One of the most compelling reasons to opt for an iPhone “Pro” model over the regular iPhone is for the camera. Apple’s Pro models always have the best camera kit out of any iPhone device. Last year the iPhone 11 Pro made waves by including the iPhone’s first triple-lens rear camera system.
But with the just-announced iPhone 12 Pro, the camera upgrades aren’t as major as in years past. However, the 12 Pro does offer a handful of new tech that the 11 Pro doesn’t have. But is that enough to spur an upgrade if you’ve already got the 11 Pro? Let’s take a look.
iPhone 12 Pro vs iPhone 11 Pro Quick Comparison
- iPhone 11 Pro – The iPhone 11 Pro featured a glass front and back. Wrapped around the edges was a surgical-grade stainless steel rounded-corner bumper.
- iPhone 12 Pro – The iPhone 12 Pro features a glass and surgical-grade stainless steel body. However, its glass is classified as “Ceramic Shield” glass, which means it’s 4x more drop-resistant than the previous iPhone 11 Pro glass.
Winner? iPhone 12 Pro – The flat edges of the stainless steel bumper give the iPhone a sexier look and the Ceramic Shield glass makes it much tougher than the iPhone 11 Pro.
- iPhone 11 Pro – The iPhone 11 Pro featured an OLED Super Retina XDR display that is 5.8in and has a 2436 x 1125-pixel resolution.
- iPhone 12 Pro – The iPhone 12 Pro features an OLED Super Retina XDR display that is 6.1in and has a 2532 x 1160-pixel resolution.
Winner? iPhone 12 Pro – The iPhone 12 Pro has a larger display with a higher resolution.
- iPhone 11 Pro – the iPhone 11 Pro featured the A13 Bionic chipset.
- iPhone 12 Pro – the iPhone 12 Pro features the A14 Bionic chipset.
Winner? iPhone 12 Pro – The A14 is up to 25% faster than the A13. This means apps that rely on graphics or augmented reality will run much, much smoother.
- iPhone 11 Pro – The iPhone 11 Pro featured a 12MP selfie camera. On the rear was a triple-lens array with a 12MP wide, 12MP ultra wide, and 12MP telephoto lens.
- iPhone 12 Pro – The iPhone 12 Pro features a 12MP selfie camera, too, though it also sports Night Mode and Deep Fusion. On the rear camera is a triple-lens array which includes a 12MP wide, 12MP ultra wide, and 12MP telephoto lens and 2x optical zoom in and 2x optical zoom out. The iPhone 12 Pro also supports the new Apple ProRAW format. The rear camera also includes the new LiDAR scanner, which helps with faster autofocus in low light.
Winner? iPhone 12 Pro – While the rear cameras are somewhat identical, the 12 Pro offers more features, including support for a new RAW file format and the LiDAR scanner.
- iPhone 11 Pro – 64, 256, or 512GB
- iPhone 12 Pro – 128, 256, or 512GB
- iPhone 11 Pro – The iPhone 11 Pro’s battery lasts for 18 hours. It features regular wireless charging.
- iPhone 12 Pro – The iPhone 12 Pro’s battery lasts for 17 hours. It features wireless charging, too, but with MagSafe tech.
Winner? Draw – The iPhone 11 Pro gets you an hour more battery, but the iPhone 12 Pro offers the cool new MagSafe charger.
- iPhone 11 Pro – The iPhone 11 Pro is no longer sold by Apple.
- iPhone 12 Pro – The 6.1in iPhone 12 Pro costs $999 (128GB) and $1099 (256GB) and $1299 (512GB).
The iPhone 12 Pro is my favorite iPhone ever. I love the size and the collection of new kit baked into the device. I also love it for its amazing rear camera setup. However, if you already own the iPhone 11 Pro, the camera improvements on the iPhone 12 Pro aren’t something that screams “I need to upgrade.” Yes, the LiDAR scanner is nice as is the Apple ProRAW support. But other than that, the camera systems on the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro are nearly identical.
The iPhone 12 Pro, however, does pack in other new features that the iPhone 11 Pro lacks. It’s got the Ceramic Shield display, making it more drop-resistant, not to mention the larger display; it’s got the MagSafe wireless charging; and of course, its headline feature is 5G support.
However, none of those features are that compelling of a reason to upgrade if you’ve got the iPhone 11 Pro already. Yep–not even for 5G? Why not 5G? Because the technology is still in its infancy and it will likely be years before 5G is as ubiquitous as 4G is now. In other words, though the iPhone 12 Pro can use 5G, 5G networks are far from being ready for prime time.
So, ultimately, if you’ve already got the iPhone 11 Pro, upgrading to the iPhone 12 Pro probably isn’t worth it. Of course, if your iPhone is much older, like an iPhone 7 or iPhone X, the iPhone 12 Pro is absolutely an upgrade worth having.
iPhone 12 Pro vs iPhone 11 Pro: Specs
Here are the specs for the iPhone 11 Pro:
- Display: 5.8in OLED Super Retina XDR display with a 2436 x 1125-pixel resolution
- Dimensions: 144 mm x 71.4 mm x 8.1 mm
- Weight: 188 grams
- Storage: 64, 156, or 512GB
- Processors: A13 Bionic chip
- Front camera: 12MP FaceTime HD camera
- Rear camera: 12 MP Ultra Wide, 12MP Telephoto, and 12MP Wide. 2x optical zoom in, 2x optical zoom out.
- Battery: Up to 18 hours (video playback)
- Other: 4G, Face ID, NFC, wireless charging, IP68 waterproof (4m)
And here are the specs for the iPhone 12 Pro:
- Display: 6.1in OLED Super Retina SDR display with a 2532 x 1160-pixel resolution
- Dimensions: 146.7 mm x 71.5 mm x 7.4 mm
- Weight: 189 grams
- Storage: 128, 256, or 512GB
- Processors: A14 Bionic chip
- Front camera: 12MP FaceTime HD camera
- Rear camera: 12 MP Ultra Wide, 12MP Wide, and 12MP Telephoto. 2x optical zoom in, 2x optical zoom out. LiDAR Scanner.
- Battery: Up to 17 hours (video playback)
- Other: 5G, Face ID, NFC, wireless charging with MagSafe, IP68 waterproof (6m)
Apple expert and novelist, Michael Grothaus has been covering tech on KnowYourMobile for the best part of 10 years. Prior to this, he worked at Apple. And before that, he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; his book Epiphany Jones was voted as one of the best novels about Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer at other publications including VICE and Fast Company.