The successor to the popular iPhone 12 was unveiled by Apple in 2021. Despite being from different annual generations, the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 13 mini are still available from Apple, leading many customers to consider which device they should buy.

Both devices sit above the $429 iPhone SE in Apple's product lineup, with features like Face ID, and at a lower price. Despite having a smaller internal battery, the iPhone 13 mini has the same battery life as the larger device, but it costs more.

Should you purchase the older model of the phone to save money? The guide helps answer the question of which one is better for you.

Comparing the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 13 Mini

There are a lot of key features in the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 mini. The similarities between the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 13 mini are listed by Apple.


  • OLED Super Retina XDR display with HDR, True Tone, P3 wide color, and Haptic Touch
  • ‌Face ID‌
  • 6GHz 5G connectivity (and mmWave in the U.S.)
  • Six-core A-Series Bionic chip
  • 4GB of memory
  • Dual 12MP ƒ/2.4 Ultra Wide and ƒ/1.6 Wide cameras with two-times optical zoom out
  • Photography features including Night mode, Deep Fusion, True Tone flash with Slow Sync, Portrait mode, and more
  • Videography features including 4K video recording at up to 60fps, HDR video recording with Dolby Vision, Audio zoom, slo-mo video up to 240fps at 1080p, Night mode Time-lapse, and more
  • Ceramic Shield front
  • IP68 rated splash, water, and dust resistance
  • Aerospace-grade aluminum
  • ‌MagSafe‌ and Qi wireless charging
  • Lightning connector
  • Up to 17 hours battery during video playback
  • Available with 128GB and 256GB storage options
  • Available in (PRODUCT)RED

There are a lot of notable key features in the iPhones. The processor and display brightness of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 mini are differences that will be important when choosing a device.


iPhone 12
  • 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display
  • 625 nits max brightness (typical)
  • A14 Bionic chip
  • Dual SIM (nano-SIM and eSIM)
  • Optical image stabilization for video
  • Smart HDR 3 for photos
  • Dolby Vision HDR video recording up to 4K at 30fps
  • Weighs 164 grams
  • Available in Purple, Blue, PRODUCT(RED), White, and Black
  • Available with 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB storage options

iPhone 13 mini
  • 5.4-inch Super Retina XDR display
  • 800 nits max brightness (typical)
  • 20 percent smaller notch
  • A15 Bionic chip
  • Dual SIM (nano-SIM and eSIM) and dual eSIM support
  • Sensor-shift optical image stabilization for video
  • Smart HDR 4 for photos
  • Photographic Styles
  • Dolby Vision HDR video recording up to 4K at 60fps
  • Cinematic mode video recording with shallow depth of field (1080p at 30 fps)
  • Weighs 141 grams
  • Available in Starlight, Midnight, Blue, Pink, Green, and PRODUCT(RED)
  • Available with 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB storage options

For a closer look at each of these aspects, please read on.

Design and Colors

Both the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 13 mini have the same industrial design with squared off edges and a flat aluminum band. There is a piece of polished glass on the rear of the device. The dual rear cameras of the iPhone 13 mini are offset against each other.

The cutout is less obtrusive and the display area is freed up by the 20 percent smaller notch in the iPhone 13 mini. The devices look the same except for the rear camera positioning and the small notch.

The size of the iPhone 13 mini is similar to the size of the iPhone 12. The mini version of the phone is more pocketable than the larger one.

Another factor that demarcates the difference between the two devices is their weight. The ‌‌‌iPhone 13‌‌ mini is 23 grams (0.81 ounces) lighter than its larger counterpart, at just 141 grams (4.97 ounces) in total. If you want the smallest and lightest possible ‌iPhone‌, the ‌‌iPhone 13‌‌ mini will be a better choice than the ‌‌iPhone 12‌.

Both the iPhone 12 and 13 mini are available in a variety of colors. The two are also available in red. The shades of Blue are not different from the others. Preference for either the iPhone 12 or the iPhone 13 mini in terms of design and colors will come down to personal taste.


Both the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 13 mini have a display with Haptic Touch. The newer model of the phone has a display that is 175 nits brighter than the old one, but this is not a reason to buy it.

The size of their displays is the biggest difference between the two. The display size of both the iPhone 13 mini and the iPhone 12 is less than 5 inches. The larger phone will be able to show more content on the screen with theUI elements of apps spacing further apart and items like the keyboard being bigger.

The smaller phone can be used with one hand. The Control Center is easier to reach at the top of the screen, and users may feel more comfortable using their finger to navigate around the screen.

It's better fit in the hand and easier one-handed use make the iPhone 13 mini the better choice. The 6.1-inch iPhone 12 will be preferred by those who want a larger display for media consumption.

A14 vs. A15

The A15 chip in the iPhone 13 is slightly better than the A14 chip in the 12. The Benchmarks show that the A15 in the iPhone 13 has better single-core and multi-core performance than the A14 in the iPhone 12. The A14 Bionic in the iPhone 12 performs better in graphics tasks than the iPhone 13 does.

The performance improvements with the A15 are iterative. The A14 is an extremely capable chip, and in day to day use, the two devices are likely to perform the same, although the A15 chip may be supported for longer and perform better over time.

Dual SIM

The iPhone 13 mini is able to support two eSIMs at the same time. If you want to switch between two eSIMs, you'll need to get the iPhone 13 mini.


There are dual 12MP rear cameras with a /2.4 Ultra Wide and a /1.6 Wide camera in the iPhone 12 and 13 mini. The Ultra Wide has a new sensor that can capture more detail, and the Main camera has a larger sensor that can capture more light for less noise. The main camera has sensor-shift optical image stabilization technology, which improves the image quality.

The iPhone 13 can record up to 60 frames per second, which is more than the 30 frames per second recorded by the iPhone 12.

The cinematic mode on the iPhone 13 mini allows users to record video with a shallow depth of field, which is 30 frames per second. It is possible to shift focus from one subject to another when using cinematic mode. When a new subject enters the scene, it can change the focus on the subject. The Photos app can be used to adjust blur and focus.

The iPhone 13 mini supports Photographic Styles, which can do things like increase or decrease the amount of light in a person's eyes without affecting their skin tone. Styles apply to an image in different ways than filters do. The photographic styles include warm, cool, and rich contrast. You can get the look that you want with Tone and Warmth.

While the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 mini feature cameras with similar specifications, the iPhone 13 mini features a larger sensor and sensor-shift stabilization, as well as a higher frame rate, cinematic mode, and photographic styles. The iPhone 12's camera is great, but with more options and better image quality, the iPhone 13 mini is the better choice.


Storage is a key area to think about when weighing up the two phones. The base storage configuration of the iPhone 12 is 64 gigabytes, while the iPhone 13 mini has 128 gigabytes of storage. The cost of the iPhone 12 with 128GB of storage is $649 and the cost of the iPhone 13 mini with the same amount of storage is $75 less. Since higher storage quantities come in at a lower price across the board, it may be a good idea to get the iPhone 13 mini.

The 512GG version of the iPhone 12 is not available. If you want a larger storage capacity, you'll need to get the iPhone 13 because it's the only way to get it.

Final Thoughts

There are refinements in terms of a brighter display, a smaller notch, performance improvements, and new camera software features in the iPhone 13 mini. There isn't enough to justify getting the new model over the old one for people who want a larger display. The iPhone 12's A14 chip and dual-camera setup are still highly capable for everyday use, and the device shares an overwhelming majority of the iPhone 13 mini's most versatile features.

The cost of the iPhone 13 mini is less than the cost of the iPhone 12 if you only look at the 128 and 512 gigabyte storage options. If you don't want a larger display and need more storage, the iPhone 13 mini is the best option. If you have enough storage, you can decide if the extra storage and improvements in the iPhone 13 mini are worth sacrificing a bigger screen.