iPhone 11 vs 12 vs 13 article hero

iPhone 11 vs 12 vs 13

Published Mar 7, 2023 - When it comes to upgrading your iPhone, some users prefer not to spend their entire budget to get the most recent flagship model. If that's you, then you're likely avoiding shelling out at least $799 for Apple's most recent iPhone 14 series. But if you need a new iPhone, then what's the best option for you? We'll help you pick between the remaining recent models: iPhone 11, iPhone 12 and iPhone 13.

We tested the three iPhones and give you the best tips

The iPhone 13 was released in 2021, and as always, the question must be answered: Is it worth upgrading and just how much actually changed? 🤔

We took a look at the three of the most recent Apple smartphones (aside from the pricey iPhone 14) – the iPhone 13, iPhone 12 and iPhone 11 – to give you tips to help make your decision. Depending on your use case, different models will be better options for you. You can save money and protect the environment with refurbished second-hand devices too.

Comparing iPhone 11, 12 & 13 specs

iPhone 11

iPhone 12

iPhone 13

12 MP dual camera (wide angle + ultra wide angle)

12 MP dual camera (wide angle + ultra wide angle)

12 MP dual camera (wide angle + ultra wide angle)

6.1 inch LCD display

6.1 inch OLED screen

6.1 inch OLED screen

Resolution 1,792 x 828 pixels at 326 ppi

Resolution 2532 x 1170 pixels at 460 ppi

Resolution 2532 x 1170 pixels at 460 ppi

Battery 3,110mAh

Battery 2,815mAh

Battery 3,227mAh

A13 Bionic SoC (max. 2.66GHz)

A14 Bionic SoC (max. 2.66GHz)

A15 Bionic SoC (max. 2.99GHz)

4GB RAM

4GB RAM

4GB RAM

Memory 64, 128 and 256 GB

Memory 128, 256 and 512 GB

Memory 128, 256 and 512 GB

No 5G

5G

5G

Six iPhones displaying Geekbench Scores on screen

The hard facts of the iPhone 13

Now it's going to get nerdy for a moment, as we jump straight into the technical details.

The latest innovation in the iPhone 13 is Apple's integrated A15 Bionic chip. This is a SoC (System on a Chip), on which all the important components are located, just like in the predecessors.

The differences in the iPhone 13 vs. iPhone 12 are actually minimal when it comes to their chips processing normal, everyday smartphone tasks. In the latest model, the SoC is designed a little more efficiently and thus ensures more savings in power consumption. The Apple A13 Bionic in the iPhone 11, on the other hand, lags a little behind in performance.

However, a stronger processor not only affects the number of hours the battery lasts, but also other areas of iPhone handling. As an example, the upgraded chip allows the iPhone 13 Pro the ability to film in cinematic mode where previous generations could not. We reviewed the iPhone 13 in more depth if you'd like to learn more about how it performs.

🔋 The performance of the three summarised:

  • Apple A13 Bionic vs A14 Bionic vs A15 Bionic

  • Integrated GPU and NPU on all three.

  • iPhone 13 is more powerful compared to iPhone 11

  • iPhone 13 is more power efficient compared to iPhone 12

Find more info on the three iPhones here:

👉 iPhone 11 vs iPhone 12👉 iPhone 12 vs iPhone 13

What are the similarities?

  • 60 Hz remains standard (for the non-Pro version).

There are no major differences in the display between the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13: both have the same resolution (2532 x 1170 pixels at 460 ppi) and an OLED display. In addition, despite other plans in the 13 Pro, they have kept the 60 Hz refresh rate on the 13. 

With the iPhone 11, you’re given an LCD display and a resolution of 1792 x 828 at 326 ppi. 

  • What about the camera?

With the iPhone 13, iPhone 12 and iPhone 11 you can take pictures with a dual-camera setup that includes a wide and ultra wide lens. All models can take 12MP pictures but have different apertures. More about this in the differences section.

It is also important to mention it’s not just megapixels that matter; software is also very relevant, which is connected to the processor and ensures better image processing. The improvement of the software ensures that with every new iPhone the quality is at least a bit better than before. 

  • Display size

The iPhone 13, 12 and 11 all measure 6.1 inches diagonally - so you won't notice any difference in phone size.

  • How much storage space does the iPhone 13 have?

The integrated storage on the iPhone 13 is available in either 128 GB, 256 GB or 512 GB. And here I have to comment briefly that I'm glad the standard model will finally come with 128 GB from Apple. The iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 are sold with 64 GB at the base versions, which I don't think is enough in 2023.

  • Is there facial recognition on the iPhone 11, iPhone 12 and iPhone 13?

You can use the front camera to unlock the phone via facial recognition on all three models.

What are the differences?

  • The camera

The differences here lie in the apertures of the cameras: the aperture of the wide-angle lens changed from f/1.8 on the iPhone 11 to f/1.6 on the iPhone 12, which means that more light can enter the lens. This leads to better pictures especially in low-light situations. However, there was no notable change from the iPhone 12 to the iPhone 13 camera.

  • The battery performance

The most noticeable change between these iPhones is in the battery. Whereas the battery had a capacity of only 2,815 mAh in the iPhone 12, Apple offers 3,227 mAh in the iPhone 13. This means that the device lasts for a couple more hours - which is of course also made possible due to the new A15 Bionic processor. 

However, you pay significantly more for this extra battery compared to a used iPhone 12. So you should weigh whether you really need that many hours of battery life against saving money on an iPhone with still above average battery performance.

  • Design

The iPhone 12 saw a design change from the iPhone 11 that excited most Apple fans: instead of rounded corners, the iPhone 12 newly featured an angular design that many still remembered from the iPhone 5. 

But the design differences are less drastic in the next generation. In fact, the iPhone 13 is almost a one-to-one copy of the iPhone 12, with the one small difference being the arrangement of the rear lenses. The Internet had fun making memes in light of this, as many questioned if this change was really necessary, or if it was only done so there would be at least one thing different about the design.

What colors can you expect in the models?

For all those who feel a bit overwhelmed by all the numbers and technical information, we now come to the really important decision criteria: What color choices do I have with the three iPhone models?

iPhone 11 colors

iPhone 12 colors

iPhone 13 colors

Black, White, Purple, Red, Yellow, Green

Black, White, Red, Green and Blue

Blue, Rose, (Product) Red and Black

White iPhone 12 standing up

I have to be honest that the colors all look really good in-person and - although I'm not usually a fan of white - I like the matte finish on the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13.

It is too bad Apple no longer offers the iPhone 13 in green though, that probably would have been my pick.

All those who like colorful accents might prefer to buy the iPhone 11, because this series was released with more exciting colors like purple, green and yellow!