9 key iPhone 12 and 12 Pro differences you need to know

The iPhone 12 and 12 Pro are really similar. But there are some big and small differences you should be aware of before you click that buy button.

9. iPhone 12 is lighter

The iPhone 12 and 12 Pro have identical dimensions, identical 6.1-inch displays, and the same A14 Bionic chip. But in the hands, they feel different, starting with weight.


The iPhone 12 weighs 164 grams versus the iPhone 12 Pro's 189 grams.

You can really feel the difference between the two. The iPhone 12 is lighter and not as dense. The difference in weight is mainly because of their materials. The iPhone 12's flat edge frame is made of aluminum, whereas the iPhone 12 Pro's body is "surgical-grade" stainless steel. Aluminum is substantially lighter.

8. Both are fingerprint magnets

Stainless steel also means the iPhone 12 Pro picks up fingerprints like crazy. On the flip side, the iPhone 12 has a glossy glass back also attracts fingerprints and grease; the 12 Pro has a matte glass back which repels them. The difference is where the fingerprints show up: the sides or the back. Pick your poison.

7. iPhone 12 Pro is brighter (but just a small bit)

Despite having the exact same 6.1-inch displays with 1,200 nits of peak brightness, the iPhone 12 is actually dimmer than the 12 Pro when you're not watching HDR video. That's because the iPhone 12 only tops out at around 625 nits compared to the 800 nits on the 12 Pro for regular content. In this video you can see how white on the 12 (left) appears more like a light gray versus the 12 Pro (right).

6. iPhone 12 doesn't have a 2x telephoto lens

The iPhone 12 has two rear cameras: a wide (main) and ultra-wide. These are identical to the ones on the iPhone 12 Pro. But, the iPhone 12 Pro also has a third camera: a 2x telephoto. If you don't need the extra optical zoom, you can save some money with the 12. The 12 still does up to 5x digital zoom but the image quality isn't pretty.

5. iPhone 12 can't do night portraits

With a LiDAR Scanner on the rear, the iPhone 12 Pro is capable of shooting portrait mode photos with Night mode. While the quality of night portrait photos leave a lot to be desired, there's no denying that it's a useful shooting feature. Without the scanner, the iPhone 12 can't do night mode portraits.

iPhone 12

Here's a portrait mode taken with the iPhone 12's regular "wide" camera.

iPhone 12 Pro

And here's a portrait mode taken with the iPhone 12 Pro's regular "wide" camera with auto night mode.

Let's enhance to peep the details...

iPhone 12
iPhone 12 Pro with night mode

4. iPhone 12 Pro is better at AR

The LiDAR Scanner also has another use: improving augmented reality experiences. Don't get us wrong, the iPhone 12's main camera coupled with the A14 Bionic chip is really good at mapping a space for AR objects. But the LiDAR Scanner adds more depth mapping, which means it's better at seeing 3D space.

3. iPhone 12 starts with less storage

The base iPhone 12 starts with 64GB of storage and comes in two additional storage capacities (128GB and 256GB). However, the base iPhone 12 Pro storage starts with double the storage: 128GB (and 256GB and 512GB for the other models).

2. iPhone 12 Pro has more RAM

Apple never talks about RAM and for good reason: iOS doesn't need as much RAM as Android because the software is better optimized for the chipset. That's why it's pointless to compare, say, the OnePlus 8 Pro's 12GB of RAM to the iPhone 12 Pro's 6GB of RAM.

Why should you care that the iPhone 12 has 4GB of RAM and the iPhone 12 Pro has 6GB of RAM? A few reasons, actually: more RAM usually means better OS responsiveness (especially when you have tons of apps open), more efficient processing, and – this one is important — more runway for future software updates.

  • iPhone 12 is cheaper
  • The iPhone 12 starts at $799 and the iPhone 12 Pro at $999. That's for 64GB and 128GB models, respectively. A more apples-to-apples comparison: a 128GB iPhone 12 costs $849, which is still $150 less than the 12 Pro. Are the 2x telephoto camera, LiDAR scanner, and stainless steel body worth paying a premium for? That's the question to ask yourself.

    Still not sure if you should get an iPhone 12 or 12 Pro? Check out our in-depth review, where you'll find tons of camera comparisons between the iPhone 12, 12 Pro, 11 Pro, and Pixel 5.

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