The iPhone 12 is finally here. With four different models, it represents a pretty big update for Apple’s iPhone series, thanks to an all-new design, better performance, and new camera features.
Of course, given how exciting the new device is, you might be wondering if it’s worth buying for yourself. There are plenty of reasons to upgrade to the new phone, and those reasons might be slightly different for everyone. And, as is often the case, there are also a few reasons not to buy the new iPhone.
Need some advice? Here are five reasons to upgrade to the new iPhone, and two reasons not to.
Five reasons to upgrade to the iPhone 12
The stunning new design
The iPhone 12 series offers an all-new design — and it looks great. It’s kind of like a combination between the iPhone 11 series from last year, and the much-loved iPhone 5 with its squared-off edges. All four of the new iPhone 12 models have a similar design — including the iPhone 12 Mini and big-screen iPhone 12 Pro Max.
The phones come in some sweet new colors, too. The iPhone 12 and upcoming iPhone 12 Mini are available in Black, White, Blue, Green, and Product Red colors — and they all look pretty sweet. On the Pro side, the new Pacific Blue replaces the Midnight Green from last year’s iPhone 11 series, and the body is finished in a hyper-glossy frame with a matte back.
The bigger, better display
Another major upgrade for the iPhone 12 series is the new display, which is far better than the iPhone 11’s display, and more closely matches the Pro series of iPhones. The result is that the iPhone 12 offers an OLED display with a 460 pixel-per-inch density — and it simply looks great. It’s not a high refresh rate display, unfortunately, and the display on the iPhone 12 doesn’t get quite as bright as that on the iPhone 12 Pro — but if you’re into watching videos and gaming on your phone, you’ll love what’s on offer with the iPhone 12.
The 5G connectivity
It’s no secret that 5G is the next generation of connectivity, and while it’s a little limited right now, it’s becoming more available by the week. Most large cities offer some kind of 5G support at this point, and while it’s most likely the widespread Sub-6 5G connectivity that may not offer speeds much faster than your current 4G (LTE) connection, it should get faster over time.
Of course, while you may not buy an iPhone just for its 5G connectivity, it’s certainly an added bonus. After all, 5G is going to get better and better, and you’ll want a phone that supports it as that happens over the coming years.
The better camera
The camera has also gotten an upgrade with the iPhone 12. In the standard iPhone 12, you’ll still get a dual-lens camera, with the main camera paired with an ultrawide camera. But the main lens has a larger f/1.6 aperture, which essentially means that it can let in more light, resulting in better low-light photos. Night Mode is available to use on all of the cameras, even the selfie shooter, and Apple’s latest camera processing is available on all models.
It’s a definite upgrade over the last-generation iPhone 11, but not quite as great as the iPhone 12 Pro, which has a telephoto lens and Portrait Night Mode, and the iPhone 12 Pro Max, which has the best camera of the bunch.
The MagSafe accessories
Apple is building a whole new ecosystem of accessories with MagSafe. MagSafe essentially allows accessories and chargers to magnetically attach to the back of the phone, which makes wireless charging easier. It also means you can attach things like a wallet case to the back of the phone, and magnetically mount the phone to a car mount or stand.
It’s a cool concept, and we’ll have to wait and see just how accessory makers take advantage of the system. Right now, the number of available options is limited — only a couple of Apple’s own accessories have launched so far.
Two reasons not to upgrade to the iPhone 12
The overall experience is pretty much the same
If you have a recent iPhone, the overall experience of using it isn’t really that different on the iPhone 12. As long as your device supports iOS 14, then actually using the device won’t change much just because you buy a shiny new phone. As such, you should really only buy a new iPhone for the hardware — since the software is identical across the iPhone range.
Obviously, the new A14 Bionic processor, more memory, and a nicer-looking display will enhance what iOS 14 looks and acts like, but the functions and apps you can run are otherwise unchanged.
MagSafe and 5G probably won’t change the game for you
There’s no doubt that 5G will be important, but it’s not there quite yet. If you’re wondering whether you should buy the iPhone 12, or wait for the iPhone 13, don’t make your decision based on 5G. The iPhone 13 will also offer 5G support, and by then, 5G networks may be a little more robust. Until then, you’re not really missing out by staying on 4G for another year
The same is true of MagSafe. Its arrival on the iPhone 12 is only the start of a new ecosystem of accessories — and the system will still be available on later models. For now, accessory makers are still figuring out how to take advantage of MagSafe, and in a year or two, that ecosystem will probably be a lot more compelling.
Should you upgrade?
So should you upgrade to the iPhone 12? Well, it somewhat depends on what model of iPhone you currently have. If you have an iPhone 11 model, you definitely don’t need to upgrade to the iPhone 12. Sure, the new design is nice, but even the cameras and display aren’t so much better that it’s worth buying a new device.
If you currently have an iPhone XS, the upgrade is a little more compelling — but still not a ton. Again, the display is better, the camera is better, and the processor is better, but the experience is still pretty similar. It’s more of a clear upgrade if you have the iPhone XR, which only has a single-lens camera and a much worse display.
If you have an iPhone X or older, it may well be worth upgrading. If you’re happy with the iPhone X you have, you could still probably wait a year, but you’ll definitely appreciate the upgrades on offer by the iPhone 12, or better yet, the iPhone 12 Pro.
And if you have a device even older than the iPhone X, you’ll get a major upgrade with the iPhone 12, thanks to features like an edge-to-edge display, better cameras, faster processor, and more. You got your money’s worth out of that iPhone 8 — it’s time to upgrade to the 12.