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What's the Difference Between Apple's 2 Biggest iPhones?

For the first time, Apple is selling two brand-new, really big new phones: the iPhone 14 Plus and the iPhone 14 Pro Max.

2 iphones on a desk
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Pictured: the iPhone 14 Plus (left) and iPhone 14 Pro Max (right).

For the first time in recent years, Apple now sells two really big phones. There's the iPhone 14 Plus ($899+) and the iPhone 14 Pro Max ($1,099+). In terms of size, the two are basically identical — both have 6.7" displays, which are considerably bigger than the 6.1" displays of the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro — but the iPhone 14 Plus is definitely the more budget-friendly option. It lacks many of the high-end "Pro" features, but comes in at $200 cheaper.

I've been testing the iPhone 14 Plus for the last week, and the iPhone 14 Pro Max for several weeks longer — the release date for the iPhone 14 Plus was pushed back to Friday, October 7, due to production delays — and after spending time with both of them, I'll admit: the differences are basically the same as between the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro.

Of course, there's more to it than that. Read on.

A quick lament for the iPhone mini. The iPhone 14 Plus is a brand-new iPhone for Apple — it's a more affordable big-screen phone. For the past two years, Apple has sold "mini" versions of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13, but due to lackluster sales, Apple has now switched its focus to a bigger screen model. Not as many people want a pocket-friendly iPhone, apparently.

Both iPhones have big-screen benefits

People like big-screen smartphones, like the iPhone 14 Plus (shown) for the same reason they also like big-screen TVs. You see more. And you see it better.
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The obvious advantage of having a bigger screen is that you get to see more, which is great for watching movies or shows, playing games or even just scrolling through emails or Instagram. However, it also comes with some accessibility features.

There's more screen real estate, so that you can make the font bigger while still having a lot of screen to work with — which is actually great for typing because it makes keys bigger. You get a bigger viewfinder with the bigger screen, so you can see more of what you're capturing when taking photos or shooting video. It's the little things, but both the iPhone 14 Plus and the iPhone 14 Pro Max deliver them.

iphone message conversation
Both the iPhone 14 Plus (shown) and iPhone 14 Pro Max have larger displays and, therefore, are able to show more. There are aspects that naturally appear bigger, like the keyboard, so it’s actually a little bit easier to type on these bigger-screen phones.
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Both iPhones' screens are surprisingly similar

From left to right: iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Pro, iPhone 14 Plus and iPhone 14 Pro Max. The two "Pro" phones are essentially the same, except for their size and battery life. Same is true with the two "non-Pro" phones.
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Unlike in years past, Apple has given its entire iPhone 14 lineup OLED displays — there's no LCD display on the cheaper non-Pro models. This means that no matter which big-screen iPhone you get, it's going to deliver an excellent picture that is bright and vibrant with excellent contrast. And honestly, there are times when using the two iPhones I found it really difficult to tell one from the other.

That said, there are differences. The main difference between the displays of the iPhone 14 Plus and the iPhone 14 Pro Max — aside from the new features like the always-on display and the Dynamic Island (aka the new notch) — is that the latter supports ProMotion. Essentially, the Pro Max's display refreshes twice as fast, 120Hz vs the Plus's 60Hz, so the screen looks like it runs just a little bit smoother. You can subtly notice it when swiping between apps or Home screens, or scrolling through Twitter, but it honestly can be difficult at times.

This higher-refresh screen is most apparent, at least for me, when watching shows and movies — particularly during fast-paced action sequences. I'm admittedly not much of a gamer, but these higher refresh rates are important there, too.

The iPhone 14 Pro Max (left) has a slightly nicer display than the iPhone 14 Plus (right). Both are OLED, but the Pro Max can actually get a little bit brighter.
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The other significant difference between the two displays: brightness. Most of the time you probably won't notice this, like when you're in your house or at the office, but the iPhone 14 Pro Max's display is capable of getting noticeably brighter than the iPhone 14 Plus (2000 nits vs 1,200 nits). You'll likely notice this only in certain situations, like if you're outside, as both iPhones adjust their screen brightness based on light conditions (you can turn this off, of course), but when you do — it's big.

The iPhone 14 Plus lacks some of the Pro's coolest new features

iphone on a desk
The iPhone 14 Pro Max (shown) has the new look notch, called the Dynamic Island, which is interactive, fun and shows these neat little notifications — like above, when it tells you that your iPhone is charging — that just make it ever so charming. The iPhone 14 Plus can’t do this and has the same traditional notch as last year’s iPhones.
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For me, the two coolest new iPhone features are the always-on display and the new Dynamic Island notch. The always-on display allows you to peep at the time, the weather (thanks to Lock Screen widgets) or even a notification without actually unlocking or touching your iPhone. And the Dynamic Island makes the notch way more fun and useful. It's like a display within your iPhone's display that shows you what music is playing, if you're on a call or even if your AirPods are connected. And then you quickly access whatever app appears in the Dynamic Island — which for me is mostly my music app, Spotify — by tapping or long-pressing it.

Unfortunately, the non-Pro iPhones don't have an always-on display or the new Dynamic Island notch. So just like the iPhone 14, the iPhone 14 Plus doesn't feel nearly as exciting or that different from last year's iPhones. Other than its size, of course.

The 14 Plus boasts the longest-lasting battery of any iPhone

One of the other major differences between the iPhone 14 Plus (left) and the iPhone 14 Pro Max (right) is the latter’s always-on display. You can see more without having to touch your iPhone.
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One of the other key selling points of Apple's big-screen iPhones is battery life. Due to their larger size, Apple decks them out with larger batteries and thus you're able to go a little longer between charges. Obviously, how you use your iPhone is going to play a huge role in how long its battery lasts, but generally Apple claims that the big-screen iPhones will get you a few extra hours of use compared to the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro.

Apple also claims that the iPhone 14 Plus has the best battery life of any iPhone 14 model — including the iPhone 14 Pro Max. And while that's probably true, it's important to note that the two big-screen iPhones have basically the exact battery and almost as long battery life. The reason why the iPhone 14 Plus gets a little more juice per charge is that it doesn't have run more intensive features, like the always-on display and higher refresh rate screen, like the iPhone 14 Pro Max.

The bottom line is, after using both big-screen iPhones, I found that they both have enough juice to last around two days. They're impressive.

The camera difference might not be as big as you might think.

The iPhone 14 Plus (left) has the same exact camera system as the iPhone 14. And the iPhone 14 Pro Max (right) has the same camera system as the iPhone 14 Pro. The only difference is size and battery life.
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I've left talking about the camera differences until the end because, well, it's probably the most obvious reason to choose the Pro over the non-Pro — if the camera is the most important factor when picking a smartphone, you likely already know which new iPhone to go with. The iPhone 14 Pro Max has more cameras, with faster apertures, and the main camera has the biggest sensor (48-megapixel) that Apple has ever put in an iPhone. It's just better.

Truth be told, however, the Pro Max's camera isn't that much better because the iPhone 14 Plus has a damn good camera system as well. In fact, it's the same exact main camera as on last year's iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max, so it's capable of taking excellent everyday photos (including Portrait mode ones), so most of your photos are going to look pretty similar.

And while the iPhone 14 Pro Max is capable of taking better low-light photos, largely thanks to its huge sensor, the iPhone 14 Plus takes surprisingly excellent low-light photos; they both have Apple's new Photonic Engine — a computational photography feature that takes multiple photos within each photo to improve its colors, textures and details — which feels like it could be even more important for low-light photography than the actual larger sensor.

The iPhone 14 Plus has some of the same new shooting features as the iPhone 14 Pro Max, including Action mode and Cinematic mode (now in 4K), but there are some tradeoffs. It doesn't have nearly as good zoom (because it lacks a telephoto lens). It can't shoot macro photos or videos. And it doesn't can't shoot ProRes videos or ProRaw photos, which are Apple's ultra high-resolution video and photo formats (that you'd likely have to be a serious iPhone photographer to need).

Apple iPhone 14 Plus vs. iPhone 14 Pro Max: The Verdict

Side by side: The iPhone 14 Pro Max (left) and iPhone 14 Plus (right).
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If you're in the market for a big-screen new iPhone, you've got two options: the iPhone 14 Plus ($899+) and the iPhone 14 Pro Max ($1,099+). Unlike in past years, however, these two non-Pro and Pro iPhones don't feel terribly different. There are a lot of similarities and small differences between iPhone 14 Plus and the iPhone 14 Pro Max, and it ultimately comes down to whether those small differences are worth the extra $200.

The iPhone 14 Pro Max is still the obvious option for people who want the absolute best camera, or they are just somebody who needs the best overall big-screen iPhone. But even for those of us who might be wooed by the Dynamic Island or the always-on display, the iPhone 14 Plus doesn't actually feel like a downgrade — especially when you realize you could buy it and still have enough left over for a new Apple Watch.


iPhone 14 Plus


  • Big screen, lower price
  • Excellent main camera
  • Best battery life of any iPhone

  • Lacks the coolest features of the iPhone 14 Pro Max
  • Huge size won't be for everybody

iPhone 14 Pro Max


  • Best camera of any iPhone
  • Superb display and works with coolest "Pro" features
  • Excellent battery life

  • It's Apple's most expensive iPhone
  • Huge size won't be for everybody

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