Should You Buy an iPhone 12?
Part of Apple’s latest generation of smartphones, the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini feature OLED displays, 5G connectivity, an A14 chip for better performance, improved cameras and MagSafe in an all-new, square-shaped design.
Announced in October 2020, the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini remain among the newest iPhones in Apple’s lineup, but they’re nearing the end of their product cycle. Apple tends to release new iPhone models every September, and it looks like the new iPhone 13 models will launch in September as usual, although the iPhone 12 and 12 mini will launch a month later than usual in 2020.
There are clear signs of an iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini coming later this year with a host of upgrades and improvements, and these devices are believed to be less than a few months from launch. Many customers may now choose to wait until new models arrive in the fall. With the launch of the new models in a few months, those who need a new device urgently should still buy the iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 mini, but most people should wait if possible.
While the iPhone 12 may seem like the best iPhone option available right now, users who need professional-grade camera features or want a higher quality design should opt for the $999 iPhone 12 Pro. Similarly, for the biggest and most full-featured iPhone, there’s the 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max, which outshines the iPhone 12 by more than half an inch and starts at $1,099.
On the other hand, if your main concern is price, the iPhone 11 or iPhone XR may be more affordable than the $799 iPhone 12, which has the same 6.1-inch screen size for as little as $499. However, there are some trade-offs with the iPhone 11 or iPhone XR, such as using an LCD display and an older chipset.
Likewise, if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to the $699 iPhone 12 mini that prioritizes one-handed use and pocketability, the $399 iPhone SE might be your best bet.
Overview of iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini
On October 13, 2020, Apple introduced its latest flagship iPhones, the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini, which offer powerful features at an affordable price tag. Sold alongside the more expensive iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max, the iPhone 12 and 12 mini are ideal for anyone who doesn’t need professional-grade camera features.
The 6.1-inch iPhone 12 is the successor to the iPhone 11, while the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 is a whole new size and marks the smallest iPhone Apple has introduced since the 2016 iPhone SE. Other than screen size and battery size, the two phones are technically the same. With its small size, the iPhone 12 mini is ideal for those who prefer a one-handed iPhone.
All iPhone models this year feature Super Retina XDR OLED displays for the first time, with an edge-to-edge design aside from the Face ID notch and small bezels around the edges. There is no difference in image quality between the standard iPhone 12 models and the Pro models.
The 5.4-inch iPhone 12 mini has a resolution of 2430 x 1080 with 476 pixels per inch, and the 6.1-inch iPhone 12 has a resolution of 2532 x 1170 with 460 pixels per inch. The displays feature 1200 nits peak brightness, Wide Color for vivid, true-to-life colors, Haptic Touch for feedback, and HDR support with True Tone to match the display’s color temperature with ambient lighting for a more natural viewing experience.
Apple overhauled the design of the iPhone 12 series this year, introducing straight edges that diverge from the rounded edges of previous models and are similar in design to the iPad Pro. The front of the iPhone is protected by a new Ceramic Shield cover that replaces the standard cover glass. Apple says the Ceramic Shield is infused with nano ceramic crystals and offers 4x better drop performance.
The iPhone’s back remains glass, and the device’s two halves feature an aerospace-grade aluminum casing that comes in six colors: blue, green, black, white, (PRODUCT)RED, and purple, with a new color added in April 2021. Like the iPhone 12 Pro models, the iPhone 12 models offer IP68 water and dust resistance and can withstand up to 30 minutes in 6 meters of water.
All iPhone 12 models in this year’s lineup support 5G connectivity for faster downloads and uploads, higher quality video streaming, enhanced gaming and higher resolution 1080p FaceTime calls. 5G coverage is available worldwide, but only iPhone 12 devices sold in the United States support mmWave 5G, the fastest 5G technology available.
iPhone 12 models sold in other countries are limited to the slower but more widely available Sub-6GHz 5G connection. 5G speeds in the US can be as high as 4Gbps, even in densely populated areas.
Gigabit LTE is supported when 5G is not available, and to conserve battery life when using 5G, Smart Data Mode reverts to LTE connectivity when 5G speeds are not required.
iPhone 12 and 12 mini support WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0, plus include a U1 Ultra Wideband chip for spatial awareness and interaction with other devices that include the U1 feature, such as the HomePod mini.
The iPhone 12 models feature a new A14 chip and is the first in the smartphone industry to be built on a 5 nanometer process for performance and efficiency improvements. Apple says the 6-core CPU and 4-core GPU in the A14 are 50 percent faster than competing fastest smartphone chips. The A14 chip contains a 16-core Neural Engine that offers an 80 percent increase in performance for machine learning tasks.
The iPhone 12 and 12 mini are similar to the Pro models in many ways, but the camera is a key differentiating factor. The Pro models include a triple-lens camera setup with LiDAR Scanner and other features, while the iPhone 12 and 12 mini feature a simpler and less advanced dual-lens camera setup.
However, there are still significant camera improvements on the new iPhone 12 models compared to the iPhone 11. Low-light performance with 2x optical zoom and 5x digital zoom.
The A14 chip powers new computational photography features, with better-than-ever Deep Fusion for enhanced photos with more texture and less noise, and enhanced Night mode with better contrast in images. There is a Smart HDR 3 feature that adjusts white balance, contrast, texture and saturation in photos for more natural looking images.
Like the iPhone 12 Pro models, the iPhone 12 models can capture 30fps HDR video with Dolby Vision, allowing cinema-quality video to be captured, edited and shared directly on iPhone. It also supports 4K video recording up to 60fps. It has enhanced cinematic video stabilization and Night mode Time-lapse along with Dolby Vision selfie videos using the TrueDepth camera.
Speaking of the TrueDepth camera, Face ID continues to enable facial recognition biometric authentication on the iPhone and offers a 12-megapixel selfie camera. The selfie camera now supports Smart HDR 3, Deep Fusion, Night mode and Night mode Portrait shots.
When it comes to battery life, the iPhone 12 offers up to 17 hours of video playback, 11 hours of video playback or up to 65 hours of audio playback. iPhone 12 mini offers up to 15 hours of video playback, up to 10 hours of video playback, or up to 50 hours of audio playback.
Both new iPhones offer fast charging using a 20W power adapter, providing 50 percent charge in 30 minutes.
Alongside the iPhone 12 models, Apple also introduced MagSafe accessories designed to work with a magnet ring placed on the back of iPhones. There’s the MagSafe charger, MagSafe iPhone cases, cases, and wallet accessories. MagSafe supports 15W wireless charging, an upgrade over the 7.5W charging provided with standard Qi-based wireless chargers. iPhone 12 models can also be charged using the unchanged Lightning port.
Apple has removed the power adapter and EarPods from the iPhone 12 box and these accessories must be purchased separately. All iPhone models now come with a USB-C to Lightning cable by default, and Apple is removing the USB-A version.
Apple sells the iPhone 12 and 12 mini, along with the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max, which are more expensive iPhone models with stainless steel bodies and more advanced camera technology. You can find more information about the iPhone 12 Pro series in our iPhone 12 Pro community.
iPhone 12 Price, Pre-Orders and Release Date
The 6.1-inch iPhone 12 was officially launched on Friday, October 23. Starting at $799 for 64GB of storage, 128 and 256GB are available for an additional fee. The 5.4-inch iPhone 12 mini was launched on Friday, November 13. The price of the iPhone 12 mini starts at $699 for 64GB storage with 128 and 256GB storage options.
The $699 and $799 starting prices for iPhone 12 models are for Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint customers in the United States only. For models without SIM, pricing starts at $729 for the iPhone 12 mini and $829 for the iPhone 12.
iPhones can be purchased from the online Apple Store, Apple retail outlets, and third-party retailers such as Best Buy, Target, and Walmart.
In April 2021, Apple introduced a new purple color for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini that can be ordered Friday, April 23, before launching on Friday, April 30.
iPhone 12 Reviews
6.1 inch iPhone 12
Reviews of the iPhone 12 were positive, with reviewers praising the redesigned iPad Pro-like design and display that is OLED, and a major improvement over the LCD on the iPhone 11.
Engadget described the display as an “enormous” step forward in terms of quality, with higher resolution and “more strikingly revealing” colors.
TechCrunch said the angular edges of the iPhone 12 make it easy to grasp and pick up from a flat surface, and it’s comfortable to hold. Reviewers liked the bright colors, but many, including The Verge, noted that the glossy rear glass is susceptible to fingerprints and micro-abrasions.
While Engadget claims that the photos don’t really look very different from those taken with the 11 Pro, most reviewers found the camera improvements to be gradual compared to the iPhone 11. TechCrunch says there are “signs of improvement” with the biggest change being the f/1.6 aperture for the Wide camera, which lets more light in.
The Ultra Wide camera has also been defined sharper and more vibrant with perspective correction to remove any line distortion, and there are also improvements to Portrait Mode for things like bringing out fine details.
Reviewers liked the MagSafe integration, which was found to be faster and less frustrating than messing around with a Qi-based charger, and the connection is strong enough that you can use the iPhone while it’s charging.
When it comes to 5G connectivity, reviewers weren’t too impressed because 5G connectivity is still limited in many places in the United States and other countries. Wired said 5G isn’t common enough for most people to “experience the benefit of higher wireless speeds,” while TechCrunch pointed out that the fastest mmWave networks are only available within a few blocks in just a few major cities.
5.4 inch iPhone 12 mini
Reviewers also love the smaller iPhone 12 mini for its form factor that makes it easy to hold in one hand, but battery life has been a disappointment.
The 5.4-inch iPhone 12 mini is the smallest of the iPhone models and therefore has the smallest battery of the bunch. Most reviewers found that he didn’t get a full day and evening without being charged.
Despite the smaller size of the screen, iPhone 12 mini users won’t miss much, with one or two lines of text cut off compared to the iPhone 12. Driving the Mini was described as “far superior” to the smaller one. iPhones love the original iPhone SE and the 2020 iPhone SE 2 because it has more usable screen space.
Reviewers found the iPhone 12 mini to be a solid deal, with Apple providing all the power of the iPhone 12 in a smaller package priced at $699, though some have noted that the same $699 price last year gets you a larger 6.1. inch device.
For more reviews of the iPhone 12, be sure to check out our iPhone 12 review guide and iPhone 12 mini review guide, both of which are helpful for those deciding whether to buy one of the new iPhones. Be sure to check out our first impressions coverage, along with MacRumors readers’ thoughts on the new devices.
Some iPhone 12 models suffer from an issue that causes the aluminum body color to fade. This appears to primarily affect PRODUCT(RED) versions of the device, but other colors may also be affected.
Some iPhone 12 customers are experiencing an issue where the device’s screen displays flickering, green or gray brightness, or other unwanted light changes. Apple tells repair shops to advise customers to wait for a software update, which indicates a software fix is coming. It is unclear whether the issue has been resolved as of iOS 14.5.
Apple introduced a new straight-edge design for the iPhone 12 and 12 mini, which departs from the rounded edges used since the iPhone 6. The iPhone 12 models are similar to the iPad Pro models, with the straight edges as well. Go back to iPhone 4 and 5.
The all-glass front and glass back panel are held together by an aluminum frame, which has a matte design and is slightly different in appearance from the stainless steel strip used on the Pro models.
iPhone 12 models have a front notch that houses the TrueDepth Camera, speaker and microphone, and the iPhone 12 has a thin bezel on all sides.
Along with the standard power button on the right and the volume buttons on the left, there are antenna bands on the top and sides of the phone. There’s a new 5G mmWave antenna under the power button, but that’s a feature limited to US models with mmWave support. iPhones in other countries do not have this antenna. iPhones purchased in European countries have regulatory information engraved on the side.
The SIM slot on the right has been moved to the left side of the phone, and the bottom of the iPhone 12 models have speaker holes and built-in microphones. There is also a Lightning port that can be used for charging.
On the back of the iPhone is a square-shaped camera bump with a dual-lens camera and flash. Below that is an Apple logo that matches the color of the device.
Other than size (and battery life), there is no difference between the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 mini. The phones are identical in functionality, with the same feature set and design.
The iPhone 12 is available in a 6.1-inch size, similar to the 6.1-inch size of the iPhone 11, while the iPhone 12 mini has a 5.4-inch screen.
Compared to the iPhone 11, the 6.1-inch iPhone 12 is 11 percent thinner, 15 percent smaller and 16 percent lighter, while the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 mini is incomparable as it is the smallest and lightest iPhone Apple has ever released. 2016 iPhone SE.
iphone 12 mini comparison
The iPhone 12 mini will be 5.18 inches tall (131.5mm), 2.53 inches wide (64.2mm) and 0.29 inches thick (7.4mm).
The iPhone 12 is 5.78 inches high (146.7 mm), 2.82 inches wide (71.5 mm) and 0.29 inches thick (7.4 mm).
Despite the interest in a smaller phone, the iPhone 12 mini is not selling well and is not as popular with consumers as other iPhone 12 size options.
Colour AVSEC Options
iPhone 12 and 12 mini come in white, black, blue, green, (PRODUCT)RED, and purple. The black and white colors are similar to the iPhone 11 colors, but the other colors are new.
In April 2021, Apple introduced a new purple color option for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini that joins the other colors available. Apple previously offered a lavender version of the iPhone 11, and the new iPhone 12 purple color is slightly darker purple.
iPhone 12 and 12 mini have an IP68 waterproof rating and can withstand depths of up to six meters (19.7 feet) for up to 30 minutes.
The iPhone 11 had the same IP68 waterproof rating, but Apple said it can withstand water up to four meters deep for 30 minutes, so despite the similar waterproof rating, the newer iPhones may better withstand deeper immersion.
In the IP68 number, 6 stands for dust resistance (and means the iPhone 12 Pro can withstand dirt, dust, and other particles), while 8 is for water resistance. IP6x is the highest dustproof rating available.
iPhone 12 models can withstand rain, splashes and accidental spills, but intentional exposure to water should be avoided as water and dust resistance can degrade over time with standard device use.
Apple’s iPhone warranty does not cover liquid damage, and while AppleCare+ is covered, a deduction is required to repair the damage.
Apple introduced OLED displays in the iPhone lineup for the first time. All iPhone 12 models have a Super Retina XDR display.
There’s a 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio for blacker blacks and brighter whites, and a maximum brightness of up to 1200 nits for HDR photos, videos, TV shows and movies. Typical maximum brightness is 625 nits on iPhone 12 models.
The iPhone 12 has the same 2532 x 1170 resolution as the iPhone 12 Pro, with 460 pixels per inch. The smaller iPhone 12 mini has a resolution of 2340 x 1080 at 476 pixels per inch.
With wide color support, displays deliver rich, lifelike colors, and True Tone matches the display’s white balance to ambient lighting around you for a paper-like viewing experience that’s easy on the eyes.
There’s a fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating to keep the screen free of dirt, and Haptic Touch support provides haptic feedback when interacting with the screen for actions like long presses. The Taptic Engine powering Haptic Touch is smaller this year.
Instead of the standard cover glass, the iPhone 12 and 12 mini are protected by a “Ceramic Shield” material that offers four times better drop protection. The Ceramic Shield display cover is made by adding nano-ceramic crystals to the glass to increase durability.
Ceramic crystals were manipulated with the screen created in partnership with Corning to optimize clarity while maintaining toughness. According to Apple, Ceramic Shield is tougher than any smartphone glass, with a dual ion-exchange manufacturing process that protects against scratches and daily wear and tear.
Initial tests confirmed that Apple’s predictions appeared correct, and that the iPhone 12’s Ceramic Shield is more durable than the glass protecting the iPhone 11, withstanding strength tests and drops better. In drop testing, the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro outperformed the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro in drop tests, showing greater durability than previous iPhone models, but still vulnerable to breakage.
Despite being more resistant to breaking when dropped, the Ceramic Shield doesn’t seem to be able to withstand scratching any better, and in the Mohs hardness test, the iPhone 12’s screen was scratched at level 6 with deeper grooves at level 7. It cannot be said that the new iPhones offer better protection against scratches.
A14 Bionic Chip
The A14 Bionic chip used in the iPhone 12 series is the first A-series chip built on a smaller 5 nanometer process that delivers speed and efficiency improvements. The A14 has 40 percent more transistors (11.8 billion) than the A13 for better battery life and faster performance.
According to Apple, the 6-core CPU and 4-core GPU in the A14 Bionic chip are 50 percent faster than any other smartphone chips on the market in 2020.
Early Geekbench benchmark results show that the A14 chip in the iPhone 12 is more than 20 percent faster than the A13 chip in the iPhone 11.
There is a new 16-core Neural Engine, which is 80 percent faster than the previous generation Neural Engine, and machine learning accelerators are up to 70 percent faster. The Neural Engine can complete 11 trillion operations per second, so tasks like applying Deep Fusion enhancements to photos are faster than ever before.
Other improvements include a new image signal processor for Dolby Vision recording support, Smart HDR 3 for more realistic color shifts in photos, and advanced temporal noise reduction that reduces noise in videos.
iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini are equipped with 4GB of RAM.
TrueDepth Camera and Face ID
For biometric authentication, the iPhone 12 and 12 mini use Face ID, a facial recognition system first introduced in 2017. Face ID components are located in the TrueDepth camera system in the display notch.
Face ID is used in iOS tasks to unlock iPhone, gain access to third-party password-protected apps, confirm app purchases, and verify Apple Pay payments.
Face ID works through an array of sensors and cameras. A Spot Projector projects more than 30,000 invisible infrared dots onto the skin surface to create a 3D facial scan that maps the curves and planes of each face with the scan read by the infrared camera.
The facial depth map is transferred to the A14 chip, where it is converted into a mathematical model that the iPhone uses to verify identity. Face ID works in low light and in the dark, and with hats, beards, glasses, sunglasses, scarves, and other accessories that partially cover the face.
Face ID data is stored in the Secure Enclave and cannot be accessed by Apple, third-party apps, or anyone who owns your phone. Authentication takes place on the device and no Face ID data is uploaded to Apple.
How to Unlock Face ID iPhones with Apple Watch
The iOS 14.5 and watchOS 7.4 updates introduced an “Unlock with Apple Watch” feature designed to allow an iPhone with Face ID to use an unlocked and authenticated Apple Watch as a secondary authentication measure when wearing a mask.
Face ID cannot work while a person is wearing a mask, so the Apple Watch authentication method prevents iPhone users from constantly entering a passcode while wearing a mask. It is similar to the Apple Watch unlock feature on the Mac and can be enabled under Face ID & Passcode in the Settings app.
An unlocked Apple Watch paired with Face ID can unlock the iPhone when wearing a mask, but this is for mask use only. The Apple Watch cannot be used to authenticate Apple Pay or App Store purchases, or to unlock apps that require Face ID scanning. In these cases, the mask must be removed or a passcode/password must be used instead.
When the Apple Watch unlocks the iPhone, it sends a haptic tap on the wrist and the iPhone sends a notification to the watch, just like when using the watch to unlock a Mac. Apple Watch unlocking is limited to those running iOS 14.5 and watchOS 7.4 or later.
The 12-megapixel f/2.2 camera in the TrueDepth camera system is a front-facing selfie/FaceTime camera with most of the features available for the rear-facing camera, in addition to enhancing facial recognition.
The A14 chip in iPhone 12 models brings new photographic capabilities to the front-facing TrueDepth camera. Night mode works with the front camera for the first time, making night selfies possible.
Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 3 and Dolby Vision HDR video recording are also supported. Deep Fusion offers color and texture enhancements in medium to low light scenes by capturing the best pixels from multiple exposures to create one great batch image.
Smart HDR 3 improves highlights, shadows, white balance and contouring in every image for more natural lighting, and Dolby Vision HDR support allows Dolby Vision video to be recorded and edited.
4K video recording at up to 60 frames per second and 1080p slow motion video at 120 frames per second for shooting “slofie” videos are supported. Other front-facing camera features include Memoji and Animoji support, time-lapse video, Night mode time-lapse video, QuickTake video, and lens correction to remove any photo distortion.
Dual Lens Rear Camera
The iPhone 12 and 12 mini have a dual-lens camera, and the key difference between the standard models and the iPhone 12 Pro models is the camera technology.
There is a 12-megapixel Ultra Wide camera with f/2.4 aperture, 120-degree field of view and 13mm focal length, ideal for landscape shots and unique, artistic shots with a super-wide field of view. Apple has added a lens correction feature that resolves distortions caused by super wide angle.
The Ultra Wide camera is accompanied by a standard 12-megapixel Wide camera with f/1.6 aperture and a 26mm focal length that lets in 27 percent more light than the f/1.8 aperture of the iPhone 11 camera. This is a new 7-element lens that is an upgrade over the 12-megapixel lens found on the iPhone 11.
iPhone 12 Pro models also feature Wide and Ultra Wide cameras, as well as a third telephoto lens that is not available on the more affordable iPhone 12 models. iPhone 12 models without telephoto lens support 5x digital zoom and 2x optical zoom (with Ultra Wide lens), but not optical zoom.
Optical Image Stabilization is supported to reduce camera shake when taking a photo, and there are camera features found in previous models such as Portrait mode with Depth Control, Portrait Lighting to adjust lighting effects, panorama and burst mode.
New Camera Features
The A14 chip in iPhone 12 and 12 mini includes a faster and more powerful Image Signal Processor that provides new camera functionality.
- Night Mode for Ultra Wide – Night mode on the new iPhone 12 models works with both Wide and Ultra Wide lenses, so you can take wide-angle shots at night.
- Deep Fusion – Deep Fusion now works with Ultra Wide and Wide lenses to provide color and texture improvements in medium to low light scenes. With Deep Fusion, multiple exposures are analyzed at the pixel level to reveal details in all objects in the image.
- Smart HDR 3 – Enhances highlights, shadows, white balance and contours for the most natural color and lighting in any scene. Smart HDR kicks in when there are differences in lighting, such as when photographing a scene with a lot of sky.
- HDR 3 Scene Recognition – Scene Recognition allows the camera to recognize everyday scenes and adjust different parts of the photo accordingly for more realistic images. iPhone can distinguish buildings and sky, snowy mountains and clouds, food on a plate and more, and optimizes the scene to look as real-life as possible.
- Faster processing – iPhone 12 models have faster image processing thanks to the A14 chip.
Powered by the A14, the iPhone 12 also has new video features such as Dolby Vision recording at up to 30 frames per second. Dolby Vision grading is done frame by frame as you film, and the captured video can be edited directly on iPhone using Photos or iMovie.
Standard 4K video recording at up to 60 frames per second is supported, as is 1080p and 720p recording. There’s Slow motion video support for 1080p at 120fps or 240fps, and a new Night mode time-lapse video for shooting nighttime video when a tripod is available.
Other video features include standard time-lapse, extended dynamic range, continuous autofocus, QuickTake video support for capturing video even when you’re not in video mode, and optical image stabilization.
Certifications and reviews have confirmed that the iPhone 12 mini has a 2,227 mAh battery, while the iPhone 12 has a 2,815 mAh battery.
The iPhone 12 has the same battery life as the iPhone 12 Pro, offering up to 17 hours of video playback, up to 11 hours of video playback, and up to 65 hours of audio playback.
Because the iPhone 12 mini is smaller, it has a shorter battery life. It lasts up to 15 hours with standard video playback, up to 10 hours with video playback, and up to 50 hours with audio playback.
iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini support fast charging and can be charged up to 50 percent in 30 minutes using a Lightning to USB-C cable and a 20W power adapter.
Apple’s iPhone 12 models are the first iPhones to support 5G networks and are compatible with two types of 5G, mmWave and Sub-6GHz 5G.
mmWave 5G networks offer the fastest 5G speeds and are the speeds you most often see advertised when people talk about 5G connectivity. Unfortunately, mmWave is short-range and the connection can be interrupted by buildings, trees, and other obstacles, so its use is limited to large cities and urban areas, as well as venues such as concerts, airports, and other places where people gather.
Sub-6GHz 5G is much more common and available in urban, suburban and rural areas in the United States and other countries. For the most part, when you use a 5G network, you will use Sub-6GHz 5G. It’s usually faster than LTE and will get faster as 5G technology improves, but it’s not the super-fast 5G you’d expect. All carriers in the US offer both mmWave and Sub-6GHz 5G networks, although availability varies.
iPhone 12 and 12 mini support both mmWave and Sub-6GHz networks in the United States, but mmWave connectivity is not available in other countries. iPhone 12 models purchased outside the United States do not have a mmWave antenna and cannot connect to mmWave networks.
The iPhone 12 models use Qualcomm’s X55 modem, but Apple has created custom antennas and radio components to improve connectivity, and through software optimization, Apple claims apps can take advantage of 5G without using additional power or affecting battery life.
5G allows for higher download and upload speeds that speed up everything from loading websites to downloading TV shows and movies.
It also increases bandwidth for streaming services and provides improved FaceTime call quality so you can watch in higher resolution. FaceTime calls over 5G or WiFi work at 1080p. In areas where LTE speeds are slow due to large numbers of people, 5G frees up bandwidth and reduces congestion for faster usage speeds.
5G Battery Drain
Battery tests show that the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro see much faster battery drain when connected to 5G networks than when connected to LTE networks.
In a test using the same parameters, the iPhone 12 lasted eight hours and 25 minutes, and the iPhone 12 Pro lasted nine hours and six minutes when connected to 5G.
When connected to LTE, the iPhone 12 lasted 10 hours and 23 minutes, while the iPhone 12 Pro lasted 11 hours and 24 minutes.
iPhone 12 models in the United States support up to 20 5G bands.
Sub-6GHz: 5G NR (n1, n2, n3, n5, n7, n8, n12, n20, n25, n28, n38, n40, n41, n66, n71, n77, n78, n79)
mmWave: 5G NR mmWave (n260, n261) Bands
Besides 5G, iPhone 12 models also support Gigabit LTE, so you can continue to connect to LTE networks when 5G networks are not available. The following bands are supported:
FDD-LTE (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 32, 66, 71)
TD-LTE (Bands 34, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 46, 48)
Data Saver Mode
Data Saver Mode is a feature that switches the iPhone’s connection to LTE when 5G speeds are not needed to conserve battery life.
As an example, the iPhone uses LTE when updating in the background because super fast speeds aren’t necessary, but where speed is important, like downloading a show, iPhone 12 models will switch to 5G. There is also a setting to use 5G when available instead of Automatic Data Saver Mode.
How to Change 5G Settings on iPhone 12 to Save Data and Battery
Dual SIM Support
Dual SIM support allows simultaneous use of two phone numbers, enabled by the addition of a physical nano-SIM slot and an eSIM. eSIM functionality is available in many countries around the world, and Apple’s website has a list of carriers that support eSIM.
Dual SIMs work with select operators in Austria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, India, Spain, United Kingdom and United States.
While using Dual SIM mode on iPhone 12 models, 5G connectivity was not available at launch with limited speeds with LTE, but that changed with an iOS update. Apple has enabled Dual SIM 5G support via the iOS 14.5 software update released in the spring.
5GHz Personal Hotspot
When using Personal Hotspot on iPhone 12 models, devices can tether over faster 5GHz WiFi compared to the 2.4GHz limit on previous iPhones. The 5GHz option is enabled by default and has the potential to bring speed improvements to devices that can connect to 5GHz networks.
There is an option to disable the 5GHz connection to allow 2.4GHz devices to connect.
WiFi, Bluetooth and U1 Chip
The iPhone 12 models feature the same Apple-designed U1 chip first introduced in the iPhone 11 series. The U1 chip enables Ultra Wideband technology for enhanced spatial awareness, allowing iPhone 12 models to precisely locate other U1-equipped Apple devices.
Apple likened Ultra Wideband to “living room-scale GPS” because the technology was designed for advanced indoor positioning and location tracking.
The U1 chip allows the iPhone 12 and 12 mini to precisely locate nearby AirTags. Also used to interact with directional AirDrop and HomePod mini with U1 chip.
As for Bluetooth and WiFi, iPhone 12 models support Bluetooth 5.0 and WiFi 6, the latest and fastest WiFi protocol.
iPhone 12 models feature a spatial audio feature designed to simulate surround sound for a more immersive audio experience. Dolby Atmos audio is also supported.
iPhone 12 models are equipped with a barometer, three-axis gyroscope, accelerometer, proximity sensor, and ambient light sensor.
GPS and NFC
Support for GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS and BeiDou (new this year) location services is included with iPhone 12 and 12 mini.
NFC is included with reader mode, and iPhone models have a background tag feature that allows them to scan for NFC tags without having to open an app first.
iPhone 12 and 12 mini start with 64GB of storage, with 128GB and 256GB as upgrade options.
iPhone 12 and 12 Pro models have a built-in magnetic ring designed to work with the MagSafe charger and other magnetic accessories.
The MagSafe charger sits right behind the iPhone 12 and charges up to 15W, up from the 7.5W maximum wireless charging found in Qi-based chargers. The charger is compatible with older iPhones, but is primarily designed to work with newer iPhone models.
Other magnetic accessories are compatible with the magnetic ring, including cases, snap-on wallets, and more, and third-party companies may also manufacture accessories for the iPhone 12 series. For more information on MagSafe, be sure to check out our MagSafe guide.
Tests show the MagSafe charger charges twice as slowly as a wired 20W USB-C charger. With a 20W charger, a dead iPhone was able to charge 50 percent in 28 minutes, and the same 50 percent charge took an hour over MagSafe.
The battery test comparing the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro models to the iPhone 12 Pro, Pro Max and iPhone 11 saw the Pro Max and Pro outperform iPhones this year. The rankings were as follows:
- iPhone 11 Pro Max: 8 hours 29 minutes
- iPhone 11 Pro: 7 hours 36 minutes
- iPhone 12: 6 hours 41 minutes
- iPhone 12 Pro: 6 hours 35 minutes
- iPhone 11: 5 hours 8 minutes
- iPhone XR: 4 hours 31 minutes
- iPhone SE (2020): 3 hours 59 minutes
Apple warns that MagSafe Chargers can leave a circular mark on their leather case, and a similar effect is seen with silicone cases. Apple also says that credit cards, security cards, passports and key fobs should not be placed between the iPhone and the MagSafe charger.
Like all iPhones, iPhone 12 models with MagSafe technology may interfere with medical devices such as pacemakers and defibrillators. Apple recommends keeping iPhone 12 models and all MagSafe accessories a safe distance from implanted medical devices.
If charging wirelessly, a safe distance is considered more than 6 inches / 15 cm or more than 12 inches / 30 cm. Although the iPhone 12 models have more magnets, Apple says they are “not expected to pose a greater risk of magnetic interference in medical devices than previous iPhone models,” and the US FDA said the risk of MagSafe’s interaction with pacemakers is low.
No Power Adapter
The iPhone 12 and 12 mini don’t come with a power adapter or EarPods in the box, as Apple has eliminated them to reduce their environmental impact. The new iPhones ship in a smaller, thinner box and only come with a standard USB-C to Lightning cable.
iPhone 12 Pro
The iPhone 12 and 12 mini are sold alongside the more expensive iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max. The iPhone 12 models are all similar in design, but the 12 Pro and Pro Max use higher quality stainless steel frames and have triple-lens camera setups rather than dual-lens camera setups with more advanced photography capabilities.
The iPhone 12, 12 mini, 12 Pro, and 12 Max share 5G connectivity, edge-to-edge OLED displays, and the A14 chip, and the 12 and 12 mini are better options for anyone but the best-seekers. iPhone photo experience.
For details on the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max, be sure to check out our iPhone 12 recap, and if you’re trying to choose between the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro, check out our Buying Guide.