Sorry iPhone 15, this is why I'm looking for an iPhone 12 on Black Friday

iPhone 12 in green
(Image credit: Future / Apple)

As the Christmas holidays get closer, I’ve begun to look at a bunch of Black Friday deals to see what could appeal to friends and family. From air fryers to game controllers, there’s already plenty of big discounts. When it comes to my mother-in-law, though her Christmas present is the biggest priority above everyone else's this year.

You see, she has had a terrible Android phone for several years now, but she also has a 9th-gen iPad — not the best of both worlds. I’ve been waiting for November to come around, just so I could see how low the prices on certain iPhone models will go. After seeing the 128GB iPhone 12 for $340, down from $448 on Amazon, it’s the best Black Friday iPhone deal for her. It's not an easy affair to just buy her a new phone. It's something I've been laying the groundwork for, for years, so she can use it with ease without worrying about a new operating system.

For her, it’s a smaller iPad

First, a little history. For as long as I’ve known her, this Android phone has been the constant when we would come round to visit. I’d also be the technical support for her, solving issues like freeing up storage or removing a misplaced widget from her phone’s home screen.

By now though, it’s reaching the point where the phone is showing its age, no matter what I do to optimize it. Apps refuse to run, the battery lasts just a few hours, and there are plenty more issues. Lately, I have tried to steer her into using the iPad when she doesn’t want to use WhatsApp or to call people. But I’ve got another reason for doing this: I want her to get used to Apple’s ecosystem.

iPhone 12 |$448$340 at Amazon

iPhone 12 | $448 $340 at Amazon
It's an older model but still features a great processor, an OLED display with FaceID, a 12MP dual camera, a 7MP front camera with 1080p recording, and more. I'd choose this over the iPhone SE any day.

Granted, the tablet has a 9.7-inch display, but iPadOS looks very similar to iOS just on a bigger screen. Having this iPhone 12 will be like using a smaller iPad for her, using existing apps from the tablet, but one that can also make phone calls and use WhatsApp.

The other aspect is that, much like other family members and friends, she doesn’t care about the new features such as a 120Hz ProMotion always-on-display. As long as it works and takes good photos, she’s happy.

Is an iPhone 12 still worth it in 2023?

The other point is — why an iPhone 12? Granted, it was released in 2020, but it’s currently on a great discount, thanks to Amazon’s Black Friday deals. There’s also the matter of the third-gen iPhone SE, released back in March 2022. When you compare some of its features, the iPhone 12 easily beats the entry-level device.

iPhone SE |$319$299 at Amazon

iPhone SE | $319 $299 at Amazon

If you want an iPhone to simply run some apps, make phone calls, and send messages, the entry-level SE model is the one to get. Its camera rivals the iPhone XR from 2018, so the SE is still capable of taking good photos, just not great ones.

For instance, the 12MP TrueDepth front camera with 4K video recording on the iPhone 12, easily trounces the 7MP front camera with 1080p recording that’s on the iPhone SE. There’s also the brighter 6.1-inch OLED display with FaceID on the iPhone 12, while the iPhone SE features a 4.7-inch LCD display. When you consider the iPhone 12 also has MagSafe and dual cameras with the ability to take photos at night, the choice seems like a no-brainer.

I’d be doing my mother-in-law a disservice if I bought her an iPhone SE — I know she’ll want to take many photos of her new grandson — so the better camera in iPhone 12 is essential for her.

When all of these features are added up, the 128GB iPhone 12 for $339 is a fantastic deal for what it offers. Especially when her iPad will be able to sync up with the iPhone, so apps, messages, passwords, and more will live on both devices, not just one.

I’d be surprised if this deal goes any lower. So, if you’re in a similar situation to me, do what I’m about to do and buy that iPhone 12 to get your loved one out of Android prison.

Black Friday
Save money with Black Friday sales

Grab bargains on Apple devices this Black Friday

If you're looking for the best Black Friday Apple deals as the annual sales season kicks off, we've got you covered. From now right through to Cyber Monday on November 27, we'll be serving up the best offers on iPhone, MacBook, Apple Watch, iPad, HomeKit smart home devices and more. Save a small fortune by checking back on our daily deals coverage.

Daryl Baxter
Features Editor

Daryl is iMore's Features Editor, overseeing long-form and in-depth articles and op-eds. Daryl loves using his experience as both a journalist and Apple fan to tell stories about Apple's products and its community, from the apps we use everyday to the products that have been long forgotten in the Cupertino archives.

Previously Software & Downloads Writer at TechRadar, and Deputy Editor at StealthOptional, he's also written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider', which tells the story of the beginnings of Lara Croft and the series' early development. He's also written for many other publications including WIRED, MacFormat, Bloody Disgusting, VGC, GamesRadar, Nintendo Life, VRV Blog, The Loop Magazine, SUPER JUMP, Gizmodo, Film Stories, TopTenReviews, Miketendo64 and Daily Star.