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iPhone 12 vs iPhone 11

The standard iPhone 12 is actually just one of four models in the iPhone 12 range, but it’s the one that the most people will likely be talking about, and that owners of the iPhone 11 will be wondering whether they should upgrade to.

While there’s only a year between the iPhone 11 and the iPhone 12, a lot has changed, from aspects of the design and screen, to the battery and beyond. But there’s plenty more that’s stayed the same too, so whether you should upgrade will really depend on what you want from a new phone.

And, with the iPhone 11 still on sale you might even consider buying that instead, depending on your needs – especially as it’s far cheaper, starting at £599 SIM-free, while the iPhone 12 starts at £799.

To help you decide which is the right iPhone for you, we’ve compared the iPhone 12 and iPhone 11 across all their key specs, so you can see how they’re similar, how they’re different, and which you’d rather have.


 iPhone 12iPhone 11
Dimensions146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4mm150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3mm
MaterialsGlass and metalGlass and metal

The iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 look very similar, as they both have an aluminium frame, a glass back, and a camera block in the top left corner with a similar lens layout. They also both have a notch above the screen.

There are some differences though. For one thing, as you can see in the chart above, the iPhone 12 is a slightly smaller, thinner and lighter phone than the iPhone 11 – that’s despite having the same size screen, so the bezels are slightly smaller too.

The iPhone 12 also has flat edges, while the iPhone 11’s are curved – which of those is better will be entirely subjective though.

One thing that definitely works in the iPhone 12’s favour is its level of protection, as it’s rated for water resistance to depths of up to 6 metres, while the iPhone 11 is only rated for up to two metres – in both cases that’s for up to 30 minutes.

And the iPhone 12 has tougher screen glass protection called Ceramic Shield, which should make it more likely to survive a drop.

Finally, the available colours differ slightly, with the iPhone 12 coming in black, white, red, green, and blue, while the iPhone 11 replaces the blue with yellow and purple options.



iPhone 12

iPhone 11

Display size



Display type



Display resolution

1170 x 2532

828 x 1792

Pixels per inch (ppi)



Both the iPhone 12 and iPhone 11 have a 6.1-inch screen, but that’s basically where the similarities stop.

For one thing, the iPhone 12 has an OLED display, while the iPhone 11’s is LCD. OLED is generally considered better, as it’s capable of displaying blacker blacks and generally improved contrast.

The iPhone 12’s screen is also sharper, at 1170 x 2532, while the iPhone 11’s is 828 x 1792, so images will look crisper on the newer phone. Plus, the iPhone 12 supports HDR10, so it can properly display HDR content – the iPhone 11 doesn’t and can’t.

That’s not to say the iPhone 11’s screen is bad – it’s one of the best LCD smartphone displays you’ll come across, and if you don’t compare it to the iPhone 12’s you won’t necessarily know what you’re missing.



iPhone 12

iPhone 11


A14 Bionic hexa-core

A13 Bionic hexa-core




Power as you’d expect has been boosted for the iPhone 12, but not an enormous amount. It has an A14 Bionic hexa-core processor, which is the next generation on from the A13 Bionic in the iPhone 11.

The new one is faster, but from what Apple has said coupled with early benchmarks it seems the company may have focused more on efficiency than raw speed for the new model. So performance might not be noticeably much better, especially as both phones are believed to have 4GB of RAM – though in the iPhone 12’s case that hasn’t been confirmed at the time of writing.

However, the iPhone 11 was already one of the most powerful phones on the planet, so even a small boost in power should see the iPhone 12 leapfrog any competition.

Both phones additionally run iOS 14, which is the latest version of Apple’s smartphone software at the time of writing. You can expect both to get updates for years to come, but the iPhone 12 will probably get them for longer.



iPhone 12

iPhone 11

Rear camera

12MP + 12MP

12MP + 12MP

Front-facing camera



The iPhone 12 and iPhone 11 have very similar cameras, as you can see in the specs above. There are some small differences though.

While both phones have a 12MP f/2.4 ultra-wide snapper, the iPhone 12 has a 12MP main snapper with an f/1.6 aperture, while the iPhone 11’s 12MP main camera has an f/1.8 aperture.

That has the effect of allowing the iPhone 12 to perform slightly better in low light. The newer phone also benefits from supporting night mode on both of its lenses, whereas the iPhone 11 only supports it on the main one.

But otherwise, beyond a few tiny tweaks and improvements, you can expect roughly the same camera experience on both of these phones, including most of the same modes, such as portrait mode.

The two phones also have similar video recording skills (4K at up to 60fps) – though the iPhone 12 adds HDR recording with Dolby Vision to the mix. Both phones also have a 12MP f/2.2 front camera.

Battery life, memory and connectivity


iPhone 12

iPhone 11

Battery size



Onboard storage

64, 128 or 256GB

64, 128 or 256GB




One area where the iPhone 12 seemingly isn’t an upgrade is the battery size, as it’s reportedly 2,815mAh (though this hasn’t been confirmed by Apple), while the iPhone 11’s is 3,110mAh – so the older phone actually has a bigger battery.

Despite that, the two phones should last roughly the same amount of time, with the iPhone 12 having the edge if anything, as according to Apple it can last for up to 11 hours of streamed video, while the iPhone 11 apparently tops out at 10 hours.

Connectivity also differs, with the iPhone 12 and its siblings being the first Apple handsets to support 5G, while the iPhone 11 tops out at 4G.

Storage though is the same – both models come in 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB sizes.


All in all the iPhone 12 is quite a big upgrade on the iPhone 11 – even though it might not seem like it at first glance.

The two phones looks similar and have the same size screen and a similar camera setup, but the iPhone 12’s screen is sharper and uses better technology, so it will look a lot better, while its camera performs better in low light, and it’s a lot more durable – both against drops and water.

You also get more power in the iPhone 12, along with a bigger battery and – of course – 5G support.

On the other hand, the iPhone 12 is more expensive, and you don’t get any more storage for your money, so if you can live without these upgrades then the iPhone 11 is still a good buy, but the iPhone 12 is undeniably a much better phone overall. As is the iPhone 12 Pro, iPhone 12 Pro Max, and even the iPhone 12 Mini – all of which are also worth considering if you want one of Apple’s latest.


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