Although it was a bit later than usual, the Apple iPhone 12 series landed in October. The newest iteration of the smartphone series features four new iPhones across a range of prices. The phones are meant to tempt users new and advanced with a bevy of new features.

These are some of the most exciting new iPhones we’ve seen from Apple in years. But are they enough to tempt you away from Android? Find out this and more in the Android Authority Apple iPhone 12 buyer’s guide.

Apple iPhone 12 series at-a-glance

The iPhone now comes in four models. In order from least expensive to most expensive, they are the iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max. Screen sizes vary across models, as do colors, camera configurations, and storage allotments.

All the phones offer 5G connectivity and will be available from more than 100 carriers across 30 regions. The company made a big deal about the possibilities of 5G during the launch event.

Related: iPhone 12 Pro review: All the right angles

The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini are essentially the same phones. Obviously, the Mini is smaller than the vanilla iPhone 12, but the specs and features are the same across both models. The only exception here is with battery capacity: the iPhone 12 Mini has a smaller battery due to its smaller physical footprint.

The iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max are also very similar. Both phones feature triple-lens rear camera systems, which is a step-up over the dual-lens systems of the non-Pro iPhones. The Pro models also feature slightly better internal specs, such as more RAM. The iPhone 12 Pro Max also features a few more perks as compared to the iPhone 12 Pro, most obviously its size and battery capacity.

In a big change, none of the iPhones include wall chargers or headphones in the boxes. Inside the box with an iPhone 12 model, you’ll find the phone, a Lightning-to-USB-C cable, and paperwork. Apple is selling this as an eco-friendly move, but we don’t buy it.

What’s new?

Apple A14 Bionic

The A14 Bionic is the heart of all four new iPhone 12 models. Apple calls it “the fastest chip ever in a smartphone.” It reaches a significant milestone: it’s built on a 5nm process. That allowed Apple to put 11.8 billion transistors on the chip, an increase of 40% compared to the A13 in iPhone 11 models. There are two high-performance cores and four efficiency cores in the A14, as well as a four-core GPU, ISP, and the Apple Neural Engine. Graphics are allegedly 50% faster, while machine learning tasks are supposedly 80% faster.

Each phone also includes a Super Retina XDR OLED display, which is protected by a new technology called Ceramic Shield. Apple claims this new material is four times more break-resistant than Gorilla Glass. The OLED tech offers normal brightness of 625 nits and can reach peaks of 1200 nits. Pixel density is about the same across all four at 460ppi and contrast can reach as high as 2 million:1. The iPhones also support HDR video formats, as well as Dolby Vision.

More: What Android could learn from Apple’s iPhone 12

Then there’s MagSafe. Apple rejuvenated its wireless charging technology to make it more convenient than ever. Similar to how its MagSafe chargers worked on MacBooks, the iPhone 12 range features magnets that help align the phone with wireless chargers. It’s backward compatible with all existing Qi wireless chargers but is particularly suited to a new family of wireless charging accessories from Apple. The iPhones support up to 15W wireless charging, which is an improvement over the wireless charging speeds in the iPhone 11 family.

All the new iPhones ship with iOS 14, which introduced several significant features. For example, home screen widgets are now available to iPhones, which give owners more creative control over their home screen experience.

Apple iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini: The basic models

iPhone 12 1

The iPhone 12 Mini and iPhone 12 each include the 5G, display, processor, and software features noted in the previous section. The 12 Mini has a 5.4-inch display (2,340 x 1,080) and the 12 has a 6.1-inch screen (2,532 x 1,170). While the front has the aforementioned Ceramic Shield technology, the rear is protected with Gorilla Glass. The frame is made from aluminum. The entire chassis is rated IP68 for protection against dirt and water.

Also read: iPhone 12 series: How do all the new iPhones compare?

Apple iPhone 12 colorways

You’ll find a two-camera system on the back of the Apple iPhone 12 Mini and iPhone 12. Both the ultra-wide-angle and standard lenses have 12MP sensors. Apple says the ultra-wide has an aperture of f/2.4 and a 120-degree field of view, while the standard camera has an aperture of f/1.6. Standard features include portrait mode with depth control, 5x digital zoom, sapphire crystal lens covers, 100% focus pixels, night mode, panorama, and optical image stabilization (OIS). Advanced features include Smart HDR 3, which brings out more detail and better adjusts for color, contrast, and noise. Deep Fusion and computational photography help blend images to generate the ultimate in contrast.

Video capture is rich. You’ll find 4K resolutions available at 24, 30, and 60fps, as well as Dolby Vision up to 30fps. Slow-motion support in 1080p reaches 240fps. Perhaps the most notable new feature is Night Mode Time-lapse. The camera’s extended dynamic range allows it to capture night scenes in time-lapse video formats.

The front, or TrueDepth, camera rates 12MP at f/2.2 and carries over many of the same capabilities as the main cameras, such as Night Mode, Deep Fusion, and Smart HDR 3.

The Pro models

iPhone 12 Pro in hand against water 3

The Apple iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max have all the features of the two non-Pro phones. Obviously, they also have enhanced versions of those features as well as exclusive specs and attributes.

Related: The best 5G phones you can buy

Where the iPhone 12 comes in aluminum, the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max step up to stainless steel. Moreover, gone are the fun colors in exchange for silver, gold, Graphite, and Pacific Blue. The screens measure 6.1 inches (2,532 x 1,170) and 6.7 inches (2,778 x 1,284) across the diagonal for the Pro and Pro Max, respectively.

Where the Pro models really up the game comes in the camera department. They advance to three-camera systems and offer pro-level features unavailable to the regular models. The Pro offers 13mm ultra-wide, 26mm standard, and 52mm telephoto cameras, all at 12MP. This leads to a 2x optical zoom and a total zoom range of 4x. The Pro Max offers 13mm ultra-wide, 26mm standard, and 65mm telephoto cameras, all at 12MP. This leads to a 2.5x optical zoom and a total zoom range of 5x. Apple says the telephoto camera in the Pro Max, in particular, is its largest ever sensor and it allows in 87% more light than the predecessor.

Apple iPhone 12 Pro colorways

Both Pro models feature LiDAR (light detecting and ranging), which adds an entirely new dimension of photography. Because LiDAR creates 3D maps of the environment, the Pro models are able to use LiDAR not only for augmented reality applications but faster autofocus in the dark. Apple claims the iPhone Pro models can focus in the dark up to 6x faster than previous iPhones, which helps speed up the capture process. Moreover, the focus will be accurate.

Photographers get Apple ProRAW, a new format that blends multi-frame processing to offer the best of both RAW and JPEG files in one. It offers creative control over RAW with the simplicity of JPEG. This feature will arrive later this year.

Apple didn’t forget about video. The iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max can capture 10-bit HDR video with up to 700 million colors. Moreover, the phones offer a live preview of the footage as you shoot. It can also record in Dolby Vision HDR, where every single frame is run through a histogram and processed by the A14 Bionic’s Neural Engine. You can even edit the Dolby Vision files directly on the iPhone.

Apple iPhone 12 series specs

 iPhone 12 MiniiPhone 12
Display5.4-inch Super Retina XDR OLED
2,340 x 1,080 resolution
HDR, True Tone
Wide color (P3)
2,000,000:1 contrast ratio
625 nits max brightness (typical); 1200 nits max brightness (HDR)
Ceramic Shield front
6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED
2,532 x 1,170 resolution
HDR, True Tone
Wide color (P3)
2,000,000:1 contrast ratio
625 nits max brightness (typical); 1200 nits max brightness (HDR)
Ceramic Shield front
ProcessorApple A14 BionicApple A14 Bionic
Storage64 / 128 / 256GB64 / 128 / 256GB
BatteryQi wireless charging up to 7.5W
Up to 50% charge in around 30 minutes with 20W adapter or higher (sold separately)

MagSafe:
Wireless charging up to 15W
Magnet array
Alignment magnet
Accessory Identification NFC
Magnetometer
Qi wireless charging up to 7.5W
Up to 50% charge in around 30 minutes with 20W adapter or higher (sold separately)

MagSafe:
Wireless charging up to 15W
Magnet array
Alignment magnet
Accessory Identification NFC
Magnetometer
CamerasRear:
-Wide-angle 12MP, ƒ/1.6, OIS, 7-element lens
-Ultra-wide 12MP, ƒ/2.4, 120° field of view, 5-element lens, lens correction

2x optical zoom out, digital zoom up to 5x, Night Mode, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 3

Video:
HDR video with Dolby Vision up to 30fps
4K video at 24fps, 30fps, or 60fps
1080p HD video at 30fps or 60fps
720p HD video at 30fps
OIS for video (Wide)
2x optical zoom out, digital zoom up to 3x

Front:
-TrueDepth 12MP, ƒ/2.2

Night Mode, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 3
Rear:
-Wide-angle 12MP, ƒ/1.6, OIS, 7-element lens
-Ultra-wide 12MP, ƒ/2.4, 120° field of view, 5-element lens, lens correction

2x optical zoom out, digital zoom up to 5x, Night Mode, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 3

Video:
HDR video with Dolby Vision up to 30fps
4K video at 24fps, 30fps, or 60fps
1080p HD video at 30fps or 60fps
720p HD video at 30fps
OIS for video (Wide)
2x optical zoom out, digital zoom up to 3x

Front:
-TrueDepth 12MP, ƒ/2.2

Night Mode, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 3
Connectivity5G (sub‑6GHz and mmWave)
Gigabit LTE with 4x4 MIMO and LAA
Wi‑Fi 6 (802.11ax) with 2x2 MIMO
Bluetooth 5
Ultra Wideband chip for spatial awareness
NFC
Express Cards with power reserve
GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS, and BeiDou
Digital compass
Wi‑Fi
Cellular
iBeacon microlocation
5G (sub‑6GHz and mmWave)
Gigabit LTE with 4x4 MIMO and LAA
Wi‑Fi 6 (802.11ax) with 2x2 MIMO
Bluetooth 5
Ultra Wideband chip for spatial awareness
NFC
Express Cards with power reserve
GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS, and BeiDou
Digital compass
Wi‑Fi
Cellular
iBeacon microlocation
SensorsFace ID
Barometer
Three‑axis gyro
Accelerometer
Proximity sensor
Ambient light sensor
Face ID
Barometer
Three‑axis gyro
Accelerometer
Proximity sensor
Ambient light sensor
SoftwareiOS 14iOS 14
DurabilityIP68IP68
Dimensions and weight131.5 x 64.2 x 7.4mm
135g
146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4mm
164g
ColorsBlack, White, Product Red, Green, BlueBlack, White, Product Red, Green, Blue
In the boxiPhone
USB‑C to Lightning cable
Documentation
iPhone
USB‑C to Lightning cable
Documentation
 iPhone 12 ProiPhone 12 Pro Max
Display6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED
2,532 x 1,170 resolution
HDR, True Tone
Wide color (P3)
2,000,000:1 contrast ratio
800 nits max brightness (typical); 1200 nits max brightness (HDR)
Ceramic Shield front
6.7-inch Super Retina XDR OLED
2,778 x 1,284 resolution
HDR, True Tone
Wide color (P3)
2,000,000:1 contrast ratio
800 nits max brightness (typical); 1200 nits max brightness (HDR)
Ceramic Shield front
ProcessorApple A14 BionicApple A14 Bionic
Storage128 / 256 / 512GB128 / 256 / 512GB
BatteryQi wireless charging up to 7.5W
Up to 50% charge in around 30 minutes with 20W adapter or higher (sold separately)

MagSafe:
Wireless charging up to 15W
Magnet array
Alignment magnet
Accessory Identification NFC
Magnetometer
Qi wireless charging up to 7.5W
Up to 50% charge in around 30 minutes with 20W adapter or higher (sold separately)

MagSafe:
Wireless charging up to 15W
Magnet array
Alignment magnet
Accessory Identification NFC
Magnetometer
CamerasRear:
-Wide-angle 12MP, ƒ/1.6, dual OIS, 7-element lens, 100% Focus Pixels, Night Mode
-Ultra-wide 12MP, ƒ/2.4, 120° field of view, 5-element lens, lens correction, Night Mode
-Telephoto 12MP, ƒ/2.0, dual OIS, 6-element lens

2x optical zoom in, 2x optical zoom out, 4x optical zoom range, digital zoom up to 10x, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 3, Apple ProRAW

Video:
HDR video with Dolby Vision up to 60fps
4K video at 24fps, 30fps, or 60fps
1080p HD video at 30fps or 60fps
720p HD video at 30fps
OIS for video (Wide)
2x optical zoom in, 2x optical zoom out; 4x optical zoom range, digital zoom up to 6x

Front:
-TrueDepth 12MP, ƒ/2.2

Night Mode, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 3
Rear:
-Wide-angle 12MP, ƒ/1.6, dual OIS, sensor-shift OIS, 7-element lens, 100% Focus Pixels, Night Mode
-Ultra-wide 12MP, ƒ/2.4, 120° field of view, 5-element lens, lens correction, Night Mode
-Telephoto 12MP, ƒ/2.2, dual OIS, 6-element lens

2.5x optical zoom in, 2x optical zoom out, 5x optical zoom range, digital zoom up to 12x, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 3, Apple ProRAW

Video:
HDR video with Dolby Vision up to 30fps
4K video at 24fps, 30fps, or 60fps
1080p HD video at 30fps or 60fps
720p HD video at 30fps
OIS for video (Wide)
2.5x optical zoom in, 2x optical zoom out, 5x optical zoom range, digital zoom up to 7x

Front:
-TrueDepth 12MP, ƒ/2.2

Night Mode, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 3
Connectivity5G (sub‑6GHz and mmWave)
Gigabit LTE with 4x4 MIMO and LAA
Wi‑Fi 6 (802.11ax) with 2x2 MIMO
Bluetooth 5
Ultra Wideband chip for spatial awareness
NFC
Express Cards with power reserve
GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS, and BeiDou
Digital compass
Wi‑Fi
Cellular
iBeacon microlocation
5G (sub‑6GHz and mmWave)
Gigabit LTE with 4x4 MIMO and LAA
Wi‑Fi 6 (802.11ax) with 2x2 MIMO
Bluetooth 5
Ultra Wideband chip for spatial awareness
NFC
Express Cards with power reserve
GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS, and BeiDou
Digital compass
Wi‑Fi
Cellular
iBeacon microlocation
SensorsFace ID
LiDAR Scanner
Barometer
Three‑axis gyro
Accelerometer
Proximity sensor
Ambient light sensor
Face ID
LiDAR Scanner
Barometer
Three‑axis gyro
Accelerometer
Proximity sensor
Ambient light sensor
SoftwareiOS 14iOS 14
DurabilityIP68IP68
Dimensions and weight146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4mm
189g
160.8 x 78.1 x 7.4mm
228g
ColorsSilver, Graphite, Gold, Pacific BlueSilver, Graphite, Gold, Pacific Blue
In the boxiPhone
USB‑C to Lightning cable
Documentation
iPhone
USB‑C to Lightning cable
Documentation

Competition and alternatives

iPhone 12 upright screen

With these four iPhones, Apple is primarily competing against itself. We have a feeling most consumers will vote with their wallets. In other words, they’ll buy the iPhone they can afford. That means many will be relegated to the iPhone 12 Mini or iPhone 12 versus the iPhone 12 Pro or Pro Max. Moreover, Apple generally keeps some of its older models available for sale at lowered price points. That’s the case this year with the iPhone SE, iPhone XR, and iPhone 11, which are available for hundreds less than the new iPhones.

Then there’s the Android universe. As far as price points go, the iPhone 12 Mini costs $699 and goes head to head with phones such as the Google Pixel 5, Samsung Galaxy S20 FE, and OnePlus 8.

Looking at the iPhone 12, you’ve got a $799 phone that targets affordable flagships such as the OnePlus 8 Pro and Motorola Edge.

As far as the top tier is concerned, Apple is gunning for none other than the Galaxy S20 and Note 20 families from Samsung. The V60 from LG, the Edge Plus from Motorola, the Xperia 1 II and Xperia 5 II from Sony, and other $1,000 phones are also competitors.

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Where to buy the Apple iPhone 12

Apple iPhone range pricing

Apple iPhones are generally widely available from a range of retailers. First and foremost, you can order directly from Apple.com. Apple is offering the phones from carriers, as well as unlocked, and will ship directly to your house if you wish. Alternatively, you can order for in-store pickup.

Apple iPhone 12 series Four to choose from
There are a total of four new iPhones in Apple's iPhone 12 lineup: the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max. Brighter displays, faster processors, and more durable build quality are what you can expect with all four of these new phones.

Apple will also offer the phone via other retailers, including Best Buy. Ordering from Best Buy requires a carrier activation when you checkout, so keep that in mind before placing your order. Pricing depends on your carrier of choice.

If you’d rather buy directly from a carrier, you have that option. AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless all offer the iPhone 12 family with various deals in place.

Verizon

Verizon has the iPhone 12 for $799.99 or $33.33 a month for 24 months. The iPhone 12 Pro costs $999.99 or $41.66 a month.

T-Mobile

T-Mobile has the iPhone 12 for $829.99 or $79.99 down and $31.25 a month for 24 months. The iPhone 12 Pro costs $999.99 or $249.99 down and $31.25 a month.

AT&T

AT&T has the iPhone 12 for $799.99 or $26.67 a month for 30 months. The iPhone 12 Pro costs $999.99 or $33.34 a month for 30 months.

Xfinity Mobile

Xfinity Mobile has the iPhone 12 for $829.99 or $34.58 a month for 24 months. The iPhone 12 Pro costs $999.99 or $41.66 a month for 24 months.

Top Apple iPhone 12 questions and answers

Q: Does the Apple iPhone 12 support 5G?

A: Yes, all four models of the new iPhone 12 family support 5G, though that means different things for different carriers. In the United States, all models will support both mmWave and Sub-6 5G connections.

Q: Does the Apple iPhone 12 have USB-C?

A: Sadly, no. Apple has carried forward its proprietary Lightning port yet another year.

Q: Does the Apple iPhone 12 have a headphone jack?

A: No, none of the Apple iPhone 12 phones include a headphone jack. Apple hasn’t supported headphone jacks on its phones for years and that’s not about to change.

Q: Does the Apple iPhone 12 support wireless charging?

A: Yes! They all include the new MagSafe feature with up to 15W wireless charging. They also can be wirelessly charged with normal methods, although it will be a slower charge than you’d see with the MagSafe.

Q: Does the Apple iPhone 12 have dual-SIM capabilities?

A: Sort of. The new iPhones support one physical SIM card in addition to one eSIM card. eSIM support is still spotty across carriers.

Q: Does the Apple iPhone 12 have a microSD card slot?

A: No, the Apple iPhone 12 does not have a memory card slot. No iPhone has ever had one.

Q: What memory variants are the phone available in?

A: The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini come with 4GB of RAM and the option of either 64, 128, or 256GB of internal storage. The Pro-level iPhones come with 6GB of RAM and the option of 128, 256, or 512GB of internal storage.

Q: Do the devices have stereo speakers?

A: Yes, the iPhone 12 has two speakers (earpiece/bottom-firing) that generate high-quality stereo sound.

Q: What colors will the Apple iPhone 12 be available in?

A: This depends on the model. The iPhone 12 Mini and iPhone 12 will come in: black, white, red, green, and blue. The iPhone 12 Pro and the Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max will come in: silver, gold, Graphite, and Pacific Blue.

Credit: Apple
Credit: Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority
Credit: Apple
Credit: David Imel / Android Authority
Credit: Apple
Credit: David Imel / Android Authority
Credit: Apple
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