iPhone 13 Pro Max vs iPhone 11 Pro Max: what we know so far

Is it time to upgrade your iPhone 11 Pro Max to the newer iPhone 13 Pro Max? And what are the actual differences between these phones that are two generations apart?

After numerous leaks and rumors, we already know a lot about the upcoming iPhone 13 Pro Max, and while it won’t have a ground-breaking new design, it is expected to introduce some big changes under the hood and what is possibly the biggest upgrade to battery life ever in the Pro Max series.

In this article, we look at the design differences, the advantages of the newer Apple A15 processor, everything new around the camera and finally, the battery life.
iPhone 13 Pro Max vs iPhone 11 Pro Max expectations in a nutshell:
  • Boxy style with flat edges on iPhone 13 Pro Max, heavier than the iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • Slightly larger 6.7″ screen size vs 6.5″, 120Hz ProMotion on 13 Pro Max vs 60Hz on 11 Pro Max
  • Apple A15 vs Apple A13, newer phone has 6GB RAM vs 4GB RAM on 11 Pro Max
  • Similar camera hardware (wide, ultrawide and zoom, iPhone 13 Pro Max has 2.5X zoom vs 2X on 11 Pro Max)
  • Big improvement in battery size:  4,352mAh on iPhone 13 Pro Max vs 3,969mAh on iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • TouchID fingerprint scanner on iPhone 13 Pro Max (not certain)
  • New Matte Black and Bronze color options (not certain)

Price and release date

Mid-September announcement and late September in-store launch
Apple is expected to return to its routine iPhone launch timing in 2021. That means that you should expect the big announcement event in the middle of September, followed by in-store availability of the new iPhones in late September.

If we were to pin-point a date, we would bet on the iPhone 13 event happening on Tuesday, September 14th, as per Apple tradition, and you can expect an in-store iPhone release on Friday, September 24th.

So far, there are no rumors suggesting Apple will change the pricing, so we expect a $1,100 base price for iPhone 13 Pro Max. Since the iPhone 11 Pro Max is a two year old model, it is likely to be discontinued over at Apple but will likely still be sold over at carriers for a lower base price of around $900.

Display and Design

Finally with 120Hz ProMotion!

If you are using an iPhone 11 Pro Max, you will immediately notice that the iPhone 13 Pro Max is a bigger, heavier and overall chunkier phone. It has the new boxier styling with flat edges compared to the curved edges on the 11 Pro Max (that we actually find a bit more comfortable in the hand).

In terms of display quality, the iPhone 13 Pro Max features a slightly larger screen: a 6.7-inch one vs 6.5 inches on the 11 Pro Max, but both use the same OLED technology for similarly vibrant colors and both have about the same resolution, and they look plenty sharp. The iPhone 13 Pro Max, however, is expected to have a higher peak brightness for more comfortable outdoor use. While we don’t expect any major differences to the screen colors, the iPhone 13 Pro Max will bring one exciting upgrade: 120Hz ProMotion for super smooth scrolling. This simply means that the screen refreshes 120 times each second compared to 60 times on the iPhone 11 Pro Max, and this faster refresh rate makes everything appear smoother when you interact with the screen. This is a bigger deal than it sounds, it really makes the whole experience a lot better.

Finally, we expect to see two new colors on the 13 Pro Max: Matte Black, which unlike previous space gray and graphite models should be real black rather than dark gray, and then a Bronze color, which is just a darker shade of gold. 

Touch ID makes a return?

Much easier to unlock your iPhone while wearing a mask

Rumors predict the return of the Touch ID fingerprint scanner to all four new iPhone 13 models, and yes, the iPhone 13 Pro Max is expected it to get it too.

This rumor actually originates from the usually very reliable Bloomberg, but no other sources confirm this so far, so it’s definitely not a certainty yet. However, Touch ID is one feature that makes a lot of sense in these times. It is said to come as an alternative to Face ID rather than replacing it.

Expectations are that this would be an in-display fingerprint scanner similar to what you get on Android phones like the Galaxy S21 Ultra. We have not yet heard whether it will use the optical fingerprint scanning tech, or Qualcomm’s ultrasonic one, but we’ll update you here when new details appear.

Battery and Charging

Will this be the biggest upgrade to iPhone battery life?

Coming from an iPhone 11 Pro Max, you are probably already used to great battery life. When it launched, the iPhone 11 Pro Max wowed us with a big battery and long battery life, but the iPhone 13 Pro Max might take things a lot further.

Apple is rumored to make the already big Pro Max series even bigger, thicker and heavier, but also — one with a much larger battery capacity.

The exact battery capacity for the iPhone 13 Pro Max leaked in June by the usually very reliable leaker L0vetodream on Chinese forums, and here are the numbers:

  • 4,352mAh battery on iPhone 13 Pro Max vs 3,969mAh in iPhone 11 Pro Max

Yes! That’s a big difference of 383mAh, or a nearly 10% larger battery.

We are curious to see whether this will result in 10% better battery life but we are hopeful it will, even despite the slightly larger battery consumption associated with running a 120Hz display refresh rate.

On the charger front iPhone 11 Pro Max users are in for a bit of a disappointment as a charger is no longer included in the box. Plan on spending an additional $20 bucks for an Apple fast charger. Unfortunately, even this “fast charger” maxes out at about 20W charging speeds which is not all that fast in modern standards and will still take you about an hour and 50 minutes to fully charge.


Battery revolution, camera evolution

While the iPhone 11 Pro Max launched with new camera features like Night Mode, the iPhone 13 Pro Max is rumored to have a far more modest list of camera innovations.

On the back, you will still have three cameras: a main, an ultra-wide and a slightly longer zoom lens (2.5X zoom on iPhone 13 Pro Max vs 2X zoom on iPhone 11 Pro Max).

Having nearly identical camera hardware, however, does not mean that you will get quite the same images. Rumors point to Apple planning improvements in 3 key areas:

  • 6-element ultra-wide lens construction
  • wider f/1.8 aperture for the ultra-wide camera for better low-light shots
  • general improvements to the algorithm

What will not happen in the iPhone 13 Pro Max is a long-range zoom camera like you get on trendy Android phones. Apple is allegedly working on such a camera, but it will only be ready in the iPhone 15 Pro Max in 2022.

As for other new camera features, astrophotography is something being mentioned but the rumors there are sketchy. What’s more likely is a portrait video mode that will blur your background in videos in real time. Android phones have had this for a while, so it’s not exactly innovation, but it is something that is at least not a gimmick and might be used on a daily basis.

Тhe iPhone 13 Pro Max will also have one extra sensor on the back compared to the 11 Pro Max: a LiDAR scanner! This sensor is great for augmented reality, and Apple has so far shown that it is well optimized to scan a room in 3D fast and easy.

Performance: Apple A15 vs A13

Back when the iPhone 11 Pro Max launched, it was the fastest phone on the market, and Apple has only been extending its lead in chip performance. The new Apple A15 Bionic chip inside the iPhone 13 Pro Max should bring improvements in CPU, GPU and AI performance, plus camera ISP improvements.

The newer iPhone is also due to have 6GB of RAM on board, more than the 4GB RAM on the 11 Pro Max, which were a bit limiting for those of us who multitask a lot and have dozens of tabs open.

An important upgrade of the iPhone 13 Pro Max comes in connectivity as it has 5G support with a ton of bands, while the 11 Pro Max only has 4G LTE connectivity. Also, the 13 Pro Max is expected to feature Wi-Fi 6E support, which delivers higher faster speeds and lower latency. In addition, you get support for the 6GHz Wi-Fi band which is great in congested urban areas with many 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks.

This article will be updated whenever new information about the A15 surfaces.

iPhone 13 Pro Max vs iPhone 11 Pro Max: Specs Comparison

And here is a detailed specs comparison between the iPhone 13 Pro Max and iPhone 11 Pro Max.

Keep in mind that the specs below are based on rumors, leaks and expectations, so they may change in the final device.