iPhone 14 Pro Max vs iPhone 12 Pro Max: main differences to expect


The upcoming iPhone 14 Pro Max might not be a big enough jump over the previous-gen model, but for those who own the two year old iPhone 12 Pro Max, it might just be the right phone to upgrade.

With big gains in performance, various improvements to camera, and an expected big leap in battery life, the iPhone 14 Pro Max might look similar to the 12 Pro Max, but on the inside it shapes up to be a totally different beast.

In this article, we tell you all you need to know about the iPhone 14 Pro Max vs the 12 Pro Max, summarizing the leaks and rumors, and let’s start with the 
iPhone 14 Pro Max vs iPhone 12 Pro Max differences in a nutshell:

  • Thinner bezel, taller aspect ratio
  • i-shaped cutout for Face ID (instead of notch)
  • Faster A16 Bionic chip
  • New 48MP main camera
  • Higher starting price

Table of Contents:

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Design and Display Quality

Brighter display with thinner borders

The iPhone 14 Pro Max keeps the design that the iPhone 12 Pro Max championed into the world with flat bezels, a stainless steel frame and a matte glass back.

However, Apple is said to trim down the borders around the screen and most notably, change the infamous notch that houses the front camera and Face ID hardware for a more discreet i-shaped form.

Expect to see the same IP68 water and dust protection on both devices, the same Lightning port used for charging, and the same lack of a 3.5mm headphone jack.

In terms of colors, you will get a selection of four colors on both models. Three of them are nearly identical: Graphite, Silver and Gold, but the fourth one is rumored to be a new Purple shade on the iPhone 14 compared to the Pacific Blue hue we had on the 12 Pro Max.

There is also not much of a difference when you open the box: the iPhone 14 is expected to ship with just a Lightning cable in the box, no charger included, just like the 12 Pro Max.

Face ID remains the biometric security solution of choice for Apple, and despite the new shape of the cutout, it works just the same on the iPhone 14.

But what about the screen? Both phones come with a 6.7-inch OLED display with beautiful colors, but the 12 Pro Max lacks one key feature: 120Hz ProMotion, so scrolling doesn’t look nearly as smooth.

The higher peak brightness of the newer 14 Pro Max is another argument it has in its favor.

For all else, though, both devices are expected with excellent color calibration and both fully support HDR content.

Performance and Software

Faster speed on the newer model

Under the hood, you have the Apple A16 Bionic chip on the iPhone 14 Pro Max and the A14 on the 12 Pro Max. The newer chip is expected to be made on the more efficient 4nm process and should deliver not only faster speeds, but also be less power hungry.

Both also have 6GB of RAM, with a slight difference: the newer model comes with faster LPDDR5 type RAM vs LPDDR4 on the older model.

In terms of software, both will have iOS 16: the 14 Pro Max at launch, and the 12 Pro Max should get the iOS 16 update within days after that too. With 5 or 6 years of software support, both devices are also perfectly future-proof, but do consider that two of those years have already passed on the 12 Pro Max.

In terms of connectivity, both feature 5G, and it’s good to know that the older 12 Pro Max also supports C-band 5G frequencies that are becoming crucial for Verizon and AT&T. 

We have also heard rumors about satellite connectivity on the 14 Pro Max that would allow you to send an emergency message if you are in trouble and with no coverage, and that might be a life-saving feature.



A new 48MP sensor might bring the next big leap in video quality

Camera systems have only gotten bigger and the iPhone 14 Pro Max will only continue that trend. Both phones use a triple camera system on the back, but because of a new and larger 48-megapixel sensor for the main camera, the 14 Pro Max camera had expanded further.

iPhone 14 Pro Max vs 12 Pro Max camera expected differences:
  • Wide camera: 48MP on 14 Pro Max vs 12MP on 12 Pro Max
  • Ultra-wide camera: 12MP on both, f/1.8 on newer model vs f/2.2
  • Telephoto camera: 3X zoom vs 2.5X zoom

Having this larger camera opens the door for Apple to introduce 8K video recording on this new iPhone, plus just the ability to capture full-res 48MP photos sounds great for landscape shots for example.

But it’s not just about the hardware, of course. A number of features are not available on the older 12 Pro Max. Chief among them has got to be Cinematic Mode, which allows you to blur the background in videos much like Portrait Mode does in photos. You also don’t have Photographic Styles or the longer zoom range.

We will be adding more information about the new camera features on the iPhone 14 Pro Max here as soon as more details emerge.

Audio Quality and Haptics

While the iPhone 12 Pro Max sounds good, it was the next generation that made a big leap in both volume levels and richness, and we expect even further improvements in the 14 series, so those who value great audio from their phone would appreciate the newer model.

We do not expect to see any changes to the Taptic Engine that drives the haptics, or the vibration feedback, but it has been excellent from the start, so that’s no reason of concern.

Battery Life and Charging

Big boost in battery life

We expect the iPhone 14 Pro Max to have the same sized or larger battery than its predecessor, and that constitutes a big jump over the 12 Pro Max.

So those who value great battery life are in for a treat with the 14 Pro Max, and this alone might be a good reason to upgrade.

Battery Sizes:
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max: 3,687mAh
  • iPhone 14 Pro Max: 4,352mAh or more (+20%)

On the charging front, both use the Lightning connector with slight differences in the charging speed. The 12 Pro Max can charge at up to 20 watts, while the 14 Pro Max can go as fast as 27W. However, due to the different size of the batteries the charging time from 0 to 100% on both is about 2 hours.

Both also support MagSafe wireless charging at 15W speeds.

Specs Comparison

*iPhone 14 specs are based on leaks and rumors, and are not final.

Summary and Final Verdict

So, is it worth upgrading from the 12 Pro Max to the newer 14 Pro Max? While we don’t yet know all about the 14 Pro Max, it is a considerable upgrade. The boost in battery life might be the most significant improvement, next to the 120Hz ProMotion screen.

We are not sure how many people will actually care about 8K video recording or the higher res photos. The camera nerds sure will, but we’re not sure about all the rest. But it is the whole suite of improvements that you get with some sweet trade-in deals that might be just convincing enough.

Don’t forget that rumors about a price hike float around, and it is possible that the newer iPhone 14 Pro Max might be slightly more expensive too.

What would it take you to upgrade from the 12 Pro Max? Is there a particular feature you find missing or want to see improved?

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