Hands On with the iPhone 15 Pro: Is Apple’s Update Worth the Upgrade?

When it comes to the iPhone, I’ve always been happy with the base model. In fact, when Apple started producing mini versions of the iPhone, those were the ones I gravitated toward. I have had a 13 mini since it was released and would have happily held onto it for another few years. However, this year, I decided to take a risk and pick up the new iPhone 15 Pro. Here are my thoughts.

Smooth Design, Boring Colors

From a design standpoint, the iPhone 15 Pro looks almost identical to the iPhone 14 Pro, with some minor differences. The edges of the 14 Pro are flat, ending in 90-degree angles, whereas the 15 Pro subtly curves downward, making the edges of the device feel smoother. The back glass is a matte satin finish which looks and feels great.

The one downside to this new design is the titanium bezel, although this only applies to the Black and Blue models. The titanium finish attracts fingerprints and skin oils like crazy. So, if you’re like me and don’t like to use a case for your iPhone, expect the edges of your phone to look greasy 24/7.

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The iPhone 15 Pro comes in four colors: Natural (which is essentially just silver), White, Blue, or Black Titanium. The former two and the latter two are nearly identical, so one could argue there are only two colors available: dark or light. The lack of color diversity is disappointing for most, but, luckily for me, I almost always get a black iPhone. Thus, the Black Titanium was the natural choice for me.

Jump into Action

The feature that differentiates the iPhone 15 Pro the most from its predecessor is the Action button. This nifty new button replaces the Ring/Mute switch, which has been present on every iPhone since the original. The Action button still acts as a Ring/Mute switch by default, however, as its name implies, it can be customized to perform other actions.

This includes toggling on Focus modes, controlling the Flashlight, opening the Camera app to a specific shooting mode, recording Voice Memos, launching Translate, activating the magnifier, and running a Shortcut.

Personally, I have found these options to be somewhat limiting. You can access the flashlight and camera from the Lock Screen, I’ve set my Focus modes on a schedule, and I don’t use Voice Memos. I did try assigning my OK Google Shortcut, which opens Google Assistant and immediately begins listening for a command. This proved to be quite handy since Google Assistant has overall more capabilities than Siri. However, being able to use “Hey Siri” hands-free is so much more convenient that I often forget Google Assistant is even an option.

My hope is that Apple will eventually expand this to allow for more types of actions, as well as allow you to assign multiple actions to a double-or triple-click of the Action Button. In its current state, however, I find it underwhelming.

A Battery Fit for a Pro

The battery in my iPhone 13 Mini barely lasts more than 8 hours at this point, so I often find myself having to plug it in throughout the day to keep it alive. The iPhone 15 Pro’s battery has been a game changer. The battery lasts all day and I only need to plug it in at night when I go to bed.

On top of that, the iPhone 15 lineup now includes a new feature for limiting your battery charge to 80 percent. This is a handy feature that can help preserve the health of your battery longer. According to a 2020 New York Times article, if you avoid charging your battery past 80 percent, it puts less stress on the electrodes, which means slower degradation and a longer-lasting battery. So, you might get less use day to day, but, in the long term, your battery ends up lasting a little bit longer. Whether that’s worth it is completely up to you.

The iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max have also been plagued with overheating issues, but Apple claims this can be fixed with a software update. I have not noticed any significant overheating myself, but it is certainly a problem for others. Fingers crossed that Apple can fix this issue soon.

A Familiar Camera

Whenever there’s a new iPhone, everyone wants to know about the camera. The iPhone 15 Pro sports the same 48-megapixel camera we saw on the iPhone 14 Pro with the option to shoot photos at 24-or 48-megapixels. The 14 Pro, on the other hand, only offered 12- and 48-megapixel shooting options. The 15 Pro can now switch between 24mm, 28mm, and 35mm focal lengths.

The 15 Pro also has a new feature that can detect when you are taking portrait photos even if you are not using Portrait mode. Thanks to the new A17 Pro chip, it’s able to recognize the subject of the photo and create a depth map to apply the bokeh effect that portrait photos are known for. You can then edit the photo and remove the background blur entirely or adjust it to change the focus of the photo.

Overall, the iPhone 15 Pro’s camera, while impressive, isn’t too far off from the camera in the 14 Pro. It has the cool new Portrait mode feature and the option to quickly switch between focal lengths, but in terms of photo quality, you will likely be unable to tell the difference between a photo taken with an iPhone 14 Pro versus a photo taken with an iPhone 15 Pro.

One Charger to Rule Them All

Charging my iPhone is so much more convenient thanks to the switch to USB-C. USB-C is being adopted as a universal standard for all electronic devices. Now, you can use the same cable to charge your iPhone, iPad, and MacBook. Or if you’re hanging out with your Android friend and your iPhone is dying, you don’t have to worry about not having the cable with you; you can just borrow your friend’s charger.

At a Glance


  • Great battery life
  • Action button allows for cool one-click shortcuts
  • Subtle design changes make the phone look and feel better
  • Portrait mode feature makes taking portraits easier
  • One USB-C charger can power all your Apple devices


  • Action button, while cool, has limited utility
  • Overall camera quality is similar to the iPhone 14 Pro
  • Bland color options

The Final Verdict

The iPhone 15 Pro is certainly an impressive device that doesn’t introduce a whole lot of new features. And that’s fine. Apple doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel every time it releases a new iPhone. However, I have a hard time recommending this phone to anyone with an iPhone 13 or newer. Sure, the Action button is cool and nerds like me are excited about the switch to USB-C, but that doesn’t feel like enough to justify purchasing a whole new device. So those of you rocking 13s and 14s, it’s probably smarter to wait until the 16 Pro. On the other hand, if you’re still using an iPhone 12 or older, I would say it’s worth the upgrade.

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Author Details

Rhett Intriago's picture

Author Details

Rhett Intriago

Rhett Intriago is a Feature Writer at iPhone Life, offering his expertise in all things iPhone, Apple Watch, and AirPods. He enjoys writing on topics related to maintaining privacy in a digital world, as well as iPhone security. He’s been a tech enthusiast all his life, with experiences ranging from jailbreaking his iPhone to building his own gaming PC.

Despite his disdain for the beach, Rhett is based in Florida. In his free time, he enjoys playing the latest games, spoiling his cats, or discovering new places with his wife, Kyla.