Should you upgrade your iPhone?


Should you upgrade your iPhone?

Apple launched the iPhone 15 series in September, including iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max. 2023 brings improvements across the board, especially the Pro model. As new models become available, iPhone users have to ask: Should I upgrade my iPhone?

There are many reasons to choose iPhone 15. Key enhancements include USB-C replacing the Lightning port, up to 48-megapixel photos, and the ability to change the photo to portrait mode after taking it.

The two Pro models add even more features, such as the latest and most powerful Apple mobile processor (A17 Pro), titanium construction material for reduced weight, and a silent switch that turns into a multi-function action button.

For an in-depth look at all the new iPhone 15 features, check out the Apple iPhone 15 event.

There are good reasons to wait to upgrade your iPhone, especially one on a budget: The iPhone 15 starts at $799, and the high-end Pro Max sells for $1,599. Even if your current iPhone is a few years old, here are some ways to spruce it up to give it another year or two:

  • Replacement battery: Nothing makes an old iPhone look like new again like a new battery (replacement batteries start at $29). Check out iPhone battery replacement tips.
  • Replace a cracked screen: Repairing a cracked screen is another step toward improving your quality of life. Learn more in The Best Options for iPhone Screen Repair.
  • Clean your iPhone: A good cleaning can help your iPhone look better and perform better. Find out how to clean your iPhone speakers and how to clean your iPhone's charging port.
  • Upgrade iCloud storage: You can't upgrade your iPhone's physical memory, but upgrading iCloud storage lets you store large files in the cloud and keep what you need on your phone.

If you have an iPhone 12 or older phone (especially an older phone), we recommend upgrading to iPhone 15. While the iPhone 12 is a good phone, you won't believe how much has changed.

Every iPhone 15 model has significant upgrades in nearly every aspect and feature: the 15 offers a larger, brighter screen that includes Dynamic Island; the 15's performance (especially the Pro model) is much faster, Better for gaming and other processor-intensive tasks.

The camera system is better both day and night (48-megapixel images versus the 12 Pro's 12-megapixel photos, plus significant improvements for night photography), and there's more storage to save those photos.

If you have an iPhone 13, deciding whether to upgrade is even harder. 15 is better in every way, but the jump from 12 to 15 is not the same. The 15 series has a faster processor than the 13 (the 15 Pro is much faster), slightly better battery life, dynamic islands and a brighter screen for outdoor use, and is lighter (for example, the 13 Pro Max weighs 8.46 ounces, while the 15 Pro The Max weighs 7.81 ounces; thanks to the titanium body, the weight is reduced).

The camera system is the significant difference . Both base models have two cameras, and both Pro models have three cameras, but the cameras on the 15 series offer higher-resolution images, better night photography, and more zoom options.

An iPhone 13 in good condition still has a few years of life left in it, so if it were me, I wouldn't feel pressure to upgrade immediately.

Upgrading from an iPhone 14 to an iPhone 15 is hard to justify unless you want the latest and greatest, or the money is just burning a hole in your pocket.

The iPhone 15 series has some improvements over the 14 series, but most of them aren't significant. The camera system adds some nice options (especially applying focus effects after taking a photo), the Pro processor is faster, the Pro model is lighter, and the 15 has USB-C.

On the other hand, many aspects — battery life, screen quality, storage capacity — are essentially the same. Upgrading from the base iPhone 14 to the iPhone 15 Pro brings more significant benefits, but upgrading to the equivalent model (i.e. 14 Pro to 15 Pro) may not be worth it.

If you own a first- or second-generation iPhone SE, we recommend upgrading because the iPhone 15 is much better than the SE in every aspect.

Even if you own a third-generation iPhone SE, we recommend upgrading. You get a brighter, larger screen (4.7 inches on the SE, 6.1 or 6.7 inches on the 15), Dynamic Island, a faster processor, a better camera (48-megapixel images vs. 12-megapixel, Up to 4 zoom options vs. 1, night mode, improved video) and higher capacity storage (from 128GB vs. 64GB).

Other upgrades include Animoji and Memoji, Face ID, MagSafe charging, satellite security, and a better battery (up to 75 hours of audio time on the 15, compared to 50 hours on the SE).

Unless you just bought an SE, start thinking about which iPhone 15 model is right for you.

Ready to upgrade to a new iPhone? Check out the following buying tips to make an informed decision:

  • Everything you need to know about Apple's iPhone upgrade program
  • Here's the true cost of an iPhone
  • 9 things you need to know when buying a used iPhone

Now is not the right time for every iPhone user to upgrade to iPhone 15. If you have a fairly new iPhone that's still running fine, especially the iPhone 14, you can probably skip this generation (unless you like the latest and greatest). However, if you have an iPhone 12 or earlier, upgrading brings so many improvements that it's worth it for most people.

If you're ready to upgrade, you can buy all four iPhone 15 models directly from Apple.