I returned my iPhone 14 Pro for an iPhone 13 mini: Here's why

Hand waving goodbye to an iPhone 14 Pro
Goodbye to my iPhone 14 Pro (Image credit: Joe Wituschek)
iPHONE 15: What you need to know

When Apple announced its iPhone 14 lineup, I was both excited and heartbroken.

As expected, the company took the iPhone mini out to pasture and instead, unveiled the iPhone 14 Plus, a 6.7-inch version of the regular iPhone that is meant to capture customers who want an iPhone Pro Max but don't want the "pro" features, the weight, or the price. It's a big bet on big phones that saddened the community of us who have completely fallen in love with our iPhone 12 or 13 mini.

The writing has been on the wall for the iPhone mini for the last year or so. Estimated sales of the smaller iPhone were...well, small compared to that of the regular-sized iPhone or pro models. It appears that Apple took that as an indication it should go the opposite direction and offer a big, cheaper iPhone.

When Apple unveiled the iPhone 14 Plus and I realized no iPhone 14 mini was coming, I looked at my iPhone 13 mini and thought, "you had a good run, buddy." While I love my mini, I'm also someone who loves the latest and greatest technology (I write for iMore so I think that's a given). So, I decided it was time to let go, embrace the future, and go back to the world of bigger phones.

I pre-ordered the iPhone 14 Pro in Space Black and, luckily, got it on launch day. After two weeks, I returned it and kept my iPhone 13 mini. Here's why.

The iPhone 13 mini is the perfect size

iPhone 14 Pro held in the hand

iPhone 14 Pro held in hand (Image credit: Joe Wituschek)

I remember when I originally got the iPhone 13 mini and thought, "good lord, this thing is TINY." But, after a few days of using it, I came to the conclusion that the mini was the perfect size. Using it with one hand was easy. It's also much lighter than its siblings, especially the pro models.

The iPhone 14 Pro, by comparison, felt just too big for my taste. I knew what I was getting into as I had previously had the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro, so I wasn't expecting to dislike the size as much as I actually did. It doesn't feel enormous like the iPhone 14 Pro Max surely would, but it feels just a little too big. I remember when Apple made the switch from the 5.8-inch display of the iPhone 11 Pro to the 6.1-inch of the iPhone 12 Pro and I was worried it would make a difference, and it definitely did.

Of course, the weight doesn't help anything either. Going from an iPhone 13 mini to the iPhone 14 Pro feels like you're going from holding a piece of cardboard to a brick. The iPhone 14 Pro is HEAVY, due not only to its size but its stainless steel construction.

Don't get me wrong, the extra screen real estate is great, but there's nothing like having a small, capable phone. No amount of screen real estate replaces the joy of being able to reach the top of the screen with one hand.

The iPhone 14 Pro features don't matter to me

Back of the iPhone 14 Pro in Space Black

Back of the iPhone 14 Pro (Image credit: Joe Wituschek)

There were three features that the iPhone 14 Pro had over the iPhone 13 mini that I honestly thought were going to get me to switch: the Dynamic Island, the zoom lens, and the ProMotion display.

Let's talk about the Dynamic Island first. It's cool. It's really cool. It's a feat of engineering and one of those things that remind you of the Apple of the past that creates an experience so delightful it feels like the Disney of the tech world. However, after a day of using the phone, I started to forget it was there. This isn't the fault of the Dynamic Island. It's just that there aren't enough parts of the iPhone experience taking advantage of it yet. That will change with time, but the feature just doesn't do enough at launch to pull me away from my mini.

I remember having access to the zoom lens with my iPhone 12 Pro and enjoying Portrait Mode a lot, so I was curious if Portrait Mode on the iPhone 14 Pro would be so much better than my iPhone 13 mini that it would get me to switch. For me, that wasn't the case. It was obviously BETTER — just not that much better that I would consider it a reason to leave my mini behind. I am NOT a photographer, so I'm sure anyone who is would point out just how wrong I am here. Just know that I hear you and apologize for taking photos that make your eyes bleed.

The feature that honestly almost got me to abandon my iPhone 13 mini was the ProMotion display. For some people, they'll never notice a difference between a 60Hz and 120Hz display, but I SAW it. It was clear as day to me. The refresh rate alone made the iPhone 14 Pro not only look smoother but feel faster. I absolutely loved it and wish it was on all iPhones forever. This was the feature I was sad to leave behind, but I was willing to sacrifice it for the other reasons above.

The intangilbles

iPhone 13 mini in MagSafe case with MagSafe Wallet

iPhone 13 mini in MagSafe case with MagSafe Wallet (Image credit: Joe Wituschek)

This last part is hard to put into facts or figures, so that's why I called it the intangibles. There's something about the iPhone 13 mini that makes it delightful to use. The small size. The lightness compared to all other iPhones. The same capabilities as the larger version.

The other iPhones have bigger screens, more battery life, more cameras, and all of the other additional features you could continue to list. It seems crazy that you'd pick the iPhone mini over any other iPhone considering all of these things.

However, there's something about a fully-capable iPhone (or a smartphone in general) you can fit in the palm of your hand. Well, not my hand but I'm sure it fits in the palm of some people's hands. You get the point. It's small! It's mighty! It's mighty small!

The long night begins

I've used every iPhone since the iPhone 3GS and I can say that, with complete confidence, the iPhone mini has been my favorite iPhone, ever.

Unfortunately, the iPhone 13 mini may be the last iPhone mini ever.

...Or will it? The iPhone SE is due for a redesign at some point, so I'm now holding out hope that the iPhone mini may turn into the next generation of the iPhone SE.

Apple just released a new iPhone SE this year, so all of us iPhone mini lovers might have a long time to wait to see if Apple brings it back the mini in the form of the SE.

Thankfully, Apple supports phones for years so all of us who love the iPhone mini, even if Apple doesn't continue it in any form, can enjoy it for years to come.

There are dozens of us! DOZENS!

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.