The iPhone 15 Pro Max was a mistake

I really should have either stayed the course with the 13 Pro, or sold it and bought a 13 Pro Max because that phone was just too good.

I feel the honeymoon period with the 15 Pro Max (I’m just going to call it the 15 Pro from here on out) has long since ended and I’m just left underwhelmed. Rather than rehash things better said by someone I respect, I’m going to instead ask you to go quickly read this piece by David Ruddock, a person whose opinion I do value quite heavily. (For the uninitiated: He was previously the editor in chief at Android Police before they got purchased and then run into the ground by Valnet. That’s how I know him, at least.)

I want to focus in (pun not intended) on the camera bit, because I feel the same. Apple really sold the 15 Pro’s camera, and given the 11 Pro to the 13 Pro was a tangible leap for me, I thought going from the 13 Pro to the 15 Pro would have also been a tangible leap, seeing as I skipped the 14 Pro (where the new, spiffy 48MP camera was introduced). Maybe it’s the camera’s unchecked willingness to jump over to one of the other two sensors to take the picture (both of which are “just” 12MP, and I think mostly unchanged from the 13 Pro), but I notice barely any difference in photos I’ve taken compared to my 13 Pro.

Worse yet, the minimum focus distance has become worse on the 15 Pros.  If I get any closer than, say, a foot to something, the 15 Pro will either hand off to the ultrawide camera, or take a blurry photo. I feel like I could get in much closer with the 13 Pro. I know this is just physics and physics can’t be beat (due to larger sensor) but…it feels like too many times I’ll take a picture of something on my desk and it looks like ass.

Before I lose the plot though–because I said I didn’t want to re-tread previously explored ground–the one dealbreaker I have here is the camera’s reliability. I use my iPhone as a camcorder. It easily shoots video that you’d need to spend $BIGNUM to get on a dedicated camcorder. The 15 Pro doesn’t miss here–and it can even shoot to external SSDs! Cool. But the quality means nothing if the camera can’t shoot video reliably. Which the 15 Pro–at least my 15 Pro–can’t. Thankfully, I’m not alone here. If you Google around for the issue too, quite a few people are having the same issue. You can start recording and sometimes? It’ll work fine! But other times? It’ll appear to work fine and then randomly freeze up and stop recording and your only cue is the sound the camera app makes when a recording is stopped.

I’ve been hit by this numerous times. I’ve had it happen at 1 minute into a record. I’ve had it happen 30 minutes in. I have 150GB of free space on my phone, and I only ever shoot in 1080p60.

Where this just…fills me with dread is trying to get Apple to acknowledge the problem and either provide a fix, or replace my phone. I live in a place where our Apple stores kinda suck, and all they care about is 1. Did you restore the phone before you came in? And if so, 2. Does it pass diagnostics? If it passes diagnostics and you cannot reproduce the issue, guess what? You’re outta luck. Apple will tell you to sod off and come back when you can nail down the problem. I’ve walked this path many times. I walked it most notably with the defective 6s batteries that would suddenly shut down if they fell below 40% charge.

Same thing. Did you restore? Yes. Okay, we’ll run diagnostics. It passed, therefore there’s nothing we can do. Sorry. Even though I had a video recording of the phone prematurely shutting down at 40% battery and then rebooting with only 5% left. Their diagnostics are the end all be all and if your phone passes they’re going to absolutely tell you the problem is just you and refuse to help.

Which is why I’m holding out hope this is a software issue versus a hardware one. Apparently some people with 14 Pros have had the same issue under iOS 17, so I’m hopeful there will be a fix because given past dealings with Apple I am not looking forward to having to convince them that yes, this is a problem.

If it comes to that, I may well just consider cutting my losses and downgrading back to a 13 Pro.



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