Compared: iPhone 13 & iPhone 13 mini versus iPhone 12 & iPhone 12 mini

Posted:
in iPhone edited September 28
With the launch of the iPhone 13, millions of iPhone owners will be considering an upgrade. Here's what you need to know about the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini when compared versus the iPhone 12 family of devices.

iPhone 12 (left) and iPhone 13 (right)
iPhone 12 (left) and iPhone 13 (right)


As expected, Apple used its "California Streaming" special event on September 14 to launch new iPhone models, namely the iPhone 13 range. This year, it consists of four models, with the iPhone 13 joined by the iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max.






Owners of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini may be wondering if it's worth moving up a generation to the latest models. This could be especially so for those who are on carrier plans that allow an upgrade after one year, or as part of Apple's iPhone Upgrade Program.

In this article, we put the specifications of the latest models against those of one year ago, to work out whether the upgrade is really worth it at all.

iPhone 13 & iPhone 13 mini versus iPhone 12 & iPhone 12 mini - Specifications

iPhone 12 miniiPhone 12iPhone 13 miniiPhone 13
Price (starting)$599$699$699$799
Dimensions (inches)5.18 x 2.53 x 0.295.78 x 2.82 x 0.295.18 x 2.53 x 0.305.78 x 2.82 x 0.30
Weight (ounces)4.765.784.976.14
ProcessorA14 BionicA14 BionicA15 BionicA15 Bionic
Storage64GB, 128GB, 256GB64GB, 128GB, 256GB128GB, 256GB, 512GB128GB, 256GB, 512GB
Display type5.4-inch Super Retina XDR6.1-inch Super Retina XDR5.4-inch Super Retina XDR6.1-inch Super Retina XDR
Resolution2,340 x 1,080 at 476ppi2,532 x 1,170 at 460ppi2,340 x 1,080 at 476ppi2,532 x 1,170 at 460ppi
True ToneYesYesYesYes
BiometricsFace IDFace IDFace IDFace ID
Connectivity5G (Sub-6GHz and mmWave)
Gigabit-class LTE
Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5.0
5G (Sub-6GHz and mmWave)
Gigabit-class LTE
Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5.0
5G (Sub-6GHz and mmWave)
Gigabit-class LTE
Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5.0
5G (Sub-6GHz and mmWave)
Gigabit-class LTE
Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5.0
Rear Cameras12MP Ultra Wide
12MP Wide
12MP Ultra Wide
12MP Wide
12MP Ultra Wide
12MP Wide
12MP Ultra Wide
12MP Wide
Video4K 60fps,
4K 30fps HDR with Dolby Vision,
1080p 240fps Slo-Mo
4K 60fps,
4K 30fps HDR with Dolby Vision,
1080p 240fps Slo-Mo
4K 60fps,
4K 60fps HDR with Dolby Vision,
1080p 240fps Slo-Mo
Sensor-shift optical image stabilization
4K 60fps,
4K 60fps HDR with Dolby Vision,
1080p 240fps Slo-Mo
Sensor-shift optical image stabilization
Front Camera12MP TrueDepth12MP TrueDepth12MP TrueDepth12MP TrueDepth
Battery Size (Video playback time)Up to 15 hoursUp to 17 hoursUp to 17 hoursUp to 19 hours
ColorsBlack, White, Blue, Green, Purple, (Product)RedBlack, White, Blue, Green, Purple, (Product)RedMidnight, Starlight, Pink, Blue, (Product)RedMidnight, Starlight, Pink, Blue, (Product)Red

iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini vs iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini - Physical Dimensions

In both the 2020 and 2021 releases, there are two definitive sizes of non-Pro iPhone models, with the standard accompanied by the mini version.




Of the 2020 models, the iPhone 12 is the larger of the two, with a length and width of 5.78 inches by 2.82 inches, versus the iPhone 12 mini's 5.18-inch length and 2.52-inch width. Both have the same thickness, of just 0.29 inches.

Obviously, there's a size difference, and therefore there's a variance in weight. The iPhone 12 is heavier, with its aerospace-grade aluminum frame weighing 5.79 ounces to 4.76 ounces.

Not much has changed in the 2021 models. They feature the exact same width and height across the standard and mini sizes. The only difference is a 0.01 change in depth, or thickness.

As far as weight, the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini are slightly heavier than their predecessors. The iPhone 13 mini clocks in at 4.97 ounces, while the standard iPhone 13 weighs 6.14 ounces.

iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini vs iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini - Displays

Both the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 have Super Retina XDR displays, measuring 5.4 inches and 6.1 inches respectively.

iPhone 13 has a smaller notch
iPhone 13 has a smaller notch


They are OLED, giving them a contrast ratio of 2,000,000:1, as well as HDR support. The panels also offer Wide Color Display (P3) support and True Tone, as well as Haptic Touch.

The iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 have a max typical brightness of 625 nits, rising to a peak brightness of 1,200 nits for HDR content.

On the resolution side, the iPhone 12 is higher than the iPhone 12 mini at 2,532 by 1,170 pixels versus 2,340 by 1,080. The size difference does mean the iPhone 12 mini has a higher pixel density of 476ppi vs 460, despite the resolution drop.

iPhone 13 and iPhone 12 in hand
iPhone 13 and iPhone 12 in hand


The iPhone 13 mini and iPhone 13 feature the same overall display specifications with minor upgrades in terms of brightness. The iPhone 13 mini and iPhone 13 both provide up to 800 nits of typical brightness, or up to 1,200 nits of max brightness when viewing HDR content.

As far as the actual physical screen, Apple says it has redesigned the TrueDepth sensor suite to allow for a slightly smaller notch.

iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini vs iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini - Cameras

The iPhone 13's cameras are now catty corner to each other.
The iPhone 13's cameras are now catty corner to each other.


On the back of both the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini are dual 12-megapixel cameras, covering ultra-wide and wide ranges. The ultra-wide has an aperture of f/2.4, while the wide goes to f/1.6.

Camera comparison
iPhone 13 comaprison


They have Night Mode and Deep Fusion support, optical image stabilization, and a 2x optical zoom out complemented by a 5x digital zoom. Portrait Mode with bokeh and depth control, as well as Portrait Lighting and Smart HDR 3, are also available.

Apple hasn't given the physical camera hardware many major upgrades with the iPhone 13 mini or iPhone 13. According to Apple, the new 2021 iPhone models feature sensor-shift optical image stabilization, and that's about it. The iPhone 13 models feature the same dual 12-megapixel camera setup with the same aperture specifications. The iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini do feature Smart HDR 4, which is an improvement over Smart HDR 3.

For video, the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini can record 4K between 24fps and 60fps, with HDR video recording in Dolby Vision available at up to 30fps. An extended dynamic range for video is offered up to 60fps, with a 2x optical zoom out complemented by a 3x digital zoom, audio zoom, and OIS.

Slo-mo video support is offered for 1080p video at 120fps and 240fps.

Both the iPhone 13 mini and iPhone 13 feature the same 1080p and 4K video recording specifications as their predecessors. The only major upgrade to frame rate in this regard is a bump to 60 fps support for HDR video recording with Dolby Vision.

Additionally, the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini also support sensor-shift optical image stabilization for video and a new Cinematic Mode that brings computational photography features to Apple's video recording. The feature allows for a cinematic look while shooting video, and also provides users with the ability to change focus after a video is recorded.

TrueDepth cameras
TrueDepth cameras


Around the front, the TrueDepth camera array on the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini boasts a 12-megapixel resolution and f/2.2 aperture, Portrait Mode, and Portrait Lighting, Night Mode support, and Deep Fusion.

On the video side, the TrueDepth camera can record 4K video at up to 60fps, with extended dynamic range up to 30fps, HDR video with Dolby Vision up to 30fps, and 1080p 120fps slo-mo.

For the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini, Apple Han't changed anything about the hardware. New software features include the aforementioned cinematic mode, the bump to Smart HDR 4 for photos, and support for Apple's new Photographic Styles feature, which allow users to create special filters that are intelligently applied to all photos.

iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini vs iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini - Processing Performance

As usual, Apple upgraded the chip powering the latest iPhones, It is moving from the A14 Bionic used the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini to the A15 Bionic.

The A14 combined a six-core CPU, using two high-performance cores and four energy-efficient cores, with a four-core GPU. Added to that package was the 16-core Neural Engine, which at the time could perform 11 trillion operations per second, and an improved image processor to boost computational photography efforts.

Apple's A15 Bionic chipset features a new six-core CPU with two high-performance cores and two energy-efficient cores. It also packs an updated 16-core Neutral Engine, which can perform up to 15.8 trillion operations per second.

The company did not make comparisons between the A14 Bionic and A15 Bionic, but did say that the A15 is up to 50% faster than the leading competition. It also provides up to 30% better graphical performance.

iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini vs iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini - 5G and connectivity

The iPhone 13's cinematic mode.
The iPhone 13's cinematic mode.


The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini were the first-generation iPhones to sport 5G connectivity, covering both typical low-band frequencies and mmWave. This enabled both far-reaching coverage for the models, as well as blisteringly fast cellular speeds, albeit the latter was only available in limited areas.

Unfortunately, given the relatively slow rollout of 5G networks around the world, it seems unlikely that many people will benefit from mmWave, even one year after iPhones offered the connectivity.

Apple says that the iPhone 13 lineup features "more 5G bands" than the previous models, which will allow 5G connectivity to work in more places with better coverage and performance. Beyond a count of more countries and more carriers, the company has yet to specify exact what this means, or the specific bands that the iPhone 13 models now support.

On the non-cellular side, Apple included support for Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 in the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini. There's also NFC with reader mode, used to drive Apple Pay transactions in stores, and Ultra Wideband, which has started to become useful to consumers who also own AirTags.

The iPhone 13 lineup also supports dual-eSIM technology, whereas the US models of the iPhone 12 family did not.

Those other connectivity features have not changed between the iPhone 12 lineup and the iPhone 13 models.

iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini vs iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini - Power and battery

The iPhone 12 range didn't really offer much in the way of battery improvements over then iPhone 11 range, with Apple claiming the iPhone 12 to be able to offer 17 hours of video playback, up to 15 on the mini, and up to 65 or 50 hours of audio playback, depending on the model.

Fast charge capabilities in the iPhone 12 pair enabled a 50% charge to be achieved in 20 minutes, when using a 20W adapter and Lightning.

Wireless charging the iPhone 12 range was an improvement over the year before, due to the introduction of MagSafe. The Qi-compatible system used magnets to align the iPhone to the charger for optimal transfer speeds, as well as enabling magnetic accessories to be attached to the back.

Battery life has been updated on both the iPhone 13 mini and the iPhone 13.

Apple says the iPhone 13 mini will last up to 17 hours in video playback or up to 13 hours when streaming video. When playing audio, the iPhone 13 mini can last up to 55 hours. For the iPhone 13, the device can support up to 19 hours of video playback, up to 15 hours of streaming playback, and up to 75 hours of audio playback.

The two new devices provide the same fast charge capability as their predecessors when using a 20W or higher adapter.

iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini vs iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini - Other Features

Both the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini are rated IP68, which means it can survive at a maximum depth of 6 meters for up to 30 minutes. The water- and dust-resistance rating hasn't changed on the new models.

Many of the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini features are software-based, including Cinematic Mode, which allows for users to change the depth of focus in video recordings after the fact. A new Photographic Styles feature allows users to create their own intelligent "filters" that can be applied to any photos they take.

Apple also says that the iPhone 13 has been designed it minimize its impact on the environment. For example, its antenna lines are made with up-cycled plastic water bottles. The device's packaging also no longer features a plastic wrap, which Apple says will save about 600 metric tons of plastic.

iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini vs iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini - Capacity, color, and pricing

The iPhone 13 comes in a range of new colors.
The iPhone 13 comes in a range of new colors.


The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini are available in a choice of three capacities: 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB.

The iPhone 12 mini costs $599 for the 64GB, rising to $649 for the 128GB, and $749 for the 256GB model. The iPhone 12 adds $100 to each price, making it $699, $749, and $849 for the 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB respectively.

Apple made the iPhone 12 available initially in White, Black, Blue, Green, and (Product)Red, with Purple added later to the roster.

Compared to the previous generation, Apple has bumped the base storage capacity to 128GB and the peak storage capacity to 512GB. That means the iPhone 13 mini and iPhone 13 now comes in 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB

The iPhone 13 mini costs $699 for the 128GB, rising to $749 for the 256GB, and $849 for the 512GB model. The iPhone 12 adds $100 to each price, making it $799, $849, and $949 for the 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB respectively.

Apple's iPhone 13 mini and iPhone 13 will both come in Midnight, Starlight, Pink, Blue, and (Product)Red.

iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini vs iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini - Should you upgrade?

The iPhone 13 mini and iPhone 13 are more muted updates than in past years. They bring a smaller notch, upgraded cameras, and new software features to the iPhone lineup -- but there isn't a massive redesign or a huge bump in performance.

If you have an iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 mini, then it might not be worth the upgrade. However, owners of older devices will probably appreciate the speedier performance and better cameras on the new iPhone 13 models.

On the other hand, the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 are also still available from Apple, and have seen a slight price reduction. Unless the iPhone 13's new features really appeal to you, you might be better-served by purchasing one of the 2020 handsets.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9
    Those iPhone 12 prices reflect a price drop in case anyone is wondering about the difference in price with iPhone 13.  And if one didn’t read the second last sentence.

    As a 12 mini owner, I won’t be upgrading. But if you were to buy a phone now I would pay the extra for the 13 mini over the 12 mini. The new camera features and screen enhancements alone are worth it.  And while I haven't ever had my battery run out, and the 12 mini already has superior battery life to an SE or an iPhone 8, the extra battery life of the 13 mini will be the cherry on top for the nervous nellies. 

    edited September 14 williamlondonMplsP
  • Reply 2 of 9
    entropys said:
    Those iPhone 12 prices reflect a price drop in case anyone is wondering about the difference in price with iPhone 13.  And if one didn’t read the second last sentence.

    As a 12 mini owner, I won’t be upgrading. But if you were to buy a phone now I would pay the extra for the 13 mini over the 12 mini. The new camera features and screen enhancements alone are worth it.  And while I haven't ever had my battery run out, and the 12 mini already has superior battery life to an SE or an iPhone 8, the extra battery life of the 13 mini will be the cherry on top for the nervous nellies. 

    Never understood why someone would replace a 1 year old phone. 
    williamlondonnadriel
  • Reply 3 of 9
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,168member
    If you are in a market for a mini, upspeccing the 12 mini to match the lowest spec 13 mini 128GB reduces the price diff to USD$50. A no brainer and you should get the 13 mini.
    MplsP
  • Reply 4 of 9
    entropysentropys Posts: 3,168member
    entropys said:
    Those iPhone 12 prices reflect a price drop in case anyone is wondering about the difference in price with iPhone 13.  And if one didn’t read the second last sentence.

    As a 12 mini owner, I won’t be upgrading. But if you were to buy a phone now I would pay the extra for the 13 mini over the 12 mini. The new camera features and screen enhancements alone are worth it.  And while I haven't ever had my battery run out, and the 12 mini already has superior battery life to an SE or an iPhone 8, the extra battery life of the 13 mini will be the cherry on top for the nervous nellies. 

    Never understood why someone would replace a 1 year old phone. 
    Yes I am surprised how often people do. Then again I know people still using a 5S. They should upgrade.
    pulseimages
  • Reply 5 of 9
    "According to Apple, the new 2021 iPhone models feature sensor-shift optical image stabilization, and that's about it"
    This is inaccurate and underplaying the improvements
    From @45m in the keynote: "Wide camera gathers 47% more light", and the ultra-wide also has a new sensor.
    patchythepirate
  • Reply 6 of 9
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,356member
    entropys said:
    entropys said:
    Those iPhone 12 prices reflect a price drop in case anyone is wondering about the difference in price with iPhone 13.  And if one didn’t read the second last sentence.

    As a 12 mini owner, I won’t be upgrading. But if you were to buy a phone now I would pay the extra for the 13 mini over the 12 mini. The new camera features and screen enhancements alone are worth it.  And while I haven't ever had my battery run out, and the 12 mini already has superior battery life to an SE or an iPhone 8, the extra battery life of the 13 mini will be the cherry on top for the nervous nellies. 

    Never understood why someone would replace a 1 year old phone. 
    Yes I am surprised how often people do. Then again I know people still using a 5S. They should upgrade.
    Why do people replace 3 year old cars? They're willing to throw money away for it. A lot of people obsess over having the latest specs, too. Psychology is strange.

    As for the people using a 5s, If it's serving their needs then why bother upgrading? Going back to the car analogy - we have a 10 year old minivan that's paid off runs perfectly and does everything we need it to. Plus it costs less than $500 per year to insure. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles that the new models do, but for the $1000 per month payment that a new van would cost we're more than happy to keep what we have.
  • Reply 7 of 9
    entropys said:
    entropys said:
    Those iPhone 12 prices reflect a price drop in case anyone is wondering about the difference in price with iPhone 13.  And if one didn’t read the second last sentence.

    As a 12 mini owner, I won’t be upgrading. But if you were to buy a phone now I would pay the extra for the 13 mini over the 12 mini. The new camera features and screen enhancements alone are worth it.  And while I haven't ever had my battery run out, and the 12 mini already has superior battery life to an SE or an iPhone 8, the extra battery life of the 13 mini will be the cherry on top for the nervous nellies. 

    Never understood why someone would replace a 1 year old phone. 
    Yes I am surprised how often people do. Then again I know people still using a 5S. They should upgrade.
    I upgraded from the SE 2016 to the 12 Mini. 
  • Reply 8 of 9
    Iff you are a professional film maker who makes films with your phone, then you should upgrade.
    edited September 16
  • Reply 9 of 9
    I am still wondering what the differences are between the modem in the iphone 12 vs the 13.
    My understanding is that it went from Qualcomm's first gen, 7nm X55 to a second gen, 5nm X60.

    We heard a lot about the CPU -- but that's pretty mature technology that has exceeded user demands for years - my Xr runs great.

    But these 5G modems are in their infancy and likely advancing by leaps and bounds.  So, it would be interesting to compare.
    And, sorry but, the old "5G doesn't exist" excuse doesn't apply anymore -- both the U.S. and China have it rolled out nationwide.
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