We are reader supported. When you buy through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

iPhone 13 vs 12 (2021): Are The Upgrades Impressive Enough?

Apple fans, you have reason to get excited again because there’s a lineup of new iPhones in store for you. This includes the much-awaited Apple iPhone 13 which looks very promising on paper. Not only is it powered by a much more advanced processor but it has a bigger and better sensor and battery as well. But are these improvements really enough to leave the Apple iPhone 12 behind? To help you answer this question, here’s an in-depth comparison of the iPhone 13 and 12, covering their design, display, camera, performance, and battery life.

iPhone 13 vs 12 Comparison Chart

ModeliPhone 13iPhone 12
 Apple iPhone 13 (128GB, Pink) [Locked] + Carrier SubscriptionApple iPhone 12 (128GB, Blue) [Locked] + Carrier Subscription
PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
Screen Size6.1 inches6.1 inches
Display Resolution2532 x 1170 pixels2532 x 1170 pixels
Water-ResistanceIP68 ratingIP68 rating
CamerasMain camera – 12MP main, ƒ/1.6
Ultra-wide camera – 12MP, ƒ/2.4
Front camera – 12MP, ƒ/2.2
Main camera – 12MP main, ƒ/1.6
Ultra-wide camera – 16MP, ƒ/2.4
Front camera – 12MP, ƒ/2.2
Sensor-Shift Optical Image StabilizationYesNo
Processor A15 Bionic chipA14 Bionic chip
5G ConnectivityYesYes
Storage Options128GB, 256GB, and 512GB64GB, 128GB, and 256GB
Charging20W wired charging and 15W MagSafe20W wired charging and 15W MagSafe

Design and Display

The iPhone 13 and iPhone 12 are nearly identical in terms of design and display save for a couple of details.

iPhone 13 vs 12 design
Both the iPhone 13 (left) and the iPhone 12 (right) have an IP68 rating.

In terms of design, there’s nothing much that sets the Apple iPhone 13 apart from its predecessor. They look nearly identical, save for the thinner notch on the iPhone 13. The iPhone 13 is also slightly heavier probably because of its larger battery. As for colors, you can get the iPhone 13 in a new pink color in addition to the usual black, white, blue and Product [RED] options.

As for displays, both the iPhone 13 and iPhone 12 sport AMOLED panels of the same size and resolution but Apple claims that the one on the former is much brighter. To be specific, the iPhone 13 can go as bright 800 nits which is 28% more than the iPhone 12’s maximum brightness. No improvements were made in terms of refresh rate though, with both models stuck at the basic 60Hz.

When it comes to durability, the iPhone 13 and the iPhone 12 are at par with each other, both of which come with an IP68 rating. This means that they can withstand sand, dirt, and dust and can survive water submersion of up to 1.5 meters for 30 minutes.

Cameras

The iPhone 13 has a bigger camera sensor than the iPhone 12 and has sensor-shift stabilization.

iPhone 13 vs 12 camera
The iPhone 13 (left) does a better job in low light than the iPhone 12 (right).

There may not be too many exciting improvements on the Apple iPhone 13 in terms of design and display but it did receive a a major camera upgrade. While the iPhone 13 has the same number of lenses as the iPhone 12, Apple gave it the biggest sensor that has ever been put on a dual-camera iPhone. This means that compared to the iPhone 12, it’s able to let in around 47% more light which allows for sharper images even in dim conditions. The iPhone 13’s ultra-wide lens also promises to deliver better performance in low light.

In addition, the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s sensor-shift optical image stabilization is now found on the iPhone 13. Instead of stabilizing the camera lens, this feature stabilizes the camera’s sensor which further enhances image quality. Apple’s sensor-shift stabilization is missing on the iPhone 12.

Performance

The iPhone 13 has a more powerful processor, better 5G compatibility, and bigger storage than the iPhone 12.

iPhone 13 vs 12 performance
The iPhone 13 is powered by the A15 Bionic chip while the iPhone 12 has the A14 Bionic chip.

The Apple iPhone 12 is already impressive in its own right, powered by the A14 Bionic chip which is considered one of the fastest processors out there. But you can expect the iPhone 13 to deliver an even better performance as it’s equipped with the A15 processor. If you like to use your phone for intense gaming, however, you might be better off with the iPhone 13 Pro models as they’re equipped with a 5-core GPU. The regular iPhone 13 only has a 4-core GPU.

When it comes to connectivity, the iPhone 12 has impressive 5G compatibility and is able to edge out a lot of other smartphones out there. But again, you can expect a more seamless experience with the iPhone 13 as it’s able to support an even wider selection of 5G bands. According to Apple, the regular iPhone 13 and the other iPhone 13 models will have compatibility with more than 200 carriers in over 60 countries by the end of this year.

Another advantage you can enjoy with the iPhone 13 is more storage space, available in 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB versions. With the iPhone 12, you can only choose from 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB which some may find quite limiting. As for software, the iPhone 13 ships with iOS15 already installed but the software update is now available for the iPhone 12 as well. So if you’re still on iOS14, you can go ahead and download the newest version.

Battery

The iPhone 13 has a bigger battery and better endurance than the iPhone 12.

iPhone 13 vs 12 battery life
You can enjoy an additional 2.5 hours of battery life per charge with the iPhone 13.

Apple doesn’t divulge the exact sizes of their batteries but they did say that the one on the iPhone 13 is bigger than the iPhone 12’s. They claim that this upgrade should give the iPhone 13 an additional 2.5 hours of battery life per charge. Charging speeds remain the same though for both models, whether it be via the 20W wired charging or the 15W MagSafe wireless charging. And like the iPhone 12, the iPhone 13 also doesn’t ship with a charger.

Verdict

The iPhone 13’s impressive upgrades make it a worthy successor to the iPhone 12.

The Apple iPhone 13 and the Apple iPhone 12 may seem very similar at first glance but if you take a closer look, you’ll see that Apple actually did a great job of packing the new model with lots of impressive upgrades. Storage options are much bigger, the processor is more advanced and powerful, the camera hardware is more capable in low light, and battery life is more dependable. These improvements make the iPhone 13 a worthy successor to the iPhone 12.

FAQs

📌 When is the release date of the Apple iPhone 13?

The iPhone 13 will be hitting stores on September 24, 2021 along with the other iPhone 13 models in the new lineup.

📌 How much is the Apple iPhone 13?

The iPhone 13 models have the same starting prices as their iPhone 12 counterparts, with the regular iPhone 13 set at $799.

📌 Is the Apple iPhone 13 waterproof?

As with the iPhone 12, the new iPhone 13 has an IP68 rating which means it canwithstand sand, dirt, and dust and can survive water submersion of up to 1.5 meters for 30 minutes.

📌 Is the Apple iPhone 13 worth it?

Apple did a great job of packing the new iPhone 13 with lots of impressive upgrades. Storage options are much bigger, the processor is more advanced and powerful, the camera hardware is more capable in low light, and battery life is more dependable. This makes it a worthy successor to the iPhone 12.

Last update on 2021-07-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

RELATED  iPhone 5s vs SE (2021): A True Upgrade
Denise Jose

Senior Editor at Compare Before Buying. Researcher and yoga teacher passionate about article writing, photography, wellness, and mindfulness.