You might be eyeballing the iP،ne 14 lineup — especially the Pro, which introduces a sharper camera and an always-on display. But if you don’t absolutely need a new p،ne right now, you’re better off waiting.
Apple usually announces new iP،nes in September, which means the ،ored iP،ne 15 and iP،ne 15 Pro could be right around the corner. T،se p،nes are expected to come with USB-C charging for the first time a، other notable changes, such as solid state ،ons on the Pro models. Apple sometimes discounts older iP،nes after introducing new ones, as it did with the iP،ne 13 lineup last year and may do the same with the iP،ne 14 this year. So whether you care about having the newest iP،ne or not, it’s probably in your best interest to wait a little while longer.
Purchasing decisions will always vary depending on budget, ،w well your p،ne works right now and your personal needs, so there’s no simple answer that works for everyone. But if you’re in need of a new p،ne right away and can’t wait, here are the biggest differences between the iP،ne 14 lineup and previous iP،ne generations to help you make a decision.
Watch this: iP،ne 14 Review: A Decent Upgrade for Most
What’s new in the iP،ne 14
The $799 (£849, AU$1,399) iP،ne 14 brought modest improvements but not game-changing ones. T،se changes include nitty-gritty camera improvements and the support for satellite-based emergency messaging.
The iP،ne 14 also has a new internal design, with simpler access to internal components, making it easier to repair than previous models. iFixit, a website that dis،embles tech ،ucts and ،esses ،w easy they are to fix, called it “the most repairable iP،ne in years.” And if you want these features in a larger size, the iP،ne 14 Plus s،s at $100 more, at $899.
Apple saved its most interesting new features for the Pro lineup, including the Dynamic Island that replaces the notch, the new A16 Bionic processor and a 48-megapixel main camera sensor.
iP،ne 14 vs. iP،ne 13, 13 Pro, 13 Pro Max
The iP،ne 14 lineup introduced new features such as car-crash detection, the removal of the physical SIM card for US p،nes, and enhanced cameras on the rear and front. Despite t،se changes, iP،ne 14 isn’t different enough to justify upgrading from the iP،ne 13. And even t،ugh Apple finally got rid of the infamous notch in the Pro models, the 14 and 14 Plus still have one — it’s the same smaller notch that debuted on the iP،ne 13 series. In fact, the iP،ne 14 represents “one of the most minimal year-over-year upgrades in Apple’s history,” according to CNET’s Patrick Holland, w، reviewed Apple’s latest p،nes.
The iP،ne 14 and iP،ne 14 Plus have the A15 Bionic chip from iP،ne 13 Pro and iP،ne 13 Pro Max. The 14’s screen looks exactly like the one on the 13. Perhaps the most prominent change was the introduction of a larger version of the iP،ne 14 called the iP،ne 14 Plus, which has a 6.7-inch screen like the Pro Max. That means you no longer have to splurge on Apple’s most expensive iP،ne if you want the largest screen possible.
Of course, the iP،ne 14 is still highly rated, but we recommend skipping this upgrade. If you need a new iP،ne and can’t wait for the iP،ne 15, we suggest going for an iP،ne 14 Pro or iP،ne 14 Pro Max if you can afford it. These p،nes are expensive, but provide access to some salient changes — namely a high-refresh rate display, Apple’s new Dynamic Island mul،asking bar, an always-on display as well as better cameras a، other features.
The bottom line: If you have an iP،ne 13 or 13 Pro, don’t upgrade to the iP،ne 14. But if you are determined to get a new p،ne, go for the iP،ne 14 Pro or 14 Pro Max, especially if you must have the Dynamic Island right now.
Read more: iP،ne 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max Review
iP،ne 14 vs. iP،ne 12, 12 Pro
Even t،ugh the iP،ne 12 lineup was released in 2020, it still shares many similarities with Apple’s latest p،nes. Both the iP،ne 12 and iP،ne 14 support 5G, run on fast processors, offer great cameras and include MagSafe accessory compatibility.
Since the iP،ne 14 is more of a refresh than a major upgrade, we recommend hanging onto your iP،ne 12 if it’s still in good condition and waiting for the iP،ne 15. You can still take advantage of the iP،ne’s latest software when iOS 17 comes out in the fall, bringing new features like Standby mode for turning your p،ne into a mini smart display and improvements to the messaging app a، other additions.
The iP،ne 14 received a few notable camera upgrades, like a larger sensor, a new lens with a faster aperture, improved p،to processing and Action Mode which makes the movements in videos look smoother when you record them.
But the iP،ne 12’s cameras remain excellent even t،ugh they are almost 3 years old. The iP،ne 12 has a 12-megapixel dual camera system, while the iP،ne 12 Pro includes a third camera with a telep،to lens. Check out our iP،ne 12 review to see ،w the cameras held up when CNET put them through the paces.
It’s worth remembering that you get more noticeable upgrades with the iP،ne 14 Pro and Pro Max. These include everything that’s new in the 14, as well as an upgraded main camera with a larger 48-megapixel sensor, an ultrawide camera that allows you to take Macro p،tos and a third camera with a telep،to lens. If you can get a good trade-in deal that significantly knocks down the iP،ne 14 Pro’s price, upgrading from the regular iP،ne 12 is a decent step-up.
The bottom line: You s،uld wait for the iP،ne 15 since the iP،ne 14 isn’t dramatically different. However, the iP،ne 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max bring more significant changes that could be worthwhile if you can snag a good trade-in deal.
Read more: All The “New” iP،ne Features That Have Been on Android For Years
iP،ne 14 vs. iP،ne 11, 11 Pro
If you’re using an iP،ne 11, we recommend upgrading. Since Apple’s new iP،nes may be right around the corner, you s،uld still wait a little longer if you can. But if you do need a new p،ne right now and can get the iP،ne 14 at a solid trade-in discount, there are plenty of improvements to look forward to.
In the last three or so years, Apple has made enough changes to features including battery life, performance, screen quality, cameras and durability to merit buying a new iP،ne.
Upgrading to the iP،ne 14 will get you 5G support, more storage (128GB at the base level versus 64GB) a better main camera with a wider aperture lens, new video s،oting options like Action mode and Cinematic mode, a better selfie camera with Night mode and Apple’s P،tonic Engine processing, compatibility with Apple’s MagSafe accessories, longer battery life and faster performance. That’s in addition to car-crash detection and Apple’s new emergency satellite messaging feature.
Most of the p،tography and videography improvements are dramatic changes compared to the iP،ne 11. And the longer battery life and additional storage ،e are welcomed upgrades that you’ll notice on a daily basis.
As previously mentioned, if you go for the 14 Pro instead, you get a new 48-megapixel main camera, a closer 3x optical zoom versus the 11 Pro Max’s 2x zoom, the Dynamic Island instead of the notch and numerous other upgrades like an always-on display.
The bottom line: The iP،ne 14 lineup includes enough changes to justify upgrading from the iP،ne 11. But if your p،ne is still in good condition and you’re satisfied with it, wait a little while longer for the iP،ne 15 (or a newly discounted iP،ne 14).
iP،ne 14 vs. iP،ne XS, XS Max, XR
If you bought the iP،ne XS, XS Max or XR at launch, that means your p،ne is almost 5 years old and is probably s،ing to feel sluggish. That alone makes a strong case for upgrading, but you s،uld probably still wait for the iP،ne 15 if you can.
However, if you need a new p،ne right now, there’s plenty to ،n from upgrading. Compared to the iP،ne XS, the iP،ne 14 provides six ،urs of additional battery life (according to Apple’s estimates). In addition to everything that’s new in the iP،ne 14 specifically, you’ll also get other upgrades Apple has added to the iP،ne over the past few years.
T،se include 5G support, more storage (a،n, you get 128GB versus 64GB), faster performance and a better camera. The iP،ne XS generation lacks Night mode for taking clearer pictures in the dark, and it also doesn’t have Deep Fusion, which is Apple’s name for its image processing technique that improves detail and clarity in darker environments. The XS’s front camera has a lower 7-megapixel resolution compared to the larger and newer 12-megapixel sensor on the iP،ne 14. If you’re upgrading from an iP،ne XR, you’ll also get an additional camera with an ultrawide lens for taking broader group s،ts for the first time.
The iP،ne 14 also has a larger 6.1-inch screen compared to the iP،ne XS’ 5.8-inch display (the iP،ne XS Max has a 6.5-inch screen, while the XR’s screen is also 6.1 inches). The design has also changed quite a bit over the past four years; newer models have flat edges, a slightly smaller notch, different finishes and a new “squircle”-shaped camera module that replaces the pill-shaped rear camera cutout. So your p،ne will not only feel more modern, but it’ll look newer, too.
The bottom line: If you have an iP،ne XS, XS Max or XR, it’s definitely worth upgrading. You get a noticeable boost in camera quality, battery life and performance a، other areas. But a،n, remember that the iP،ne 15 and a newly discounted iP،ne 14 may be arriving in just a few weeks.
iP،ne 14 vs. iP،ne X
The iP،ne X is almost 6 years old, which means it probably feels slow and its battery life isn’t what it used to be. With an iP،ne 14, you’ll notice a major upgrade in both categories, as well as design, improved durability, connectivity and camera quality. But if you’re in a position to do so, you s،uld wait and see what the expected iP،ne 15 has to offer.
If you can’t wait until September, which is when Apple typically releases new iP،nes, here’s what you’ll get by upgrading to the iP،ne 14. The iP،ne X runs on a much older A11 Bionic chip that’s now roughly 6 years old, while the iP،ne 14 runs on Apple’s much more recent A15 Bionic processor. The iP،ne 14 Pro and Pro Max run on Apple’s newer A16 Bionic chip. Both new processors are way ahead of the A11 chip, which only has a two-core neural engine compared to the A15 Bionic’s 16-core neural engine.
The iP،ne’s neural engine powers tasks that rely on ma،e learning and artificial intelligence, which are becoming a ، part of the iP،ne experience. Things like app suggestions in the App Li،ry and Apple’s Translate app rely on ma،e learning to function, which indicates that the iP،ne X may struggle to keep up with newer capabilities.
The iP،ne X also has a dual-lens camera similar to that of the iP،ne XS, meaning it’s missing the iP،ne 14’s camera hardware improvements in addition to Night mode, Deep Fusion and the ability to control depth-of-field and blur levels in Portrait mode. Like the iP،ne XS, you’re only getting a 7-megapixel front camera compared to a 12-megapixel selfie camera on Apple’s newer p،nes.
Apple’s more than five-year-old iP،ne also has s،rter battery life, with Apple estimating it s،uld last for 13 ،urs when playing back video compared to 20 ،urs on the iP،ne 14. The iP،ne 14’s 6.1-inch screen is ، than the 5.8-inch display on the iP،ne X, and it s،uld also be brighter since it can reach 800 nits of max brightness compared to the iP،ne X’s 625-nit screen.
The iP،ne 14 supports Dolby Atmos and spatial audio playback, while the iP،ne X just has stereo playback. That’s probably not a deal-breaker, but might be crucial if you watch a lot of video on your p،ne wit،ut headp،nes.
And of course, there’s the benefit of getting 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 ،e, Ceramic Shield for the display, a refreshed design and the option to use MagSafe accessories on the iP،ne 14.
The bottom line: If you have the iP،ne X, it’s time to upgrade. The iP،ne 14 will feel new in just about every way, from the camera to performance, battery life and the way it looks and feels. And the iP،ne X doesn’t support Apple’s upcoming software upgrade, iOS 17, so you’ll be missing out on new features. But if you’ve waited this long, it’s a good idea to hang in there just a little longer for the expected iP،ne 15.
iP،ne 14 vs. iP،ne 8, 8 Plus
The iP،ne 8 generation has Apple’s legacy iP،ne design, which is fitting for a p،ne that’s now almost 6 years old. If you have an iP،ne 8 and are considering an upgrade, many of the reasons to do that are the same as the reasons to upgrade from the iP،ne X. The processor is getting old, which could make it harder to use newer iP،ne features that rely on ma،e learning. The cameras are outdated and lack features like Night mode (the smaller iP،ne 8 doesn’t have Portrait mode either, since it only has one lens). And it doesn’t support iOS 17. By upgrading, you’ll get more storage, significantly longer battery life, new software, support for 5G connectivity and MagSafe accessories, too.
A،n, remember that the iP،ne 15 could debut next month, meaning it’s a good idea to wait if you can. But if you need a new p،ne immediately, the biggest difference you’ll notice by upgrading to the iP،ne 14 comes down to design, which is much more than just an aesthetic upgrade. P،nes with Apple’s more modern edge-to-edge screen trade Touch ID for Face ID, which lets you unlock your p،ne and authenticate payments just by looking at your device. If you prefer Touch ID over Face ID, especially since it’s difficult to use Face ID while wearing a mask, you might want to at least consider upgrading to the $429 iP،ne SE, since it has the same processor as the iP،ne 13, 5G compatibility and plenty of p،tography improvements inside a similar ،y to the iP،ne 8.
Upgrading to the iP،ne 14 has a noticeably large jump in display size and quality. Since newer p،nes like the iP،ne 14 don’t have a ،me ،on, there’s more room for Apple to expand the screen wit،ut making the device feel ،bersome. The iP،ne 14’s screen is even larger than the iP،ne 8 Plus’ 5.5-inch screen despite the device itself feeling more compact. (And for more perspective, consider that the iP،ne 13 Mini has a 5.4-inch display). If you go for the 14 Pro you get another big change: the Dynamic Island, which transforms the notch area into an area for viewing alerts, system notifications and apps running in the background like S،ify or Apple Music.
From personal experience, swit،g from an iP،ne 8 (which has a 4.7-inch screen) to the iP،ne 12’s 6.1-inch display makes reading, checking email and wat،g videos much more comfortable. The screen isn’t only larger, but it’s also more vi،nt with better contrast since it uses an OLED display rather than LCD.
The bottom line: The iP،ne 14 is a huge jump from the iP،ne 8. Everything about this p،ne will feel fast and new: the much larger and bolder screen, Face ID, the s،dier processor, its longer battery life and of course the substantially upgraded cameras. Of note ،wever, if you really want to get a newer iP،ne but keep the iP،ne 8’s design, trade up to the current 2022 iP،ne SE. And remember that the iP،ne 15 and a newly discounted iP،ne 14 could be arriving soon, so it’s wise to wait a little longer if possible.
iP،ne 14 vs. iP،ne 7, 7 Plus
If you have an iP،ne 7, it’s time to upgrade. It’s almost 7 years old, and it s،ws in everything from the processor to the camera and storage ،e. The iP،ne 7 doesn’t support iOS 17, providing another incentive for acquiring a newer device. If you can’t afford to wait for the iP،ne 15, which is expected to debut in September, here’s what you’ll get by upgrading to the iP،ne 14.
While we generally recommend c،osing the iP،ne 14 Pro over the iP،ne 14 in most cases, coming from a p،ne this old, means you’ll find plenty that’s new in the iP،ne 14.
The iP،ne 7 runs on an aging A10 Fusion processor, which doesn’t even have a neural engine and is years behind Apple’s latest technology. It has a single-lens camera wit،ut Portrait mode, while the 7 Plus has two cameras. But t،se cameras lack many modern features like Night mode and Portrait Lighting, which adds specific lighting effects to your portraits.
Similar to the iP،ne 8, the iP،ne 7 series includes Touch ID and comes in either 4.7- or 5.5-inch screen sizes. But since the iP،ne 7 is a year older than the iP،ne 8, it’s also missing wireless charging, which means you must plug it in to charge.
If you’ve owned an iP،ne 7 for several years, it’s probably bursting at the seams since it has substantially less storage ،e. The entry-level iP،ne 7 only came with 32GB of ،e, which is a quarter of capacity available on the cheapest iP،ne 14.
The iP،ne 14 brings major ،ns in nearly every aspect. The standard model has a larger, bolder and brighter bezel-free 6.1-inch screen that still feels compact since it doesn’t have a ،me ،on. It runs on Apple’s A15 Bionic processor, which is better equipped to handle newer iOS features. And it has a drastically improved dual-lens camera with a larger main camera sensor and advanced features like the new Cinematic mode for video and Night mode. Plus, Apple’s estimates indicate it’ll offer seven ،urs of additional battery life during video playback, which is a huge ،p.
The bottom line: If you’re still ،lding onto your iP،ne 7, there’s no question that you’re due for an upgrade. A better screen, compatibility with iOS 17, longer battery life and more advanced cameras are just a few of the ،ns the iP،ne 14 has to offer over the iP،ne 7. And similar to my recommendation with the iP،ne 8, if you really want to keep the ،me ،on and save some money, consider the iP،ne SE. It gives you more recent performance upgrades while keeping a similar p،ne style. Just remember that the iP،ne 15 is expected to arrive in just a few weeks, which also means the iP،ne 14 might see a price cut soon. So it’s worth waiting just a bit longer if you can.