been missing out

The iPhone 13 Pro Max already feels behind the times with its 12 MP main camera sensor — the 14 series upgraded that to a massive 48 MP one, which takes much improved photos. So, at the very least, this is one upgrade you will be getting when going for an iPhone 15 Pro Max, which is expected to sport the same 48 MP main camera.

But also, it seems the 15 Pro Max is getting a new zoom mechanism — a periscope camera that will upgrade the current 3x telephoto zoom up to 5x and 6x. How exactly that would work is still a bit of a mystery, but there's a possibility that the iPhone 15 Pro Max might have true optical zoom with moving components, going from 3x to 6x without digital cropping.

Audio Quality and Haptics

The iPhone's speakers are pretty good — especially the Pro Max models, which have the space for bigger drivers and acoustics. They get loud and detailed, and even the bass is well audible. Our only complaint is that they can get harsh in the highs, especially with some genres, and maybe that they lack some details in the mids. We don't find it likely that the iPhone 15 Pro Max will change that in any way. It will probably sound pretty much the same as the iPhone 13 Pro Max, but here's one for the dreamers.

And the haptics won't be changing, we don't believe. The Taptic engine has been clicking and brrr-ing inside iPhones with accurate accents for years now. So — more of the same, but you won't see us complain!

Battery Life and Charging

The big ones always last longer

The Pro Max models have always had the best battery life in their generation. Having the room for a massive battery probably helps with that. So, we have nothing bad to say about the iPhone 13 Pro Max's endurance, and we certainly expect the iPhone 15 Pro Max to meet it or outperform it. After all, that new A17 Bionic chips should be more efficient — two generations worth of more efficient.

The iPhone 13 Pro Max can comfortably give you a day-and-a-half to two days with casual usage. So will the iPhone 15 Pro Max, unless something goes terribly wrong. Will we get fast charging, though? Nah — we expect to stick to 27 W wired and 15 W wireless (MagSafe).

Specs Comparison

Let's see the main specs for both phones here. If you want to take a deep dive with the sheets, do visit our dedicated page for

iPhone 15 Pro Max vs iPhone 13 Pro Max specs comparison.

iPhone 15 Pro MaxiPhone 13 Pro Max
Size, weight
6.29 x3.02 x 0.32 (159.86 x 76.73 x 8.25 mm)*; unknown6.33 x 3.07 x 0.30 inches (160.8 x 78.1 x 7.65 mm);8.47 oz (240.0 g)
Screen6.7" OLED
120 Hz ProMotion
6.7" OLED
120 Hz ProMotion
ProcessorA17 Bionic
3 nm
A15 Bionic
5 nm
RAM, Storage8/128 GB
8/256 GB
8/512 GB
8/1 TB

LPDDR5

8/128 GB
8/256 GB
8/512 GB
8/1 TB

LPDDR4X

Cameras48 MP main
12 MP ultra
12 MP 5X-6X zoom

12 MP front

12 MP main
12 MP ultra
12 MP 3X zoom

12 MP front

Battery4323 mAh*4352 mAh
ChargingUSB-C
27 W wired
15 W MagSafe
Lightning
27 W wired
15 W MagSafe

*Highly speculative

While the screen won't be changing, we definitely see differences under the hood — and in the hood design itself. The iPhone 15 Pro Max is to be slightly leaner, while packing more impressive performance and camera tech.

Summary and Final Verdict

So, will the iPhone 15 Pro Max be the one to upgrade to if you own an iPhone 13 Pro Max? Possibly, especially if you care about the camera changes. The 48 MP sensor was a pretty good jump last year, but it's understandable if you chose to forgo a new phone purchase just for that.

Now, we are getting an improved telephoto camera, improved design and build materials... hmmm, worth considering!

If you would rather hold on to the iPhone 13 Pro Max for another period — we are pretty certain it will do perfectly well. So long as you are happy with your camera and you don't insist on having that Dynamic Island — sure, keep it.

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