iPhone 12: pre-orders, price, release date and features

The iPhone 12 family just launched. Here's everything you need to know about the next generation iPhone.

iPhone 12
(Image credit: Apple)

The iPhone 12 is here, complete with a new chip, better photo- and video-taking capabilities, and even brand-new addition to the family – the iPhone 12 mini.

Apple's October 2020 event saw the launch of not just three, but four new iPhones, all touting fresh and improved features – all for the same price as their predecessors starting at $699/£699/AU$1,199. Their key features include 5G support, MagSafe capability, and a new flat edge design that's reminiscent of earlier iPhones like the iPhone 5, as well as larger displays and an improved camera system for the Pro line.

Better yet, the iPhone 12 devices are also going to have better energy efficiency and improved performance compared to last year's iPhone 11, thanks to that new A14 Bionic chipset that made its debut in the iPad Air 4 last month.

Pre-orders for the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Pro start on October 16, with shipping on October 23, while the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max won't be available for pre-order until November 6, with shipping starting on November 13. So, in the meantime, let's take a quick look at all the things the next-generation of iPhone devices are bringing to the table.

iPhone 12 prices

(Image credit: Apple)

iPhone 12 launch event news

  • Apple kicks things off with the Apple HomePod Mini – The new HomePod addition features amazing 360-degree sound, Intelligent Assistant, and more. It should be able to understand with high-precision when an iPhone is nearby starting next year. Using Siri, it can access the apps on your iPhone.

Apple HomePod Mini

(Image credit: Apple)
  • Apple launches Intercom – With the help of HomePod Mini, it will connect with all your Apple devices, including iPads, iPhones and CarPlay, keeping you and your family connected at all times.
  • HomePod Mini costs $99/AU$149 – It comes in both white and space gray, will be available for pre-order November 6, and starts shipping on November 13.
  • 5G is coming to iPhone – Today is the beginning of a new era for iPhone, bringing a new level of upload/download, with lower network latency, more privacy protection and more. Hans Vestberg from Verizon talks about the network's collaboration with Apple – the iPhone can now access Verizon's 5G Ultra Wideband, the fastest 5G in the world.
  • Verizon is turning on its 5G nationwide – More coverage in more cities.

iPhone 12

(Image credit: Apple)
  • iPhone 12 is here! - It has smooth flat edges, comes in 5 different colors (Black, White, Green, (PRODUCT)RED and Blue), 5G, reduced display bezels (while being thinner, smaller and lighter), and the new Super Retina XDR display. The new display has 460ppi and 1200 nits, making everything sharper and more detailed.
  • The new display is made of Ceramic Shield – Tougher and optically clearer, it makes the iPhone more durable than even: 4x better drop performance.
  • iPhone 12 will have Smart Data Mode – This means it'll automatically use LTE when 5G is not needed then switch back to 5G when needed. 
  • iPhone 12 uses A14 Bionic – This chip offers better energy efficiency and improved performance with a 6-core CPU, the fastest CPU on any smartphone, and a 4-core GPU, the fastest GPU in any smartphone up to 50% improvement. It enables console-quality games. With 5G, multiplayer on the iPhone will be much better.
  • League of Legends Wild Rift on the iPhone 12 – The game looks incredible on the iPhone, with fluid gameplay and amazing detail.

iPhone 12 cameras

(Image credit: Apple)
  • iPhone 12's improved cameras – iPhone 12MP ultrawide and wide cameras with f/2.4 and f/1.6 aperture respectively. Night mode is much improved, capturing more light and on the ultrawide and TrueDepth cameras. 
  • Apple brings in Night Mode Timelapse – More opportunities for creativity with the iPhone 12.
  • MagSafe for iPhones – iPhone 12 now offers MagSafe charging. MagSafe accessories will snap to the back of any iPhone 12, even through a case. There's also improved shielding and two new sensors improve wireless charging. You can get a MagSafe wallet and even get third party MagSafe devices

iPhone 12 mini

(Image credit: Apple)
  • The iPhone 12 mini is real! – It has all the iPhone 12 features, including 5G and MagSafe charging, but with a 5.4-inch display.
  • iPhone 12 costs $799/£799/AU$1,349, iPhone 12 mini costs $699/£699/AU$1,199 – The iPhone 12 mini costs as much as the iPhone 11, while the iPhone 12 is $100/£100/AU$350 more than its predecessor. Both the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini will be available for pre-order Nov 6, shipping on Nov 13.

iPhone 12 Pro

(Image credit: Apple)
  • iPhone 12 Pro goes 6.1-inch – Bigger display on the pro models, with the Pro Max going even bigger at 6.7-inch while keeping largely the same footprint. It comes in four different colors: silver, graphic, gold, and Pacific blue. It also features MagSafe charging, as well as a new wide camera.

iPhone 12 Pro camera

(Image credit: Apple)
  • iPhone 12 Pro Max cameras – There's a new wide camera with a new sensor, new 7-element lens, and a faster aperture, offering improvements in low-light photography. This is the "Photographer's iPhone."
  • Apple introduces Apple Pro Raw – This combines the RAW format with Apple's Computational Photography. It'll be available later this year to offer more versatility in post-processing while keeping all the details of the images.
  • 10-bit HDR + Dolby Vision HDR recording to iPhone - You can now capture over 700M colors, 60x more than before. Dolby Vision HDR recording can be done at 4K 60fps. The Pro iPhones are apparently the only smartphones right now with the capability to capture, edit, watch and share Dolby Vision videos.
  • LiDAR scanner on iPhone 12 Pro – This new tech offers precise placement of AR objects, and takes the Pro camera system to a whole new level, offering faster focusing even in low-light scenes (6x better). Those are just to start.
  • iPhone 12 Pro starts at $999/£999/AU$1,199, Pro Max at $1099/£1099/AU$1,699 – Basically, you're getting newer and improved features for the same price as the iPhone 11 Pro line. Both available pre-order October 16, shipping on October 23. 
  • Apple tech meets Beats sound – While it wasn't unveiled during the event, Apple also quietly launched the Beats Flex today. Its most affordable premium wireless earphones to date, it boasts magnetic auto-play/pause earbuds, a 12-hour battery life, and USB-C charging. It comes in four stylish colours—Beats Black, Citrus Yellow, Smoke Gray and Flame Blue— with Beats Black and Citrus Yellow available for pre-order now at $49.99/£49.99.

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iPhone 12: pre-orders and release date

iPhone 12 release date

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New iPhones traditionally turn up every September like clockwork, but factory disruptions have meant the launch has been delayed. Fans didn't have to wait long, however, with Apple ringing in the arrival of four iPhone 12 models at its October 2020 event.

Apple has chosen to kick off the iPhone 12 line with its Pro models, unlike previously speculated. Both the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max will be available first, with pre-orders starting October 16 and shipping on October 23. 

Meanwhile, the more affordable models, iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini, won't be available for pre-order until November 6. They should, however, start shipping out on November 13.

iPhone 12: price

iPhone 12 prices

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When it comes to the cost, the iPhone 12 range sports the premium price tag you'd expect. Though recent reports predicted that the iPhone 12 series will be $100 more expensive than the iPhone 11 to account for the cost of 5G connectivity, that's not exactly accurate.

That is to say, the iPhone 12 may be a bit pricier than its predecessor starting at $799/£799/AU$1,1349. However, the new line does still start at $699/£699/AU$1,199 still – only this time, it's the iPhone 12 mini that's the cheapest option.

In addition, both the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max have inherited their predecessors' price tags, coming it at $999/£999/AU$1,349 and $1099/£1099/AU$1,849 respectively. 

With better features and a more powerful chip under the hood, the year's line is looking to be a much better value for your money – though if you already own one of the iPhone 11 phones, they might not be worth the upgrade unless you've got deep pockets.

iPhone 12: screen and design

iPhone 12 display

(Image credit: Apple)

Unlike the iPhone 11, the iPhone 12 line has abandoned that rounded-edge design. Instead, these smartphones have taken design cues from earlier iPhone models, opting for smooth, flat aerospace-grade aluminium edges instead.

The iPhone 12 is also 11% thinner, 15% smaller and 16% lighter than the iPhone 11, with reduced display bezels while keeping the same 6.1-inch display. On the other hand, the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max are both ever so slightly larger and heavier than their predecessors in order to accommodate their larger screen sizes, which are 6.1 and 6.7 inches, respectively.

This time around, the iPhone 12 models come in a couple of new colors. The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini come in Black, White, (PRODUCT)RED, Green and Blue – ditching iPhone 11's purple and yellow shades. Meanwhile, the Pros no longer come in space gray and midnight green. Instead, these two are now available in silver, graphite, gold and pacific blue.

Though there's no sign of that much-talked about 120Hz refresh rate, the displays on the iPhone 12 models are more refined, with both the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro touting a 2532 x 1170 resolution at 460 ppi and adopting the iPhone 11 Pro Max's 1200 nits of brightness. The 12 Pro Max also gets a highers 2778 x 1284 resolution at 458 ppi while keeping the same level of brightness.

More importantly, this new display is now made of Ceramic Shield, which is supposed to be tougher and optically clearer. According to Apple, it makes the iPhone 12 more durable than ever, offering a 4x improvement in drop performance.

iPhone 12: specs and features

iPhone 12 MagSafe

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple has packed some upgraded components inside the iPhone 12, including its new A14 Bionic chip that is set to give the Snapdragon 875 a run for its money – although recent benchmarks suggest a less powerful version mid-range B14 chip could be coming to the iPhone 12 Mini. 

This chip offers better energy efficiency and improved performance with a 6-core CPU, the fastest CPU on any smartphone, and a 4-core GPU, the fastest GPU in any smartphone up to 50% improvement. It enables console-quality games. Working with 5G, multiplayer on the iPhone 12 will be much better.

Considering the A13 Bionic is blazing fast, we're looking forward to seeing what its successor brings – and leaked benchmarks suggest it'll be very, very fast indeed.

The iPhone 12 Pro models will have twice the storage capacity as their 11 counterparts as well, with both starting at 128GB. This makes sense as they're being touted as best for photographers and videographers. 

More importantly, all models will support 5G so they are expected to deliver a new level of upload/download, with lower network latency, more privacy protection and more. The new Smart Data Mode will be on hand to automatically use LTE when 5G is not needed then switch back to 5G when needed. 

iPhone 12 Pro sample image

(Image credit: Apple)

On the camera-front, the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 mini are packing three 12MP cameras: a f/2.4 ultra-wide camera, a f/2.2 TrueDepth camera, and a new wide camera with a bigger aperture of f/1.6 so its capable of bringing in 27% more light.

The iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max, on the other hand, have four 12MP cameras, two of which have been upgraded. There's the f/2.4 ultra wide and f/2.2 TrueDepth cameras inherited from the previous line. On top of those, the wide camera now has a bigger aperture of f/1.6 – again, to bring in 27% more light – while the telephoto camera on the iPhone 12 Pro Max now has 2.5x optical zoom and up to 12x digital zoom.

All four models now have Night mode on the wide and ultra wide cameras, a feature called Deep Fusion that analyzes multiple exposures to maximize detail, and offer Night mode timelapse. Finally, they're now capable of capturing Dolby Vision HDR videos at 4K 60fps. Apple claims that the iPhone 12 phones are the only ones right now with the capability to capture, edit, watch and share Dolby Vision videos.

Alongside these improvements on the cameras, Apple will be introducing Apple Pro Raw, which combines the RAW format with Apple's Computational Photography. It'll be available later this year to offer more versatility in post-processing while keeping all the details of the images.

With the iPad Pro now featuring a LiDAR camera along with everything else, for better depth and augmented reality effects, the Pro models in the iPhone 12 range are following suit. This new tech offers precise placement of AR objects, and takes the Pro camera system to a whole new level, offering faster focusing even in low-light scenes (6x better), to start.

For the ultimate convenience, the iPhone 12 models are bringing in MagSafe to Apple's smartphones. With this feature, MagSafe accessories will snap to the back of any iPhone 12, even with a case on. You can get even a MagSafe wallet and even get third party MagSafe devices.

Finally, there's also improved shielding and two new sensors on the back of the iPhone 12s for perfect alignment and faster wireless charging.

iPhone 12: other news

iPhone 12 MagSafe Dual charger

(Image credit: Apple)

The iPhone 12 will of course come with iOS 14 on board right out of the box, and Apple has already given us plenty of official updates on that: you can look forward to home screen widgets, picture-in-picture mode, improvements to messaging and yes, more emoji later on this year.

We're still slightly concerned by reports that the iPhone 12 models won't be offering much of a battery size upgrade this year. Apple has made no mention of improvements in battery life during their October 12 unveiling. However, we trust the engineers at Apple to make sure the necessary optimisations and enhancements are delivered by the new A14 Bionic chip to get as much out of the battery as possible.

iOS 14

(Image credit: Apple)

To complement MagSafe, Apple is rolling out a bunch of new iPhone 12 cases, from silicone and leather to clear, that can accommodate the new feature so you won't have to remove your case to charge your phone. There are, of course, the MagSafe charger, MagSafe wallet, and the MagSafe Dual Charger that charges your phone and Apple Watch at the same time.

Not a fan of wireless charging? Wired charging now comes in the form of the newer USB-C charger for even faster charging.