iPhone 15 vs iPhone 13: Should you upgrade yet?

If you got an iPhone 13 on a 24-month plan, then you're almost free! Luckily the iPhone 15 is right around the corner - but should you upgrade now or wait for the next one?

Storage available
128GB / 256GB/ 512GB
Camera
48MP + 12MP
Processor
A16 Bionic
Cheapest plan est.
$86 per month
Storage available
128GB/256GB/512GB
Camera
12MP + 12MP
Processor
A15 Bionic
Cheapest plan (new)
$79.13 per month
Anula Wiwatowska
Sep 18, 2023
Icon Time To Read5 min read

Got that itch for a new phone? Wondering how a cage match of iPhone 15 vs. iPhone 13 would go? After Apple's announcements this morning we now know that this one is quite the toss up. Below we dissect the data to let you know if its worth upgrading your iPhone 13 to iPhone 15.

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Everything you need to know before purchasing iPhone 15

iPhone 15 vs iPhone 13 specs

There are a handful of small changes to the iPhone 15 family, but they don't mean all that much practically speaking.

Probably the biggest change is the switch to USB-C. Put simply, you won't need to carry around a Lightning cable because the iPhone 15 (and beyond) will use the universal USB-C system instead. That is a treat, but it is hardly a reason to upgrade, unless you're going Pro - but more on that later.

Looking at the specs side-by-side, the main differences between the iPhone 15 and iPhone 13 are around the camera. The iPhone 15 is kitted out with a 48MP + 12MP set-up, compared to the 12MP + 12MP set-up on the iPhone 13. Plus the 15 will have the new selfie-camera technology from the iPhone 14 last year. On the Pro side, we'll see a 48MP + 12MP + 12MP set-up, with a 3x telephoto zoom. Although the 15 Pro Max will go all the way up to 5x telephoto zoom, which makes it the best zoom ever in an iPhone. Comparitively the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max had a Triple 12MP setup with 2x optical zoom.

As is the new trend, silicon upgrades vary depending on the model. iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus step up to the A16 chip - one step above the iPhone 13. While the iPhone 15 Pro and the iPhone 15 Pro Max get the brand new A17 Pro Bionic instead.

The Pro Bionic is a whole new chip design from Apple, which Apple claims brings 10% faster mobile CPU. It also boasts a USB controller which enables wired file transfers 20x that of regular USB - with the right cable that is.

Check out the table below for a side-by-side look at the iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, and the rumoured specs for the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro, and iPhone 15 Pro Max. iPhone 15 plans are also a bit further down.

iPhone 15
iPhone 15 Plus
iPhone 15 Pro
iPhone 15 Pro Max
iPhone 13
iPhone 13 Pro
iPhone 13 Pro Max

Price

$1,499 (128GB)
$1,699 (256GB)
$2049(512GB)

$1,649 (128GB)
$1,849 (256GB)
$2,199 (512GB)

$1,849 (128GB)
$2,049(256GB)
$2,399(512GB), $2,749(1TB)

$2,199 (256GB)
$2,399 (512GB)
$2,719(1TB)

$1,299 (128GB)
$1,399 (256GB)
$1,749 (512GB)

Discontinued Discontinued

Release date

15 Sep 202315 Sep 202315 Sep 202315 Sep 202315 Sep 202115 Sep 202115 Sep 2021

Display

6.1-inch Super Retina XDR Display6.7-inch Super Retina XDR Display6.1-inch Super Retina XDR Display6.7-inch Super Retina XDR Display6.1-inch Super Retina XDR Display 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR Display6.7-inch Super Retina XDR Display

Resolution

2556x1179 @ 460ppi796x1290 @ 460ppi2556x1179 @ 460ppi2769x1290 @ 460ppi2532x1170 @ 460 ppi 2532x1170 @ 460 ppi 2778x1284 @ 458 ppi

Processor

A16 BionicA16 BionicA17 Pro BionicA17 Pro BionicA15 BionicA15 BionicA15 Bionic
iPhone 13 vs iPhone 15

iPhone 15 plans

Vodafone, Telstra and Optus have their iPhone 15 plans up and running.

iPhone 15 Pro plans

More of a Pro than a standard? The iPhone 15 Pro and the iPhone 15 Pro Max are available from Optus, Vodafone, and Telstra after Apple's announcement. Below are our predictions for what iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max plans look like from the big three Aussie telcos.

Standard models compared

iPhone 15 vs iPhone 13

Winner: iPhone 15
If you're a stickler for the details
TLDR:
  • The iPhone 15 will have more advanced image processing, and a 48MP primary lens
  • The iPhone 15 will have a slightly faster processor
  • The iPhone 15 will have the Dynamic Island
  • Upgrades between the iPhone 13 and iPhone 15 won't be obvious to most users

For the sake of this comparison, let's just ignore that the iPhone 13 mini and the iPhone 15 Plus exist. Pitting the iPhone 15 vs. the iPhone 13, the iPhone 15 is bound to come out on top - but there isn't a staggering difference between the two.

The iPhone 15 (128GB) will come out at $1,499 AUD, which is $150 dearer than the iPhone 13 was at launch. For the extra $150 you get a slightly faster processor, an upgrade on cameras in both quality and MP, and get that oh-so-dynamic Dynamic Island. Still, the choice isn't as black and white as it might be if you were jumping from the iPhone 11 to the iPhone 15. Its a similar story with the iPhone 12 and iPhone 15, just by the way.

iPhone 15 vs iPhone 13: performance and camera compared

Practically speaking, the biggest difference you'll see between the iPhone 13 and the iPhone 15 will be in photography.

The iPhone 14 family saw a new sensor and a strikingly clear front-facing camera. These are being carried forward into the iPhone 15 family, but chances are you'll only notice the difference on the selfie camera. Photos from the rear cameras on the iPhone 14 were slightly brighter than the iPhone 13, but unless you're doing side-by-side comparisons you probably wouldn't catch it. Although the iPhone 15 will have a 48MP primary lens, so there will be more detail if you work with your photos off your phone - but if you're a snap-and-scroll kind of user then again, it won't be a noticeable improvement.

When it comes to performance, there is only one generation's difference between the iPhone 13 and the iPhone 15's chipsets. Apple's iPhone 15 ships with last year's A16 Bionic, while the iPhone 13 has the A15 Bionic. Once again, you probably won't notice the performance changes.

One thing you will notice is the iPhone 13's notch will be replaced by the Dynamic Island pill on the iPhone 15. The persistent UI feature was introduced to the iPhone 14 Pro family last year and will trickle down to the standard iPhone 15 this year.

Pro models compared

iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max vs iPhone 13 Pro and Max

Winner: iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max
If you're going to upgrade this year, upgrade to the best
TLDR:
  • The iPhone 15 Pro and the iPhone 15 Pro Max have the latest A17 Pro processor
  • The iPhone 15 Pro Max has the best zoom on any iPhone to date
  • The iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max are up to $300 more expensive than previous new-releases
  • Upgrades between the iPhone 13 Pro models and the iPhone 15 Pro models will be iterative, but more significant than on the standard models

Naturally, the iPhone 15 Pro and the iPhone 15 Pro Max are the best iPhones we have seen so far. That is kind of the whole point. While the iPhone 15 vs. iPhone 13 race is neck and neck, there is more leeway when comparing the iPhone 13 Pro models.

Both the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max to have a faster processor, better telephoto zoom, the latest selfie camera, and of course the Dynamic Island. These models may be up by $100- $300 on previous iterations however, so if you like the sound of the upgrade it may be time to check the couch cushions. 

iPhone 15 Pro vs iPhone 13 Pro: performance and camera compared

For those hoping to go Pro,the upgrade between the iPhone 13 Pro and the iPhone 15 Pro is more enticing than the base models.

This year's iPhone 15 Pro devices have Apple's most advanced silicon yet - the A17 Pro Bionic. 2021's iPhone 13 had the A15 chipset, and while it is nothing to scoff at there are still 2 year's worth of improvements to reap, plus the additional upgrades with the new silicon design.

Apple also announced that the iPhone 15 Pro Max will have the best telephoto zoom of any iPhone - going up to 5x. Psst, that is around double the current capacity. While the iPhone 15 Pro held steady at the 3x zoom, the cameras will still be more powerful than the iPhone 13. This year's primary lens is 48MP as opposed to the 12MP of the iPhone 13, and the front-facing lens will benefit from the entirely new camera Apple introduced last year.

As is custom for new iPhones, the 15 Pro and 15 Pro Max will be the best phone cameras in the biz, but the performance difference between them and the 13 Pro family will be for the eagle-eyed among us.

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Conclusion

Is it time for iPhone 13 users to upgrade to iPhone 15?

iPhone 14 homescreen

Upgrading from the iPhone 13 to the iPhone 15 is more a matter of the heart than the head. While there are improvements between the base models, when it comes to iPhone 15 vs. iPhone 13 the upgrade isn't essential.

If you're following your heart and want a shiny new rectangle to glue to your sleeve, then we recommend upgrading to the iPhone 15 Pro or the iPhone 15 Pro Max instead. Upgrading from the iPhone 13 to these will get you two jumps in processing power, a significant camera jump, and of course Apple's new normal - the Dynamic Island.

iPhone 13 plans

Popular SIM Only iPhone plans

If you're buying an iPhone 15 outright, these are the most popular SIM Only plans you can buy today.

Anula Wiwatowska
Written by
Anula is the Content and Social Media Editor within the Reviews.org extended universe. Working in the tech space since 2020, she covers phone and internet plans, gadgets, smart devices, and the intersection of technology and culture. Anula was a finalist for Best Feature Writer at the 2022 Consensus Awards, and an eight time finalist across categories at the IT Journalism Awards. Her work contributed to WhistleOut's Best Consumer Coverage win in 2023.

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