Apple iPhone 16 Pro Max vs iPhone 13 Pro Max: Upgrade season might be upon us this fall

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iPhone 16 Pro Max vs iPhone 13 Pro Max

Intro


It's been nearly three years since the iPhone 13 Pro Max was announced by Apple. This was the last large iPhone with a traditional notch, and it also debuted the ProMotion display on the iPhone lineup. Still a mighty fine iPhone that's alive and well, the iPhone 13 Pro Max is, however, starting to show some signs of aging. 

From the point-of-view of an iPhone 13 Pro Max user, the upcoming iPhone 16 Pro Max might as well be a prime upgrade target. Pretty much everything will be different, starting from the slightly curved titanium design with the larger Dynamic Island-clad screen, the new set of buttons on the sides, the much faster performance, the 5X telephoto camera, and so much more…

Is the upcoming iPhone 16 Pro Max the one you need to upgrade to?

iPhone 16 Pro Max vs iPhone 13 Pro Max differences:



Table of Contents:

Design and Size

What a difference three years make

What a difference three years make! As per the rumors, the iPhone 16 Pro Max will feature a significantly larger 6.9-inch screen, although it will only grow so much in size, which is a win-win situation. 

Not only that, but the widely accepted theory is that the bezels will be the thinnest, not only on the iPhone, but on any modern phone––they will measure just 1.15mm on all sides, which is mind-boggling. The iPhone 16 Pro Max will have the Dynamic Island punch-hole, now in its third generation. 

The titanium body with slightly curved frame, which debuted with the iPhone 15 Pro Max, is making a return, and rumors have it Apple might employ tougher glass to match the robust titanium frame. With the iPhone 15 Pro Max, tests indicated that the glass could shatter as the titanium didn't flex as much as aluminum or stainless steel, so the glass can't withstand any amount of serious pressure.

The customizable Action Button instead of the old ring switch will be there, but with the iPhone 16 generation, Apple might introduce a new capacitive hardware button, called the Capture button, which could be used to take photos/videos.

Meanwhile, the iPhone 13 Pro Max is the last carrier of Apple's old design language. It comes along with a stainless-steel frame that is flat on all sides, a classic ring switch, and last, but not least, a Lightning port at the bottom. There's also a traditional notch here, housing the FaceTime camera and the Face ID paraphernalia. 
 
In terms of size, the iPhone 16 Pro Max will be taller, but narrower and slightly thicker, as well as much lighter. That's a win-win scenario, no matter how you look at it: it allows for a larger display and battery to be fitted in the new phone, and at the end of the day, you're getting a much lighter phone as well!

IP68 water- and dust-resistance will be a common feature on both models. 

Display Differences


We've already said it, but let's reiterate: the iPhone 16 Pro Max will pack a display that spans 6.86-inch across (6.9-inch for brevity). That's a significant and notable increase over the iPhone 13 Pro Max's 6.7-inch screen, achieved by employing much thinner bezels and a slightly taller body.

The iPhone 16 Pro Max will employ a Super Retina XDR OLED display with 120Hz ProMotion refresh rate, and will most certainly hit maximum brightness readings well above 2,000 nits. We wouldn't be surprise to see Apple employ the same glass nano-coating that was used on the latest iPads to achieve a viewing experience with fewer reflections, which would be great. 

Meanwhile, the iPhone 13 Pro Max shares mostly the same display properties: it has a 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR OLED screen with 120Hz ProMotion, but it achieves a "lower" maximum brightness of up to 1,200 nits in HDR mode, which is low as per today's flagship standards. 

Face ID is, of course, the biometric method to authenticate with your iPhone 13 Pro Max, and we have zero reasons to believe the iPhone 16 Pro Max will rely on anything else. 

Performance and Software

Performance overwhelming

The iPhone 16 Pro Max will feature Apple's second-gen 3nm chipset, the Apple A18 Pro chip. This one will rely on TSMC's second-gen N3E manufacturing process. It will definitely push the performance bar even higher, in line with all of Apple's previous mobile chips. 

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However, we expect that Cupertino will pay a big attention to AI, so a much-improved Neural Engine will certainly be a vastly upgraded aspect of the upcoming chipset. Rumors have it Apple will increase the Neural Engine cores as an easy way to boost on-device AI and ML processing.

At the same time, the iPhone 13 Pro Max came with the Apple A15 Bionic chip, which is now three years old. However, despite that is lagging in the synthetic performance benchmark tests, it's still more than enough to deliver a great everyday experience, even to heavy users. I've been using an iPhone 13 Pro Max as a daily driver for more than two years and don't really feel compelled to upgrade to a newer iPhone Pro Max due to any performance shortcomings. 

The iPhone 16 Pro Max will definitely come with at least 8GB of RAM, or probably more if Apple is serious about on-device AI. Those algorithms really need a ton of memory to process large amounts of data. Meanwhile, the older iPhone 13 Pro Max has merely 6GB of RAM, which hints that it won't be able to benefit from any on-device AI goodies that iOS 18 will potentially bring to older devices. 

Storage-wise, the iPhone 16 Pro Max will start with 256GB of RAM, but will also be available in 512GB and 1TB, and probably even 2TB. The older iPhone starts with 128GB of storage, and can also be found with 256 and 512GB, as well as 1TB of on-board storage. 

Apple recently revealed that its phones are supported for five years at the minimum, but usually, iPhones are supported for longer. With that in mind, we can only assume that the iPhone 13 Pro Max will be updated until 2026 for granted. The iPhone 16 Pro Max will be supported until 2029 stemming from that support pledge, but it will most certainly receive. many more iOS updates past that.

Camera

Triple cameras, but very different

It's normal to expect the iPhone 16 Pro Max to boast a much better and more versatile camera than its aging predecessor. Just look at the specs: a 48MP main camera with a new sensor (if the rumors are true), a brand-new 48MP ultra-wide camera (up from the 12MP one), and a 12MP telephoto with 5X optical zoom are a much better hardware loadout than the one on the iPhone 13 Pro Max.

There is a rumor that thinner and lighter molded glass lenses will be used for the cameras of the iPhone 16 Pro Max. This will allow Apple to save some weight and improve the quality of the cameras themselves, potentially finally eliminating lens flare during nighttime at long last.

The latter looks much humbler in comparison: triple 12MP sensors behind all cameras, with a telephoto that merely delivers 3X optical zoom. It pales in comparison, but still does a mighty fine job.

Hardware is just part of the whole package. As usual, software novelties, optimizations, and enhancements could further extend the iPhone 16 Pro Max' lead over the older device. 

Battery Life and Charging

Not looking good on the iPhone 13 Pro Max front

The iPhone 16 Pro Max will arrive with a much larger battery, a 4,676mAh one if the rumors are to be believed. This is a significant improvement over the 4,352mAh one inside the iPhone 13 Pro Max, which had once made it the undisputed battery champ in our custom battery tests. 

However, the larger battery paired with the certainly more efficient new chip on the iPhone 16 Pro Max means that it will most probably outlast its predecessor. Factor in the battery degradation on the older model (most devices in circulation should be around or even below 90% battery health), and the outcome becomes mostly predefined. 

When it comes to charging, although we are hopeful for an improvement, we haven't heard about a potential charging speed increase on the iPhone 16 Pro Max. So, we'd have to assume that the iPhone 16 Pro Max will support 25W wired and 15W MagSafe charging. 

That's just as much as the iPhone 13 Pro Max, so potentially no improvement on that front (shame on you, Apple, if true). 

Specs Comparison


The iPhone 16 Pro Max vs iPhone 13 Pro Max specs comparison table is live, albeit mostly based on the rumored specs of the upcoming device. 


Summary


It appears that the iPhone 16 Pro Max will enhance the advanced iPhone experience even further, making it a clear and logical winner over the now three-year old iPhone 13 Pro Max. With a larger display, better performance, a better camera, and future-proofed for AI, the next big iPhone could very well be a recommended upgrade path for iPhone 13 Pro Max users. 

There should be a palpable difference in the overall experience, with many novel features that will make the experience very fresh for seasoned Pro Max veterans. 

Then again, the iPhone 13 Pro Max is still alive and kicking. Its classic and intransitive design still looks fresh, and while it's a slightly aging device, it's by no means slow, lagging, or lacking anything in particular that should compel you to upgrade to the newer device. If you're satisfied with your phone, keep using it… until the wheels fall off!

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