iPhone 12 vs iPhone 11: Upgrade to 5G or save your cash with 11?

A face-off between last year’s iPhone 11 models and the newly unveiled iPhone 12 variants.
iPhone 12 vs iPhone 11

Our verdict

In basically every comparable metric, the iPhone 12 beat the iPhone 11, whether you’re comparing the base models or pricier flagship handsets. Because of this, there are very few reasons to opt for last year’s top-of-the-line iPhone, and you’re better off gunning for the iPhone 12 handsets when they release.

The release of new model iPhones is great news for iOS fans, but also means it’s an opportunity to look at whether you need to upgrade to the new iPhone 12, or whether you’re in the market for a cheaper but still great Apple handset by opting for the 2019 model.

Whatever your reasoning for ending up on this page, what follows is analysis of the official specs of the various iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 models.

iPhone 12 vs iPhone SE specs

After many leaks, the iPhone 12 has finally been officially unveiled, and the results are impressive in comparison to last year’s iPhone 11. Not only is there a faster and more compact option in the iPhone 12 Mini, but this new Apple handset is also the same price and, when the specs aren’t comparable, they’re noticeably better in the comparison.

As for the Pro and Pro Max face-offs, it’s a similar story, with the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max near-universally dominating the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max in comparable specs. Here’s a side-by-side look at the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max, iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max.

iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11 Pro Max vs iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max
iPhone 11iPhone 11 ProiPhone 11 Pro MaxiPhone 12 MiniiPhone 12iPhone 12 ProiPhone 12 Pro Max
Price$1,199 (64GB)
$1,279 (128GB)
$1,449 (256GB)
$1,549 (64GB)
$1,799 (256GB)
$2,349 (512GB)
$1,699 (64GB)
$2,149 (256GB)
$2,499 (512GB)
$1,199 (64GB)
$1,279 (128GB)
$1,449 (256GB)
$1,349 (64GB)
$1,429 (128GB)
$1,599 (256GB)
$1,699 (128GB)
$1,869 (256GB)
$2,219 (512GB)
$1,849 (128GB)
$2,019 (256GB)
$2,369 (512GB)
Release date20 September 201920 September 201920 September 201913 November 202023 October 202023 October 202013 November 2020
Display6.1-inch LCD Liquid Retina HD display5.8-inch LCD Super Retina XDR display6.5-inch LCD Super Retina XDR display5.4-inch all-screen OLED Super Retina XDR display6.1-inch all-screen OLED Super Retina XDR display6.1-inch all-screen OLED Super Retina XDR display6.7-inch all-screen OLED Super Retina XDR display
Resolution1792×828 @ 326 ppi2436×1125 @ 458 ppi2688×1242 @ 458 ppi2340×1080 @ 476 ppi2532×1170 @ 460 ppi2532×1170 @ 460 ppi2778×1284 @ 458 ppi
ProcessorA13 Bionic chip (third-gen Neural Engine)A13 Bionic chip (third-gen Neural Engine)A13 Bionic chip (third-gen Neural Engine)A14 Bionic chip (next-generation Neural Engine)A14 Bionic chip (next-generation Neural Engine)A14 Bionic chip (next-generation Neural Engine)A14 Bionic chip (next-generation Neural Engine)
Memory (RAM)4GB4GB4GBTBATBATBATBA
Storage capacity64GB
128GB
256GB
64GB
256GB
512GB
64GB
256GB
512GB
64GB
128GB
256GB
64GB
128GB
256GB
128GB
256GB
512GB
128GB
256GB
512GB
Rear cameraDual 12MP Ultra Wide and Wide cameras
2x optical zoom (out)
5x digital zoom
Triple 12MP Ultra Wide, Wide and Telephoto cameras
2x optical zoom
10x digital zoom
Triple 12MP Ultra Wide, Wide and Telephoto cameras
2x optical zoom
10x digital zoom
Dual 12MP Ultra Wide and Wide cameras
2x optical zoom (out)
5x digital zoom
Dual 12MP Ultra Wide and Wide cameras
2x optical zoom (out)
5x digital zoom
Pro 12MP Ultra Wide, Wide and Telephoto cameras
2x optical zoom
10x digital zoom
Pro 12MP Ultra Wide, Wide and Telephoto cameras
5x optical zoom
12x digital zoom
Rear videoUp to 4K @ 60fpsUp to 4K @ 60fpsUp to 4K @ 60fpsHDR video with Dolby Vision @ 30fps
4K video @ 60fps
HDR video with Dolby Vision @ 30fps
4K video @ 60fps
HDR video with Dolby Vision @ 60fps
4K video @ 60fps
HDR video with Dolby Vision @ 60fps
4K video @ 60fps
Front camera12MP TrueDepth Camera12MP TrueDepth Camera12MP TrueDepth Camera12MP TrueDepth Camera12MP TrueDepth Camera12MP TrueDepth Camera12MP TrueDepth Camera
Front videoUp to 4K @ 60fpsUp to 4K @ 60fpsUp to 4K @ 60fpsHDR video with Dolby Vision @ 30fps
4K video @ 60fps
HDR video with Dolby Vision @ 30fps
4K video @ 60fps
HDR video with Dolby Vision @ 30fps
4K video @ 60fps
HDR video with Dolby Vision @ 30fps
4K video @ 60fps
Weight194g188g226g133g162g187g226g
Water and dust resistanceRated IP68Rated IP68Rated IP68Rated IP68Rated IP68Rated IP68Rated IP68
BatteryVideo playback: up to 17 hours
Video playback (streamed): 10 hours
Audio playback: 65 hours
Video playback: up to 18 hours
Video playback (streamed): 11 hours
Audio playback: 65 hours
Video playback: up to 20 hours
Video playback (streamed): 12 hours
Audio playback: 80 hours
Video playback: up to 15 hours
Video playback (streamed): up to 10 hours
Audio playback: up to 50 hours
Video playback: up to 17 hours
Video playback (streamed): up to 11 hours
Audio playback: up to 65 hours
Video playback: up to 17 hours
Video playback (streamed): up to 11 hours
Audio playback: up to 65 hours
Video playback: up to 20 hours
Video playback (streamed): up to 12 hours
Audio playback: up to 80 hours
Fast chargeUp to 50% charge in 30 mins (18W adapter or higher)Up to 50% charge in 30 mins (18W adapter or higher)Up to 50% charge in 30 mins (18W adapter or higher)Up to 50% charge in 30 mins (20W adapter or higher)Up to 50% charge in 30 mins (20W adapter or higher)Up to 50% charge in 30 mins (20W adapter or higher)Up to 50% charge in 30 mins (20W adapter or higher)
Operating systemiOS 14iOS 14iOS 14iOS 14iOS 14iOS 14iOS 14
Connectivity4G
WiFi 6
Bluetooth 5.0
4G
WiFi 6
Bluetooth 5.0
4G
WiFi 6
Bluetooth 5.0
5G
WiFi 6
Bluetooth 5.0
5G
WiFi 6
Bluetooth 5.0
5G
WiFi 6
Bluetooth 5.0
5G
WiFi 6
Bluetooth 5.0

iPhone 12 Mini and iPhone 12 vs iPhone 11

Out of the gate, the iPhone 12 Mini is competitively priced in exactly the same way as the iPhone 11: $1,199 for a 64GB handset, $1,279 for the 128GB model, and $1,449 for the 256GB variant. While the iPhone 12 is more expensive, it’s only a $150 gap per capacity jump, so it’s not outlandishly priced.

In terms of the all-important screen that you’ll spend most of your time interacting with, the iPhone 12 Mini and iPhone 12 come out on top again. While the Mini has a smaller 5.4-inch screen, both the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 have a 6.1-inch screen. The quality, though, is better for the newer model: while the iPhone 11 has an LCD screen, both the iPhone 12 and Mini boast all-screen OLED displays with higher resolutions.

The iPhone 11’s resolution is 1792×828 @ 326 pixels per inch (ppi), whereas the iPhone 12 Mini has a 2340×1080 @ 476 ppi display, and the iPhone 12 is even prettier at 2532×1170 @ 460 ppi to match the 0.7-inch bigger screen.

Initial benchmarks for the A14 processor indicate that the next-gen Neural Engine chipset inside the iPhone 12 handsets is a major upgrade compared to the A13 inside the iPhone 11 smartphones, which is in line with Apple’s claim that it offers a 30% boost for CPU and graphics.

Apple tends to stay mum on memory, so we’ll likely have to wait for reviews before determining whether the iPhone 12 has more than the 4GB of RAM inside the iPhone 11. As for the other type of memory inside an iPhone, internal storage, the 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB options are identical between iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 (including the Mini).

These carried-forward specs also apply to the front and rear cameras for the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12/Mini. Those specs don’t tell the full story, though, with the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini boasting better capabilities, including Night Mode pics, improved HDR, including the option to shoot HDR video with Dolby Vision (at up to 30 frames per second).

Thanks to the all-screen design of the iPhone 12s, the iPhone 12 Mini and iPhone 12 are both smaller and lighter than the iPhone 11, though the build is still identical in terms of the IP68 water- and dust-resistance rating.

Battery life is an area where the iPhone 11 picks up a surface victory, but that’s likely due to the fact that 5G is currently more taxing on smartphone batteries than 4G, the latter of which has received network optimisations and ubiquity to bolster longevity. Both the iPhone 12 Mini and iPhone 12 are 5G-capable phones, after all, with identical WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity. While the iPhone 12 Mini has lower battery life across the board, the iPhone 12 and iPhone 11 are identical.

Overall, though, the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini come out on top compared to the iPhone 11.

Winner: iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini

iOS 13 vs iOS 14

Apple describes iOS 14 as a reimagined take on the iconic parts of the iOS experience. Expect widgets to offer more meaningful at-a-glance info, plus you can add them to your Home Screen. They can also be resized and arranged to suit your tastes.

The App Library automatically organises apps into category folders, too, so there’s less time spent scrolling through a mountain of apps. There are also picture-in-picture improvements for incoming calls and you can browse while watching a video or during a FaceTime call.

There are new messaging improvements, including the ability to pin favourite conversations, while Apple Maps has been updated. On top of this, there’s a new-look Siri and a new Translate app, which supports 11 languages.

Adaptive Lighting automatically tweaks the colour temperature throughout the day, and Safari has been updated, too, plus many other improvements. It’s worth noting that iOS 14 is compatible with the following devices, which includes all iPhone 11 models, and it’s already available:

  • iPhone 11
  • iPhone 11 Pro
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max
  • iPhone XS
  • iPhone XS Max
  • iPhone XR
  • iPhone X
  • iPhone 8
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • iPhone 7
  • iPhone 7 Plus
  • iPhone 6s
  • iPhone 6s Plus
  • iPhone SE (1st gen)
  • iPhone SE (2nd gen)
  • iPod touch (7th gen)

iPhone 11 Pro and Max vs iPhone 12 Pro and Max

If you try to buy an iPhone 11 Pro or iPhone 11 Pro Max from the Apple store, you’ll be redirected to iPhone 12 purchasing options. Still, retailers like JB Hi-Fi and Officeworks have adjusted their pricing to reflect the impending arrival of the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Despite the cost change, the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max are still better value for money, given that the base model iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max are 64GB models, while the base iPhone 12 Pro and Max are 128GB. For the 256GB and 512GB models, the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max are also cheaper.

The display comparison is, again, in favour of the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max, whether you’re comparing size – 5.8 inches vs 6.1 inches for the 11 Pro vs 12 Pro, and 6.5 inches vs 6.7 inches for the 11 Pro Max vs 12 Pro Max – or resolution: 2436×1125 @ 458 ppi and 2688×1242 @ 458 ppi for the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max vs 2532×1170 @ 470 ppi and 2778×1284 @ 458 ppi for the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max, respectively.

Expect the same performance improvements outlined in the previous section with the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max’s A14 chipset, and the 12s win again in terms of storage capacity thanks to double the space (128GB vs 64GB) for the cheapest respective models.

The camera battle goes to the 12s, too, with the iPhone 12 Pro Max in particular coming out on top with better optical zoom (5x vs 2x) and digital zoom (12x vs 10x). Despite similar-looking specs on paper, there are improvements to the sensor, image stabilisation, low-light photography, and tighter zoom functionality. As with the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini, the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max also have the option to shoot HDR video with Dolby Vision at up to 30fps, which is something the iPhone 11s can’t do.

In terms of build, all four comparison handsets are rated IP68 for water and dust resistance, while the weight and dimension differences are negligible between iPhone 11 Pro/Max and iPhone 12 Pro/Max comparisons.

Battery life is an area where the iPhone 11 Pro has a slight edge over the iPhone 12 Pro, but this is likely due to 4G optimisations that have yet to be applicable for 5G-compatible handsets, which both the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max are. Expect an extra hour of video playback on the iPhone 11 Pro vs the iPhone 12 Pro, albeit with identical video streaming (18 hours) and audio playback duration (65 hours). The iPhone 11 Pro Max and iPhone 12 Pro Max share identical values.

While the battery comparison may be closer, the other categories that aren’t ties are dominated by the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Winner: iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max

iPhone 12 vs iPhone 11: Which should I buy?

Whether you want an entry-level iPhone or a more expensive flagship version, the answer is iPhone 12. The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini both beat the iPhone 11, and the same is true of the comparison between iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max vs iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. Despite still being available, the current pricing of the iPhone 11s and improvements in the iPhone 12 mean you should absolutely favour the newer range over last year’s iPhone 11.

iPhone 12 plans

As soon as iPhone 12 plans are available, we’ll add them here.

iPhone 11 plans

As soon as iPhone 11 plans are available, we’ll add them here.

Popular SIM Only iPhone plans

If you’re buying an iPhone 12 outright, these are the most popular SIM Only plans you can buy today.