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Is the iPhone 13 worth buying in 2023 or are you better off with one of Apple’s newer models? Let’s unpack and find out…



Apple’s iPhone 13 series is now, almost, two years old. The latest instalment in Apple’s iPhone series, the iPhone 15, will be Apple’s focus for 2023/24, taking over from the iPhone 14 and iPhone 13 series.

Is the iPhone 13 still worth a buy in 2023? I’d argue yes – in fact, I have done so in this post all about why I’d buy an iPhone 13 in 2023. For performance, battery life, and camera tech, the iPhone 13 is still a brilliant handset.

And because it is now slightly older, you can pick one up for significantly less than Apple’s iPhone 14 which retails for $799 for the base model.

It’ll be refurbished, of course; the iPhone 13 is no longer official or sold by Apple or its carrier partners. But it’ll look as good as new and cost you around $500 which is a damn sight cheaper than the iPhone 14.

  • The iPhone 14 will not look any different from the iPhone 13;
  • The iPhone 14 will use the same A15 CPU as the iPhone 13;
  • The iPhone 14 will almost certainly cost more;
  • And, finally, the iPhone 13 is future-proofed with tech for at least the next five to six years
The Best Value iPhone
iPhone 13 Series
4.5

Check out the latest prices for locked and unlocked refurbished iPhone 13 models. Includes all storage variants and colors. Save over $300 versus buying a new iPhone 14 and get a phone that’ll last for years to come…

Pros:
  • Excellent Value For Money
  • Looks Identical To iPhone 14
  • Uses Same CPU As iPhone 14
  • Costs $300 Less Than iPhone 14
  • Still A Solid, Reliable Performer
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Let’s now delve into the PROS and CONS of buying an iPhone 13 to explore these topics in more detail…

Why You Should Buy The iPhone 13

First, let’s take a look at the reasons why Apple’s iPhone 13 is potentially worth buying in 2022. I’m just going to be using common sense here, things that I know to matter to millions of users. After this, we’ll look at why you might not want to upgrade to the iPhone 13.

iPhone 13 PROS – Why You’d Buy One

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5. You’re Running An iPhone 11 or Older…

Despite all the clamor around the iPhone 13 prior to its launch, the new series from Apple isn’t a massive update. The iPhone 13 could just as easily have been called the iPhone 12s and no one would have batted a lid. Yes, there are updates but they are small and incremental.

If you’re running an iPhone 11, any of the models in that range, then, yes, the iPhone 13 is definitely worth an upgrade. The iPhone 13 might not be a massive update on the iPhone 12, but it represents a BIG update when compared to the iPhone 11.

You have higher base storage options, starting with 128GB instead of 64GB, improved camera modules on all modules, OLED displays across the board, faster and more reliable 5G, and, of course, Apple’s latest A15 CPU which is blazingly fast compared to the iPhone 11’s CPU.

4. You Need and/or Want 5G

Apple was fairly late to the 5G party. To date, only two of its iPhone ranges support 5G – the iPhone 12 and the incoming iPhone 13. If you’re running an older iPhone model, anything from the iPhone 8 to the iPhone 11, you’ll need to upgrade if you want to get 5G connectivity.

If you live in or near a major city, you’ll likely be able to get 5G. And if you want to get 5G on your iPhone, you’ll need to get either the iPhone 12 or the iPhone 13. And given that the iPhone 13 is newer and better than the iPhone 12, you might as well go with the iPhone 13.

3. You’re Not Happy With iPhone 12’s Battery Life

The iPhone 12’s battery life was not good; in fact, it lasted four hours less than the iPhone 11. This battery decline was caused by 5G. With the iPhone 13, Apple claims it has fixed this issue and the iPhone 13’s battery performance is now back in line with what you got on the iPhone 11.

If true, this makes the iPhone 13 a much better option than the iPhone 12. You’ll get faster 5G connectivity with the iPhone 13 and better battery life than you would with the now-cheaper iPhone 12. If battery life is important to you, go with the iPhone 13.

2. You Like Having The Fastest Phone on The Market

Apple’s A14 chipset, the one used inside the iPhone 12, was the fastest and most powerful mobile SoC on the market in 2020. In 2019, the iPhone 11’s A13 was the fastest. In 2021, the A15 inside the iPhone 13 will be the fastest. Do you see where I’m going here?

If you want the best possible performance from your iPhone, meaning market-leading power and performance, then the iPhone 13 – any of them – is the phone to get in 2021. No other phone on the market has the same performance capabilities as Apple’s iPhone 13 with its A15 CPU.

1. You Want The Best Possible Camera Performance

With cameras, Apple’s latest phones – pretty much across the board – represent improvements on what came before. If you’re using an older iPhone model, the iPhone 13’s camera will look and seem like a major update.

But if you want the best possible camera performance, you will need to cough up the dough for one of Apple’s iPhone 13 Pro models – either the iPhone 13 Pro or the iPhone 13 Pro Max. This is where all the biggest changes have been made.

The pro camera system gets its biggest advancement ever with new Ultra Wide, Wide, and Telephoto cameras that capture stunning photos and video, powered by the unmatched performance of A15 Bionic, more powerful than the leading competition. These technologies enable impressive new photo capabilities never before possible on iPhone, like macro photography on the new Ultra Wide camera and up to 2.2x improved low-light performance on the new Wide camera.

Video takes a huge leap forward with Cinematic mode for beautiful depth-of-field transitions, macro video, Time-lapse and Slo-mo, and even better low-light performance. Both models also offer end-to-end pro workflows in Dolby Vision, and for the first time, ProRes, only available on iPhone.

Apple

iPhone 13 vs 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max – How They’re Different

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iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone Pro Max Updates List

  • All of Apple’s iPhone 13 Pro models feature new 120Hz Super Retina XDR screens with improved brightness (up to 1000nits).
  • The iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max are available in the following colors: graphite, gold, silver, and a new light blue.
  • All three cameras have been updated inside the iPhone 13 Pro lineup; you have better low light performance, thanks to larger sensors, a wider aperture for the ultra-wide lens, and 3x zoom for the telephoto lens. Night Mode is now supported on all three lenses too.
  • The 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max now feature a new macro lens that’ll let you shoot objects from just 2cm away. All of Apple’s Pro models now feature sensor-shift optical image stabilization.
  • The Pro models also get Cinematic mode but will also benefit from Apple’s new ProRes technology. You can film in 4K up to 30fps with the iPhone 13 Pro models and, with ProRes, a higher quality video format, you can then edit in more detail after footage has been filmed.
  • All iPhone 13 Pro models get an extra tier of storage, 1TB – this is likely down to its use of ProRes.
  • Apple has improved the iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro’s battery life; the iPhone 13 Pro will last 1.5 hours longer than the iPhone 12 Pro, and the iPhone 13 Pro Max will last 2.5 hours longer than the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Check out our detailed iPhone 13 Pro Max Buyer’s Guide – it covers everything you need to know before you pull the trigger on one.

Compare All The Latest iPhone Models

If you’re looking to buy a new iPhone, you need to know about all of the options available right now. Use our Compare iPhone Models resource hub to look at how all of Apple’s latest iPhone models compare.

Here’s what’s covered:

  • The specs and features of each model, including Pro and Pro Max variants
  • The size and screen sizes of each model
  • The new features present on each new generation of iPhone
  • Reviews of all the latest iPhone models
  • All the best iPhone deals

Compare Apple’s latest iPhone Models

iPhone 13 CONS – Why You Shouldn’t Buy The iPhone 13

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We’ve taken a look at some of the main reasons why you’d upgrade to the iPhone 13. Now, let’s take a look at some of the reasons why you shouldn’t buy the iPhone 13.

5. The iPhone 14

The iPhone 14 is more current, of course, and that means it comes with a host of benefits over the iPhone 13. The catch here is that nearly all of the good stuff – Dynamic Island, Camera improvements, and improved display tech – are ONLY available on the iPhone 14 Pro Max.

The iPhone 14 Pro Max is a badass phone and well worth the asking price. But if you don’t need to go Pro, I’d argue than an iPhone 13 represents much better value for money than an iPhone 14.

I bought an iPhone 13 at the start of the year. I know all about the iPhone 14 and, to be frank, I wasn’t sold on the phone – it was an incremental update, nothing fancy, just an iPhone 13s update, if you will.

Plus, Apple’s base model iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Max run the same CPU as Apple’s iPhone 13 – the A15. This is a first for Apple and it is not a good thing. Apple is effectively sacrificing performance for profit and asking its users to pick up the tab.

This is why I bought an iPhone 13. And this is why I’ll hold that phone until the iPhone 15 lands in 2023.

4. You’re Running The iPhone 12

The main reason not to buy the iPhone 13 would be if you’re currently running the iPhone 12. The iPhone 13 is not a major update over the iPhone 12, especially on the base models. The Pro models are a slightly different story; they have significant updates to their camera modules and a new storage option (1TB).

At the lower end of Apple’s iPhone 13 range, however, the changes aren’t so dramatic, so if you’re running an iPhone 12, you’d probably be best off waiting for the iPhone 14 – it will be the update where all the big, sweeping changes occur.

There is an argument for upgrading from an iPhone 12 to an iPhone 13 Pro Max or iPhone 13 Pro. If you want better camera performance, buying the iPhone 13 Pro or iPhone 13 Pro Max makes sense. If you’re the kind of guy or gal that runs the base model, however, I’d hold fire for another year.

3. You Cannot Get 5G Where You Live

If you live in an area that does not have 5G and isn’t likely to for a good long while, then updating the iPhone 13 makes very little sense. Sure, the phone is great and all, but why not save yourself some money and pick up a refurbished iPhone 11 Pro Max instead? You can get this phone for around half the price of the base model iPhone 13 right now.

Is the iPhone 11 Pro Max still a viable option in 2022? I think so; it has plenty of performance, a brilliant camera, and the battery life is superb. I ran one up until very recently and didn’t have any problems with it whatsoever. In fact, had I held onto it – and not swapped it for the iPhone 13 Pro – I think I could have run it for another few years easily.

If you’re looking to save some cash in 2022 but don’t want to scrimp on your next phone, picking up the iPhone 11 Pro Max could be one of the easiest ways to do this. You’re getting a flagship-grade phone, albeit a slightly older one, and that means you get all the features normally reserved for Apple’s most expensive models – things like its LiDAR sensor for instance.

2. Your iPhone Still Works Great, Despite Its Age

If you’re running an iPhone 11 or even an iPhone XR and the phone still works great, do you even need to upgrade to the iPhone 13? I’d argue, no. If it ain’t broke, don’t upgrade. Apple’s iPhones are expensive but they do last a long time, so don’t let FOMO stop you from extracting your money’s worth from your current phone.

What is FOMO? Simple: it means Fear of Missing Out. And when it comes to Apple’s slick marketing, users can often feel like they’re missing out on new, cool features whenever a new iPhone drops. For the most part, though, this really isn’t the case.

New features – things like 120Hz displays – are nice, but they’re not essential. You can live your life without them. Most people use their iPhones to run the same, standard apps and do the same general stuff. For this reason, you don’t always need to buy a brand new iPhone. Do not let FOMO stand in the way of you saving some cash.

Apple’s iPhone 11, iPhone XS, and iPhone XR will get iOS updates for years to come, so from a support perspective, you’re good to go for at least another three years – maybe more.

1. You Need / Want Something Cheaper

Apple’s iPhones are great. I love them for a range of reasons. But there are plenty of cheaper options out there. You have an entire universe of more affordable refurbished iPhones to choose from, for example, and with one of these, you’ll save anywhere from 40% to 50% versus buying new.

You also have Android phones to consider as well. In the Android space, you have a plethora of amazing options from brands like OnePlus, Samsung, and Google.

You Now Have A New iPhone 13 Color Option Too

In a rather odd turn of events, Apple decided to launch a new color option for its iPhone 13 range during its March 8 event. The new color option is green – to me, it looks like racing green, the kind used by Caterham when it used to have an F1 team.

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This means, when it comes to iPhone 13 color options, you have the following to choose from:

iPhone 13 Colors

  • Green
  • Pink
  • Blue
  • Midnight
  • Starlight
  • Product RED

iPhone 13 Pro Colors

  • Alpine Green
  • Silver
  • Gold
  • Graphite
  • Sierra Blue

Colors, while not that important if you’re using a case, are still a popular buying option with iPhone users. According to data from Apple’s buying metrics, the colors “Sierra Blue,” “Graphite” and “Pink” are the most popular iPhone colors for 2021 and 2022. This is interesting too because, usually, the most popular colors are black and white.

Since the advent of the iPhone XR, however, Apple’s users have become more and more accustomed to colors. The popularity of that phone, largely down to its price, but also its colorful hues, has seen Apple do more colors on all iPhones that followed it.

iPhone 13 Resource Hub 📚

Here’s some of our most helpful content related to the iPhone 13. If you’re looking to buy one, the in-depth guides and reviews below should help: