iPhone 13 vs. iPhone 12: All the Key Differences

October 26, 2021

iphone 13's

Source: NYC Russ/Shutterstock.com

Considering a phone upgrade to the latest iPhone 13? While the iPhone 12 models were fantastic phones, Apple is consistent, constantly raising its own bar. So improvements are always to be expected. But when comparing iPhone 13 vs. iPhone 12, what exactly has Apple done differently? More so, does it warrant a brand new phone, or should you wait for next year’s iPhone 14?

From cameras to colors to in-class processors, here are the key differences between these two phone models, even though they are just one year apart. 

Design and Display

When it comes to the design and display, the iPhone 13 and iPhone 12 look pretty much the same with flat edges and a durable Ceramic Shield display. The only tweak Apple chose to make was minimizing the notch, making it 20 percent smaller on all iPhone 13 models. 

Other than the notch change, Apple did release a few unique color choices for the iPhone 13. The regular iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Mini are offered in Midnight, Starlight, Blue, Product (Red) and a new Pink model. For the iPhone Pro and Pro Max, a lovely new Sierra Blue joins the Graphite, Gold and Silver. Whatever new color you choose, be sure to show it off with Pela’s plastic-free, sustainable iPhone 13 case or the iPhone 13 Pro case, each with various vibrant colors and nature-inspired patterns. 

In addition, although the design was slight, the weight might be noticeable. The new iPhone 13 does weigh more than the iPhone 12, but this is due to the bigger batteries. 

Design aside, Apple went all out on the display upgrades. It features a brighter display (28 percent brighter, to be exact) than that of the iPhone 12. Although the AMOLED panels are the same, the iPhone 13 and 13 Mini produce 800 nits of brightness and the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max produce 1,000 nits. 

On the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max, there are ProMotion displays. Essentially, this means that your phone will dynamically adjust the refresh rate as needed, depending on your screen activity. While the iPhone 12 Pro model offered a non-dynamic 60Hz refresh rate, the iPhone 13 Pro versions adjust between 10Hz and 120 Hz.

Buying the Latest Apple Phone? Get Your iPhone 13 Case Today!

The Cameras

London Fog Arc iPhone 12/ iPhone 12 Pro Case

Featured: London Fog Arc iPhone 12/ iPhone 12 Pro Case

One of the most substantial differences between the iPhone 13 vs. iPhone 12 is the camera. Apple’s phone camera has always been top-notch, but wait till you see what they have in store this round. 

While there are many similarities, like the same number of lenses, it’s really what Apple has done under the hood that allows the iPhone 13 to take home the trophy. The latest iPhone 13 and 13 Mini offer a 12MP main camera that lets in 47 percent more light than the iPhone 12, providing sharper photos and videos. They also offer a sensor-shift optical image stabilization feature (also in the iPhone 12 Pro Max) and an ultrawide lens for those nighttime shots. 

To outdo itself, the iPhone 13 Pro models offer even more. The main sensor is larger, taking better low-light photos, and the ultra wide-angle lens has an f/1.8 aperture, a drastic change from the f/2.4 on the iPhone 12 Pro models. As a result, your images have never looked better, brighter and sharper. In addition, there’s a 77mm telephoto lens that offers 3x optical zoom, a leap from the 2.5x zoom of the iPhone 12 Pro. It’s also safe to say that the Night Mode is impressive, especially with the iPhone 13 Pro’s sensor-shift stabilization. 

As if the camera couldn’t get any better, each of the iPhone 13 models offers Cinematic mode, a video shooting feature that auto-adjusts and shifts focus on objects in the foreground and background, creating stellar content. Unfortunately, this feature is non-existent in the iPhone 12.

Overall Performance and 5G

With each new iPhone comes more outstanding performance, plain and simple. And this year is no different. The iPhone 13 models are powered with the upgraded A15 Bionic processor, a step up from the already-fast A14 Bionic chip of the iPhone 12.

Protect Your Phone with an iPhone 12 Case

While the A15 chip is technically faster, it may not seem that way to the naked eye. When comparing the overall performance of the iPhone 13 vs. iPhone 12, transcoding video, for example, was faster, but only by a few seconds at most. 

However, the iPhone 13 Pro models have a 5-core GPU, which is more robust and faster than the standard iPhone 13’s 4-core graphics processor. This makes the iPhone 13 Pro versions ideal for gaming, especially when comparing the iPhone 12. According to 3DMark Wild Life, a 3D graphics benchmark for the iOS system, the iPhone 13 Pro significantly outperformed the iPhone 12 Pro — 70 frames per second vs. 51 frames per second. 

When it comes to 5G, the iPhone 13 is a clear winner. The iPhone 12 was equipped with 5G, but it was not entirely sufficient. Now, Apple says that 5G support will double to 200+ carriers across 60 countries and regions. This should improve 5G drastically.

Battery Life and Charging Speed

Apple never discloses battery sizes with their phones. However, one thing is for sure: the iPhone 13 battery is bigger and lasts longer. 

Apple states that the iPhone 13 Mini and iPhone 13 Pro will last roughly 1.5 hours longer than the iPhone 12’s battery. And the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro Max offer 2.5 more hours. 

The charging speed is pretty fast, too. An iPhone 13 can charge up to 50 percent in just over 30 minutes with a 20W adaptor or a 13W MagSafe wireless charger. This hasn’t changed from the iPhone 12. 

iPhone 13 vs. iPhone 12: Final Thoughts

Green Summit iPhone 13 Pro Max Case

Featured: Green Summit iPhone 13 Pro Max Case

As you can see, when comparing the key differences between the iPhone 13 vs. the iPhone 12, there are vast improvements. Is it enough to make you upgrade or will you wait until next year’s iPhone 14? 

If you choose to wait, protect your phone for as long as possible with one of our durable iPhone 12 Pro phone cases. And don’t forget to keep that screen from shattering with our Canopy liquid glass screen protector

Get The Plastic-Free, Easy-Apply Screen Protector Here