Apple iPhone 12 Pro vs 13 Pro: Is the Upgrade Worth It?

When it comes time to replace your old phone, the Apple iPhone 12 Pro and the Apple iPhone 13 Pro are both excellent options. You may even have a 12 Pro that you’re thinking of trading in to help you buy a 13 Pro.

Either way, the question is whether or not the Apple iPhone 13 Pro is enough of an upgrade that buying the newer model makes sense. While the 13 Pro does bring significant improvements in terms of graphics performance and photo quality, are they worth the price of upgrading? Read on to find out.

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Apple iPhone 12 Pro vs Apple iPhone 13 Pro Overview

It’s important to use clear, measurable criteria when comparing phone models to decide which is best. We’ve established four key criteria to compare the characteristics, quality, and performance of both phones. These are design, hardware, display, and camera.

  • Design and Weight: The design of a smartphone can be a significant factor in your choice. While the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro are close to physically identical, there are subtle differences that might impact your preference.
  • Hardware: Hardware plays a pivotal role in your smartphone experience. Hardware covers areas like battery power, storage, and the CPU and GPU. While the Apple iPhone 13 Pro is virtually the same in processing power, it offers a leap in GPU power that improves performance in visually demanding tasks.
  • Display: The display is a critical component of any smartphone. Both models feature 6.1-inch OLED panels, but the new model introduces an adaptive refresh rate that significantly improves display quality.
  • Camera: The camera system is a major selling point for Apple users, and it’s one area where Apple remains consistently ahead of the competition. While the Apple iPhone 12 Pro has good camera quality with features like ProRes video and a telephoto lens with 3x optical zoom, the Apple iPhone 13 Pro introduced long-awaited features like macro photography and an improved night mode for low-light shots.

Naturally, the iPhone 13 Pro is at least a bit better than the iPhone 12 Pro in virtually every way. There’s no question of which phone is better, but it does have to be shown whether the iPhone 13 Pro is enough of an upgrade to justify the buy.

Overall, the iPhone 13 Pro is an iterative upgrade on the iPhone 12 Pro, rather than a revolution. In terms of design and processing power, it’s mostly the same as the already-reasonable iPhone 12 Pro. But it offers big improvements in storage, battery life, and especially camera quality.

Improved low-light capabilities, custom photographic styles, adaptive refresh rates, and new features like an upgraded portrait mode help make the case for the Apple iPhone 13 Pro.

Whether or not it makes sense to make the upgrade will require taking a deeper look at the two phones, though.

Specification / iPhone 12 Pro / iPhone 13 Pro

Dimensions (mm) / 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4/ 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.65

Weight (grams) /189/ 204

Processor/ A14 Bionic/ A15 Bionic


Storage Options/ 128GB, 256GB, 512GB / 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB

Main Camera / Triple 12MP/ Triple 12MP

Ultra-Wide Camera/ Triple 12MP/ Triple 12MP

Front Camera/ 12MP/ 12MP

Battery Life/ Up to 11 hours of streamed video / Up to 20 hours of streamed video


In terms of design, the iPhone 13 Pro mostly retains the look and feel of its predecessor. It’s slightly larger to accommodate a larger battery, as well as a smoother camera bump.

Overall, the appearance of the Apple iPhone 13 Pro is slightly sleeker and more seamless in comparison to the 12 Pro, but they’re both equally functional in your hand. Both models have ceramic shield glass, stainless steel construction, and a range of finishes available.

In all, the only disadvantage of the 13 Pro is that the larger battery makes it slightly heavier than the 12 Pro. However, the added battery life more than makes up for it.


When it comes to hardware, the iPhone 13 Pro builds upon the foundation set by its predecessor, the iPhone 12 Pro, with several key improvements. While it’s mostly an iterative step forward, there are a few significant steps forward in terms of its hardware.

Here’s a closer look at how the iPhone 13 Pro’s hardware stacks up to its predecessor:

Buying a certified refurbished iPhone 12 Pro from Gazelle comes with all of the standard features and less of the high price. Sounds like a win-win to us!


RAM is one area where the Apple iPhone 13 Pro fails to improve on the 12 Pro, as both have 6GB of RAM. While this is adequate, it’s not competitive with newer phones on the market nor is it an improvement on the 12. However, the 13 Pro scores a point with its sizeable upgrades in internal storage.

Internal Storage

Both the 12 and 13 Pro come in a variety of configurations with as little as 128 GB of storage that you can use for all your photos, videos, apps, music, and other content. However, the 13 Pro has a higher maximum limit than the 12.

The Apple iPhone 12 Pro maxes out at 512 GB, which is a respectable amount of storage. However, it’s also not so hard to fill that capacity and run out of space. The Apple iPhone 13 Pro has nearly twice the storage space, with up to 1 TB of storage.


While the iPhone 12 Pro uses the A14 Bionic chip, the 13 Pro uses the A15 Bionic chip. This chip outpaces the A12 in both CPU and GPU performance, but not to equal extents. The smaller improvement that it makes is in CPU function.

While the A15 does have a more powerful CPU function, the improvement is so small that it won’t make a difference in most processor-intensive tasks.


However, the A15 Bionic chip is a major upgrade in terms of GPU. It offers up to 30% better GPU performance than the A14, which translates into smoother and better-looking performance in gaming, streaming, and other visually demanding tasks.

Battery Life

The standout improvement of the Apple iPhone 13 Pro’s hardware is its impressive battery capacity. While the iPhone 12 Pro offers up to 11 hours of video streaming on a single charge, the iPhone 13 Pro almost doubles that length.

The iPhone 13 Pro has a longer battery life of up to 20 hours of video streaming, a key difference for enjoying extended usage when you can’t charge your Apple iPhone.

Despite not being a major technical upgrade, the Apple iPhone 13 Pro has many quality-of-life improvements that make it a better and more enjoyable phone to use.

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While the Apple iPhone 13 Pro has the same 6.1-inch OLED display as the 12 Pro, it incorporates several new technologies. These include ProMotion, which introduces a variable refresh rate that can dynamically change the screen from 10Hz to 120Hz.

This results in smoother scrolling and enhanced touch responsiveness, particularly noticeable when navigating through apps, using video playback, or playing games.

This is a significant improvement for the visuals and quality of life of the Apple iPhone 12 Pro, which has a fixed refresh rate of 60Hz.

Camera Quality: Macro Photography, Cinematic Mode, and More

The camera system is one of the most important elements of any smartphone, and industry-leading camera performance is a large part of what users turn to Apple for. At the baseline, there are many broad similarities between the Apple iPhone 12 and 13 Pro models.

Both have multiple 12-megapixel cameras, one of which supports a 3x optical zoom. However, the 13 Pro comes with one major hardware improvement in its camera system. It replaces the traditional wide lens camera with an ultra-wide lens, which wides the aperture from f/2.4 to f/1.8.

This improvement helps the camera capture light more efficiently, which translates into major improvements in low-light photography. Overall, the iPhone 13 Pro has a 92% improvement in low-light photography.

But where the iPhone 12 Pro vs 13 Pro separate each other comes into play is in the software and camera features. One of the landmark features that the 13 Pro introduced is Cinematic Mode, which uses dynamic depth-of-field effects to create high-quality video. However, that’s not the only significant new feature that the iPhone 13 Pro introduced.

Macro photography dramatically improves the detail and quality of close-up shots, as well. If you take a photo involving multiple people in the frame, Smart HDR 4 makes it possible to edit the picture in a way that complements everyone.

In all, camera performance is the standout area where the iPhone 13 Pro outshines the iPhone 12 Pro.

You can get an iPhone 13 Pro at a fraction of the retail price tag with Gazelle.

Pros and Cons of Upgrading to the Apple iPhone 13 Pro vs iPhone 12 Pro

There are a variety of reasons to upgrade to the Apple iPhone 13 Pro instead of the 12 Pro, or even to switch your 12 for the 13.

Here’s a quick rundown of the key points for and against upgrading to the iPhone 13 Pro:


  • Big improvements in battery life
  • ProMotion 120Hz display offers a smoother experience
  • Major upgrade in GPU power
  • Consistently great photo quality in all conditions
  • Smart HDR 4 to track multiple individuals in a photo
  • Cinematic Mode for professional-looking video
  • Photographic styles for easy photo editing and filtering


  • Relatively slow charging speeds
  • Still no USB-C port
  • Slightly heavier than the previous model
  • Marginal changes in processing power
  • Higher price

Final Verdict: Is the iPhone 13 Pro Enough of an Upgrade?

Both iPhones are great choices, but the iPhone 13 Pro has many large and small advantages. At the end of the day, the deciding factor in choosing the right phone is going to be the price.

A used iPhone 12 Pro with 512 GB of storage in good condition goes for just under $500. Looking at a used iPhone 13 Pro with 1 TB of storage, you’ll be paying over $660. That’s not a world of difference, but it’s still a difference that needs to be justified.

However, the improvements seem to justify the upgrade in most cases. The iPhone 13 Pro’s adaptive refresh rate and 30% greater graphics speed will translate into a better, smoother experience for casual use and video streaming. Likewise, everyone will appreciate the major battery capacity upgrade that the iPhone 13 Pro offers.

If you’re someone who values photo and video quality, the 13 Pro’s upgraded camera system makes it no contest.

Need Help Making the Upgrade? Gazelle is Here to Help You and the Environment

Finding the money to make the upgrade to a new phone can be difficult. That’s where Gazelle comes into play; we’ll buy your old phone and hook you up with a great price on a newer model. Not only do you save money on upgrading to a new phone, but your old phone won’t end up in a drawer, or worse – a landfill. Do yourself and the environment a favor; trade in your current phone and buy your next one with Gazelle.



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