By Britta O'Boyle
Wonder which iPhone to buy or whether you should upgrade? Here's how the iPhone 14 compares to the iPhone 13 from 2021 and the iPhone 12 from 2020.
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Apple's iPhone 14 series has four models to choose from: the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro and the iPhone 14 Pro Max. We've compared the four models separately, but here we are looking at how the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus compare to 2021's iPhone 13 mini and iPhone 13, as well as the older iPhone 12 models.
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Apple iPhone 14
The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus are the latest models in the standard iPhone portfolio, featuring a GPU upgrade, camera improvements and some extra features compared to the iPhone 13. If you're looking for excellent battery life, it's the iPhone 14 Plus you'll want.
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Apple iPhone 13
The iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini are no longer the latest models but they have the same GPU and design as the iPhone 14 models, whilst also offering great performance and camera results. If you want a pocket powerhouse, it's the iPhone 13 mini that you want to be looking at.
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Apple iPhone 12
The iPhone 12 is a couple of years old now but it is still a great device for those considering upgrading from the XR or older. It has a very similar design to the iPhone 14 with flat edges and a dual rear camera and it's a solid device in terms of performance and camera capabilities.
Should you upgrade to the iPhone 14 if you have the iPhone 13 or iPhone 12? Or if you have an older device, like the iPhone XR or iPhone 11, should you save some money and opt for the iPhone 13 or iPhone 12 that are available alongside the iPhone 14 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.
Price, availability and specs
The Apple iPhone 14 starts at $799 in the US and £849 in the UK, while the iPhone 14 Plus starts at $899 in the US and £949 in the UK. They are the newest models being discussed in this comparison, so it will come as no surprise they are the most expensive too. Both are available through Apple, along with other retailers and they come in six colour options, including a lovely Purple - which we had as our review unit. There's also a Yellow option, which launched a couple of months after the initial five colours. The other colours include Blue, Midnight, Starlight and Product(RED).
The Apple iPhone 13 mini now starts at $599 in the US and £649 in the UK. The iPhone 13 now starts at $699 in the US and £749 in the UK. They are both still available through Apple, as well as other retailers and they come in Blue, Pink, Midnight, Starlight, Green and Product(RED). Like the Yellow iPhone 14, the Green iPhone 13 models arrived a few months after the initial models.
The Apple iPhone 12 starts at $599 in the US and £649 in the UK. The iPhone 12 mini is no longer available through Apple, though you may find it elsewhere. The standard iPhone 12 comes in Blue, Purple, Green, White, Black and Product(RED) colour options. In terms of specs, you can see a quick breakdown of how the three ranges compare below (slide across to see all six models), though we have gone into more detail further down this feature to give you a better idea of how they compare aside from the numbers.
Apple iPhone 14 Apple iPhone 14 Plus Apple iPhone 13 Apple iPhone 13 Mini Apple iPhone 12 Apple iPhone 12 Mini SoC A15 Bionic A15 Bionic A15 Bionic A15 Bionic A14 Bionic A14 Bionic Display 6.1-inch, OLED, 2532 x 1170, HDR, 1200nits 6.7-inch, OLED, 2778 x 1284, HDR, 1200nits 6.1-inch, OLED, 2532 x 1170, HDR, 1200nits 5.4-inch, OLED, 2340 x 1080, HDR, 1200nits 6.1-inch, OLED, 2532 x 1170, HDR, 1200nits 5.4-inch, OLED, 2340 x 1080, HDR, 1200nits Storage 128/256/512GB 128/256/512GB 128/256/512GB 128/256/512GB 64/128/256GB 64/128/256GB Operating System iOS iOS iOS iOS iOS iOS Front camera 12MP f/1.9, autofocus 12MP f/1.9, autofocus 12MP f/2.2 12MP f/2.2 12MP f/2.2 12MP f/2.2 Rear cameras 12MP f/1.5 main, 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide 12MP f/1.5 main, 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide 12MP f/1.6 main, 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide 12MP f/1.6 main, 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide 12MP f/1.6 main, 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide 12MP f/1.6 main, 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide Dimensions 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.8mm, 172g 160.8 x 78.1 x 7.8mm, 203g 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.65mm, 174g 131.5 x 64.2 x 7.65mm, 141g 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4mm, 164g 131.5 x 64.2 x 7.4mm, 135g Colors Blue, Purple, Yellow. Midnight, Starlight, Product (RED) Blue, Purple, Yellow, Midnight, Starlight, Product(RED) Blue, Pink, Green, Midnight, Starlight, Product(RED) Blue, Pink, Green, Midnight, Starlight, Product(RED) Blue, Purple, Green, White, Black, Product(RED) Blue, Purple, Green, White, Black, Product(RED) IP Rating IP68 IP68 IP68 IP68 IP68 IP68 GPU 5-core 5-core 4-core 4-core 4-core 4-core
iPhone 14 vs 13 vs 12 design and build
All the iPhones being compared in this feature offer very similar designs. They all have aluminium frames that are flat rather than rounded, they all come with a notch at the top of their displays and they all have glossy glass backs with a frosted dual rear camera housing in the top left corner. The notch on the iPhone 14 and iPhone 13 models is smaller than the iPhone 12 models though - albeit fractionally.
The mini models are of course smaller than the standard models in terms of physical size, while the iPhone 14 Plus is of course larger. The iPhone 14 and 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 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 14 and iPhone 13 are almost identical in terms of footprint and weight, with only a couple of grams in it, while the iPhone 14 Plus is the largest and heaviest of the devices being compared here. It's a good size though based on our experience.
All the iPhones being compared here are also IP68 water-resistant, enabling them to handle depths up to six-metres for 30 minutes. The colour options also differ between the iPhone 14 models, iPhone 13 models and iPhone 12 models, as we mentioned/
iPhone 14 vs 13 vs 12 display
The iPhone 14, iPhone 13 and iPhone 12 models all have OLED displays with HDR and a maximum brightness of 1200nits - though the iPhone 14 and iPhone 13 models up the peak brightness from the iPhone 12's 625nits to 800nits. The OLED panels mean there's plenty of punch when it comes to the colour, while blacks are very black.
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 14, iPhone 13 and iPhone 12 all have a 6.1-inch display with a 2532 x 1170 pixel resolution for a pixel density of 460ppi.
The iPhone 14 Plus meanwhile, has a 6.7-inch display with a 2778 x 1284 pixel resolution, resulting in a pixel density of 458ppi. It means the mini devices offer the sharpest screens in terms of pixel count but there's not enough in it between the models that you'd notice.
All models being compared here have True Tone technology, along with a wide colour gamut, and there is Haptic Touch over 3D Touch.
iPhone 14 vs 13 vs 12 cameras
All the Apple iPhone models being compared here opt for a dual rear camera comprised of a 12-megpixel wide angle sensor and a 12-megapixel ultra wide angle sensor. There are some differences though.
The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus have an upgraded main sensor, with a wider f/1.5 aperture compared to the f/1.6 aperture on the iPhone 13 and iPhone 12 models - improving low light shots. All models have an ultra-wide sensor with f/2.4 aperture, but the iPhone 14 models also have a Photonic Engine on board that too is designed to help with low light shots.
Results in good conditions are excellent for 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 older iPhone 11 thanks to the slightly wider aperture. The same applies to the iPhone 14 models, with some low light improvements.
There's optical image stabilisation on all models, Portrait Lighting with six effects, as well as Smart HDR 4 for photos and Night Mode. Night Mode is also offered on the front camera of all models.
All models being compared here also have HDR video recording with Dolby Vision up to 30fps, which is supported on the rear and front cameras and kicks in automatically. The iPhone 14 and iPhone 13 models also have features including Photographic Styles, Cinematic Video mode and sensor shift optical image stabilisation.
The iPhone 14 models do improve Cinematic Video mode by offering 4K HDR up to 30fps, compared to the iPhone 13 models 1080p, and there is an Action Mode on the iPhone 14 models too, which is good for when you want to shoot video whilst moving yourself.
On the front, all models have a 12-megapixel TrueDepth camera on the front, though the iPhone 14 models have a wider aperture of f/1.9 compared to the f/2.2 offered on the iPhone 13 and iPhone 12 models. The iPhone 14 models also have autofocus so seflies are generally better on the newer models.
iPhone 14 vs 13 vs 12 hardware
The Apple iPhone 14 models and the iPhone 13 models all run on the A15 Bionic chipset, though the iPhone 14 models have a 5-core GPU compared to the 4-core GPU found in the iPhone 13 models. The iPhone 12 models meanwhile, run on the the A14 chip so there is a bump in hardware from the 12 to the 13 and 14, but not as big of a bump from the 13 to the 14.
The iPhone 14 models and iPhone 13 models come in storage options of 128GB, 256GB and 512GB, while the iPhone 12 models come in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB options. None of the models offer microSD for storage expansion.
All devices also support dual SIM with a nano-SIM and eSIM. For US models of the iPhone and iPhone 14 Plus, it's now eSIM only, with no SIM tray present. All devices are charged via Lightning and all models also have MagSafe on board - which is more useful than you would first think.
None of the models being compared here come with a wall plug in the box and the MagSafe charger is sold separately. All models offer Apple Pay and all have 5G capabilities. The iPhone 14 models have Emergency SOS via satellites too though and there is also a Car Crash detection feature on board. You can read more about both in our separate features.
iPhone 14 vs iPhone 13 vs iPhone 12: Which should you buy?
The Apple iPhone 14 models have a couple of upgrades over the iPhone 13 models, including a GPU bump, some camera upgrades and a couple of features like Car Crash Detection and Emergency SOS via satellites. The differences compared to the iPhone 12 increase slightly, with the processor jump, refined design thanks to the reduced notch and more camera adjustments being the stand out differences.
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Apple iPhone 14 Plus
Our top choice
The Apple iPhone 14 Plus brings with it a new form factor for the standard iPhone and that's exciting. It's a brilliant option for those who want a bigger screen and bigger battery but don't want to pay Pro prices.
Upgrading from the iPhone 12 to the iPhone 13 or iPhone 14 offers a boost in speed, camera improvements and a slight design change. For those considering upgrading from the iPhone 13 to the iPhone 14 though, the differences are more subtle.
If you're considering upgrading from an older iPhone or the iPhone XR and wondering which of these devices is the best one to pick, the iPhone 13 is a fantastic device, as is the iPhone 12 - and both are cheaper now - so chances are you'll be pleased with either if the iPhone 14 is out of your budget.
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Apple iPhone 13
The Apple iPhone 13 is a great option for those looking for an iPhone but without the budget for the latest models. It isn't hugely different to the iPhone 14 so it's a great option to consider.
That said, if you want a larger device then the iPhone 14 Plus is a great option, offering a bump in battery over all the models being compared here, and a larger display, plus the extra features offered by the iPhone 14 models. Meanwhile, if you want smaller, the iPhone 13 mini is a pocket powerhouse and well worth considering even if it isn't new anymore.