Apple’s ProMotion display technology is now a year old, having debuted on the iPhone 12. But does the iPhone 13 have a 120Hz screen?
Screens with high refresh rates are all the rage these days. Android phones, even cheaper ones, have been shipping with 120Hz screens for over 18 months now. Apple – as usual – was late to the party.
Apple began using 120Hz displays on its iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max, the cheaper iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 did not get access to this feature, however – Apple dubbed 120Hz a “pro” feature.
Does The iPhone 13 Have 120Hz Screen?
You’d think given that 120Hz screens on phones are now commonplace that Apple would include it on its new iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Mini models.
But the bad news is that this just isn’t the case: Apple’s iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Mini DO NOT have 120Hz displays. Instead, they use the same 60Hz refresh rate as the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12.
Apple’s iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max feature Apple’s latest Super Retina XDR with ProMotion which has a variable refresh rate from 10Hz to 120Hz. Apple’s iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Mini use 60Hz which, obviously, isn’t anywhere near as good.
Why didn’t Apple update the iPhone 13’s display? No one knows. Apple just refuses to bring certain features from its Pro models down to the cheaper models. This is its #1 trick for getting people to buy the more expensive models. If you want the best, pay the rest basically.
As you can see below, the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max are where all the big changes are – although all models now have significantly better battery life.
iPhone 13 Updates List
- iPhone 13 gets trickle-down updates from iPhone 12 Pro; it now runs the same 12-megapixel lens with an f/1.6 aperture as 2020’s iPhone 12 Pro. The iPhone 13’s new ultrawide camera also has a faster f/2.4 lens and 120-degree field of view, as well as sensor-shift stabilization technology.
- All iPhone 13 models feature Cinematic Mode; this technology will automatically transition focus in real-time which will make all the phones in the range better for shooting video. Apple used a parody of Knives Out to demonstrate how Cinematic Mode works.
- The iPhone 13 range features a smaller notch. The notch on the iPhone 13 is 20% smaller than it was before.
- iPhone 13 has better 5G performance than the iPhone 12. The iPhone 13’s connection to 5G networks is faster, according to Apple, and it will support more than 200 carriers in over 60 countries by the end of 2021.
- The iPhone 13 features Apple’s new A15 CPU. Apple says the new A15 chipset, while still a 5nm SoC, is 50% faster than its nearest competitor (the Snapdragon 888), although these claims have not been tested yet.
- The A15 chipset features two new high-performance cores and four new high-efficiency cores.
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.
All iPhone 14 Models To Feature 120Hz Displays
I know we heard a similar rumor about Apple’s LiDAR sensor ahead of the iPhone 13’s launch, but this particular rumor has some actual basis in how Apple approaches updates to its screen tech.
According to leaked information, the iPhone 14 will be the first time since the iPhone X that Apple completely redesigns its iPhone. And one of the big new features of the iPhone 14 will be that ALL models will feature 120Hz ProMotion displays.
This is what happened with OLED panels on iPhone. When the iPhone 11 launched, it had an LCD display. But when the iPhone 12 range launched, they all switched over to OLED. This is likely what will happen in 2022 with 120Hz screens on the iPhone 14. What was once a “pro” feature becomes an “everyman” feature.
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.