iPhone 13 Buyer's Guide
The Apple® iPhone 12 series has four models, all with their own unique specifications and features. Before making your purchase, you should familiarize yourself with each model and your buying options. Whether you're looking for an especially small device or one with professional-grade cameras, there's an iPhone 12 model for you.
There are many factors to consider when shopping for a new or used iPhone 12, including features, price and use. Use this buyer's guide to further understand the iPhone 12 series, from display options to camera functions.
iPhone 12 Display and Design Options
All four Apple® iPhone 12 models vary in terms of design and display.
The sides of these devices are flat, a change from the iPhone 11's rounded edges. Apple designed all four models to have a sharper, more defined edge that separates the front and back glass. Unlike the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max, which have a glossy finish, the mini and standard options have a matte finish.
All iPhone 12 options share some display characteristics, including the following:
- Contrast ratio: All four models have a 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio. This refers to the phone's brightness and how the device's screen differentiates the appearance of colors. This is an improvement from iPhone 11 models that had a 1,400:1 contrast ratio.
- HDR max brightness: While the standard iPhone 12 and mini have different max brightness for typical content compared to Pro and Max Pro options, all four share the same 1,200 nits max brightness for High Dynamic Range (HDR) content.
- True Tone: iPhone 12 models have True Tone technology that utilizes sensors to measure light color and brightness. Each device uses this information to adjust the brightness automatically and correct the white point and illumination on the display for the best picture, no matter the lighting.
- Wide Color: Apple uses Wide Color to improve display standards for a greater range of colors. Each iPhone 12 model has this hardware and software feature for better displays and pictures.
Ceramic shield front: Apple implements a ceramic shield front on each iPhone 12 to improve protection against damage and cracking.
iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini
Each model has different display sizes.
The standard iPhone 12 has a 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED display. It features a resolution of 2,532x1,170, a boost from the iPhone 11's 1,792x828 resolution. iPhone 12 mini devices are slightly smaller with a 5.4-inch Super Retina XDR OLED display. They feature a resolution of 2,340x1,080.
The iPhone 12 mini shares many of the same display characteristics as the standard model. Both have HDR, a feature that offers a wide range of dark and light areas in both photos and videos, and share 625 nits max brightness. The iPhone 12 mini and standard iPhone 12 are available in the following five color options:
- Product RED
iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max
iPhone 12 Pro models have a 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED screen, the same as the standard iPhone 12. The Pro has the same resolution, measuring 2,532x1,170. The iPhone 12 Pro Max has the largest display of these models. They have a display with a 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR OLED screen and a resolution of 2,778x1,284, the best pixel density of all four models. Both the Pro and Pro Max have 800 nits max brightness.
Apple's iPhone Pro and iPhone Pro Max are available in different color options, including:
iPhone 12 Size and Weight Options
Each model in the iPhone 12 series has its own size and weight variation. The size of each model is quite similar to the size of its display. The screens take up the majority of the device, reaching the top corners, except for the area around the speaker and selfie camera. This design began with the iPhone X.
iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini
The standard iPhone 12 model weighs about 5.78 ounces, which is lighter than the iPhone 12 Pro, despite both models sharing the same size measurements. Its dimensions are 5.87 inches long diagonally from corner to corner and 2.82 inches wide.
The iPhone 12 mini is unsurprisingly much smaller in size and weight. It measures about 5.18 inches long diagonally from corner to corner and 2.53 inches wide. This model is about 1.02 ounces lighter than standard models, weighing in at 4.76 ounces.
iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max
iPhone 12 Pro shares the exact same size dimensions as the iPhone 12 standard model. Both are 5.78 inches long diagonally from corner to corner and 2.82 inches wide. However, the Pro is 0.88 ounces lighter, weighing in at 6.66 ounces.
The Apple® iPhone 12 Pro Max is the largest and heaviest model in the series. It measures about 6.33 inches long diagonally from corner to corner and 3.07 inches wide. This option is nearly twice as heavy as the iPhone 12 mini. It weighs 8.03 ounces.
All options share the same depth of 0.29 inches.
iPhone 12 Power and Battery Capabilities
All models in the iPhone 12 series have a built-in lithium-ion battery that's rechargeable via the following methods:
- MagSafe wireless charging: The MagSafe Charger is an Apple product designed specifically to magnetically align with iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 series batteries.
- Qi wireless charging: This type of wireless charging is similar to MagSafe but is compatible with different smartphone brands and models.
- USB charging: You can charge all iPhone 12 models with a USB cord plugged into a computer or power adapter.
Battery life and capability will depend on a variety of factors, such as use and network configuration. The iPhone 12 mini has a 2,227 mAh battery capacity. New mini devices can reach as many as 15 hours of video playback.
The standard iPhone 12 model shares the same 2,815 mAH batteries as the iPhone 12 Pro. Both of these devices can reach up to 17 hours of video playback, making them a longer-lasting option than the iPhone 12 mini.
The greatest capacity battery in this series is the iPhone 12 Pro Max, which has a 3,687 mAh. This model has the greatest battery capacity and longest video playback capability of up to 20 hours.
iPhone 12 Storage Options
When it comes to storage options for iPhone 12 models, there are different choices for iPhone 12 mini and standard iPhone 12 devices vs. Pro and Pro Max versions.
There are three storage options for the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12, including:
These options are the same as iPhone 11 models. The iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max start storage options at 128GB and increase to 256GB. But unlike the other devices, you can get the Pro Max with 512GB of storage space. The more gigabytes of storage the device has, the higher the price. After the iPhone 12 series, new models start at 128GB as the lowest storage standard.
Once iPhone users run out of storage, a few things can happen. Your phone's device may not be able to take new photos or videos, its performance slows down and the Mail app may stop working. When you run out of space on your device, you can update your iCloud storage by paying a monthly price for one of the following plans:
iPhone 12 Camera and Video Recording
The models in the iPhone 12 series have two different rear camera configurations. The standard and mini models have two cameras. The first is a 12-megapixel wide camera. The second is a 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera for a more expansive field of view. Users can zoom out more than standard wide cameras with this option.
The iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max have an additional camera. This is a 12-megapixel telephoto camera that makes the photo's subject seem closer than it is. This lens is ideal for those who use their iPhones to photograph long-distance subjects.
The rear cameras have two-times optical zoom-out features and digital zoom up to five times. They also have Night Mode functionality that enhances pictures taken in little light. The iPhone 12 series was the first to have a function called Deep Fusion that improves texture, noise and detail in lower light images.
These cameras also have automatic HDR settings called Smart HDR that improve high-contrast images using several photos in rapid succession at various light exposures. It uses this with shadow and highlights details in your images for true-to-life colors.
The front-facing cameras on these devices are TrueDepth and can intelligently capture face data for Face ID. All iPhone 12 models have the same front cameras with the same capabilities. iPhone 12 models can capture video with a horizontal resolution of about 4,000 pixels. They have HDR video with Dolby Vision that improves color, contrast and brightness on the screen.
They also have optical image stabilization (OIS) for taking videos that improves low-light images and helps photographers by adapting to the shakiness of hands in each frame. When recording videos, users can perform an optical zoom out up to two times and digital zoom up to three times.
iPhone 12 Connectivity
Connectivity is important for all iPhone models. The iPhone 12 series connects to 5G cellular networks. They connect to LTE with 4x4 multiple-input and multiple-output (MIMO) cellular antennas. The series also connects to Wi-Fi 6 with 2x2 MIMO. MIMO helps these devices improve high-bandwidth communications and performance.
iPhone 12 models also have ultra-wideband (UWB) for extremely accurate location tracking. This improves signals used for the Find My and AirDrop capabilities. This series also has near-field communication (NFC) technology. The built-in NFC chip allows users to make contactless payments, exchange digital content and connect to other electronic devices.
This feature allows for the use of Express Card transactions with iPhone 12 models. Users can utilize their iPhone's connectivity with their Wallet application to use payment cards, passes, identification and car keys.
These iPhones can also connect with the following navigation satellite systems:
- Global Positioning System (GPS)
- Global Navigation Satillite System (GLONASS)
- Quasi-Zenith Satelite System (QZSS)
iPhone 12 Home Button and Headphones
The iPhone 12 models are the second generation of iPhones not to have physical home buttons. Apple discontinued home buttons after the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. Newer devices have nearly an extra half-inch of the screen and users can wake up their phone by tapping on the display.
Since the iPhone 12 series doesn't have a home button, these devices don't scan for fingerprint authentication. Instead, you can use Face ID or a passcode to unlock your device. Users that want the capabilities of the home button from the original iPhones can add the button to their screen by following these steps:
- Go to Settings
- Choose Accessibility
- Tap Touch
- Toggle on AssistiveTouch
By doing so, users can utilize the AssistiveTouch button to perform actions like taking screenshots or controlling the volume while also having home button functionality available with ease.
This series also doesn't include a traditional headphone jack. Instead, users will need either Bluetooth earbuds or a pair that can plug into the charger port with a Lightning connector.
iPhone 12 Sensors and Chipset
iPhone 12 models have the following built-in sensors:
- Face ID: The facial recognition sensor in iPhone 12 models unlocks the phone using over 30,000 sensor points to create a three-dimensional map of the face with an infrared lens.
- Barometer: iPhones have barometer sensors to test air pressure and external weather to specify altitude.
- Accelerometer: This is a motion sensor that lets iPhones readjust from landscape to portrait display and vice versa. There are four different types of motion sensors built into every iPhone 12.
- Three-axis gyroscope: iPhone 12 models use the accelerometer and a three-axis gyroscope to better respond to how the user holds the device and its orientation.
- Proximity sensor: These sensors can detect targets within short distances. It helps with small adjustments like turning the screen off when you answer a phone call. This improves user experience and saves battery.
- Ambient light sensor: The light sensor detects the intensity of light around the iPhone and then processes that data to automatically adjust the phone's brightness accordingly. This helps to conserve battery life and filters both ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths.
All four models of the iPhone 12 have an Apple A14 Bionic chip. The chip is an improvement from the previous model, A12, as the A14 chip helps with faster graphics and central processing.
iPhone 12 Prices
The prices of each iPhone 12 model vary. The following are the estimated prices for new and used options:
iPhone 12 vs iPhone 12 Mini Price
New standard iPhone 12 models from Apple begin at $699 if the buyer opts for 64GB of storage capacity. If iPhone buyers choose 128GB, the price goes up to $749. The largest storage capacity of 256GB costs $849.
The iPhone 12 mini costs are slightly less. 64GB of storage starts at $599, 128GB of storage begins at $649 and the largest storage option, 256GB, starts at $749.
iPhone 12 Pro vs iPhone 12 Pro Max Price
While iPhone 12 Pro devices started at $999 and iPhone 12 Pro Max models started at $1,099, Apple no longer sells these models new. These devices are sold largely as refurbished and used options.
Used iPhone 12 Models Prices
Sellers typically mark down used iPhone 12 models from the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP). When buying a used device, there are many factors that go into the pricing, such as the phone's functionality and cosmetic condition.
The following are the average costs of used devices in the iPhone 12 series:
- iPhone 12: The used price may range between $400-$700 depending on the phone's condition and storage capacity.
- iPhone 12 mini: The mini is the most affordable option, with prices starting at around $300 and ranging to about $600.
- iPhone 12 Pro: This model begins at prices of approximately $600 and can cost nearly $800.
iPhone 12 Pro Max: The most expensive iPhone 12 model is the Pro Max, which begins at nearly $700 and can cost as much as $900 when purchased as a used device.
Best Budget iPhone 12 to Buy
For shoppers on a budget, used options can help you to save money on your next iPhone. If you're looking to purchase a device from the iPhone 12 series, the iPhone 12 mini is a great choice for those looking to save some cash. If you're not interested in a smaller device, choosing a standard model with less storage capacity can save you some money, as well.
Best iPhone 12 for the Standard User to Buy
If you're a smartphone user who likes having the basic features and doesn't care for extra bells and whistles, the standard iPhone 12 is a good pick. It's moderately priced and you still get some of the new components, like a second rear-facing camera. Choosing an option with 64GB of storage is often plenty of space for standard users.
Best iPhone 12 for Travelers and Heavy Users to Buy
People who travel often and use their smartphones more than the average user will likely need greater storage space and higher quality cameras. This makes the iPhone 12 Pro a great option for people who are on the go and continuously need to use their devices. You can choose from three different storage options, giving you flexibility.
Best iPhone 12 Super Users to Buy
If you work from your iPhone or use your device for the majority of your day, you may be considered a superuser. These users often need the greatest storage capacity and best quality features.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max is ideal for people who are superusers. This option has the largest display and greatest storage options. Along with the iPhone 12 Pro, this model has three rear-facing cameras for the best photography capabilities.
Upgrade your Smartphone with Gazelle
When considering buying a new iPhone, it's important to know the ins and outs of each model to find the right one for you. It's also essential to consider cost, which is one of the biggest factors in determining which model you buy. If you're in the market for a quality iPhone 12 or another model on a budget, consider upgrading with Gazelle.
At Gazelle, all of our refurbished devices have a 30-day warranty, so you can feel confident you're making a reliable purchase. You can also have peace of mind knowing you made a more economical and environmentally aware decision. By purchasing one of the used iPhone models we have in stock, you can enjoy owning a phone that's in great condition — all without spending too much money or negatively impacting the environment.