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iPhone 12 vs. iPhone 11 Buyer's Guide

Hatshepsut

macrumors member
Jul 6, 2009
32
9
I'm just wondering about going from an 11 Pro to a 12 mini . I want the smaller form factor, and love that Night Mode now works with selfies and the ultra wide lenses (although isn't that just a software limitation? Seems like Apple could just add that to previous phones, but of course they want to give people a reason to upgrade...), but not sure about giving up the telephoto lens. And not sure how this would affect my monthly iphone upgrade payments--if I'm going to keep paying the higher 11 pro price for another year, it's probably not worth it.
 
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Vanilla Face

macrumors 6502
Aug 11, 2013
470
150
you do realise you can still use your iPhone 7 charger with the 12? There is nothing forcing you to use the USB-C to lightning cable.
Yes. There is nothing forcing me to buy a new phone either. I’ll opt to show my displeasure with my wallet.
[automerge]1602768519[/automerge]
Can agree to the principle.
But if you have a bunch of power adapters you probable also have several lightning to USB-A cables too for those power bricks?
I have several, yes.
 
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cwwilson

macrumors 68000
Jan 27, 2009
1,530
879
Oklahoma City, OK
I’m a heavy lean towards the blue iPhone 12 but the extra 2GB of RAM on the Pro is making it a tougher call than I thought and I also want to see that Pacific Blue in person.... Ugh but even then I think the 12 has enough features to keep me happy coming from an 11. If the Pro just would have implemented the ProMotion 120Hz screen it’d be a wrap but that’s not coming until next year’s Pro.

With that said I’m still more than likely getting the 12 for now, just gotta decide between the 128 or 256 version haha.
 
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Black.Infinity

macrumors 6502
Apr 17, 2010
284
36
Apple tree-Toronto
When I see the new MagSafe Charger, I think it's the beginning for the transition to future port-less iPhones, what do you think?

I also think that. I bet they already have one prototype of port-less iPhone.
Wireless chargers are not efficient and it seems that MagSafe has fixed that big issue.
 
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Black.Infinity

macrumors 6502
Apr 17, 2010
284
36
Apple tree-Toronto
I’m a heavy lean towards the blue iPhone 12 but the extra 2GB of RAM on the Pro is making it a tougher call than I thought and I also want to see that Pacific Blue in person.... Ugh but even then I think the 12 has enough features to keep me happy coming from an 11. If the Pro just would have implemented the ProMotion 120Hz screen it’d be a wrap but that’s not coming until next year’s Pro.

With that said I’m still more than likely getting the 12 for now, just gotta decide between the 128 or 256 version haha.
Don’t worry about that extra 2 GB RAM. iPhone Pro needs that for processing AppleRAW pictures.
 
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MacBH928

Contributor
May 17, 2008
4,826
1,856
What does the term "Bionic" mean in the chip? Why is not just A14?

I’m still using an iPhone 7 Plus. I use my phone all the time (way too much). It still does everything I want it to do, but I was considering upgrading anyway. It’s pretty disappointing they don’t include the power adapter in the box. Yeah, I have a bunch of power adapters, but I don’t have any usb-c adapters. I’m going to pass on the new phone this year out of principle.

Couldn't you use your old chargers to charge the new iphone 12? it still has lightening input?!
 
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VictorTango777

macrumors 6502a
Oct 28, 2017
560
1,067
The designs are actually fairly similar, but with the iPhone 12's edges being flat and the iPhone 11's being convex. The iPhone 12 represents a refinement, or what Apple calls an "elevation," of the iPhone 11's design rather than a complete overhaul, but it does feel markedly more modern, and may well be more secure to hold in the hand.

How did Apple describe the change from the flat sided iPhone 4-5 to the convex sided iPhone 6? By the latest logic, the iPhone 4-5 were a refinement or “elevation”, and more modern than the iPhone 6-11. Or the iPhone 6-11 are a ”de-elevation” and less modern than the flat sided iPhone 4-5.
 
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Howard Brazee

macrumors 6502
Oct 24, 2006
485
1
Lafayette CO
We're looking to replace my wife's iPhone 7+. I would replace my 6S+ with hers, except 32G is too small, so I'll wait. If iPhone 12 had fingerprint recognition, it would be a no-brainer to pick it. She doesn't do anything that uses speed, and rarely takes photos, so we're considering how much it is worth to have the better display and MagSafe (and just being newer). Or maybe pick SE so she doesn't have to learn new stuff (she was upset with IOS 14 changes). But I expect it will be either 11, 12, or 12 pro. If the Apple Store has mock-ups she can hold, she might go 12 pro plus. Can't choose that from photos.
 
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hybrid_x

macrumors regular
Jan 5, 2004
193
270
Teh Interwebz
If the Apple Store has mock-ups she can hold, she might go 12 pro plus. Can't choose that from photos.
The Apple Store doesn't do mock-ups. You have to wait until they're available, and then they'll have the actual working phones that you can hold.

Does your wife never update her software?
 
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jjamesv

macrumors member
Aug 17, 2007
50
13
These articles perplex me sometimes...

Scenario 1 - Person upgrading from iPhone 11 to iPhone 12
These people don't need to know the differences, they upgrade every year. We all have that friend that posts their newest latest and greatest iPhone to (insert social media outlet here).

Scenario 2 - Person upgrading from iPhone XS (or older) to iPhone 11 or iPhone 12
The majority of people in this category will get the latest iPhone and call it a day for another 2+ years. This article really only helps a very small subset of these people that want to save money and buy the 11 over the 12.

What might be more helpful is a comparison of iPhone X or XS to 12 for those people (like me) that finance a phone for 24 months and then trade it in once purchased. I was able to make this comparison on Apple's website and have decided to keep my XS for another year. It was $1100 plus tax (256gb) two years ago and the trade in value is $300.

I don't disagree with anything you're saying here, but I have a question since I'm in a similar situation (considering a 12 Pro coming from an XR). How does the fact that you paid $1100 and trade in value is $300 affect your decision? The trade in value will only go down from here.
 
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imola.zhp

macrumors 65816
Jun 1, 2010
1,009
702
Mud Island (Memphis), TN
I don't disagree with anything you're saying here, but I have a question since I'm in a similar situation (considering a 12 Pro coming from an XR). How does the fact that you paid $1100 and trade in value is $300 affect your decision? The trade in value will only go down from here.

Fair point, I guess the point I was trying to make is the spec's are not that far off (XS) from the 12 Pro and its hard to justify jumping into another highly depreciating device. Yes, the XS value will continue to fall, but one would hope not nearly as much. If the device is worth $200 next year then I've only lost $100 from 2020 to 2021. The iPhone X and XR both show a trade in value of $250 so I don't think $200 is a bad estimate for trade in of my XS in 2021, it could possibly be $250.

Also, unique to my situation, about 2 months ago after a few hard drops the screen started doing something crazy. I have insurance so I made a claim. Through some research I found that the replacement phone was of the same age as my damaged phone (possibly a month older even) but the phone looked brand new and the battery state of health was 100% (and still is 2 months later). My damaged phone stopped acting up, but I decided to keep the replacement (at a $200 cost UGH, should have sent it back!). So I'm leaning more towards keeping this XS for another year. The $300 trade value is more like $100 if you include my replacement deductible. Which, again, I realize is unique to me.
 
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Jeffey47

macrumors newbie
Oct 15, 2020
3
0
Los Angeles, CA


This month, Apple unveiled the iPhone 12 as the successor to the popular iPhone 11, with a new squared-off industrial design, the A14 Bionic chip, an OLED display, and MagSafe. As devices that are more affordable than the Pro models, but more fully-featured than the low-cost iPhone SE or iPhone XR, the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini will likely be the most popular options for consumers.



The previous iPhone 11 continues to be sold by Apple. As it is a year older than the most recent iPhone 12, it starts at $599, while the iPhone 12 starts at $799. As the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 share a large number of features, should you consider purchasing the older model to save money? Our guide helps to answer the question of how to decide which of these two iPhones is best for you, but overall the iPhone 12 is a moderate upgrade over the iPhone 11.

Comparing the iPhone 11 and the iPhone 12

The iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 share a large number of key features, such as display size and battery life. Apple lists these same features of the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12:

Similarities

  • 6.1-inch Retina display with True Tone, P3 wide color, Haptic Touch, and a max brightness of 625 nits
  • A-Series Bionic chip
  • Dual 12MP Ultra Wide and Wide cameras with two times optical zoom range, Night mode, Deep Fusion, and optical image stabilisation
  • Face ID
  • Battery life with up to 17 hours of video playback
  • Aerospace-grade aluminum
  • Lightning connector
  • 4GB of RAM
  • Available in 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB
  • Available in White, Black, Green, and (PRODUCT)RED

Apple's breakdown shows that the iPhones share a number of notable key features. Even so, there are meaningful differences between the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12, including display technology, the processor, and 5G connectivity.

Differences


iPhone 11

  • LCD Liquid Retina HD display with 1792-by-828-pixel resolution at 326 ppi and 1,400:1 contrast ratio
  • 4G LTE cellular
  • A13 Bionic chip
  • Wide Lens f/1.8
  • Next-generation Smart HDR for photos
  • Water resistant to a depth of two metres for up to 30 minutes
  • Qi wireless charging
  • Available in White, Black, Green, Yellow, Purple, and (PRODUCT)RED


iPhone 12
  • OLED Super Retina XDR display with 2532-by-1170-pixel resolution at 460 ppi, 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio, and HDR
  • 5G connectivity
  • A14 Bionic chip
  • Wide Lens f/1.6
  • Smart HDR 3 for photos
  • Dolby Vision HDR video recording up to 30 fps and Night mode Time-lapse
  • Front-facing Night mode and Deep Fusion
  • Ceramic Shield front
  • Water resistant to a depth of six metres for up to 30 minutes
  • MagSafe and Qi wireless charging
  • Available in White, Black, Blue, Green, and (PRODUCT)RED


Note that the iPhone 12 Pro provides a few improvements to the iPhone 12 in the areas of camera quality, LiDAR, RAM, and material design. Meanwhile, besides the size of screen and battery, the iPhone 12 Mini is otherwise identical to the iPhone 12.

Read on for a closer look at each of these aspects, and see what exactly both iPhones have to offer.

Design and Colors

The iPhone 12 has a new squared-off industrial design with a flat aluminum band around the sides. Both iPhones use aerospace-grade aluminum on the edges and a single piece of polished glass on the rear.


iPhone 11 vs iPhone 12

The designs are actually fairly similar, but with the iPhone 12's edges being flat and the iPhone 11's being convex. The iPhone 12 represents a refinement, or what Apple calls an "elevation," of the iPhone 11's design rather than a complete overhaul, but it does feel markedly more modern, and may well be more secure to hold in the hand. The iPhone 12 is also 0.9mm thinner and 32 grams lighter than the iPhone 11.

Both are available in White, Black, Green, and (PRODUCT)RED, but each generation has some exclusive colors. The iPhone 11 is also available in Yellow or Purple, while the iPhone 12 is available in Blue.

Display

The display is an area of major improvement for the iPhone 12. The latest model has an OLED Super Retina XDR display, compared to the iPhone 11's LCD Liquid Retina HD display. The OLED display offers nearly twice the peak brightness of iPhone 11, significantly higher contrast and true blacks, HDR for richer colors, and systemwide color management for industry-leading color accuracy.



The new OLED display also features reduced bezels compared to the previous LCD model. By pushing the display further to the edges, the overall footprint of the device is slightly smaller. iPhone 12 also features stronger Ceramic Shield front glass, with up to four times improved drop performance.

The display improvements of the iPhone 12 are one of the main reasons to get the newer model. The iPhone 11's LCD Liquid Retina display is good but slightly dated. There is no doubt that the advances made with the iPhone 12 and OLED make for a much more attractive device.

A13 vs A14

Apple says that the A14 is "the fastest chip in a smartphone," and is the first commercial processor to be built on a five-nanometer process. The iPhone 12 is roughly expected to be 18.4% faster in single-core performance and 17.6% faster overall in multi-core scoring than the iPhone 11. For machine learning, the A14 Bionic features a 16-core Neural Engine, resulting in an 80 percent increase in performance.



A13 Bionic is still up to 20 percent faster than the A12, and the performance improvements of the A14 are not so drastic as to make the A13 feel slow by comparison. The A13 in the iPhone 11 remains a very powerful processor that is capable of completing all day-to-day tasks fluidly.

5G Connectivity

The iPhone 12 comes with sub-6Ghz 5G, as well as faster mmWave 5G in the United States. 5G will deliver improved internet speeds for faster downloads and uploads, higher quality video streaming, more responsive gaming, real-time interactivity in apps, FaceTime in high definition, and more. iPhone 12 models also feature a new "Smart Data mode," which extends battery life by intelligently assessing 5G needs and balancing data usage, speed, and power in real time.

The iPhone 11 has the normal 4G LTE cellular connectivity that has been present in smartphones for many years, with no ability to connect to 5G.

In spite of its merits, 5G is only worth it if have an eligible data plan and are in an area with 5G coverage. If you are in an area with good 5G coverage or you intend to keep your iPhone for some years, 5G connectivity with the iPhone 12 may be important to you. As 5G is still in its infancy, the iPhone 11 is still a good smartphone for its price without 5G.


Cameras Similar, Software Better

The cameras of the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 are similar. Both feature rear a dual 12MP camera system with an Ultra Wide and a Wide lens. The Ultra Wide lenses have the same apertures, while the iPhone 12 Wide lens has a slightly larger aperture (f/1.6) which offers better low-light sensitivity. They also both share the same 12MP f/2.2 front facing camera.

Features such as Night mode, Deep Fusion, and optical image stabilization are shared between the devices on the Wide camera, but the iPhone 12 extends Night mode and Deep Fusion to the Ultra Wide and front facing camera as well.

For video, the iPhone 12 can record HDR video with Dolby Vision up to 30 fps and time-lapses with Night mode.

For more significant camera improvements, you'll need to step up to the new iPhone 12 Pro, which adds a third camera lens for telephoto capabilities, as well as a LiDAR scanner for improved autofocus and other features that rely on depth perception.

Battery and Charging


Both iPhones have a battery life allowing for up to 17 hours of video playback and can charge up to 50 percent in just 30 minutes with a 20W power adapter. Apple says that the iPhone 12 can achieve up to 11 hours of streaming video playback, instead of the ten hours of the iPhone 11, but it seems that both models will generally perform similarly when it comes to battery life.

iPhone 12 offers a unique charging feature, however. MagSafe improves wireless charging by easily aligning the charger with the internal coil via an array of magnets. MagSafe chargers can provide up to 15W of power while still accommodating existing Qi-enabled devices.

MagSafe also opens up possibilities for an ecosystem of magnetic accessories such as Apple's new leather wallet, as well as a range of third-party products.

Other iPhone Options

Apple is also continuing to sell the iPhone XR, which was the predecessor to the iPhone 11, for $499. The iPhone XR shares the design and display of iPhone 11, but uses an older chip, cannot use camera features such as Night mode, and has a single rear camera only. If you are on a budget or don't need some of the iPhone 11's features such as the dual-camera setup, the iPhone XR may be a better option for you.




If you feel that iPhone 11 or iPhone 12 does not offer enough high-end features, and are interested in more advanced photography and videography, improved AR experiences, and more premium materials, you may wish to consider the iPhone 12 Pro or the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, the iPhone 12 offers some clear improvements over the iPhone 11 when it comes to the design, camera software, display, 5G, and MagSafe. While the improvements with regards to the camera hardware, processor, and battery life are relatively small, the addition of Night mode and Deep Fusion to the Ultra Wide and front facing camera of the Phone 12 could be significant for some customers.

5G connectivity, the OLED Super Retina XDR display, refreshed design, improved night photos of the iPhone 12 are the key features that differentiate it from the iPhone 11. While the typical day-to-day experience of the device is probably not significantly different, the overall improvements push us to recommend an iPhone 12 over the iPhone 11, budget permitting.

Article Link: iPhone 12 vs. iPhone 11 Buyer's Guide
Everyone missed one important improvement of the whole 12 series of iPhone: they add the Chinese GPS (BeiDou) coverage for the first time. Here is copy from the Apple Spec page:

  • Built-in GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS, and BeiDou
 
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Zen_Arcade

macrumors 6502
Jun 3, 2019
333
422
Also: A 128 GB IP11 is $444 after trading in a 7+; the 128 IP12 is $651 (priced through veteran/military store). For that price difference, the 11 is a significantly better value proposition.
 
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Codpeace

macrumors regular
May 13, 2011
120
82
NYC
I’ve been wanting a blue iPhone for a while, but I’m disappointed with the color of blue they chose. It’s way too green for my taste.

View attachment 966608

I think it’d look better like this:

View attachment 966607
Thanks so much; I really love your comment here. I’m a language guy and am not great with discerning colors and other artistic stuff but I love to learn about them! I know names for all kinds of colors but I’d never be able to really see that the one is more “green” than the other, but it’s so true that it is. Your guidance for people like me is invaluable. Once you said it, I was like that’s “teal,” not blue...

That said, I love teal and I’m digging this teal iPhone. I prefer green to blue but appreciate the, like, spiritually deeper reach of blue as a primary color. I want this phone just for the color! Lol I don’t often react this way to consumer goods. Seems like these Apple people know what they’re up to, here...

EDITED to say your suggested blue looks almost purple to me. It’s beautiful, but maybe too red for my taste in blue...? Not sure.
 
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TVreporter

macrumors 6502a
Mar 11, 2012
611
727
Near Toronto
If Apple had worked a little harder to add mask friendly in-screen, back side or power button Touch ID and remove the notch it would've pushed me off the fence to get the 12 Pro or Max.
Pretty sure the 12 design was sitting in a vault waiting to roll out well before the pandemic hit. Maybe next year’s will have some workaround as I don’t see COVID going away anytime soon.
 
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jjamesv

macrumors member
Aug 17, 2007
50
13
Fair point, I guess the point I was trying to make is the spec's are not that far off (XS) from the 12 Pro and its hard to justify jumping into another highly depreciating device. Yes, the XS value will continue to fall, but one would hope not nearly as much. If the device is worth $200 next year then I've only lost $100 from 2020 to 2021. The iPhone X and XR both show a trade in value of $250 so I don't think $200 is a bad estimate for trade in of my XS in 2021, it could possibly be $250.

Also, unique to my situation, about 2 months ago after a few hard drops the screen started doing something crazy. I have insurance so I made a claim. Through some research I found that the replacement phone was of the same age as my damaged phone (possibly a month older even) but the phone looked brand new and the battery state of health was 100% (and still is 2 months later). My damaged phone stopped acting up, but I decided to keep the replacement (at a $200 cost UGH, should have sent it back!). So I'm leaning more towards keeping this XS for another year. The $300 trade value is more like $100 if you include my replacement deductible. Which, again, I realize is unique to me.

I decided against going from XR to 12 Pro for now. I'd like a nicer camera setup, but otherwise the XR is still great, and £1100 is a chunk, whether it's installments or all at once.
 
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jjohnstonjr

macrumors regular
Apr 18, 2017
199
266
Cleveland Ohio
The changed the body and the screen sizes, not an S update. The 11/11 Pro was an S update, mostly internal upgrades and more "S"peed.


We can definitely agree to disagree. Models styles from the XS/ XS Max to the 11/11Pro/11/Pro Max with the additional camera would say that it was no a S. Looking at the camera, screen minus the form factor on the 12 would say that this is definitely a S year.
 
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gaximus

macrumors 65816
Oct 11, 2011
1,217
1,717
We can definitely agree to disagree. Models styles from the XS/ XS Max to the 11/11Pro/11/Pro Max with the additional camera would say that it was no a S. Looking at the camera, screen minus the form factor on the 12 would say that this is definitely a S year.
Traditionally Apple creates a new form factor, that includes all new internals, then the next year would be same form factor but with new internals, and named S. Lately that's changed, because Apple has kept the form factor and renamed the phone (6->7->8, and X->11), but they have never renamed the phone without changing the form factor. So the 12 is not an S because it had a new form factor(and screen sizes). The S suffix has always been an internal upgrade only.
 
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Yebubbleman

macrumors 68040
May 20, 2010
3,642
797
Los Angeles, CA


While the typical day-to-day experience of the device is probably not significantly different, the overall improvements push us to recommend an iPhone 12 over the iPhone 11, budget permitting.

Article Link: iPhone 12 vs. iPhone 11 Buyer's Guide

I think that says it all. Where you had a 6.1" iPhone in the $699 price slot for the last two years in a row, it's now a bit of a downgrade in size with the mini. You now have to pay an additional $100 for a 6.1" iPhone that now lacks $40 worth of included accessories. The price gap between a 256GB iPhone 12 and a 256GB iPhone 12 Pro is now only $130, which makes it worth considering seeing as it's the same display resolution and size on both (but with significant camera improvements). But the iPhone 12 is still more expensive than is financially comfortable.

I'd be more for it if I wasn't wary of the new design (iPhone 3G, 4, 5, 6/Plus, 7/Plus, and X all had issues that weren't present on their alternating S-release successors). The 11 seemed like an S refinement of Xr, which, itself seemed like an S refinement to 8 and 8 Plus, which seemed like the S refinements of 7).

I may just pick up an iPhone Xr to replace my 7 Plus and try to save up for a more substantial upgrade in the next year or two, when we're not dealing with a brand new design.
 
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semka

macrumors member
Sep 9, 2015
31
23
I am not upgrading until they put USB-C connector in there and remove the monobrow.
 
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PlayUltimate

macrumors 6502
Jul 29, 2016
424
605
Boulder, CO
I may just pick up an iPhone Xr to replace my 7 Plus and try to save up for a more substantial upgrade in the next year or two, when we're not dealing with a brand new design.

I would love to pick up a phone to replace my 7+. But everything less than the Pros seems to be a compromise on the camera. The 7+s dual camera with 2X zoom (10x digital) is quite nice. And I have an 12.9 2020 iPad Pro for most other things. . . just hard to justify the expense for, IMO, little benefit.
 
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