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Should you buy the iPhone 14 or wait for the iPhone 15?

The iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max all lying on a table.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

It can be a little tricky to decide which version of the iPhone to get since the current lineup of iPhone 14 models is so impressive — but there’s always a new model waiting just around the corner. The iPhone 14 line broke new ground for Apple with the introduction of the Dynamic Island for the Pro models, but with rumors that the entire iPhone 15 line will be fitted with the new feature, many are wondering if they should just wait for them to launch before picking up the latest Apple smartphone.

While the decision of which iPhone to buy rests solely on the shoulders of the buyer, we can certainly help with the decision-making process by listing the facts about each device and how they stack up when compared and contrasted. So far, there are plenty of differences between the iPhone 14 line and what we’ve heard about what’s to come with the iPhone 15, so the choice is definitely a meaningful one. Here’s everything you need to know about the differences between the iPhone 14 family and the upcoming iPhone 15 models to help you choose which smartphone to invest in.

iPhone 14 vs. iPhone 15

An iPhone 14 standing up on a table. Behind it is a purple water bottle.
iPhone 14 Joe Maring/Digital Trends

The iPhone 14 is the baseline version of Apple’s latest smartphones. It’s the standard version of the iPhone 14 family that will likely appeal to most buyers since it’s outfitted with some excellent hardware — such as Apple’s A15 bionic processor, a crisp Super Retina XDR OLED screen, and a dual camera setup with two 12 MP lenses. While the phone has some impressive specs, rumor has it that the iPhone 15 will be upping the ante in a few key areas.

Perhaps the most significant change is that the base iPhone 15 is rumored to be getting the Dynamic Island, a feature that was exclusive to the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max. The Dynamic Island is a truly interesting feature that aids the user experience in just about every way since it can be used to quickly return to and use apps as they run in the background. In terms of the usability of the iPhone 15, this simple addition makes it a pretty significant step up from the iPhone 14.

A render of the iPhone 15 from 9to5Mac showing off the dynamic island, bigger display.
iPhone 15 render 9to5Mac

In addition to the Dynamic Island, the iPhone 15 is rumored to be outfitted with the A16 processor, the same one found in the iPhone 14 Pro, so it’ll be a more powerful device than its predecessor. Along with the updated processor, rumor has it that there will be the usual slew of small upgrades to the specs of the iPhone 15, changes that are to be expected with each jump in hardware generation, but nothing that’s too drastic.

Another big change is expected to be coming to the charging port of the iPhone 15: we expect the iPhone 15 line to be fully fitted with USB-C charging ports as opposed to the Lighting ports that previous generations have used. While this might sound like something of a hassle if you’ve been an iPhone user for several years and relied exclusively on Lightning cables, the switch might make things more convenient in the long run since most other smartphones use USB-C charging ports. This would make sharing a charger with a Google Pixel 7 owner, for example, possible.

Brand new USB-C type to Lightning fast charging cable of with iPhone 11 Pro Max
Abolukbas/Shutterstock

There have been plenty of rumors surrounding the iPhone 15’s camera setup, but most of the major shakeups don’t include the base iPhone 15. Because of that, it’s safe to assume that the smartphone will likely have a similar dual-camera array to the iPhone 14. The only major changes coming to the body of the phone are that the iPhone 15 is said to have a smaller bezel, partly thanks to the Dynamic Island, and that the mute switch might be changed to a customizable Action button. While the button might be a pretty big change in terms of customizability, there have been a lot of conflicting reports about how it’ll work, so it’s tough to say if it’ll be a major new feature.

Something that’s less debated among leakers and insiders, however, is the fact that the iPhone 15 may be bigger than the iPhone 14 by 0.1 inches. The iPhone 14’s screen is 6.1 inches, but several reports suggest that the iPhone 15 will be 6.2 inches. This change in size won’t drastically impact much about the phone, but it’s worth keeping in mind for those who are debating between picking up the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus, which features an even larger screen.

When it comes to choosing between the iPhone 14 and the iPhone 15, we think that the upgrades to the iPhone 15 are significant enough to justify waiting for it to launch later this year. The Dynamic Island alone is enough to make the phone worth it for many people, and paired with the rest of the changes — such as the switch to USB-C and the rumors surrounding the customizable button — the iPhone 14 might begin to already feel dated by the time the iPhone 15 takes over.

iPhone 14 Plus vs. iPhone 15 Plus

The iPhone 14 Plus held in a man's hand.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

If you’re looking for a bigger screen than what’s offered with the iPhone 14 or iPhone 15 but aren’t interested in paying more for all the bells and whistles that are included in the Pro versions, you’ll probably need to pick between the iPhone 14 Plus or iPhone 15 Plus.

The differences between the iPhone 14 Plus and the iPhone 15 Plus will likely be extremely similar to the ones found in the base models. Since there aren’t a whole lot of meaningful differences between the base models and the Plus line aside from the screen size, the reasons for picking one over the other are just about the same as the ones listed above.

While the base iPhone 15 may be getting a larger screen than the one found on the iPhone 14, all signs indicate that the iPhone 15 Plus will have a 6.7-inch display, the same as the one found in the iPhone 14 Plus. Since the screen sizes are the same, buyers will need to look at the new features to know which one to buy.

The iPhone 14 Plus's main Home screen.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The iPhone 15 Plus will likely feature the Dynamic Island, sport the A16 processor, drop the Lightning port in favor of USB-C, and get the rumored new Action button instead of the iPhone 14 Plus’ mute switch. Although the iPhone 15 Plus won’t be getting an increased screen size like the base iPhone 15 is rumored to be getting, it doesn’t really need it since the 6.7-inch display is already big enough.

As far as a recommendation goes for the iPhone 14 Plus or the iPhone 15 Plus, the iPhone 15 Plus seems like it’s going to be a significant upgrade from its predecessor. If the new features don’t sound like things you’ll use, then it’s easy to recommend picking up the iPhone 14 Plus since it’ll likely be getting discounts at retails once the iPhone 15 line launches. There is enough coming with the iPhone 15 Plus to make it worth the extra money for buying it at full price, though.

iPhone 14 Pro vs. iPhone 15 Pro

The Deep Purple color iPhone 14 Pro.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Dynamic Island was one of the big things setting the iPhone 14 Pro apart from the rest of the iPhone lineage that came before it, so what does the iPhone 15 Pro offer that can’t be found anywhere else in Apple’s catalog? Answering that question is a little difficult because the answer amounts to a lot of little things as opposed to one new feature that’s easily pointed to. That’s not to say that the iPhone 15 Pro won’t be one of the most impressive phones ever made by Apple, rather, the phone just doesn’t have much in terms of major changes like what we saw with the introduction of the Dynamic Island last year.

Since the Dynamic Island is rumored to be featured on the entire iPhone 15 line, the things setting the iPhone 15 Pro apart from the baseline models — as well as the iPhone 14 Pro before it — seem to be mostly ones that are happening behind the screen. The first thing that jumps out is that it’ll be outfitted with the A17 processor, Apple’s newest and most powerful chipset that’s rumored to have a 15% boost in terms of speed over the A16 (found in the 14 Pro), which already was an extremely fast processor.

Working with the improved processor is the rumor that the iPhone 15 Pro will have 8GB of RAM as opposed to the 14 Pro’s 6GB, making it even faster. Another spec increase for the iPhone 15 Pro is the rumor that Apple will start offering 2TB of storage for it, doubling the 1TB that’s offered with the iPhone 14 Pro.

iPhone 15 Pro render showing haptic buttons
iPhone 15 Pro render 9to5Mac

As mentioned above, there are a lot of rumors surrounding a potential change coming to the mute switch that’s been featured on every iPhone since the original launched in 2007. Rumor has it that the toggle switch will be dropped in favor of a customizable Action button that can serve multiple purposes, but there are many conflicting reports about which iPhone 15 models will be getting it. Since Apple tends to reserve its most cutting-edge features for its Pro models, some leakers and analysts think that the new Action button might be an iPhone 15 Pro exclusive feature.

If that’s the case, then it would be a relatively big difference between the iPhone 15 Pro and the iPhone 14 Pro. However, it’s tough to argue that a new customizable button is as big of a change as something like the Dynamic Island. The other big hardware difference is that, like the baseline iPhone 15 and 15 Plus, the iPhone 15 Pro will be sporting a USB-C charging port as opposed to the Lightning port that’s been used for several years. While that too is a big change coming with the iPhone 15 line, it’s hardly enough to recommend picking up the brand-new iPhone 15 Pro over the iPhone 14 Pro, which is likely going to be discounted at retailers by the time the iPhone 15 line launches.

If you’re looking for the absolute fastest and most up-to-date phone that Apple offers, then the iPhone 15 Pro will certainly satisfy you. That said, there aren’t enough major changes that are likely going to be coming to it to completely recommend it over the iPhone 14 Pro, especially since it’s already an extremely powerful and fast device. A good point of comparison for the iPhone 14 Pro is actually the base iPhone 15 since they both should have a lot of the same specs and features. The iPhone 14 Pro does have a nicer camera array — the same one should be present on the iPhone 15 Pro — so there is a major difference on that front.

iPhone 14 Pro Max vs. iPhone 15 Pro Max

Someone holding the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends / Digital Trends

While the differences between the iPhone Pro models and the iPhone Pro Max models tend to be pretty similar to the ones found between the base iPhones and the iPhone Plus, Apple seems to be breaking the mold this year by making the iPhone 15 Pro Max even more impressive than the iPhone 15 Pro which, by extension, makes it even more impressive than the iPhone 14 Pro Max. To showcase this change, rumor has it that Apple is going to be changing the name of the iPhone 15 Pro Max to the iPhone 15 Ultra, similar to the name of the Apple Watch Ultra. There are conflicting reports about the name change, though. As such, we’ll still refer to it as the iPhone 15 Pro Max for this article.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max is rumored to be outfitted with just about everything we’re expecting the iPhone 15 Pro to have: the A17 processor, a USB-C charging port, the Dynamic Island, more storage and RAM options, and whatever Apple has in store for the new, customizable Action button. While all of those changes make it a step up from the iPhone 14 Pro Max, there’s nothing drastic in that list of new features to make it easy to recommend over the iPhone 14 Pro Max. There is one major change, however, that’s going to set up the iPhone 15 Pro Max as the most impressive iPhone ever made by Apple: its camera system.

iPhone 15 Pro render camera explode
9to5Mac

The iPhone 14 Pro Max’s three-camera setup is extremely impressive, but Apple is upping the ante with the iPhone 15 Pro Max by adding a periscope lens that will offer a 5x or 10x optical zoom. This far exceeds the 3x optical zoom that’s currently offered with the iPhone 14 Pro Max, giving a new level of clarity and detail to photos taken using zoom. The new lens is a bit larger than what’s currently on the iPhone 14 Pro Max. However, that’s to be expected as iPhone cameras have been getting more advanced.

There doesn’t seem to be a difference in terms of size when it comes to the actual dimensions of the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s screen when compared to the iPhone 14 Pro Max. However, another rumor says that the 15 Ultra will have the smallest bezel ever seen on an iPhone. The iPhone 14 Pro Max’s bezel is 2.17mm at its thickest, but the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s bezel is said to be just 1.55mm which would make it the smallest bezel ever seen on any smartphone.

All of that added up makes the iPhone 15 Pro Max hands-down Apple’s most impressive smartphone, a title previously awarded to the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max. A lot of the major changes are relatively incremental and will likely be implemented in the base models in the years to come. If you can’t contain your excitement for the new periscope lens, the Action button, or the microscopic bezel, then recommending the iPhone 15 Pro Max over the iPhone 14 Pro Max is pretty simple.

That said, the iPhone 14 Pro Max still holds up when compared to the base iPhone 15, 15 Plus, and the 15 Pro, so unless you’re chomping at the bit to get ahold of the handful of new features coming to the iPhone 15 Pro Max, then the 14 Pro Max will do you just fine. The differences between the base iPhone 14 and the iPhone 15 are pretty major, but the differences between the iPhone 14 Pro Max and the iPhone 15 Pro Max simply just aren’t as vast.

Peter Hunt Szpytek
A podcast host and journalist, Peter covers mobile news with Digital Trends and gaming news, reviews, and guides for sites…
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