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Apple iPhone 14 buyer's guide: Specs, pricing, availability, and more
The iPhone 14 series consists of four phones, as with its predecessor. Apple has made a lot of changes this time around however, for instance ditching a Mini model and introducing the Dynamic Island, one of a few things widening the gap between regular and Pro models.
So then — what are the differences between the four phones, which one should you buy (if any), and what are some of the alternatives worth checking out? These are just a few of the questions we’ll answer in this Apple iPhone 14 series buyer’s guide.
Editor’s note: This Apple iPhone 14 buyer’s guide is current as of August 2023. We’ll update it with new content regularly, so make sure to bookmark this page to stay up to date with all the latest.
Apple iPhone 14 series at a glance
Apple announced the iPhone 14 series during its Far Out event on September 7, 2022. The series consists of four phones: the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max. Three of them went on sale on September 16, while the iPhone 14 Plus was made available on October 9.
The iPhone 14 Pro Max ($1,099) is the best phone in the series. It’s a minor upgrade over its predecessor, sporting the faster A16 Bionic chipset, an improved camera system, an always-on display, and the Dynamic Island, which is a pill-like camera cutout that has a few tricks up its sleeve — more on that later.
The iPhone 14 Pro ($999) is identical to the Max model in many ways. It has the same chipset, storage configurations, cameras, and other bells and whistles. The main difference between the two is that the iPhone 14 Pro is smaller, offering a 6.1-inch display as opposed to the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s 6.7 inches. It also has a smaller battery.
Next up is the iPhone 14 Plus ($899), which offers the big-screen experience of the iPhone 14 Pro Max but ditches a lot of features in exchange for a lower price. It for instance uses the A15 Bionic chipset, which powered 2021’s iPhone 13 series. It’s very similar to the iPhone 13, sporting two cameras and a display notch, but with superior battery life.
Then there’s the regular iPhone 14 ($799), which is more or less the same as the iPhone 14 Plus. You get the same cameras, chipset, and notch, just with a smaller 6.1-inch display and a smaller battery.
Are the iPhone 14 phones worth buying?
If you already have an iPhone 13 of some kind, there’s not much point in upgrading to the iPhone 14 series. We don’t think it’s worth the money, since the changes are minimal. That’s especially true with the standard iPhone 14 and the 14 Plus, which even sport the same chipset as their predecessors.
Although Pro models offer a bit more this year, including the Dynamic Island and a new 48MP primary sensor, we still don’t think it’s worth spending at least $1,000 to upgrade from the iPhone 13 Pro lineup (trade-ins notwithstanding).
If you have an older phone, whether it’s an iPhone or an Android model, then upgrading may well make sense if you’re considering the iPhone 14 Pro or Pro Max. Those handsets are worth buying since you’re getting top-end specs, great cameras, the best software update promise in the industry, and more. They’re not perfect — no phone ever is — but they’ll satisfy the vast majority of people who can afford their steep pricetags.
The story is a bit different with the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus. While they’re great phones overall and have plenty to offer, there are drawbacks that make them harder to recommend to a wider audience. Because of their mediocre charging capabilities, the lack of a pixel-binning camera upgrade, and slower 60Hz displays, the phones feel like they’re two or even three generations behind the Android competition. You’ll probably still enjoy the experience if you’re an Apple fan, but we think that Android has better options at this price point.
What experts are saying about the iPhone 14 series
We’re very familiar with what the new iPhones have to offer since we’ve reviewed the iPhone 14, 14 Plus, and 14 Pro.
We think the iPhone 14 is the best entry-level iPhone flagship ever made. The build quality is brilliant, the battery will get you through the day with ease, and the cameras are quite capable, offering superb videography features. However, as we’ve said, it’s tough to recommend to a wider audience since it’s a very minor upgrade over its predecessor and falls behind the Android competition in many ways.
It only sports two rear cameras for example, one of which is an ultra-wide, so you’re not getting a telephoto lens. The display’s refresh rate is 60Hz, whereas 120Hz is almost the standard for Android flagships, with some even offering 165Hz. Charging meanwhile is quite slow, and the display notch gives the phone a dated look, especially now that Pro iPhones have a smaller camera cutout called the Dynamic Island.
The story is the same for the iPhone 14 Plus. It does offer a bigger display and longer battery life than the regular 14, but it seems to exist only to entice you to spend $100 more on a Pro.
The Dynamic Island gives the iPhone 14 Pro models a slightly more modern look.
The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max are obviously the most interesting phones in the series. The rear cameras have been upgraded, the new A16 Bionic chip can handle just about any task you throw at it, and build quality is second to none.
Then there’s the Dynamic Island, which not only gives the phones a more modern look but provides interesting shortcut interactions with various apps. As we noted in our review, it best works with Apple’s first-party apps, yet support is increasing and should become de facto once Dynamic Island makes it to every iPhone tier, probably starting with the iPhone 15 series due in September 2023.
As expected, the iPhone 14 Pro does have a few negatives, including a downgraded battery life compared to its predecessor, and Apple’s still-slow charging. However, it’s by far the best flagship Apple has ever produced.
What other reviewers from around the web think
To give you the best overview of Apple’s flagship series, we looked at what reviewers from other publications had to say about the iPhone 14 range.
- Pocket-lint’s Britta O’Boyle believes that Apple is playing it safe with its iPhone 14 models, both in terms of hardware and design. The phone looks the same as its predecessor, and while there are a few hardware upgrades on board, the difference is minimal. Britta notes that more than any other year in the past, there’s a much stronger argument to buy a Pro iPhone.
- Tech Radar’s Lance Ulanoff was impressed with the iPhone 14 Pro, saying that it “may be the perfect iPhone.” He called attention to the Dynamic Island, the new always-on display, and an ideal 6.1-inch size. Lance did point out a few cons, including a premium price and the lack of a USB-C port.
- Tom’s Guide’s Mark Spoonauer reviewed the iPhone 14 Pro Max and had great things to say about it. He believes it’s the best phone money can buy thanks to its clever Dynamic Island, powerful cameras, always-on display, and excellent battery life. He didn’t like the slow charging however, and believes that the lack of a SIM card slot in the US could be a problem for some people. Additionally, he feels the phone is a bit big and heavy.
Apple iPhone 14 series specs
|Specs||Apple iPhone 14 Pro/iPhone 14 Pro Max|
6.1-inch/6.7-inch Super Retina XDR display
2,556 x 1,179 resolution
120Hz refresh rate
2,000 nits peak brightness
Apple A16 Bionic
Video playback: Up to 23 hours
Audio playback: Up to 75 hours
Charging: Up to 50% charge in around 30 minutes with 20W adapter or higher
15W MagSafe wireless charging
48MP Main (24mm, ƒ/1.78 aperture, sensor‑shift optical image stabilization)
12MP Ultrawide (13mm, ƒ/2.2 aperture and 120° field of view, six‑element lens)
12MP 3x Telephoto (77mm, ƒ/2.8 aperture, OIS, six‑element lens)
12MP (ƒ/1.9 aperture, six-element lens)
5G (sub‑6 GHz and mmWave) with 4x4 MIMO
Gigabit LTE with 4x4 MIMO and LAA
Wi‑Fi 6 (802.11ax) with 2x2 MIMO
Ultra Wideband chip
High dynamic range gyro
Dual ambient light sensors
Stainless steel frame
Dimensions and weight
iPhone 14 Pro: 147.5 x 71.5 x 7.85mm, 206g
iPhone 14 Pro Max: 160.7 x 77.6 x 7.9mm, 240g
Emergency SOS via satellite
|Specs||Apple iPhone 14/iPhone 14 Plus|
6.1 inches/6.7 inches
Super Retina XDR display
2,532 x 1,170/ 2,778 x 1,284
1,200 nits peak brightness
Fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating
Apple A15 Bionic
Video playback: Up to 20 hours/Up to 26 hours
Audio playback: Up to 80 hours/Up to 100 hours
Fast-charge capable: Up to 50% charge in around 30 minutes
20W adapter or higher (available separately)
12MP Main: 26 mm, ƒ/1.5 aperture, sensor‑shift optical image stabilization
12MP Ultrawide: 13 mm, ƒ/2.4 aperture and 120° field of view, five‑element lens
5G (sub‑6 GHz and mmWave) with 4x4 MIMO8
Gigabit LTE with 4x4 MIMO and LAA8
Wi‑Fi 6 (802.11ax) with 2x2 MIMO
Ultra Wideband chip
High dynamic range gyro
Dual ambient light sensors
Dimensions and weight
iPhone 14: 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.80mm, 172 grams
iPhone 14 Plus: 160.8 x 78.1 x 7.80, 203 grams
Emergency SOS via satellite
Apple iPhone 14 performance
If you want as much power as possible, you’ll have to go with either the iPhone 14 Pro or the 14 Pro Max. Both come with Apple’s latest A16 Bionic chipset under the hood, paired with 6GB of RAM.
The phones are powerful enough to handle just about any task you throw at them. We had no issues with stuttering during our testing, even when running and switching between multiple apps. It is true that the handset can get hot at times, but it also cools down very quickly when not in use.
The A16 Bionic is quite the upgrade over the iPhone 13’s SoC (system-on-chip). A single-core Geekbench 5 score showed about an 8% improvement over the iPhone 13 Pro, while the multi-core score jumped by a more significant 14%.
If you go with the iPhone 14 or the 14 Plus, you’ll have to do with 2021’s A15 Bionic chipset, which is a shame. That remains an excellent chipset that can handle just about anything, however, and we didn’t experience any issues while testing. Thankfully, like its Pro siblings, the 14 and 14 Plus both sport 6GB of RAM.
Are the iPhone 14 cameras any good?
The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max have each received a camera upgrade. There are still three rear cameras on board, but the resolution of the main sensor has jumped from 12MP to 48MP. Images are binned down to 12MP by default, but you can take full 48MP pictures using ProRAW. The other two lenses on board are a 12MP ultra-wide and a 12MP 3x telephoto.
In our review, the main camera had no issues capturing colors or details in well-lit scenarios. Colors are consistent, and distortion is kept to a minimum. The telephoto lens does a pretty good job as well, so most people should be happy with the camera system overall.
Portrait shots can be hit-and-miss however, especially when taking photos of anything other than people. There’s also a bit of an issue with the ultra-wide lens in low-light scenarios in some cases, as we’ve noticed some severe vignetting around the edges, with only the center of the image being lit up. For more detailed info, check our iPhone 14 Pro camera review.
The regular iPhone 14 and 14 Plus offer less in the camera department, with both featuring two rear shooters — a 12MP primary sensor and a 12MP ultra-wide lens. Sample images are more or less identical to the ones produced by the iPhone 13, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
You get good- to -great-looking results most of the time. Just don’t look too closely, as there are still common signs of oversharpening and noise. The cameras do handle low light quite well, especially with Night Mode enabled.
Portrait mode isn’t the best, as you often find rough or missed edges with both the rear and selfie cameras. There are some other issues that we address in our iPhone 14 camera review.
How is the iPhone 14’s battery life?
The iPhone 14 Pro comes with a 3,200mAh battery. Despite it being slightly larger than before, battery life is surprisingly worse. The phone will last you through the day, but don’t expect much more. In our testing we averaged about 4.5 to 5 hours of screen-on time, with up to another hour of idle usage. We did get the iOS 16.0.2 update during testing, which improved the battery life a bit, as it extended screen-on time to 6.5 hours with another two hours of the screen sitting idle.
The iPhone 14 Pro goes from zero to 100% in around 80 minutes.
The handset supports up to 27W charging that gets the battery to 50% in about 30 minutes and to 100% in roughly 80 minutes. If you want to skip the wires, you can try 15W MagSafe or 7.5W Qi wireless charging.
The 14 Pro Max has a bigger 4,323mAh battery, but since it also has a substantially larger screen, we think battery life should be roughly the same.
Moving on to the standard iPhone 14, the handset sports a 3,279mAh battery that should get you through the day just fine — we recorded over 6 hours of screen-on time with moderate usage. The charging is quite limited at 20W and takes 12 minutes to reach 25%, 25 minutes to 50%, 48 minutes to 80%, and 100 minutes to full. The phone also supports 15W MagSafe and 7.5W Qi wireless charging.
As for the iPhone 14 Plus, we found that its 4,323mAh battery — the same as the 14 Pro Max — is “simply excellent,” even with a larger display.
Software and updates
All four iPhone 14 models run iOS 16, which is more customizable than previous versions of the OS. You can add lockscreen widgets, change the style and color of your clock, and even tweak how it interacts with your wallpaper. More customizability and features are always a good thing, but it also means that the software is getting cluttered to the point where it can be difficult to find what you’re after.
Long-time Apple fans will feel right at home using the latest version of iOS, although of course the experience can be a bit more challenging for those used to Android phones, since the two operating systems are different in many ways.
One of the biggest changes this year is the addition of the Dynamic Island, which accompanies the pill-shaped camera cutout seen on 14 Pro models. The Island works together with iOS 16 to offer a set of unique features — it can expand and contract depending on your incoming notifications, and serve as a shortcut.
To give you an example, when using Apple Maps and listening to a podcast at the same time, the Dynamic Island keeps the podcast accessible via small square of artwork, while Apple Maps updates each step of your route in a larger bubble — see the image above.
This is just one of many examples. While the Dynamic Island works best with Apple’s own apps, support is increasing and should eventually become commonplace.
As far as software updates go, iPhones are the best in the business. The iPhone 14 series should get at least six years of OS updates, beating the king of Android — Samsung — which “only” offers four years.
As of August 2023, the iPhone 14 series is currently running iOS 16.6. An iOS 17 beta is already available, and the finished release should go live in September.
Apple iPhone 14 alternatives
If you want to stay in Apple’s camp, the only comparable alternative to the iPhone 14 series is last year’s iPhone 13 series (from $699.99 at Best Buy). You still get high-end specs, great cameras, and great software support at a lower price point. You are giving up the Dynamic Island, always-on display, and faster chipset available in 14 Pro models, as well as an improved camera system.
When it comes to Android, the choices are plentiful. The best alternative for most would be the Galaxy S23 series (from $799 at Amazon) which offers plenty of upgrades over the iPhone 14 range. You get faster charging, bigger batteries, and the addition of the S Pen if you opt for the S23 Ultra.
Then there’s the Google Pixel 7 ($545 at Amazon) and Pixel 7 Pro ($589.98 at Amazon), which bring upgraded chipsets over the Pixel 6 line. You’ll also get displays sized like those of the iPhone 14 Plus/Pro Max, and a unique design that stands out in the smartphone world.
Then there’s the OnePlus 10 Pro ($474 at Amazon), which is cheaper now than it was at launch, making it more interesting to potential buyers. It offers a bit less overall since the unlocked version doesn’t have an IP rating and the cameras aren’t as good, but you do get faster charging and a few other bells and whistles. Alternatively, the OnePlus 11 ($1296 at Amazon) brings a slightly better camera array for a lower starting price.
Those looking for something different should take a look at the Galaxy Z Fold 4 ($1180.25 at Amazon) as well as the Galaxy Z Flip 4 ($944.45 at Amazon). It’s the foldable nature of these two devices that makes them interesting, although you still get great performance, among other things. Note that while the Z Fold 5 and Z Flip 5 are fresh off the boat, you can save considerable cash without sacrificing many features.
Check out a few other options in our dedicated best Apple iPhone alternatives post.
Where to buy the phones
- Apple iPhone 14: Starts at $799 / £849 / €999
- Apple iPhone 14 Plus: Starts at $899 / £949 / €1,149
- Apple iPhone 14 Pro: Starts at $999 / £1,099 / €1,299
- Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max: Starts at $1,099 / £1,199 / €1,449
You can get the latest iPhone series from various retailers including Walmart, Best Buy, and of course Apple itself. You can also get the phones through carriers like T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon.
Top iPhone 14 questions and answers
No, the iPhone 14 lineup doesn’t come with a charger in the box.
No, the iPhone 14 series does not support expandable storage.
Not as fast as a lot of their competitors. In our testing, the iPhone 14’s battery went from zero to full in about 100 minutes, while the iPhone 14 Pro was a little bit faster at 80 minutes. For reference, a full charge takes about 50 minutes on the Galaxy S22 Plus and 35 minutes on the OnePlus 10 Pro.
Cable, yes. Charging adapter, no. None of this generation’s iPhones are shipping with a charger. Apple claims this is for environmental reasons, but it also improves profits by reducing logistics and production expenses, while simultaneously encouraging more accessory sales.