Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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I’ve had the iPhone 15 Pro for six months. Here’s why it’s still great


Blue Titanium iPhone 15 Pro leaning on park lamp post.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

The iPhone 15 Pro was released on September 22, 2023. When Apple announced it, I was excited about changes like the Action button and the titanium frame.

Now, as we approach the end of the first quarter of 2024, the iPhone 15 line is six months old. We’ve already had a slew of flagship Android phones, with the OnePlus 12 and the Samsung Galaxy S24 being particular standouts.

Yet, my primary phone is still the iPhone 15 Pro. Why? There are a few reasons why it’s still the phone I’m primarily using in 2024.

The iPhone 15 Pro is better for my workflow

Blue Titanium iPhone 15 Pro showing home screen with widgets.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

I’ve been using Apple products for over a decade — I got the first iPhone in 2008 as a gift, and it was also my first Apple product. Since then, I’ve purchased the now-defunct iPod, a Mac, an iPad, an Apple Watch, and every generation of iPhone. Truth be told, I could never switch back to a Windows machine for my computer.

Yes, I’m heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem. My job has pretty much revolved exclusively around Apple and the iPhone for many years before I came to Digital Trends. The iPhone simply works the best for what I need.

For example, I need to take a lot of original photos for work when I review a new phone or product. I personally do not own a standalone camera, so instead, I just use my iPhone 15 Pro. Yes, I know this may be blasphemous for some, but smartphone cameras have evolved so much that they’re almost just as good. It’s not exactly the same as a DSLR, but it’s pretty darn close.

AirDrop options on an iPhone.
Digital Trends

I do some quick edits and touchups on my iPhone, and then I simply AirDrop them to my Mac, where I rename them, make size adjustments, and upload them into WordPress. AirDrop has been around for a decade, and it’s one of my favorite features for easily transferring files between all of my Apple devices.

When I use an Android phone for photos, I use Google Photos, but that takes a little more time. I have to wait for it to back up to the cloud, then go on my computer and manually download it. It’s easy but not as straightforward as AirDropping.

I also use iCloud for Notes, iCloud Drive, and a ton of apps as a backup/syncing method. All of my data is synced without me having to lift a finger, and I can just pick up where I left off, regardless of whether I’m using my iPhone 15 Pro or my iMac.

The Action button is so much more useful

iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max sides.
iPhone 15 Pro (left) and iPhone 14 Pro Max (right) Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

I’ve seen quite a few people say that they don’t really use the Action button on the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max. But I have found it to be one of Apple’s best additions to iPhone hardware in a long time.

The Action button replaced the old silent/ring toggle, though the default action is still set for that function. However, it can be changed to turn on a Focus mode, launch the camera, turn on the flashlight, record a voice memo, translate, magnify, be set to a custom shortcut, or enable an Accessibility feature.

iPhone 15 Pro Action button setup for Voice Memo.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

I was incredibly excited when the iPhone 15 Pro was announced with the Action button. After trying out Android phones where you could simply launch the camera app with a button, I was happy that this functionality was finally coming to the iPhone. When I got my iPhone 15 Pro, I immediately changed the Action button to launch the camera app.

At some point, I wanted to experiment with creating a custom Shortcut, but six months in, I still haven’t done that. Personally, I find the simplicity in just having it set to one action so far to be a strength, at least in my use cases.

Don’t get me wrong though — I still would love the ability to perform more than one gesture (double press, triple press, etc.) to be added in the future. But for now, I’ve grown accustomed to the single action.

Blue Titanium iPhone 15 Pro Action button.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

Regardless of all that, the Action button has been one of my most used buttons on a daily basis, which is why I’m shocked when I learn others don’t use it nearly as much, if ever. I have it set just to launch the Camera app, but I use it so much throughout the day for capturing moments with my daughter, our friendly neighborhood cat, selfies when I’m feeling cute, or random things that catch my eye throughout the day.

I know that for some people, the position of the Action button is the issue that makes them not use it as much as they thought. And yes, it would have been better served underneath the volume buttons, for sure. But I often find myself holding my iPhone 15 Pro in my right hand and then pressing the Action button with my left finger each time anyway, so it’s not really a big deal for me anymore.

For me, the Action button has been such an incredibly useful addition to iPhone hardware that I can’t believe Apple didn’t think of it sooner. I’m the kind of person who leaves their phone on silent 24/7, so the silent/ring toggle would only ever get turned on and then never change; it had no purpose for me. The Action button has been an enormous upgrade over that, and all these months later, it’s still fantastic.

Cases and accessories a plenty!

Mophie Cherry Blossom 3-in-1 Travel Charger with MagSafe.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

I was ecstatic when I got my first iPhone as a birthday gift in 2008. I didn’t put a case on it because I was overly confident in my ability not to damage electronics. Whoops.

I fumbled it one day when returning from a lunch break at a meager retail job, and it fell onto cement. I’m sure you can guess what happened next. Yes, the screen cracked, and I was devastated, to say the least. It wasn’t even half a year old.

Then, when I got a new iPhone 3G, I began to use a case every single time I got a new iPhone. Thankfully, the iPhone is pretty much the most popular and mainstream phone, so there is simply no shortage of case options for me to choose from. Of course, back then, the cases felt more basic, but they got the job done. Nowadays, you can find a case that matches your outfit or overall mood.

There are some requirements I need a case to meet before I settle on one. It needs to be protective, not too bulky, have a good in-hand feel, and have tactile buttons; a cover for the Action button is preferred, and for me, they should look cute. I’ve been going for designs that match my interests, which lately include pink, hearts, cherry blossoms, and Disney, of course.

With my iPhone 15 Pro, there is no shortage of cases for me to choose from. If I’m looking for something particular, chances are high that I can easily find what I want from brands that are well-known and not some no-name brand that I’ve never heard of.

OtterBox Lumen Series Year of the Dragon for iPhone 15 Pro in hand.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

But this isn’t the case for many Android phones, or even older iPhone models sometimes. With the Samsung Galaxy S24 or Google Pixel 8 lineup, the choice of cases is much more limited. It’s not impossible to find a case, but you definitely don’t have a whole buffet of choices to pick from, so to speak.

I change my case often because I get tired of it or just want something more festive for the season. I know it’s a rather superficial thing, but if I’m going to put my phone in a protective case, I don’t want it to be ugly.

And it’s not just cases either. There are also more accessories geared for iPhones in general. For example, Mophie has its 3-in-1 Travel Charger with MagSafe, which is designed with Apple devices in mind. Though technically it does work with Android phones, you don’t get all the benefits, like the MagSafe part.

Having a ton of choices for cases and accessories for the iPhone is great, even if it can feel a bit overwhelming sometimes. This has been a strong suit for the iPhone 15 Pro since its launch, and all these months later, it’s only gotten better.

Auto Portrait is still amazing

The back of a blue iPhone 15 Pro.
Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

The iPhone 15 series got one of my favorite new photo features in years: Auto Portrait. I love taking photos in portrait mode, but it can be quite challenging when you try to do that with a very active toddler who doesn’t like to stay still very long. Thanks to the Auto Portrait feature in the iPhone 15 series, I don’t need to worry.

Auto Portrait kicks in automatically when you photograph a person or pet as the subject. As long as the device detects a face, it will automatically capture that depth data, even when you’re just in the standard Photo mode. When you view the photos, if you feel it can turn out better as a portrait, just enable it as you see fit.

Auto Portrait works with photos taken with either the rear or front-facing selfie camera. I’ve loved being able to take photos of my daughter in action and then later make them look better by enabling the Auto Portrait feature. It also works great when i just want to blur out a messy background in my selfies too.

Apple’s Auto Portrait feature has been one of my most-used features since it was announced. When I take photos with an Android phone, I forget that it’s not a feature there, and it’s always a reminder of just how much I’ve come to rely on it. It really is that good.

The iPhone 15 Pro is still a great choice

Blue Titanium (left) and Natural Titanium iPhone 15 Pros on a green park bench.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

I’m still sad that Apple made the iPhone 15 Pro Max the more “superior” phone due to its better telephoto lens, but I still really like my smaller iPhone 15 Pro. It’s been six months, but it still handles beautifully.

I much prefer the smaller size of the iPhone 15 Pro over its larger sibling. Despite that major difference, I still get the great performance of the A17 Pro with iOS 17; the lightweight titanium design feels great, the Action button is excellent, and USB-C charging has been incredibly convenient. Battery life could be better, but I’m never far from a power outlet or battery pack. Plus, I love having so many choices for cases and other accessories.

Six months later, the iPhone 15 Pro is still my most used smartphone — and I don’t see that changing any time soon.

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