iPhone 13 vs iPhone 12 – which new model should I buy for Christmas 2021?

LOOKING to buy a brand new iPhone this year? You’ve got loads of options – but it can be confusing.

There are more iPhone models out in the wild than ever before, and the tech on board gets more complicated by the day.


The iPhone 13 is the latest model in the line-up – it launched in September 2021Credit: Apple

If you’re keen to bag a new iPhone for yourself or a loved one this Christmas, you’ll want to make sure you’re buying the right model.

We’ve put together a quick guide detailing the key differences between models – so you can tell if you

First, make sure the person you’re getting an iPhone for actually wants one.

If they’re a long-time Android user, they might find it annoying to switch to iPhone.

Not only will they have to learn a new system, but they’ll have to re-acquire lots of apps and content – and may even lose some personal data in the process.

iPhone 13 vs iPhone 12 vs iPhone 11

First, you’ll want to decide which generation of iPhone you’re going to buy.

The letters and numbers can be confusing, but here’s the basic order in recent years, from most to least recent:

  • iPhone 13 – 2021
  • iPhone 12 – 2020
  • iPhone 11 – 2019
  • iPhone XS / XR – 2018
  • iPhone X – 2017
  • iPhone 8 – 2017
  • iPhone 7S – 2016

Apple has also released two “cheaper” models under the iPhone SE brand – one in 2016, and the other in 2020.

In terms of iPhone design, we’ve had a squared-off look since the iPhone 12.

Before that, the big change was with the iPhone X, which introduced the all-screen design and the “notch” at the top of the display.

This also added Face ID face scanning, removing the old Touch ID fingerprint sensor.

5G is also important to consider – it’s more widely available from networks now, but isn’t support by any model older than the iPhone 12.

There have been significant camera improvements each year, but even the iPhone X still produces very good images.

Storage got a bump with the iPhone 8 (from 32GB to 64GB), and then again to 128GB with the iPhone 13.

All models are fast and performant, but you’ll have better longevity with newer models – as it’ll keep pace with newer apps for longer.

And bear in mind that Apple doesn’t support iPhone models forever.

So if…