iPhone 15 Pro vs iPhone 13 Pro: what has changed?

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iPhone 15 Pro vs iPhone 13 Pro

Intro


What is new in the iPhone 15 Pro, and how is it different from the two-year-old iPhone 13 Pro? And are the changes really worth it and is the iPhone 15 Pro the moment for iPhone 13 Pro users to upgrade?

The major new feature on the iPhone 15 Pro is the new Apple A17 Pro chip, the first in the world using cutting-edge 3nm technology, and that chip powers many other new features and new camera capabilities. The iPhone 15 Pro is just a bit more refined, with a much lighter titanium body and slimmer bezels around the screen. And it also comes with a USB-C port, the same as all your other gadgets. Cool!

Now, in mid-2024, the iPhone 13 Pro is still a viable device, but it's slowly starting to get a little long in the tooth. After all, the rumors and details about the upcoming iPhone 16 Pro are steadily piling up, to the point where we know mostly everything there is to know about the device. Once the iPhone 16 Pro arrives, this means it will be already three generations behind, so upgrading would be perfectly normal. 

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iPhone 15 Pro vs iPhone 13 Pro differences:
  • Faster A17 Pro chip
  • 8GB RAM vs 6GB RAM
  • Same 6.1" screen size, but slimmer bezels on 15 Pro
  • Dynamic Island vs Notch
  • Improved camera system
  • Similar battery life
  • Same-ish charging speed
  • Satellite SOS on 15 Pro
  • 15 Pro is eSIM only in the US

Table of Contents:

Design and Display Quality

Similar 6.1" size, but new titanium frame and slimmer bezels on the 15 Pro


The iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro are both similarly compact with a 6.1-inch form factor, but there are some slight changes and the camera system on the newer phone is bigger, so your old 13 Pro cases will not fit the newer 15 Pro.


The 15 Pro also switches to titanium for rails, while the 13 Pro uses heavier stainless steel. Titanium comes with a brushed finish, so it's not such a fingerprint magnet (especially the brighter gray colors) as the shiny stainless steel rails on the 13 Pro.

One important side benefit of using titanium is that it is a lighter material, and the 15 Pro weighs nearly 8% less than the 13 Pro.

The 15 Pro also comes with the new Action Button, which replaces the Mute Switch that Apple uses on the 13 Pro. This Action Button is programmable, so you can set it to act as a mute switch, but also as anything else you desire.

And in terms of color options, the iPhone 13 Pro was available in more vibrant tonalities, while the iPhone 15 Pro color options are a bit bleaker. 



  • Titanium Black
  • Titanium White
  • Titanium Blue
  • Titanium Gray

Both phones, however, come with the same IP68 water and dust protection rating, and neither one has a 3.5mm headphone jack.

And in terms of screens, you get the same 6.1-inch screen size on the 15 Pro and the 13 Pro, but the newer model comes with thinner borders around that screen for a very elegant look, while the 13 Pro has chunkier screen borders.

Display Measurements:



According to our tests, the two iPhones have screens are very much the same with similar max brightness and actually color accuracy is actually slightly better on the older 13 Pro. 

Oh, and you do get that pill-shaped Dynamic Island on the 15 Pro, while the 13 Pro has the notch. 

There is no difference in the Face ID system either, and both feel fast and reliable.

Performance and Software

A17 Pro chip and more RAM


The iPhone 15 Pro is two generations ahead of the 13 Pro when it comes to the processor, and this latest upgrade counts the most as the Apple A17 Pro chip uses a brand new 3nm manufacturing technology.

This cutting-edge process allows Apple to cram more transistors in the same space, which results in faster performance and notable power efficiency improvements.

Geekbench 6
SingleHigher is better
Apple iPhone 15 Pro2920
Apple iPhone 14 Pro2517
Geekbench 6
MultiHigher is better
Apple iPhone 15 Pro7447
Apple iPhone 14 Pro6289
3DMark Extreme(High)Higher is better
Apple iPhone 15 Pro3628
Apple iPhone 14 Pro3375
3DMark
Extreme(Low)Higher is better
Apple iPhone 15 Pro2801
Apple iPhone 14 Pro2117

Our benchmark tests reveal that the iPhone 15 Pro shows some noticeable improvements. In the CPU-heavy GeekBench 6 test, the newer 15 Pro scores nearly 15% higher in single core performance and nearly 20% faster in multi-core speeds. 

In our gaming-oriented 3DMark Extreme GPU stress test, the iPhone 15 Pro started with a burst of power, but was more impressive after 20 minutes when the performance of the 13 Pro dropped significantly, while the 15 Pro received a lead of some 30%

The iPhone 15 Pro also jumps to 8GB of RAM, up from 6GB on the 13 Pro. This helps keep more apps open in the background, and you get a better multitasking experience because of that. It also makes the device a little more future-proof when you factor in AI. 

However, despite the iPhone 13 Pro being a bit older, it runs the same iOS 17 software as the iPhone 15 Pro.

New features in the iOS 17 version include updated Phone, Messages and FaceTime apps, as well as autocorrect tun-ups which will finally make the ducking thing work better.

You will notice the biggest improvement in the Phone app. You get a new Contact Poster which you set for yourself and others to see when they receive a call from you, a cool feature. NameDrop is another new iOS exclusive trick where you just bring two iPhones close to exchange contacts. The Messages app gets a bunch of new features but the coolest one has got to be the new stickers and live stickers, which you create from your own Live Photos, adding a personal touch to conversations.

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Standby Mode, which turns your iPhone into a mini home hub, shows useful information while the device is charging––that's new with iOS 17. You also now get interactive widgets, you have mood tracking in the Health app, as well as a brand new journaling app.

The great thing about iPhones is that they get updated for 5 or 6 years, so the iPhone 13 Pro still has quite a few years of software support left.

Both also have 5G connectivity support, but one new feature only available on the 15 Pro is satellite connectivity, which allows you to send an emergency SOS message in places where you have no cell phone coverage. This new feature is only available on the 15 Pro. That's definitely a welcome feature. You also now get roadside assistance even in areas where there is no signal, which is great.

Also, the iPhone 15 Pro can only be used with an eSIM card in the United States. International models of the 15 Pro still support a physical SIM slot, though.

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Camera

High-res photos and new focal lengths are the main advantages of the 15 Pro

Both phones use a triple rear camera system, but the physical size of the iPhone 15 Pro camera island is noticeably bigger compared to the 13 Pro.

The main reason for the difference is that Apple has bigger camera sensors on the new model. For cameras, the rule of the thumb is to not look at the megapixel count that can be misleading, but instead look at the sensor size, which is usually a good indication of the quality of a camera.

So the iPhone 15 Pro gets an extra-large 48MP main camera sensor, and then an improved 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera as well as a 12MP 3X zoom lens. The 13 Pro, on the other hand, uses a 12MP main camera sensor.

The change in quality can be noticed on all three cameras thanks to both the new hardware and the software, but here is a list of the most notable new features:
  • 24MP photos instead of 12MP by default
  • 1.2X (28mm), 1.5X (35mm) and 2X (48mm) focal lengths via sensor crop
  • Portrait Mode can be applied on a regular photo with people or pets in it
  • Improved ultra-wide camera
  • Improved selfie quality
  • Spatial Video with depth information

Main Camera



When it comes to the main camera, we see Apple has improved the white balance issue where older iPhone cameras would produce a blue-ish photo, while the newer iPhone 15 Pro captures more realistic and warmer colors.

When you open pictures on a bigger screen, you also instantly notice how the new iPhone 15 Pro captures a lot more detail.

Zoom




As both phones have a 3X zoom camera, there is not a huge difference in zoom quality and during the day, both capture a similar amount of detail.

In low light, we get a mixed bag of results. Sporadically, the iPhone 15 Pro captures a bit more detail and does not have the aggressive smoothening of the 13 Pro, but in others, the 13 Pro actually captured a better shot.

Ultra-wide



Apple has not made any major changes to the ultra-wide camera, but it still benefits from the new more accurate colors and improved Smart HDR.

Portrait Mode



In Portrait mode, the 15 Pro gets the ability to use the 2X sensor crop mode, which we find is the perfect focal length for the goal. That alone gives it an important advantage.

In 1X and 3X portrait mode, however, we did not spot major differences, maybe some slight improvements to the object detection and color accuracy, but that's it.

Low-light




We were a bit surprised how the older iPhone 13 Pro seems to capture more light in darker rooms than the 15 Pro, but on both phones you can definitely see how the smaller image sensors limit them a lot in darker environments.
 

Selfies



All of those improvements also make their way to video quality as the iPhone 15 Pro delivers improvements in the clarity of recording and less lens flare thanks to new lens coating.

Video Quality


Video Thumbnail

Do you see a major difference between the two?

We tried our best pixel peeping, but it seems that video has remained almost unchanged. That's not a bad thing, per se, after all, the iPhones are known for their outstanding video quality.

Audio Quality and Haptics



Both these iPhones come with a dual loudspeaker setup with a main, bottom-firing speaker and a secondary one embedded in the earpiece at the top.

The 13 Pro was a big leap in audio quality over previous generations, but since then, it seems that audio quality has remained mostly the same and we don't have any huge leaps in audio quality on the 15 Pro.

These two models also rely on the same Taptic Engine for your haptics. This vibration motor is industry leading and provides excellent feedback, but if you want to compare the quality of the haptics, well… you don't get much of a difference.

Battery Life and Charging

No changes


The iPhone 13 Pro delivered very impressive battery life for its size, so the iPhone 15 Pro has big shoes to fill.

But can it do that?

First, the iPhone 15 Pro battery size stands at 3,274 mAh, which is nearly 6% larger than the 3,095 mAh battery capacity on the iPhone 13 Pro. That's not a huge difference, but it's not tiny either.


Above, you can see Apple's official battery numbers, and you can see that only the video playback has improved ever so slightly, but you are essentially getting the same one-day experience.

PhoneArena Battery Test Results:


Web Browsing(hours)Higher is better
Apple iPhone 15 Pro14h 54 min
Apple iPhone 13 Pro14h 44 min
Video Streaming(hours)Higher is better
Apple iPhone 15 Pro6h 54 min
Apple iPhone 13 Pro8h 26 min
3D Gaming(hours)Higher is better
Apple iPhone 15 Pro8h 51 min
Apple iPhone 13 Pro8h 5 min

Our custom battery tests, which are run at 200 nits of preset display brightness, actually suggest that battery life has taken a bit of a hit. In our YouTube video streaming test, for example, the newer 15 Pro model only scored about 7 hours, compared to a score of nearly 8 hours and a half on the 13 Pro. Meanwhile, both phones are neck-in-neck in our web browsing test. As per our tests, the iPhone 13 also bests the iPhone 15 Pro in the video streaming test. 

You will not find a charger in the box with either phone, but you will find different ports on each phone and different cables.

The iPhone 15 Pro switches to the ubiquitous USB-C port, whereas the older Lightning connector is used for the iPhone 13.

Unfortunately, the charging speeds on both models are the same: 23 watt speeds on both models, meaning a full charge takes around 1 hour and 40 minutes.

PhoneArena Charging Test Results:


15 Mins(%)Higher is better
Apple iPhone 15 Pro30%
Apple iPhone 13 Pro27%
30 Mins(%)Higher is better
Apple iPhone 15 Pro53%
Apple iPhone 13 Pro55%
Full Charge(hours)Lower is better
Apple iPhone 15 Pro1h 42 min
Apple iPhone 13 Pro1h 38 min



Both use the same MagSafe magnetic wireless charging standard, which tops up the phones at 15W speeds, so a full MagSafe charge takes around 2 hours and 30 minutes on both.

Specs Comparison


Take a look at this breakdown of the specs of the iPhone 15 Pro and the iPhone 13 Pro:


Check out our in-depth iPhone 15 Pro vs iPhone 13 Pro specs comparison here, where you will find a lot more detail.

Summary and Final Verdict



So, it's time to settle the debate: should you upgrade to the iPhone 15 Pro?

It is newer, and it changes a few things in a big way, but also a few key elements remain largely the same as on the iPhone 13 Pro.

The 15 Pro boasts enhanced speed, a more versatile camera, and enhanced quality of life features such as the USB-C port and a new Action button. Plus, the design is more refined and it weighs less.

However, the battery life and charging speeds remain the same, and the fundamental iPhone experience has not changed either.

The iPhone 13 Pro hasn't really lost its charm over the past couple of years. Both the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro feel fast and fluid, as both support 120Hz ProMotion screens. Both have solid battery life and both have MagSafe.

The short version is that if you are enthusiastic about the new high-resolution photos and the camera in general, and you desire an iPhone that is less heavy, the 15 Pro may be a viable option. However, for all other reasons, the iPhone 13 Pro may still be a viable option for the future.

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