Why I'm Returning My iPhone 15 Pro

The iPhone 15 Pro is an amazing phone, but after days of testing, I haven't found it to be a significant upgrade over last year's 14 Pro. 

Build Quality

One of the highlighted features of the iPhone 15 Pro is its titanium build, replacing the stainless steel of the iPhone 14 Pro. Surprisingly, I found that I prefer the heavier feel of last year's model, and in durability tests, the stainless steel of the 14 Pro proved more resilient to drops than the titanium of the 15 Pro. The polished stainless steel of the 14 Pro also holds up better against scratches compared to the painted titanium of the 15 Pro.

Mute Switch Versus Programmable Action Button

Apple removed the physical mute switch on the iPhone 15 Pro, replacing it with a programmable action button. I'm happy for the change, but using it to open the camera is only a fraction of a second faster than using the shortcut on the lock screen. 


The iPhone 15 Pro boasts a faster processor and better graphics, but my iPhone 14 Pro was already working flawlessly. Unless you have specific, high-performance needs, the upgrades in this department may not be essential.

USB-C and ProRes Video

One major change in the iPhone 15 Pro is the switch to USB-C from the old Lightning port, offering USB 3.0 speeds. However, if you, like me, rely on wireless file transfers, this change may not be a game-changer. I also found that none of my high-speed USB C cables fit in the hole on Apple's official phone case, requiring me to take it off every time I wanted to plug it in.

ProRes and Log

The ProRes video shooting capability is interesting, but in my tests, the difference in video quality between ProRes and MP4 wasn't substantial. Shooting in Log on pro cameras gives you a significant boost in dynamic range, but I wasn't seeing this improvement in the footage out of the 15 Pro. 

Camera Upgrades

Traditionally, camera upgrades are a significant reason to consider a new iPhone. However, this year, the improvements are not as dramatic as one might expect. Let's break down each camera:

  • Ultra-Wide: Video, stabilization, and photos taken in various conditions showed almost identical results on both phones.

  • Telephoto: Similar to the ultra-wide, there were no significant differences in video, stabilization, or photo quality.

  • Standard Lens: Here's where the significant upgrade is found. The iPhone 15 Pro's main camera shoots at 48 megapixels, offering slightly better photo quality and vastly improved dynamic range. However, the 14 Pro's 12-megapixel camera still delivers impressive results.


In the end, the iPhone 15 Pro is undoubtedly a fantastic phone with some compelling features. However, for those who don't regularly rely on USB-C file transfers, the only upgrade you'll probably notice is more dynamic range in images taken with the main camera... that's it. 

If you're upgrading from a phone that's more than a year old, the 15 Pro is probably an easy choice, but if you've already got a 14 Pro, you're not missing much by waiting for next year's phone. 

Lee Morris's picture

Lee Morris is a professional photographer based in Charleston SC, and is the co-owner of Fstoppers.com

Log in or register to post comments

Fantastic review: Thank you for keeping this centered on the photo video aspects- SOOO insightful. Staying with my 14Pro as well!

Correction needed. Main camera on iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max is 48MP, not 12MP. Same as iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max.

48 megapixel, but on quad pixel sensor... So it's 12 megapixel.. Even 24 mp photos on 15 pro max are created from multiple 12mpx shots and 48 mpx ( 48 mpx is most likely only for details and 12mpx for color information)

Its the same like saying that you get f/1.78 on 28mm.... Marketing maths.. Its actually f/8 because someone forgot about sensor size on iPhone mixing apples and oranges

The spin Apple puts on the iPhone camera specs is almost criminal.

Upgrading from ‘n’ to ‘n+1‘ is nearly always going to be disappointing if you are expecting major changes. After cutting through all the substantial hype from Apple the real changes besides new material and the enforced USB interface are pretty minimal. Aside from the annual incremental tech upgrades which few would notice there is little functional differences from the previous model. For a few individuals being able to record video to an external drive may well be a game changer but for most the difference between 14 and 15 are few. Apple thrives on creating hype driven by sites like Mac rumours and expectations and it’s that that drives their business. Like everyone else I fall for the hype initially but it eventually it wears off and sanity prevails. I was due for a new phone, current one being an Xr I was going to buy a 14 but waited for a 15. The gain was a 256 15 for the price of a 128 14. For me that was a no brainer. All other micro improvements where they exist are welcome. Plus I believe you can use the device to call people!

In my humble opinion you get a new phone every 3-4 years to really feel the changes. However to me, until the sensor size changes nothing else will be that big a deal with these nominal upgrades.

If your 14 was working fine, why buy a 15 then complain about?

They have to get those "clicks".

I can't speak to the iPhone but for example with the S2x Ultra line there have been incremental improvements that just don't show up in any reviews. So this may be true of the iPhones also. Since you had your hands on both, you would know if there were any improvements hidden or undiscussed.

They know how to get your money, don't they! It's a phone.

It's more than that..

Nice shots but they look rendered/processed. For example, the lamp post on the top one has unnatural bokeh effect to me. The image looks like mix of different f values or something weird only AI would create.

The end user doesn't care about nor would notice any of that.

I'm pretty sure they do. In fact young people have made the point that selfies are better captured as a screen shot than the actual resulting mangled picture their phones take. It's not natural, they are not idiots.


That's okay, but if you took the time to search you would find out more, like the fact that gen Z's are buying compact digital cameras after finding out that they like the resulting images better.

Can I ask what a natural bokeh effect is in. your book?. Every photograph is processed if shot as a jpg wether by phone or camera. Even if one shoots in RAW the image still has to be processed. Its part of the game. As for the photographs I personally would not have included the large green lamppost in the first one as it rather dominates the image, drawing attentional from the couple. As regards the second one Im not so sure I would have put the guy behind the wild flowers as they too are a bit of a distraction. As for the last one it's ok, but Im sure a better composition could have been had as the path with its very defined edges is a bit dominant for my taste. But what the hell if the people like them then who gives a toss what I think. It does go to show however, as I firmly believe, its not the camera that makes the real difference its the decisions taken by the photographer in composing the shot that does that.

It's easy to answer. I worked for all types of labs the market had to offer and shot a very extensive type of film and film format. RAW processing and film processing and printing are nearly identical including scanning which I have done my share on all formats on a high end drum scanner, a Heidelberg ChromaGraph. AI shares literally nothing with film or RAW processing. It's all about making up in yet an additional step from capture processing. I would definitely never compare capture processing with look like end process. That additional AI post process, the depth and bokeh effect between the people, the lamp post and background has nothing natural to me. People will accept it by default because no option is presented to them. If it's you on the photo and the photographer presents you with no alternative, you are forced to accept it. AI acceptance is a tricky thing to think about. Some will accept some won't, but it has nothing to do with capture or processing, zero%. It's an additional step that's not photographic related.