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iPhone 12 vs iPhone 11: The biggest changes to expect

iPhone 12 vs iPhone 11
(Image credit: Future)

The iPhone 12 is expected to launch this fall with several key upgrades over the iPhone 11. For starters, there are reportedly four iPhone 12 models this time around, compared to three for the iPhone 11. And Apple is expected to embrace 5G connectivity across the board as well as offer OLED screens on all of its new iPhone 12 handsets. 

But those aren’t the only differences you should know about. Based on all of the iPhone 12 rumors and leaks thus far, here’s our iPhone 12 vs iPhone 11 preview comparison that breaks down all the biggest changes.

iPhone 12 vs iPhone 11: Models and sizes

iPhone 12 render from PhoneArena

(Image credit: PhoneArena)

We've heard from multiple sources that Apple is launching four models of the iPhone 12 this fall. It will reportedly start with an 5.4-inch iPhone 12, which would be a new size for Apple. There would also be a 6.1-inch iPhone 12, similar to the regular iPhone 11.

As you step up to the Pro phones, the iPhone 12 Pro is also expected to come in two sizes: 6.1 inches for the iPhone 12 Pro Pro and 6.7 inches for the iPhone 12 Pro Max. The iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max are 5.8 inches and 6.7 inches, respectively.

Overall, this lineup makes sense. Before it was a little weird that the 5.8-inch iPhone 11 Pro cost more than the larger 6.1-inch iPhone 11. 

iPhone 12 vs iPhone 11: Prices

The iPhone 12's pricing won't be confirmed until this fall, but we've seen one iPhone 12 price leak that predicts the cost for all four models. The iPhone 12 would start at $649 for the 5.4-inch unit and the 6.1-inch iPhone 12 would start at $749. The iPhone 11 has a starting price of $699.

So if these rumors prove accurate, the direct replacement of the iPhone 11 would cost only $50 more with the addition of 5G. And the smaller iPhone 12 model would cost $50 less than the iPhone 11.

For the iPhone 12 Pro, the leak has the prices staying the same from last year's comparable models. The 6.1-inch iPhone 12 would start at $999 and the iPhone 12 Pro Max would sell for $1,099. For now we would take these prices with a grain of salt, but they seem promising.

Just keep in mind that Apple typically lowers the prices on its current phones when it releases new ones. For example, the iPhone 11 could drop to $599 if Apple decides to keep it around past this fall. (The iPhone XR's price fell from $749 to $599 when the iPhone 11 replaced it.)

iPhone 12 vs iPhone 11: Design

iPhone 12 render by PhoneArena

(Image credit: PhoneArena)

The iPhone 12 should be getting an overdue makeover as Apple's flagship. The device will reportedly feature flatter sides instead of the iPhone 11's rounded design, similar to the iPad Pro 2020.

And while it won't be a true full-screen phone, the iPhone 12's notch is said to be shrinking, made possible by moving the speaker out of that area.  In terms of colors, we've heard that Apple may offer a new deep blue hue, but it's not clear whether this will be for the iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro Max.

iPhone 12 vs iPhone 11: Display

(Image credit: Jonas Daehnert)

All four iPhone 12 models will reportedly feature OLED displays, while the iPhone 11 offered an LCD screen. There are several benefits of OLED vs LCD, including deeper blacks, more vibrant colors and wider viewing angles.

However, only the iPhone 12 Pro is expected to offer a 120Hz ProMotion display, which would give you smoother scrolling and animations, as well as faster motion when playing videos and supported games. The iPhone 11 has a 60Hz refresh rate.

Even better, unlike Android phones, the ProMotion display on the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max should be smart enough to adjust its refresh rate on the fly. 

iPhone 12 vs iPhone 11: Specs and performance

The iPhone 12 will likely feature Apple's new A14 Bionic processor, which promises MacBook Pro-like performance based on leaked benchmarks. This will reportedly be Apple's first 5nm chip, compared to 7nm for the A13 Bionic. This should result in better efficiency as well.

Apple never lists the RAM of its phones, but the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro reportedly feature 4GB of RAM. A report from UBS analysts picked up by MacRumors says that the iPhone 12 will have 4GB of RAM while the iPhone 12 Pro lineup will get 6GB. 

iPhone 12 vs iPhone 11: Cameras and LiDAR scanner

iPhone 12 render from PhoneArena

(Image credit: PhoneArena)

The iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro proved to be among the best camera phones on the market, thanks to their great Night mode and next-generation Smart HDR. The iPhone 11 featured a standard wide and ultra-wide lens, while the iPhone 11 Pro series added a telephoto zoom.

For the iPhone 12, the regular 5.4-inch iPhone 12 and 6.1-inch iPhone 12 are slated to offer two lenses once more, and the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max would have three cameras plus a new LiDAR scanner.

iPhone 12 Pro render

(Image credit: svetapple)

This advanced time-of-flight sensor, which is already on the iPad Pro 2020, would enable new photo and video workflows while offering much better augmented reality performance in iPhone AR apps.

As for the main sensor on the iPhone 12, rumor has it that Apple may be upgrading the wide camera to a 64MP sensor. The same reports says that the Night Mode currently available on the main sensor would also come to the telephoto and ultra-wide cameras on the iPhone 12 lineup.

iPhone 12 vs iPhone 11: 5G vs 4G

Although 5G networks are still being built out in the U.S., all four iPhone 12 models should get 5G connectivity. The iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro had 4G LTE cellular only. The addition of 5G will enable the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro lines to achieve much faster download speeds in areas with coverage. 

It's not confirmed, but we expect that both the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro will support sub-6GHz 5G networks as well as faster mmWave networks. So the phones should support all the major US carriers' 5G deployments.

iPhone 12 vs iPhone 11: Battery life and charging

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Apple isn't known for stuffing the biggest batteries possible inside its phones. The iPhone 11 reportedly has a 3,100 mAh battery, while the iPhone 11 Pro has a 3,046 mAh battery. The iPhone 11 Pro Max steps up to a 3,969 mAh battery.

On our battery testing, the iPhone 11 (11 hours and 16 minutes) and iPhone 11 Pro Max (11:54) both provided enough endurance to land on our best phone battery life list.

Not much is known about the possible battery capacity for the iPhone 12, but a report by Korean website The Elec says that the iPhone 12 could have larger batteries due to tweaked circuitry. One report by EverythingApplePro says that the iPhone 12 Pro could get a 4,400 mAh battery, which would be a nice upgrade.

What we don't expect at this stage is for Apple to ditch the Lightning port on the iPhone 12 for USB-C. But at least Apple offers 18W fast charging via its USB-C to lightning adapter.

iPhone 12 vs iPhone 11: Outlook

The iPhone 12's rumored upgrades are plenty, from 5G and a faster A14 Bionic processor to new sizes for both the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro Max. You can also expect a higher resolution for the main camera and an even more versatile Night mode. And, if you're into augmented reality, the iPhone 12 Pro Max's LiDAR scanner should take AR apps to the next level.

Will all of these rumored differences be enough to get shoppers excited? It's a strong possibility, especially if Apple is able to keep the price down for the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 while adding 5G. And it won't hurt if Apple rolls out a sleeker design, as has been rumored. Stay tuned for more updates as we get closer to the iPhone 12 launch.