With technology advancing fast, smartphone companies are aiming to have products that meet customer expectations. Every year, Apple delivers a new model of their iconic iPhone.

Since it was first announced by Steve Jobs way back in January of 2007, Apple has managed to sell more than two billion iPhones across its lineup. The latest model, the 13, continued to improve on a new concept introduced to the smartphone family with the iPhone 11.

This raises many questions: in the battle between the iPhone 12 Pro Max and the iPhone 13 Pro Max, how do the two compare? Which is better? Which has better features, a better performance, or a camera that works? Keep reading to get the full comparison of the two gadgets.

iPhone 12 Pro Max vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max: A Side-by-Side Comparison

iPhone 12 Pro MaxiPhone 13 Pro Max
CompanyApple Inc.Apple Inc.
Date ReleasedNovember 13th, 2020September 24th, 2021
Weight228 grams240 grams
Capacity128GB, 256GB, and 512GB128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB
Display Refresh Rate60Hz120Hz
Resolution2778 x 1284p, 458 PPI2778 x 1284p, 458 PPI
Battery Life20 hours of video playback28 hours of video playback
ColorsGraphite, Gold, Silver, Pacific BlueGraphite, Gold, Silver, Sierra Blue
Charging Speed22W fast charging, 15W MagSafe charging, 7.5W Qi wireless charging27W fast charging, 15W MagSafe charging, 7.5W Qi wireless charging
Speed5G5G
Front Camera12MP f/2.212MP f/2.2
Rear Camera12MP f/1.6 main, 12MP f/2.2 telephoto, 12MP f/2.4 ultrawide12MP f/1.5 main, 12MP f/2.8 telephoto, 12MP f/1.8 ultrawide
Video RecordingNo Cinematic modeHas a Cinematic mode of taking photos and videos
AuthenticationSupports Face IDSupports Face ID
Chip4-core GPU5-core GPU
Water and Dust ResistanceA maximum of six meters in depth, and a maximum of 30 minutes in durationA maximum of six meters in depth, and a maximum of 30 minutes in duration
SIM CardDual SIM (e-SIM and nano-SIM)Dual SIM (e-SIM and nano-SIM)
RAM6GB6GB

iPhone 12 Pro Max vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max: 8 Must-Know Facts

  • iPhone 12 Pro Max has a 60Hz ProMotion display vs. 120Hz on the 13 Pro Max.
  • Both iPhones can resist water up to a depth of 6 meters for around 30 minutes.
  • The iPhone 13 Pro Max has a model with 1TB storage space to support more files.
  • Battery life is up to two and a half hours longer on the iPhone 13 Pro Max.
  • Both iPhones have a ceramic shield that protects the screen from scratches.
  • Both iPhones are compatible with wireless chargers and MagSafe accessories.
  • The iPhone 13 Pro Max is a bit heavier than the iPhone 12 Pro Max.
  • The screen is the same for both phones, with a diagonal size of 6.7 inches.

iPhone 12 Pro Max vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max: What’s the Difference?

While the iPhone 13 Pro Max might look almost exactly like its predecessor, the 12 Pro Max, each has a unique feature set that affects how they operate.

iPhone 12 Pro Max
The iPhone 12 Pro Max and 13 Pro Max may seem pretty similar, but they definitely have their fair share of differences!

Display

One of the main differences between the two iPhones is the ProMotion feature. Apple Inc. first introduced this feature in 2017 with the iPad screen, and it has now been reintroduced in the iPhone 13 Pro Max.

The iPhone 13 Pro Max has a ProMotion feature with a screen refresh rate of 120Hz. The ProMotion feature allows you to scroll through the phone with ease. Sure enough, no one likes hanging screens, and the iPhone 13 Pro Max will be a good fit. 

The iPhone 12 Pro Max has a maximum refresh rate of 60Hz and lacks this ProMotion feature. As a result, the navigation of the phone is slower compared to the iPhone 13 Pro Max.

The iPhone 13 Pro Max has a maximum typical brightness of 1,000 nits, which is the best during the day or in brighter rooms. On the other hand, the iPhone 12 Pro Max has a maximum typical brightness of 800 nits, which calls for more daily struggle. 

Camera

Every phone producer makes sure to improve the camera features when developing new models. Indeed, the camera is mostly the selling point of smartphones today because of the overwhelming social media pressure of posting well-captured images. Apple was not left behind since it introduced the Cinematic mode in 1080p at 30 FPS with the iPhone 13 Pro Max. The company says there is no other iPhone with a more excellent camera than the iPhone 13 Pro Max.

The Cinematic mode in the iPhone 13 Pro Max enables the capture of high-quality images. Once you open your camera, you can click on the focus image to capture it. The good thing about this feature is that it can capture very focused photos and videos since it can track multiple objects simultaneously. The iPhone 12 Pro Max doesn’t have this Cinematic feature, which makes its images slightly lower quality. 

With the iPhone 13 Pro Max, you can zoom photos up to 6x. This feature is lacking in the iPhone 12 Pro Max, which has a maximum optical zoom of 5x. In addition, the iPhone 13 Pro Max has a maximum digital zoom of 15x compared to 12x of the iPhone 12 Pro Max. That makes it easier to take photos and videos using the iPhone 13 Pro Max.

The iPhone 13 Pro Max camera can record macro videos with slo-mo and time-lapse features. In addition, the iPhone 13 Pro Max has a ProRes video recording up to 4K at 30 FPS.

Here is the full list of iPhone 12 Pro Max camera features:

  • Apple ProRAW
  • Digital zoom up to 12x
  • True Tone flash with slow sync
  • Pro 12MP camera system (Telephoto, Wide, and Ultra Wide cameras)
  • Telephoto lens: ƒ/2.2 aperture
  • Wide lens: ƒ/1.6 aperture
  • Ultra Wide lens: ƒ/2.4 aperture
  • Night mode
  • Deep Fusion
  • Night mode portraits
  • Portrait mode with advanced bokeh and Depth Control
  • Sensor-shift optical image stabilization
  • 2.5x optical zoom in, 2x optical zoom out; 5x optical zoom range
  • Portrait Lighting with six effects (Contour, Studio, Natural, Stage, Stage Mono, and High‑Key Mono)
  • Smart HDR 3 for photos

Here is the full list of iPhone 13 Pro Max camera features:

  • Night mode
  • Deep Fusion
  • Apple ProRAW
  • Portrait mode with advanced bokeh and Depth Control
  • Portrait Lighting with six effects (Natural, Studio, Contour, Stage, Stage Mono, and High‑Key Mono)
  • Smart HDR 4 for photos
  • Photographic styles
  • Macro photography
  • Sensor-shift optical image stabilization
  • 3x optical zoom in, 2x optical zoom out; 6x optical zoom range
  • Digital zoom up to 15x
  • True Tone flash with slow sync
  • Night mode portraits
  • Pro 12MP camera system (Telephoto, Wide, and Ultra Wide cameras)
  • Wide lens: ƒ/1.5 aperture
  • Telephoto lens: ƒ/2.8 aperture
  • Ultra Wide lens: ƒ/1.8 aperture
iPhone 13 Pro Max
The iPhone 13 Pro Max has impeccable camera abilities and the largest battery Apple has ever used in a smartphone.

Storage

No one likes to have a phone with a small storage capacity. That’s why Apple has gone a step higher in introducing iPhone 13 Pro Max with a maximum storage space of 1TB. The ample space helps to accommodate colossal data files and macro videos. However, if you don’t need much space, you can stick to the iPhone 12 Pro Max, since you can get up to 512GB capacity.

Battery Life

Do you hate walking with a power bank or charger wherever you go? Well, the iPhone 13 Pro Max has a solution for you. This iPhone has maximum video playback of 28 hours and audio playback of 95 hours. That means the battery can last even longer if you do not have much activity on the phone.

On the other hand, the iPhone 12 Pro Max has maximum video playback of 20 hours and audio playback of 80 hours. So,if you are a traveling person, you may consider upgrading to the iPhone 13 Pro Max. However, the iPhone 13 Pro Max has a slightly slower charge rate of about 50% in 35 minutes compared to the iPhone 12 Pro Max, which has a faster charge rate of 50% in 30 minutes. 

Size and Weight

Although the size of these iPhones is not very different, some people still want to carry lighter phones in their pockets. The iPhone 12 Pro Max and the iPhone 13 Pro Max have different depth dimensions of 0.29 inches and 0.30 inches, respectively. If you don’t like heavy phones, the iPhone 13 Pro Max might not be an option to consider. This iPhone weighs 240g, while the iPhone 12 Pro Max weighs 228g.

Price and Availability

The iPhone 13 Pro Max is more expensive than the iPhone 12 Pro Max. However, it won’t hurt to add more money to upgrade to the iPhone 13 Pro Max due to its fantastic features.

Apple introduced the iPhone 12 Pro Max in Apple authorized stores on November 13th, 2020. The starting price of this iPhone was $1,099. However, after the iPhone 13 launch, the iPhone 12 Pro Max was discontinued by Apple.

The iPhone 13 Pro Max was officially released on Sept 24th, 2021, and the good news is that prices haven’t changed and the starting price is still $1,100 for the base 128GB version.

Operating System

The iPhone 13 Pro Max is powered by iOS 15, which allows you to keep your conversation going while sharing videos, photos, or doing other things on the screen.

In addition, the iPhone 13 Pro Max has larger app icons, courtesy of iOS 15. Apple Maps has been redesigned in a new way with a three-dimensional city, hence bringing better walking and driving experience. The iPhone 12 Pro Max has iOS 14, which doesn’t have all those features.

Pros and Cons of iPhone 12 Pro Max

ProsCons
Great camera systemStatic 60Hz display refresh on a $1,099 phone
Futureproof 5G support with bands recordNo power adapter
Best water resistance on a general-purpose phoneA bit heavy compared to other phones
One of the toughest displays on a phone
Double the base storage of its predecessor

Pros and Cons of iPhone 13 Pro Max

ProsCons
Amazing battery lifeLacks fast charging
Fastest performance compared to other phonesIt’s a bit bulky
Best video quality of any phoneCinematic mode is not one of the best
Super bright display with great colorsNo USB-C makes life more complicated
Improved camera

iPhone 12 Pro Max vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max: Which is Better?

The best iPhone model depends on your preferences. As you have seen above, both iPhones have different camera models, storage, prices, and more. However, they are both high-quality phones compared to other brands from competing companies.

In most cases, the high price of the iPhone 13 Pro Max limits the number of buyers. As such, it would not harm to stay with your iPhone 12 Pro Max if you can’t afford to upgrade.

However, we must advise on the best smartphone to buy between the two, assuming affordability is not an issue. Therefore, we can rule out the iPhone 13 Pro Max as the better choice, since it’s more improved than the iPhone 12 Pro Max. 

It will be a good choice to enjoy the overwhelming photography styles, ProMotion, and the Cinematic features of the new iPhone. In addition, you access new features with the iPhone 13 Pro Max, such as Portrait mode in FaceTime, redesigned notifications, contact photos, Live Text, and Focus Modes.

iPhone 12 Pro Max vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max: Full Comparison FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Is it worth upgrading from the iPhone 12 Max Pro to the 13 Max Pro?

Yes. You may consider upgrading if you need clearer photos and videos. In addition, you may need the iPhone 13 Pro Max for a faster refresh rate.

Is iPhone 13 Pro Max waterproof?

The iPhone 13 Pro Max is water-resistant. This feature means that nothing will go wrong if you drop your phone at a maximum depth of 6 meters for 30 minutes.

Are the iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPhone 13 Pro Max the same size?

They have almost the same dimensions, but the iPhone 13 Pro Max is slightly thicker by an almost unnoticeable 0.3mm. The dimensions of the iPhone 13 Pro Max are 160.8 x 78.1 x 7.7 mm (6.33 x 3.07 x 0.30 in). The dimensions of the iPhone 12 Pro Max are 160.8 x 78.1 x 7.4 mm (6.33 x 3.07 x 0.29 in).  In addition, the weight is also different, with the iPhone 12 Pro Max weighing 228g and the iPhone 13 Pro Max weighing 240g.

Can you use the iPhone 12 Pro Max case on the iPhone 13 Pro Max?

No. The cases are different due to the varying camera sizes.

Is the iPhone 13 Pro Max worth buying?

The iPhone 13 Pro Max is that rare phone that gets a 5-star rating from us. You get superior cameras and video recording capabilities—including the very compelling Cinematic mode and macro mode—blistering performance and a very responsive 120Hz display.

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