Newest Apple iPhone 13 vs 12 vs 11 vs XR comparison
Apple's the iPhone 13 series has four models to choose from: the iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro and the iPhone 13 Pro Max.
We've compared the four models in a separate feature, but here we are looking at how the iPhone 13 mini and iPhone 13 compare to last year's iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini, as well as the older - but still available - iPhone 11. We've also referenced 2018's iPhone XR for those wondering how the new models compare to the three-year old device if you're due an upgrade.
Should you upgrade from the iPhone XR, iPhone 11 or iPhone 12 to the iPhone 13? Or should you save some money and buy the iPhone 11 or the iPhone 12 given they are being sold alongside the latest models?
Note that the iPhone SE is also in Apple's portfolio, so that's worth checking out if you're happy to have the Touch ID Home Button instead of Face ID.
- iPhone 13 mini: 131.5 x 64.2 x 7.65mm, 141g
- iPhone 13: 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.65mm, 174g
- iPhone 12 mini: 131.5 x 64.2 x 7.4mm, 135g
- iPhone 12: 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4mm, 164g
- iPhone 11: 150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3mm, 194g
- iPhone XR: 150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3mm, 194g
The Apple iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 all feature very similar designs. They all have aluminium frames that are flat rather than rounded, they both come with a notch at the top of their displays and they both have glossy glass backs with a dual rear camera system in the top left corner.
The notch on the iPhone 13 models is smaller than the iPhone 12 models though - albeit fractionally, and the mini models are of course smaller than the standard models in terms of physical size. The iPhone 13 models also have a diagonally-arranged dual rear camera and the housing is larger, while the iPhone 12 models have a vertically-arranged dual rear camera.
The Apple iPhone 11 and the iPhone XR offer a similar design to the iPhone 13 and iPhone 12 models in that they both come in a number of colours, offer an aluminium frame and a glass rear. There's a notch at the top of both their displays too - which is the same size as the iPhone 12 models and therefore larger than the iPhone 13 - but they have rounder edges than the iPhone 13 and iPhone 12 models.
The iPhone 13 mini and iPhone 12 mini devices are the smallest and lightest of those being compared here and they are lovely and compact. The iPhone 11 and XR are identical in terms of footprint and weight, and both slightly larger and heavier than the iPhone 13 and iPhone 12.
The iPhone XR is IP67 water-resistant, however, enabling it to be submerged up to one-metre for 30 minutes, while the iPhone 11, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini are all IP68 rated, though the 13 models and 12 models can handle depths up to six-metres for 30 minutes, while the 11 can only do two metres.
The iPhone 13 models, iPhone 12 models and iPhone 11 all have a dual rear camera, with a camera housing that features a matte glass to differentiate it from the rest of the glossy body. The iPhone XR meanwhile, has a single rear camera.
The colour options also differ between the iPhone 13 models, iPhone 12 models, iPhone 11 and iPhone XR.
- iPhone 13 mini/12 mini: 5.4-inch, OLED, 2340 x 1080 pixel resolution, HDR, 1200nits
- iPhone 13/12: 6.1-inch, OLED, 2532 x 1170 pixel resolution, HDR, 1200nits
- iPhone 11: 6.1-inch, LCD, 1792 x 828 pixel resolution, no HDR, 625nits
- iPhone XR: 6.1-inch, LCD, 1792 x 828 pixel resolution, no HDR, 625nits
The iPhone 13 and iPhone 12 models all have OLED displays with HDR and a maximum brightness of 1200nits - though the iPhone 13 models up the peak brightness from the iPhone 12's 625nits to 800nits. The iPhone 13 mini and iPhone 12 mini have a 5.4-inch display with a 2340 x 1080 pixel resolution for a pixel density of 476ppi, while the iPhone 13 and iPhone 12 have a 6.1-inch display with a 2532 x 1170 pixel resolution for a pixel density of 460ppi.
The iPhone 11 and the iPhone XR both have a 6.1-inch, Liquid Retina LCD display with a 1792 x 828 pixel resolution, resulting in a pixel density of 326ppi so the iPhone 13 and iPhone 12 models are quite a bit sharper and more vibrant.
All models being compared here have True Tone technology, along with a wide colour gamut, and there is Haptic Touch over 3D Touch.
Neither the iPhone 11 or iPhone XR have HDR and they aren't as bright as the iPhone 13 models or iPhone 12 models. The 11 and XR both still deliver great displays with ample brightness though.
- iPhone 13/12 models: Dual rear camera (12MP wide angle and ultra wide angle), 12MP TrueDepth front camera
- iPhone 11: Dual rear camera (12MP wide angle and ultra wide angle), 12MP TrueDepth front camera
- iPhone XR: Single rear camera (12MP), 7MP TrueDepth front camera
The Apple iPhone 13 and iPhone 12 models all have a dual rear camera, comprised of a 12-megapixel wide angle sensor with a f/1.6 aperture, and an ultra-wide angle sensor with a f/2.4 aperture. The iPhone 13 models have larger pixels for more light though. Results in good conditions are excellent for both the iPhone 13 and iPhone 12 models based on our experience and they are good in low light too, with Night Mode having to kick in less than the iPhone 11 thanks to the slightly wider aperture.
The iPhone 11 also has a dual camera on the rear, comprised of a 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle sensor with an aperture of f/2.4 and a wide-angle sensor with a slightly narrower aperture of f/1.8 compared to the iPhone 13 and 12 models. It too delivers great results, but as mentioned above, it uses Night Mode a little more in low light conditions.
There's optical image stabilisation, a brighter True Tone flash and Portrait Lighting with six effects, as well as next-generation Smart HDR for photos and Night Mode, all of which the iPhone 13 and iPhone 12 models offer too. Night Mode is offered on the front camera of the iPhone 13 and iPhone 12 models too however.
The iPhone 13 and iPhone 12 models also have HDR video recording with Dolby Vision up to 30fps, which is supported on the rear and front cameras and kicks in automatically. Neither the iPhone 11 or XR offer this. There are also a couple of extra features on the iPhone 13 models, including Photographic Styles, Cinematic video mode and sensor shift optical image stabilisation.
The iPhone XR meanwhile, has a single 12-megapixel rear camera with an f/1.8 aperture, optical image stabilisation and digital zoom up to 5x. It also only offers three effects for Portrait Lighting and first-gen Smart HDR for photos.
The iPhone XR also has a 7-megapixel TrueDepth camera system with an aperture of f/2.2 on the front, allowing for Face ID, among plenty of other features. It offers 1080p video recording at 30fps or 60fps.
The iPhone 13 models, 12 models and the iPhone 11 meanwhile, have a 12-megapixel TrueDepth camera on the front, with an aperture of f/2.2, next-gen Smart HDR for photos and 4K video recording at 24fps, 30fps and 60fps.
- iPhone 13 mini/iPhone 13: A15 chip, 128/256/512GB, Dual SIM
- iPhone 12 mini/iPhone 12: A14 chip, 64/128/256GB, Dual SIM
- iPhone 11: A13 chip, 64/256/512GB storage, Dual SIM
- iPhone XR: A12 chip, 64/256/512GB storage, Dual SIM
One of the main differences between the iPhone 13 models, iPhone 12 models and the older iPhone 11 and iPhone XR is hardware. As you would expect, the iPhone 13 has a bump in hardware, moving from the A14 chip found in the iPhone 12, the A13 in the iPhone 11 and the A12 chip in the XR to the A15 chip. This offers more fluid performance overall, especially when it comes to gaming and other more heavy duty tasks.
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 11 come in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB storage options and microSD for storage expansion isn't available on any model. The iPhone 13 mini and iPhone 13's storage options start at 128GB and go up to 512GB. The iPhone XR is no longer available through Apple, but you may find it elsewhere.
All devices also support dual SIM with a nano-SIM and eSIM and all devices are charged via Lightning, though the iPhone 13 and iPhone 12 models also have MagSafe on board. The iPhone 13 or iPhone 12 models don't come with a wall plug in the box however and the MagSafe charger is sold separately. All models offer Apple Pay.
The iPhone 13 models and iPhone 12 models have 5G capabilities, while the iPhone 11 and iPhone XR are 4G only.
- iPhone 13 mini: From $699/£679
- iPhone 13: From $799/£779
- iPhone 12 mini: From $599/£579
- iPhone 12: From $599/£599
- iPhone 11: From $499/£499
The Apple iPhone 13 mini starts at $699 in the US and £679 in the UK. The iPhone 13 starts at $799 in the US and £779 in the UK.
The Apple iPhone 12 starts at $699 in the US and £679 in the UK. The iPhone 12 mini starts at $599 in the US and £579 in the UK.
The iPhone 11 starts at $499 in the US and £499 in the UK, making it a cheaper alternative.
The Apple iPhone 13 has a couple of upgrades over the iPhone 12, with the processor, refined design thanks to the reduced notch and camera adjustments being the stand out differences.
Upgrading from the iPhone 12 to the iPhone 13 offers a boost in speed, camera improvements and a slight design change. The same goes for upgrading from the iPhone 11 and iPhone XR, though all those differences are even more apparent.
If you're considering upgrading from an older iPhone or the iPhone XR, the iPhone 12 is a fantastic device, as is the iPhone 11 - and both are very good value now - so chances are you'll be pleased with either if the iPhone 13 is out of your budget.
That said, if you can stretch to the iPhone 13 mini, you won't be disappointed as it continues to be a pocket powerhouse like its predecessor was, while the iPhone 13 gives you everything the iPhone 13 mini offers in a larger format.