iPhone 13: 11 reasons I’m upgrading from my iPhone 12

It might not look much different but the iPhone 13 is packed with useful improvements

iPhone 13 in pink
(Image credit: Apple)

Do I need the iPhone 13? No. Can I justify buying it? Also no. Am I going to trade in my iPhone 12 for one as soon as I can? Of course I am. 

But it's not just because I want something new and shiny. As an iPhone 12 owner – my particular one is the iPhone 12 Pro – there are some seriously good reasons to upgrade.

Quite a lot of them, in fact, from the practical to the more aspirational. Here are all the things that are making me want to jump onto the new phones as soon iPhone 13 pre-orders go live.

1. It's got better battery life

This is important, because as any heavy iPhone user knows the iPhone 12 and its predecessors never quite last long enough: I usually have to give mine a top-up in the evening to be sure it’ll last to the end of the night. If you have an iPhone 12 Mini, the 13 Mini’s battery life might even make the leap from “pretty dreadful” to “mildly disappointing”! At the Pro Max end, though, we're talking some serious longevity.

2. It's got some serious camera kit

The entire iPhone 13 range gets the sensor shift stabilisation from the iPhone 12 Pro Max, a faster sensor for better low-light shooting and Night mode on all the cameras. I take tons of photos in fairly rubbish lighting conditions and at night, so that alone is going to make me seriously happy. I'll be able to get shots that I literally couldn't before, and that's worth the upgrade easily.

3. It shoots better, faster

Decades of Mac battering and iPhone poking have left me with hands shakier than, er, something quite shaky. So the faster capture of the iPhone 12 camera is going to mean fewer disappointing shots, especially in the low-light conditions I prefer.

4. It's got a better zoom

The iPhone 13 Pro's 3x optical isn’t ground-breaking for a phone, but it’s better than what we had before – and as I’ve written previously, better optical zoom really matters to me in an iPhone.

5. It's much better outdoors

I live in Scotland where you don’t tend to need a really bright smartphone screen: the sun is a rare visitor. But this year has been really sunny and I’ve often struggled to read my iPhone 12 display when the sun has got his hat on, so the 28% brighter Super Retina display gets a a hip hip hooray from me.

6. It's faster

To be honest, I don’t really care about performance any more: it’s been years since I’ve found my iPhone unable to cope with apps I want to run. But faster is still better, and I think the improvements in the Neural Engine in particular will be visible in things like live text recognition in iOS 15, so as I make more use of these features, I'll be grateful that it runs as fast as possible.

7. It will make me more attractive to strangers

Or at least, it’ll take more flattering selfies. Which is kinda the same thing.

8. Cinematic mode could be amazing

You should always take PR videos with a pinch of salt, of course, but: how good does Cinematic Mode look? My film-making abilities are not great, so the ability to shoot professional looking movies with variable focus – focus you can adjust after you've finished shooting – without needing to have the faintest idea what I’m doing is enormously appealing. My home movies are going to look like The Godfather trilogy after this. Though ideally less violent.

9. My iPhone 12 is still worth cash money

It’s a sad fact of life that the longer you hang on to your iPhone, the less it’s worth as a trade-in and the more likely you are to inflict damage that’ll reduce its value even further. I think that’s particularly true of the more expensive iPhone models, whose values start to plummet over time until there isn’t much difference in value between them and lesser-specced models.

10. The iPhone 13 is a better travel companion

The new 5G bands and carrier support means you’ll get faster connections in more parts of the world when we’re allowed to go on holiday or business trips again. That’s particularly handy in a world where hotel and other public Wi-Fi is often expensive, hopeless or both.

11. Because getting a new iPhone is a little moment of joy in an otherwise cruel world

It's not just me, is it?

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com).