iPhone 13 Pro Max: Ultimate Buyer’s Guide [2023]

Here’s literally everything you need to know about Apple’s iPhone 13 Pro Max, including its specs, its camera tech, where to buy one in 2023 and a whole lot more besides…

iPhone 13 Pro Max

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The iPhone 13 Pro Max, designed, developed, and marketed by Apple Inc., is not a new entrant in the smartphone market. In fact, it was launched almost two years ago, in September 2021, and served as Apple’s ultra-flagship model for 2021 and most of 2022. It was the crown jewel in the fifteenth generation of the iPhone, succeeding the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Despite not being the latest model, the iPhone 13 Pro Max still holds its ground in the competitive smartphone market. It retains many of the impressive features that made it a standout choice upon its initial release. If you’re considering purchasing an iPhone 13 Pro Max in 2023, you’re making a solid investment. Apple’s support for its devices is outstanding, meaning you can expect regular iOS updates and a device that continues to perform at a high level.

This guide aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the iPhone 13 Pro Max. It was unveiled alongside the iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Mini, and its sibling, the iPhone 13 Pro, at an Apple Special Event at Apple Park in Cupertino, California. The devices became available ten days later, on September 24, 2021. They were discontinued on September 7, 2022, following the announcement of the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro.

And this post will detail everything you need to know about the iPhone 13 Pro Max. Let’s get started, shall we? 

Can You Still Buy The iPhone 13 Pro Max?

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Officially, the iPhone 13 Pro Max is discontinued. This means Apple no longer makes it. Apple usually kills off its Pro / Pro Max models as soon as a successor model, in this case, the iPhone 14 Pro Max, is available. It wants you to buy the latest and greatest, not a discounted older model. 

But you can still buy an iPhone 13 Pro Max in 2023, either via carriers and/or phone networks that still have inventory left. Or, an alternative model, is going the refurbished route. The upshot of buying refurbished phones is that they’re around 40% cheaper than new and, generally speaking, look and function just like a new phone. 

iPhone 13 Pro Max Release Date

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The iPhone 13 Pro Max was officially announced by Apple on September 14, 2021, and became available for pre-order on September 17, 2021. The phone was released and started shipping to customers on September 24, 2021.

iPhone 13 Pro Max Price

At launch, the iPhone 13 Pro Max pricing looked like this:

  • 128GB model: $1,099
  • 256GB model: $1,199
  • 512GB model: $1,399
  • 1TB model: $1,599

But now that we’re almost two years after its release, the cost of an iPhone 13 Pro Max is dramatically lower. The phone itself is no longer sold by Apple; it was discontinued when the iPhone 14 arrived. But you can still buy the iPhone 13 Pro Max via specialist retailers.

Nowadays, you’ll pay WAY less for one. How much less? Around $700 for a 128GB model which, compared to its older RRP of $1099 is quite a saving indeed. Plus, by buying refurbished, you’re doing the planet a solid too — it’s great for reducing e-waste.

Electronic waste has now reached over 65 million tonnes per year. Computers, screens, and small hand devices comprise about 22% of that waste, 14 million tonnes annually. According to a 2014 UN Report, Europe produced the highest per-capita electronic waste, over 15 kilograms per person every year. Asia generated the most e-waste, 16 million metric tonnes, followed by the Americas, 11.7 million tonnes per year. Since 2014 those volumes have increase by about 50%.


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Design & Display

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ProMotion and Super Retina XDR OLED Display

One of the standout features of the iPhone 13 Pro Max is its ProMotion display. ProMotion is Apple’s marketing term for the variable refresh rate technology that allows the display to adjust its refresh rate from 10 Hz to 120 Hz depending on the content being viewed. This results in smoother scrolling, more responsive touch input, and overall improved visual experience.

The iPhone 13 Pro Max features a Super Retina XDR OLED display, which offers incredibly high resolution, vibrant colors, deep blacks, and a high contrast ratio. This display technology ensures that whether you’re browsing the web, watching videos, or playing games, the visuals will be crisp, clear, and incredibly lifelike.

Gorilla Glass

The front of the iPhone 13 Pro Max is protected by Gorilla Glass, a highly durable and scratch-resistant material. This ensures that the display remains pristine and clear even after prolonged use, providing both durability and clarity for the best viewing experience.

Color Options

The iPhone 13 Pro Max comes in a variety of color options to suit different tastes. These include Silver, Graphite, Gold, Sierra Blue, and Alpine Green. Each color gives the device a unique look and feel, allowing users to choose the one that best fits their personal style.

The Sierra Blue color is a new addition to the lineup, replacing the previous Pacific Blue option. It offers a fresh and vibrant look that stands out. In addition, at Apple’s Special Event “Peek Performance”, a new Alpine Green color option was revealed, adding another unique and stylish option to the range.

iPhone 13 Pro Max Specs

The iPhone 13 Pro Max boasts major upgrades over its predecessor, including improved battery life, enhanced cameras and computational photography, rack focus for video in a new “Cinematic Mode” at 1080p 30 fps, Apple ProRes video recording, a new A15 Bionic system on a chip, and a variable 10–120 Hz display, marketed as ProMotion.

  • Display: 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR display with ProMotion technology, offering adaptive refresh rates up to 120Hz.
  • Processor: A15 Bionic chip with 6-core CPU, 4-core GPU, and 16-core Neural Engine.
  • Storage Options: Available in 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB configurations.
  • Camera System:
    • Triple 12MP camera system: Ultra Wide, Wide, and Telephoto.
    • Night mode, Deep Fusion, and Smart HDR 4 for incredible low-light and detail photography.
    • ProRAW and ProRes video recording for professional-level photo and video editing.
    • 6x optical zoom range.
  • Battery Life: Up to 1.5 hours more than iPhone 12 Pro Max, as claimed by Apple.
  • Colors: Available in Graphite, Gold, Silver, and Sierra Blue.
  • Dimensions:
    • Height: 160.8 mm (6.33 inches)
    • Width: 78.1 mm (3.07 inches)
    • Depth: 7.65 mm (0.30 inches)
    • Weight: 238 grams (8.4 ounces)
  • Operating System: Shipped with iOS 15; will receive updates for next 7-8 years.
  • Other Features:
    • 5G Capable
    • Water and dust resistance (IP68)
    • Ceramic Shield front cover, offering better durability
    • Compatible with MagSafe accessories and wireless chargers
    • Face ID for secure authentication and Apple Pay.

Processor and Performance

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At the heart of the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max is the A15 Bionic system on a chip. This chip, designed by Apple, is the powerhouse that drives these devices. It features a 6-core CPU, including 2 performance cores for handling demanding tasks and 4 efficiency cores for less intensive activities. This balance ensures optimal performance without draining the battery unnecessarily.

In addition to the CPU, the A15 Bionic chip also includes a 16-core Neural Engine that’s capable of performing an astounding 15.8 trillion operations per second. This Neural Engine powers the advanced machine learning capabilities of the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max, enabling features like Face ID, advanced photo editing, and even real-time language translation.

When it comes to performance, the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max certainly don’t disappoint. The Antutu Benchmark Score, a widely recognized performance measure for smartphones, gives these devices a score of 846,433 which, if you’re unfamiliar with benchmark scores, is ridiculously high as you can see below in a comparison to other phones.

Comparative Benchmarks:

  • Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra: The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, which is one of Samsung’s flagship models, has an Antutu Benchmark Score of 755,462. This device is powered by the Samsung Exynos 2100 processor.
  • Google Pixel 6 Pro: The Google Pixel 6 Pro, which uses Google’s own Tensor processor, has an Antutu Benchmark Score of 735,300.

iPhone 13 Pro Max Camera

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The main reason anyone buys one of Apple’s Pro Max iPhones is its camera tech. Apple saves all the best updates for its Pro models, and the camera module is usually where most of the action happens. You get access to exclusive features like extended optical zoom, LiDAR, and a telephoto lens. 

Camera Updates & New Features:

Apple bulked out the iPhone 13 Pro Max’s camera with plenty of additional features and capabilities; here’s a quick breakdown of all the main updates (and what they do):

  • Cinematic Mode: A new feature for video recording at 1080p 30 fps.
  • LiDAR: LiDAR on the iPhone significantly enhances Augmented Reality experiences, improves photography in low-light conditions, provides faster and more accurate measurements in the Measure app, and enables detailed 3D scanning of environments or objects for diverse applications such as 3D printing and virtual tours.
  • Apple ProRes video recording: A high-quality video recording format available on the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max.
  • Smart HDR 4: The computational photography engine used in the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max.
  • Apple ProRes 4K: A high-quality video recording format available on models with at least 256 GB of storage.
  • Macro mode: A camera feature that allows the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max to focus as close as 2 centimeters from a subject.
  • Night Mode: A feature available on the 77 mm telephoto camera of the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max.
  • Photographic styles: Options available during capture, including rich contrast, vibrant, warm, and cool.
  • Rack focus: A feature available in the new “Cinematic Mode” that brings Hollywood-style shooting abilities to Apple’s Pro and Pro Max iPhones.
  • Digital zoom capability: The iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max have increased digital zoom capability to 15x.

Inside The iPhone 13 Pro Max Camera Module

Here’s a quick breakdown of all of the iPhone 13 Pro Max camera module’s core features, why they matter, and what you can do with them: 

Triple 12MP camera system: Ultra Wide, Wide, and Telephoto.

The iPhone 13 Pro Max features a triple-lens camera system, each offering 12-megapixel resolution but with different focal lengths for varying photography styles.

  • The Wide lens is your standard lens for everyday photography.
  • The Ultra Wide lens has a wider field of view for capturing more in the scene, great for landscape photography, large group photos, and more.
  • The Telephoto lens allows for closer shots of distant subjects without physically moving closer, perfect for portraits or capturing details from a distance.

Night mode, Deep Fusion, and Smart HDR 4 for incredible low-light and detail photography.

  • Night Mode allows the camera to take clear, bright photos even in low light conditions by using longer exposure times and computational photography to reduce noise and enhance details.
  • Deep Fusion is an advanced image processing system that uses the A15 Bionic chip’s Neural Engine to perform pixel-by-pixel processing of photos, optimizing for texture, details, and noise in each part of the photo, resulting in incredibly detailed and crisp images.
  • Smart HDR 4 takes multiple photos at various exposures and then combines them into a single photo that brings out more detail in the shadows and highlights. This results in photos with excellent dynamic range, capturing details often lost in high contrast scenes.

ProRAW and ProRes video recording for professional-level photo and video editing.

  • ProRAW combines Apple’s computational photography features with the flexibility of RAW format. This allows users to have more creative control over color, detail, and dynamic range in their photos during post-processing.
  • ProRes is a high-quality video codec used widely in the professional video production industry. With ProRes video recording, iPhone 13 Pro Max users can capture and edit videos at a much higher quality than standard video codecs. This is particularly valuable for professionals and enthusiasts who require top-quality footage for editing and production purposes.

6x optical zoom range.

Optical zoom allows you to magnify the subject in your photo without losing image quality, as it’s achieved by the physical movement of the camera’s lenses.

A 6x optical zoom range means that the iPhone 13 Pro Max can capture close-up photos of far-off subjects without the image degradation that comes with digital zoom methods. This is useful in various scenarios, like capturing a distant landmark or taking a photo of a bird in a tree.

Other Features & Components

iPhone 13 Pro Max: Ultimate Buyer's Guide [2023]

MagSafe and Qi Wireless Charging

The iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max are compatible with MagSafe and Qi wireless charging technologies. MagSafe, Apple’s proprietary technology, allows for faster wireless charging up to 15W. It also enables a range of accessories to be magnetically attached to the back of the iPhone, including wallets and stands. On the other hand, Qi wireless charging is a universal standard that allows for convenient charging on any Qi-compatible charging pad, albeit at a slower rate of up to 7.5W.

TrueDepth Sensor Housing and Face ID

The TrueDepth sensor housing is a critical component of the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max. It contains a sophisticated array of sensors that enable Face ID, Apple’s facial recognition technology. Face ID provides secure authentication for unlocking the iPhone, making payments, and logging into apps. It uses advanced technologies to map the geometry of your face with a high degree of accuracy.

5G Bands

The iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max support a wide range of 5G bands, making them compatible with more carriers, especially outside the US. This broad support ensures that users can enjoy the benefits of 5G connectivity, such as faster download and upload speeds, lower latency, and more reliable connections, in many parts of the world.

Front-Firing Speaker

The front-firing speaker is another notable component of the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max. It contributes to the immersive audio experience these devices offer, providing clear and balanced sound whether you’re making a call, watching a video, or playing a game.

Improved Battery Life

One of the significant improvements in the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max over their predecessors is the enhanced battery life. Apple claims up to 1.5 more hours of battery life on the iPhone 13 Pro, and 2.5 more hours on the 13 Pro Max than their respective predecessors. This extended battery life means you can spend more time using your iPhone for work or play and less time worrying about finding a power outlet.

iPhone 13 Pro Max Colors

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The iPhone 13 Pro Max is available in four colors:

  • Graphite
  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Sierra Blue

This color palette offers a choice between traditional, low-key shades, like Graphite and Silver, and more striking hues, like Gold and the new Sierra Blue.

The iPhone 12 Pro Max, the predecessor to the iPhone 13 Pro Max, was also available in four colors: Graphite, Gold, Silver, and Pacific Blue. Compared to the iPhone 13 Pro Max, the difference in the lineup lies in the shade of blue offered. The iPhone 13 Pro Max’s Sierra Blue is a lighter, more muted tone compared to the more vibrant Pacific Blue found on the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

iPhone 13 Pro Max Size

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The iPhone 13 Pro Max sports a 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR display. This makes it one of the largest screen sizes among iPhone models to date.

The Super Retina XDR display delivers high resolution and detail, enhancing the viewing experience for a variety of media, including HDR content, games, and high-resolution photos.

In addition, the larger screen size promotes multitasking capabilities. Features such as split-screen and Picture in Picture support running multiple applications simultaneously.

For gaming enthusiasts, the larger screen, when combined with the A15 Bionic chip, provides a superior gaming experience.

Moreover, the iPhone 13 Pro Max display supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision, contributing to improved brightness and contrast for video content.

iPhone 13 Pro Max Dimensions

In terms of dimensions, the iPhone 13 Pro Max measures:

  • Height: 160.8 mm (6.33 inches)
  • Width: 78.1 mm (3.07 inches)
  • Depth: 7.65 mm (0.30 inches)
  • Weight: 238 grams (8.4 ounces)

iPhone 13 Pro Max Case

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A good case can protect your iPhone 13 Pro Max from accidental drops, scratches, and other potential damages.

There’s a vast array of cases available for the iPhone 13 Pro Max, ranging from minimalist clear cases that showcase the phone’s design, to rugged, heavy-duty cases that provide maximum protection.

Apple offers its official line of MagSafe-compatible cases, including silicone, clear, and leather options, each available in various colors. Third-party manufacturers such as OtterBox, Spigen, and Lifeproof also offer a wide range of compatible cases.

Is The iPhone 13 Pro Max Waterproof?

The iPhone 13 Pro Max offers impressive water resistance. It is rated IP68 under IEC standard 60529, which means it can withstand a maximum depth of 6 meters (around 19.6 feet) for up to 30 minutes. This makes it resilient against accidental splashes, rain, or even brief submersion. Here’s a complete guide to the iPhone 13 Pro Max’s water resistance and what its IP68 rating means.

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