Mini but Mighty- iPhone 12 Mini vs 13 Mini

The iPhone 13 mini is the newest member of the iPhone mini line having been released on September 14, 2021. Despite being launched earlier, the older iPhone 12 mini from October 13, 2020, still packs quite a punch. The iPhone 13 mini was set to improve the weaknesses of its predecessor, mainly in the battery and processor departments. From the front, both devices are indistinguishable unless you focus on the 20% shorter but thicker notch on the iPhone 13 mini. The iPhone 13 mini has a diagonal camera placement on the back, and the iPhone 12 mini has left-aligned cameras. 


The iPhone 13 mini and the iPhone 12 mini have a 5.4 inch, 19.5:9 aspect, 1080×2340 resolution RETINA XDR OLED display with True Tone and wide color gamut. They all have a 60Hz refresh rate but a brighter 1200 nits brightness panel on the iPhone 13 mini and 800 nits on the iPhone 12 mini. They are both rated IP68 water and dust resistant with scratch-resistant ceramic glass, oleophobic coating protection.


The iPhone 13 mini bundles the 4 cores, 3.22GHz Apple A15 (5nm) Bionic chip. The iPhone 12 mini, on the other hand, has a 4 core 3.1 GHz Apple A14 (5nm) Bionic chip. The A15 modestly improves single-core performance, but the multi-core performance is quite impressive. There’s no considerable difference in performance, and switching between apps feels just as smooth on both. Both devices support 5G with the iPhone 13 mini booting iOS 15 out of the box and the iPhone 12 mini being upgradable from iOS 14.1 to iOS 15. 

Both the iPhone 12 mini and the iPhone 13 mini have Apple’s Face-ID for biometrics and security, and the unlocking speeds are still unbelievably fast. Apple went with its Lighting 2.0 port on both devices, and there’s still no return of the 3.5mm headphone jack on either device. There’s also Bluetooth 5.0 on both but no radio.


The most significant improvement is the battery. The iPhone 13 mini has a 2438mAh battery which is a nifty upgrade to the 2227mAh battery on the iPhone 12 mini. The difference translates to about 1.5 hours more battery life. The iPhone 12 mini battery holds up well with medium use, but for heavy phone users, the charge won’t last through the day; expect around 5-6 hours battery life.

Both the iPhone 13 mini and iPhone 12 mini support 20W fast charging and Qi wireless charging at 7.5W. They also have MagSafe wireless charging at 15W. You will, however, pay an additional $20-$30 for a fast charger as Apple doesn’t ship it with the phone.


The iPhone 13 and 12 mini have the usual 12MP f/1.6 primary rear camera sensor with an additional 12MP f/2.4 ultrawide lens.  Both the devices have dual PDAF, dual led, HDR, and panorama. The iPhone 13 mini cameras have several upgrades, including a neat cinematic mode, photographic styles, and the sensor-shift OIS. Apple also promises a better sensor that captures more light.

Both phones can record 4K@60fps. For the front camera, they both pack a 12MP f/2.2 shooter capable of recording 4K@60fps. They each don’t support expandable storage via SD card. The iPhone 12 mini maxes out at 256GB, but the iPhone 13 mini goes up to 512GB, with the base model starting at 128GB- that’s double the 64GB on the iPhone 12 mini base model. They each have enough power with DDR5 4GB RAM.

Build & Design

Both phones are 131mm in height and 64mm wide. The iPhone 12 mini is 0.2mm thinner than the iPhone 13 mini at 7.4mm. The iPhone 12 mini is also lighter at 133grams. The iPhone 13 mini weighs 141grams because of the bigger battery but, it’s not a big deal for a device this small. They each have a Corning Gorilla glass back with a flat aluminum frame. The button placements are similar, and the mute switch with only the camera lens placement is different and more prominent on the iPhone 13 mini. 


The pricing sets the two apart, with the 4GB/128GB iPhone 13 mini starting at around A$1200, which is about A$200 higher than the iPhone 12 mini base model. You can get great deals on the iPhone 12 mini now that the iPhone 13 mini is out.


If you want to pick up a bite-sized iPhone, the iPhone 13 mini and the iPhone 12 mini are your best options. Despite both devices having an impressive and closely matched spec sheet, the iPhone 13 mini brings new colors, a faster chip, and double the storage. Whichever you pick, you get top-level flagship performance, decent battery life, and the classic iPhone feel in a compact device. With rumors that the iPhone 13 mini will be the last of the iPhone mini line, the iPhone 13 mini is probably as good as it gets.

Passionate about design, especially smartphones, gadgets and tablets. Blogging on this site since 2008 and discovering prototypes and trends before bigshot companies sometimes