You may be considering the iPhone 14 series, particularly the Pro, which features a crisper camera and an always-on display. If you don’t need a new phone right away, you’re better off waiting.
Apple will unveil its new iPhones on September 12, with the speculated iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro taking center stage. Those phones are rumored to include USB-C charging for the first time, as well as solid state buttons on the Pro variants. Apple occasionally lowers existing iPhones after releasing new ones, as it did with the iPhone 13 series last year and may do again this year with the iPhone 14. So, whether you want the latest iPhone or not, it’s generally in your best interests to wait a little longer.
Purchasing options will always vary depending on money, how well your phone already works, and your specific demands, so there is no one-size-fits-all solution. If you need a new phone right away and can’t wait, here are the key distinctions between the iPhone 14 series and past iPhone generations to help you decide.
What’s new in the iPhone 14
The $799 (£849, AU$1,399) iPhone 14 delivered significant but not game-changing changes. These updates offer minor camera upgrades as well as support for satellite-based emergency communications.
In addition, the iPhone 14 includes a redesigned internal design that allows for easier access to internal components, making it easier to repair than previous versions. iFixit, a website that disassembles technology and examines how easy it is to repair it, termed it “the most repairable iPhone in years.” If you prefer these capabilities in a larger size, the iPhone 14 Plus starts at $899.
The most intriguing new features, like as the Dynamic Island that replaces the notch, the new A16 Bionic CPU, and a 48-megapixel main camera sensor, were reserved for the Pro series.
iPhone 14 vs. iPhone 13, 13 Pro, 13 Pro Max
The iPhone 14 series added new features such as car-crash detection, the removal of the actual SIM card for US phones, and improved rear and front cameras. Despite these modifications, the iPhone 14 isn’t enough of a step up from the iPhone 13. Even while Apple has finally removed the controversial notch from the Pro models, the 14 and 14 Plus retain one – the same smaller flaw that emerged on the iPhone 13 series. Indeed, the iPhone 14 is “one of the most minimal year-over-year upgrades in Apple’s history,” according to CNET’s Patrick Holland, who evaluated Apple’s latest phones.
The A15 Bionic chip from the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max is found in the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus. The screen on the 14 is identical to the one on the 13. The launch of a larger version of the iPhone 14 called the iPhone 14 Plus, which features a 6.7-inch screen like the Pro Max, was perhaps the most noticeable change. That means you no longer have to buy Apple’s most expensive iPhone to have the biggest screen.
Of course, the iPhone 14 is still well regarded, but we advise against upgrading. If you need a new iPhone now and can’t wait for the iPhone 15, we recommend the iPhone 14 Pro or iPhone 14 Pro Max if you can afford it. These phones are pricey, but they have some notable enhancements, like as a high-refresh rate display, Apple’s new Dynamic Island multitasking bar, an always-on display, and improved cameras, among other things.
The bottom line: Do not upgrade to the iPhone 14 if you own an iPhone 13 or 13 Pro. If you must have a new phone, opt for the iPhone 14 Pro or 14 Pro Max, especially if you need the Dynamic Island right now.
iPhone 14 vs. iPhone 12, 12 Pro
Despite the fact that the iPhone 12 range was announced in 2020, it bears many similarities with Apple’s most recent phones. Both the iPhone 12 and iPhone 14 support 5G, have fast processors, excellent cameras, and are compatible with MagSafe accessories.
Because the iPhone 14 is more of a refresh than a big upgrade, we recommend holding on to your iPhone 12 while you wait for the iPhone 15. You may still use the iPhone’s latest software when iOS 17 is released in the fall, which includes new features such as Standby mode, which turns your phone into a little smart display, and upgrades to the messaging app, among other things.
The iPhone 14 had a few noteworthy camera advancements, including a bigger sensor, a new lens with a quicker aperture, enhanced photo processing, and Action Mode, which makes video movements appear smoother when recorded.
However, despite being over three years old, the iPhone 12’s cameras remain superb. The iPhone 12 sports a dual 12-megapixel camera system, and the iPhone 12 Pro has a third camera with a telephoto lens. Check out our iPhone 12 review to see how the cameras fared when CNET tested them.
It’s worth noting that the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max offer more visible enhancements. Everything new in the 14 is included, as well as an updated main camera with a larger 48-megapixel sensor, an ultrawide camera with Macro capabilities, and a third camera with a telephoto lens. If you can obtain a nice trade-in bargain that considerably reduces the price of the iPhone 14 Pro, moving from the normal iPhone 12 is a good step forward.
The Bottom line: The iPhone 14 isn’t significantly different from the iPhone 15. The iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max, on the other hand, introduce more significant modifications that may be worthwhile if you can get a decent trade-in price.
iPhone 14 vs. iPhone 11, 11 Pro
We recommend upgrading if you have an iPhone 11. Even if Apple’s new iPhones are just around the corner, you should still wait as long as you can. But, if you’re in the market for a new phone right now and can acquire the iPhone 14 at a good trade-in price, there are a lot of things to look forward to.
Apple has made enough modifications to features such as battery life, performance, screen quality, cameras, and durability in the last three years to warrant purchasing a new iPhone.
Upgrading to the iPhone 14 adds 5G capability as well as greater capacity (128GB at the base level versus 64GB). a better main camera with a wider aperture lens, new video recording modes such as Action mode and Cinematic mode, a better selfie camera with Night mode and Apple’s Photonic Engine processing, compatibility with Apple’s MagSafe accessories, longer battery life, and speedier performance. This is in addition to Apple’s new emergency satellite messaging feature and car-crash detection.
The majority of the camera and videography enhancements are significant improvements over the iPhone 11. And the improved battery life and storage space are great additions that you’ll notice on a regular basis.
As previously stated, the 14 Pro has a new 48-megapixel main camera, a closer 3x optical zoom against the 11 Pro Max’s 2x zoom, the Dynamic Island instead of the notch, and various other improvements such as an always-on display.
The Bottom line: There are enough changes in the iPhone 14 lineup to justify upgrading from the iPhone 11. However, if your phone is still in good condition and you’re happy with it, you should wait a bit longer for the iPhone 15 (or a newly reduced iPhone 14).
iPhone 14 vs. iPhone XS, XS Max, XR
If you purchased the iPhone XS, XS Max, or XR at launch, your device is nearly 5 years old and is undoubtedly starting to feel slow. That alone is reason enough to upgrade, but you should probably wait for the iPhone 15 if you can.
However, if you’re in the market for a new phone right now, there’s a lot to be said for upgrading. According to Apple’s estimates, the iPhone 14 has six hours more battery life than the iPhone XS. Aside from everything new with the iPhone 14, you’ll also get additional improvements Apple has made to the iPhone over the years.
These include 5G compatibility, increased storage (128GB versus 64GB), faster speed, and a better camera. The iPhone XS generation lacks Night Mode for capturing crisper photos in the dark, as well as Deep Fusion, Apple’s moniker for their image processing technology that improves detail and clarity in low-light situations. The front camera on the XS has a lower quality of 7 megapixels compared to the larger and newer 12-megapixel sensor on the iPhone 14. If you’re upgrading from an iPhone XR, you’ll also get an extra camera with an ultrawide lens for the first time, allowing you to take bigger group photographs.
The iPhone 14 also features a larger 6.1-inch screen than the iPhone XS, which has a 5.8-inch display (the iPhone XS Max has a 6.5-inch screen, and the XR has a 6.1-inch screen). Over the last four years, the design has also evolved significantly; current models have flat edges, a somewhat smaller notch, different finishes, and a new “squircle”-shaped camera module that replaces the pill-shaped back camera cutout. As a result, your phone will not only feel more current, but it will also look newer.
The bottom line: It’s well worth upgrading if you own an iPhone XS, XS Max, or XR. Camera quality, battery life, and performance, among other things, improve noticeably. However, keep in mind that the iPhone 15 and a newly discounted iPhone 14 could be available in just a few weeks.
iPhone 14 vs. iPhone X
Because the iPhone X is nearly 6 years old, it is likely to seem slow and its battery life isn’t what it once was. With an iPhone 14, you’ll notice a significant improvement in both categories, as well as improved design, durability, connectivity, and camera quality. However, if you have the means, you should wait to see what the rumored iPhone 15 has to offer.
If you can’t wait until September, when Apple usually releases new iPhones, here’s what you’ll get if you upgrade to the iPhone 14. The iPhone X is powered by Apple’s considerably older A11 Bionic chip, which is now almost 6 years old, but the iPhone 14 is powered by Apple’s far more current A15 Bionic chipset. The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max are powered by Apple’s latest A16 Bionic technology. Both new processors outperform the A11 chip, which has a two-core neural engine vs the A15 Bionic’s 16-core neural engine.
The brain engine in the iPhone powers tasks that rely on machine learning and artificial intelligence, which are becoming more prevalent in the iPhone experience. Machine learning is used to power features such as app suggestions in the App Library and Apple’s Translate app, implying that the iPhone X may struggle to keep up with future capabilities.
The iPhone X also includes a dual-lens camera similar to the iPhone XS, which means it lacks the iPhone 14’s camera hardware advancements, as well as Night mode, Deep Fusion, and the option to customize depth-of-field and blur levels in Portrait mode. Like the iPhone XS, the front camera is only 7 megapixels, as opposed to the 12-megapixel selfie camera in Apple’s latest phones.
Apple’s more than five-year-old iPhone also has a shorter battery life, with Apple projecting it will last 13 hours while playing back video against 20 hours on the iPhone 14. The 6.1-inch screen on the iPhone 14 is larger than the 5.8-inch display on the iPhone X, and it should be brighter as well, with a maximum brightness of 800 nits compared to the iPhone X’s 625-nit screen.
The iPhone 14 supports Dolby Atmos and spatial audio playback, whereas the iPhone X only supports stereo. This is unlikely to be a deal breaker, but it could be critical if you watch a lot of video on your phone without headphones.
There’s also the advantage of having car-crash detection, Apple’s new emergency SOS messaging via satellite option, better water resistance (up to 6 meters for 30 minutes versus 1 meter), 5G support, more storage space, a refreshed design, and the ability to use MagSafe accessories on the iPhone 14.
The bottom line: It’s time to upgrade if you have the iPhone X. The iPhone 14 will feel brand new in almost every regard, from the camera to the performance, battery life, and overall design. Furthermore, the iPhone X does not support Apple’s future software update, iOS 17, meaning you will miss out on new features. However, if you’ve waited this long, it’s a smart idea to hold out for the anticipated iPhone 15.
iPhone 14 vs. iPhone 8, 8 Plus
The iPhone 8 generation retains Apple’s historic iPhone design, which is appropriate for a phone that is nearly 6 years old. If you have an iPhone 8 and are thinking about upgrading, many of the reasons are the same as those for upgrading from the iPhone X. Because the processor is getting older, it may be more difficult to use newer iPhone capabilities that rely on machine learning. The cameras are obsolete and lack features like as Night mode (the smaller iPhone 8 also lacks Portrait mode due to its single lens). It also does not support iOS 17. You’ll gain greater storage, much longer battery life, new software, support for 5G connectivity, and MagSafe attachments when you upgrade.
Remember that the iPhone 15 could be released next month, so it’s best to wait if you can. However, if you need a new phone right away, the largest difference you’ll notice by upgrading to the iPhone 14 is in the design, which is more than just a cosmetic enhancement. Phones with Apple’s more modern edge-to-edge screen forego Touch ID in favor of Face ID, which allows you to unlock your phone and authenticate payments simply by gazing at it. If you prefer Touch ID to Face ID, especially since it’s difficult to use Face ID while wearing a mask, you should at least consider upgrading to the $429 iPhone SE, which has the same processor as the iPhone 13, 5G compatibility, and a slew of photography improvements inside a body similar to the iPhone 8.
Upgrading to the iPhone 14 results in a noticeable increase in display size and quality. Because newer phones, such as the iPhone 14, lack a home button, Apple has more flexibility to increase the screen without making the device feel bulky. Despite feeling more compact, the iPhone 14’s screen is larger than the iPhone 8 Plus’ 5.5-inch screen. (And for extra perspective, consider that the iPhone 13 Mini has a 5.4-inch display). If you choose for the 14 Pro, you’ll notice another significant difference: the Dynamic Island, which converts the notch area into a viewing area for alerts, system notifications, and background programs like Spotify or Apple Music.
Switching from an iPhone 8 (which has a 4.7-inch screen) to the iPhone 12’s 6.1-inch display makes reading, browsing email, and watching movies much more comfortable, in my opinion. Because it employs an OLED display rather than an LCD, the screen is not only larger, but also more colorful and has higher contrast.
Bottom line: The iPhone 14 is a significant upgrade over the iPhone 8. Everything about this phone will feel new and fast: the much larger and bolder screen, Face ID, the faster processor, the longer battery life, and, of course, the significantly enhanced cameras. However, if you absolutely want a newer iPhone but want to preserve the design of the iPhone 8, trade up to the current 2022 iPhone SE. Also, keep in mind that the iPhone 15 and a newly reduced iPhone 14 could be due shortly, so it’s best to wait as long as possible.
iPhone 14 vs. iPhone 7, 7 Plus
It’s time to upgrade if you have an iPhone 7. It’s about 7 years old, and it shows in every aspect of the device, from the processor to the camera and storage capacity. The iPhone 7 does not support iOS 17, which is even another reason to upgrade to a newer smartphone. If you can’t wait until September to get your hands on the iPhone 15, here’s what you’ll get if you upgrade to the iPhone 14.
While we normally suggest the iPhone 14 Pro above the iPhone 14, coming from a phone this old means you’ll find plenty of new features on the iPhone 14.
The iPhone 7 is powered by an old A10 Fusion processor that lacks a neural engine and is years behind Apple’s most recent technologies. It sports a single-lens camera with no Portrait mode, whereas the 7 Plus has two. However, several recent capabilities, like as Night mode and Portrait Lighting, which adds particular lighting effects to your photos, are missing from those cameras.
The iPhone 7 series, like the iPhone 8, incorporates Touch ID and is available in 4.7- or 5.5-inch screen sizes. However, because the iPhone 7 is a year older than the iPhone 8, it lacks wireless charging and must be charged via a cable.
If you’ve had an iPhone 7 for a while, it’s definitely bursting at the seams due to the significantly less storage space. The entry-level iPhone 7 only has 32GB of storage, which is a fifth of the capacity of the cheapest iPhone 14.
The iPhone 14 improves on practically every front. The regular model offers a larger, bolder, and brighter bezel-free 6.1-inch screen that feels compact despite the lack of a home button. It is powered by Apple’s A15 Bionic chipset, which is more capable of handling latest iOS features. It also has a significantly upgraded dual-lens camera with a bigger main camera sensor, as well as advanced capabilities such as the new Cinematic mode for video and Night mode. Furthermore, Apple expects that it will provide an additional seven hours of battery life during video playback, which is a significant increase..
The bottom line: If you’re still using an iPhone 7, it’s clear that you’re due for an upgrade. A bigger screen, iOS 17 compatibility, longer battery life, and more powerful cameras are just a few of the advantages the iPhone 14 boasts over the iPhone 7. Similarly to my proposal for the iPhone 8, if you want to preserve the home button while saving money, consider the iPhone SE. It provides more modern performance improvements while maintaining a similar phone aesthetic. Remember that the iPhone 15 is slated to be released in only a few weeks, which implies the iPhone 14 may be reduced in price soon. So, if you have the option, wait a little longer.