Thinking of retiring your iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus in favor of the iPhone 12? But in two minds as to whether the upgrade is going to be worth it or not? Read our guide to find out.
The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are definitely getting long in the run. Sure, they might be working just fine and you might be satisfied with it but then you have no idea what you are missing out on with the iPhone 12. Check out our detailed comparison guide below to know why the upgrade from the iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus to the iPhone 12 is going to be worth it.
iPhone 7/Plus vs iPhone 12 Comparison: Worth the Upgrade?
- iPhone 7 – 4.7-inch True Tone Retina HD IPS LCD panel, 1334 x 750 pixel (326 ppi), True Tone, 3D Touch
- iPhone 7 Plus – 5.5-inch Retina HD IPS LCD panel, 1920 x 1080 (401 ppi), True Tone, 3D Touch
- iPhone 12 – 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display, 2532 x 1170 (460 ppi), Haptic Touch, HDR Display, True Tone, HDR10, Dolby Vision
The iPhone 12’s Super Retina XDR display is at almost another level when compared to the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. The best part is that display is bigger, brighter, and has a higher resolution that supports HDR and Dolby Vision playback. And despite all these improvements, the iPhone 12’s display has almost non-existent bezels that allow Apple to fit in a bigger display in a device that’s actually smaller in size than the iPhone 7 Plus. The iPhone 12’s display is protected by Ceramic Shield that offers 4x better drop performance.
Perhaps the only advantage the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus’ display has over the iPhone 12 is that they have 3D Touch while the latter only has Haptic Touch. However, with Apple giving up on 3D Touch, this advantage only exists on paper.
- iPhone 7 – 138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm, 138g, IP67 certified
- iPhone 7 Plus – 158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3 mm, 188gms, IP67 certified
- iPhone 12 – 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4 mm, 164g, IP68 certified
The iPhone 12 is made from aluminum like the iPhone 7/Plus. However, it has a much more modern design with a front that has minimal bezels. There’s no home button and Touch ID on the iPhone 12 since it features Face ID. If you do not like a notch display and Face ID, the iPhone 12 is not for you. Otherwise, the iPhone 12’s design is much more modern when compared to the iPhone 7 lineup. It also has better dust and water-resistance that’s rated for 6m depth. Lastly, despite packing a bigger display than the iPhone 7 Plus, the iPhone 12 is both slimmer and lighter than it.
- iPhone 7/Plus – A10 Bionic, 10nm chip, 6-core CPU, 4-core GPU
- iPhone 12 – A14 Bionic, 5nm fab, 16-core Neural engine
The A10 Fusion chip inside the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus has aged incredibly well but there’s no doubt that it is now showing its age. Sure, you might be happy with the performance of your iPhone 7 but the iPhone 12 is going to be considerably faster in almost everything. More than anything else, you are going to see the difference in daily tasks like opening apps, switching between apps, and more.
The A14 Bionic chip inside the iPhone 12 is based on the 5nm fabrication process. Apple claims the 6-core CPU of the chip offers a 40 percent boost in performance while the 4-core GPU brings about a 30 percent performance jump. The Neural Engine has also gotten a major boost and now boasts of 16 cores making it twice as fast as before. Lastly, the second-generation ML boosts machine learning calculations by 10 times. With such a massive performance bump across the board, the iPhone 12 lineup is once again going to set a new bar in terms of performance. The faster Neural Engine, ISP, and ML will also greatly benefit apps that are increasingly relying on them for complex and specific tasks.
- iPhone 7/Plus – 32GB, 128GB
- iPhone 12– 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
The base variant of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus ships with 32GB storage. That was enough back in the day but in this day and age, that’s barely sufficient. It is likely that most users have already run into storage issues on their iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus by this point. The only other storage option was 128GB.
In comparison, the iPhone 12 features 64GB base storage, with the other two storage options being 128GB and 256GB. I’d strongly recommend anyone upgrading from the iPhone 7 to the iPhone 12 to consider buying the 128GB model, especially if they are planning to keep the device for around 3-4 years.
The iPhone 12 also has more RAM than the iPhone 7 series. This will allow it to offer better multitasking performance and run heavy apps and games smoothly.
- iPhone 7 – Single 12MP camera setup with f/1.8 aperture, OIS, Auto HDR, Focus Pixels, Quad-LED True Tone Flash
- iPhone 7 Plus – Dual 12MP wide and telephoto sensor with f/1.8 and f/2.8 aperture, OIS, Portrait mode, Auto HDR, 4K video recording
- iPhone 12 – Dual 12MP camera setup with f/1.6 and f/2.4 aperture, 1.4um large pixels, OIS, Smart HDR 3, Focus Pixels, Portrait mode with advanced bokeh and Depth control, Brighter True Tone Flash, Night Mode, Deep Fusion, Dolby Vision with HDR recording, Night mode Time-lapse
When comparing the camera setup of the iPhone 7 series to the iPhone 12, it is amazing to see just how many features are missing from the former. This shows how mobile photography has evolved in recent years.
All three phones might have the same 12MP rear camera resolution, but the iPhone 12 has a bigger and better sensor along with larger pixels and a wider aperture that allows it to take photos with better dynamic range and capture more light. Improved processing thanks to Smart HDR 3 and Deep Fusion also helps in this regard.
The iPhone 12 also has Night mode support for all its cameras — a feature that’s missing from the iPhone 7 series. The iPhone 7 Plus also has a secondary camera — a telephoto sensor but its usefulness is limited. In comparison, the iPhone 12’s 12MP ultra-wide is more useful as it allows one to capture photos with a completely different perspective.
In video as well, the iPhone 12 is leagues ahead of the iPhone 7 series.
- iPhone 7/Plus – 7MP FaceTime HD camera, f/2.2 aperture, Retina Flash, Auto HDR
- iPhone 12 – 12MP FaceTime HD camera, f/2.2 aperture, Retina Flash, Portrait Lighting, 4K video recording, Night Mode, Deep Fusion
Another area where the iPhone 12 is a notable upgrade over the iPhone 7 series. The FaceTime camera on the iPhone 12 takes much better selfies thanks to its higher resolution sensor and Deep Fusion. It also supports Night Mode so you can take great selfies in low-light scenes as well.
- iPhone 7/Plus – Touch ID sensor integrated into the home button at the front
- iPhone 12 – Face ID
The iPhone 7 series packs Apple’s good old Home button that has a Touch ID scanner integrated into it. However, home buttons are a passè on smartphones as OEMs have moved towards a bezel-less experience. Face ID is definitely more convenient than Touch ID but only when it works. In some scenarios — like when one is wearing a mask, Touch ID is far more convenient to use than Face ID.
- iPhone 7/Plus – Single SIM, LTE-Advanced, Wi-Fi ac with MIMO, Bluetooth 4.2, VoLTE, NFC with reader mode, GPS, Express Cards
- iPhone 12 – 5G, Gigabit LTE, Dual-SIM, Wi-Fi 6 with MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC with Reader mode, Ultra-Wideband chip, GPS, Express Cards with power reserve
There’s no competition here. The only common factor here between the three phones is that they can all connect to a Wi-Fi network and mobile network. Otherwise, the iPhone 12 features faster WiFi, newer Bluetooth tech, and it can pull higher download speeds on mobile data as well. And this is without taking the 5G support into consideration which could allow users to pull gigabit+ speeds on their devices easily.
- iPhone 7 – Up to 13 hours of video playback, up to 40 hours of audio playback
- iPhone 7 Plus – Up to 14 hours of video playback, 60 hours of audio playback
- iPhone 12 – Up to 17 hours of video playback, 65 hours of audio playback, Qi wireless charging, MagSafe Charging support, fast charge support
Irrespective of whether you care about a better camera, display, or design, you will care about the battery life of your iPhone. Chances are your iPhone 7’s battery capacity has fallen well below 80% if you have been using it over the years without any battery replacement. Even if one levels the playing field, the iPhone 12’s battery is rated to last an additional 3 hours for video playback and 5 hours of audio playback.
Even apart from battery life, the iPhone 12 has other advantages as well. It offers fast wired charging, Qi wireless charging, and there’s also MagSafe support. This allows compatible accessories to automatically snap on the back of the device. With MagSafe chargers, the iPhone 12 can also charge at up to 15W speeds wirelessly.
Apple no longer sells the iPhone 7 series and the iPhone 12 lineup starts from $799. That’s a lot of money but when you compare the iPhone 8 to iPhone 12, you will see that there are major improvements across the board that make the update well worth it. You get a better and bigger display, better design and build quality, better performance, longer battery life, a much-improved camera, and so much more. You can always trade-in your old iPhone 7/Plus to get an even better deal on the iPhone 12.
The iPhone 12 is truly well worth an upgrade over the iPhone 7/Plus. There are massive improvements across the board and in key areas including display, battery life, performance, camera, and more. And if you want something more compact, you can always upgrade to the iPhone 12 mini.
If you have not already purchased your new iPhone, here’s how you can get an iPhone 12 for free. And once you do get your hands on it, check out the best iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro tips and tricks. There are plenty of new features in iOS 14 that you need to know about, so take your time to go through them all.
This post was last updated on March 26, 2021.