iPhone 12 Pro vs iPhone 11 Pro – Is It Worth Upgrading?

By Michael Grothaus •  Updated: 10/21/20 •  7 min read

It’s our iPhone 12 Pro vs iPhone 11 Pro comparison! 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 12 Pro vs iPhone 11 Pro – Is It Worth Upgrading?
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Design

The design of the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro look very similar at first glance. However, taking a closer look you’ll notice that the iPhone 12 Pro has a new refined, flat-edge design. This is opposed to the curved design on the frame on the iPhone 11 Pro. Personally, we think the flat-edge design looks stunning. If you liked the look of the iPhone 4, you’ll love the iPhone 12 Pro.

Other than that, the other major design difference is that the iPhone 12 Pro features Ceramic Shield glass, which Apple says is 4x stronger than the glass used on the iPhone 11 Pro. Both iPhones feature the same Face ID technology, meaning both had all-screen designs.

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.

MORE: Every Single iPhone Released To Date: A Complete List (UPDATED)

Displays

The displays on the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro are remarkably similar. Both iPhones have the same display technology: OLED displays. These displays offer much better power management features, sport brighter screens, and feature richer colors.

Though the iPhone 12 Pro and the iPhone 11 Pro look the same, the iPhone 12 Pro has a slightly larger display at 6.1in. That’s versus the iPhone 11 Pro’s 5.8in display. Because of that subtle size difference, the iPhone 12 Pro has a larger screen resolution.

Winner? iPhone 12 Pro – The iPhone 12 Pro has a larger display with a higher resolution.

CPU/Processor

The iPhone 12 Pro features the A14 CPU and the iPhone 11 Pro features the A13 CPU. Which is best? The A14, of course. That being said, while the A14 is 25% faster in many processes, whether you would notice this speed increase remains to be seen.

If you’re just sending messages or browsing the web, you probably won’t notice real-world differences. However, if you’re running games or content production apps, the A14 has its clear advantages.

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 12 Pro vs iPhone 11 Pro – Is It Worth Upgrading?
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Camera

The camera systems–both front and rear–on the iPhone 12 Pro and the iPhone 11 Pro are virtually identical as far as the megapixels and lenses go. However, the iPhone 12 Pro comes with a new LiDAR scanner, which helps the rear camera autofocus better in low light.

The iPhone 12 Pro also supports Apple’s new Apple ProRAW file format. However, unless you are a pro photographer, you probably won’t have much use for this new format.

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.

Storage Options

What’s nice about the iPhone 12 Pro is Apple doubled the base storage option from 64GB to 128GB. Other than that, the other storage option tiers are the same.

MORE: Best iPhone Case Brands: Our #1 Picks For Right Now

Battery Life

Interestingly, the iPhone 12 Pro has the worse battery. It’s not bad by any means, but it only holds 17 hours of battery life. That’s an hour less than the 18 hours the iPhone 11 Pro holds. However, the iPhone 12 Pro has one big advantage: it supports Apple’s new MagSafe charging technology.

Winner? Draw – The iPhone 11 Pro gets you an hour more battery, but the iPhone 12 Pro offers the cool new MagSafe charger.

green-iphone-11-pro
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Price

Verdict?

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.

MORE: iPhone 12 Dimensions Guide: New Models = NEW SIZES!

iPhone 12 Pro vs iPhone 11 Pro: Specs

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Here are the specs for the iPhone 11 Pro:

And here are the specs for the iPhone 12 Pro:

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Michael Grothaus

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.
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