iPhone 14 vs. iPhone 13: Which should you buy?

Apple just officially launched iPhone 14 and it hosts a slew of new and exciting features — but comes with a hefty price tag. iPhone 13 is no longer the newest iPhone on the block, but that doesn’t mean it’s not outstanding. It still has several features to offer you, especially if you're upgrading from an older iPhone. So, which is for you? Read on to find out!  

iPhone 14 vs. iPhone 13: Features and specs

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Most of us are suckers for the latest and greatest in tech, and if that’s you — you’ll want to spring for the iPhone 14. It’s brand new and has more features — making it an upgrade from iPhone 13. However, iPhone 13 does offer a wider color selection and comes with a less expensive price tag. Both iPhones are exceptional devices, but there are some key differences to be aware of. Let’s break it down.

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Specs iPhone 14iPhone 13
Display size14: 6.1 inches | 14 Plus: 6.7 inches13 Mini: 5.4 inches | 13: 6.1 inches
Display type OLED OLED
Capacity 128GB, 256GB, 512GB128GB, 256GB, 512GB
Splash, water, dust resistanceIP68IP68
Chip A15 bionic chip, 6 core CPU, 5-core GPU, 16-core neural engineA15 bionic chip, 6 core CPU, 4-core GPU, 16-core neural engine
Camera 12MP dual-camera system + TrueDepth front camera with autofocus, ƒ/1.5 aperture 12MP dual-camera system, ƒ/2.4 aperture
Video 4K video recording at 24 fps, 25 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps, Action Mode 4K video recording at 25 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps
Face IDYes Yes
Apple Pay Yes Yes
Safety Emergency SOS via satellite, Crash Detection SOS calling, no satellite or Crash Detection
Location GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS, and BeiDou, Digital compass, WiFi, Cellular, iBeacon microlocationGPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS, and BeiDou, Digital compass, WiFi, Cellular, iBeacon microlocation
Video calling Yes Yes
Audio calling Yes Yes
Siri Yes Yes
Power and battery Video playback: up to 20 hours, audio playback: up to 80 hoursVideo playback: up to 19 hours, Audio playback: up to 75 hours
MagSafeYesYes
Fast chargingYesYes
Sensors Face ID, Barometer, High dynamic range gyro, High-G accelerometer, Proximity sensor, Dual ambient light sensorsFace ID, Barometer, Three-axis gyro, Accelerometer, Proximity sensor, Ambient light sensor
Operating systemiOS 16iOS 16
SIM eSIMNano-SIM + eSIM

As you can see, these are two of the best iPhones ever made. But with new safety features like Crash Detection and emergency SOS via satellite, longer battery life, a new front TrueDepth camera with autofocus, 5-core GPU, and eSIM, iPhone 14 has the edge over iPhone 13. But are these features enough to warrant the higher cost?

iPhone 14 vs. iPhone 13: What's new? 

iPhone 14 emergency SOS via satellite

(Image credit: Apple)

These are the features you’ll get with iPhone 14 that you won’t get with iPhone 13. 

Safety

Apple hopes you never have to use these, but if you do wind up in an emergency, these safety features could save your life.

iPhone 14 introduces emergency SOS via satellite which will contact emergency services even when you’re out of cellular range. With this feature, because time is of the essence, iPhone 14 will prompt the user with some quick questions. It can take less than 15 seconds to send a message if you have a clear view of the sky. The answers are then relayed to a nearby emergency center staffed by Apple-trained specialists, who can contact emergency services on the user’s behalf.  

Emergency SOS via satellite will contact emergency services even when you’re out of cellular range.

For this feature to work, iPhone 14 must be pointed directly at the satellite. The phone guides the user on where to point for a connection and stays with the satellite as it moves. On a less serious note, this satellite connectivity can also be used to share your location manually if you’re out on a long hike, so loved ones know exactly where you are.

iPhone 14 is also equipped with Crash Detection thanks to a brand new dual-core accelerometer and a high dynamic range gyroscope. This is the same Crash Detection feature outfitted on Apple Watch Series 8. It can detect if you’re in a severe car crash and will call emergency services as well as notify your emergency contacts.

Camera 

Camera-wise, iPhone 14 features the same 12MP dual-camera system as iPhone 13, but with larger sensors and pixels. It also features the addition of a new TrueDepth front camera with autofocus which equates to better selfies, group shots, and low-light captures. There’s a new Photonic Engine that dramatically improves low-light photos on all cameras. When compared to iPhone 13, there is a 49% improvement in all low-light captures.

There’s a new Photonic Engine that dramatically improves low-light photos on all cameras.

A faster ƒ/1.5 aperture allows for better motion freezing, showing off bright colors that bring your image to life. 

Video

For video, Cinematic mode automatically shifts focus to the most important subject in a scene, just like filmmakers do. Now you can record in 4K at 24 fps — the same frame rate you see in the movies. There’s also an all-new action mode for super smooth, handheld videos that automatically adjusts for motion, shakes, and vibrations.

 eSIM

Kiss your SIM card goodbye because iPhone 14 launches the new eSIM — a digital SIM card. Unlike a physical card, the eSIM can’t be removed if your iPhone is lost or stolen. It also makes things simple as you can activate your new iPhone or add carriers digitally.  

iPhone 14 vs. iPhone 13: Processor and RAM

iPhone 14

(Image credit: Apple)

Both iPhone 14 and iPhone 13 feature an A15 bionic chip, giving them a six-core CPU with two performance and four efficiency cores, and a 16-core neural engine. However, iPhone 14 features a five-core GPU whereas iPhone 13 features a four-core GPU. A five-core GPU enables smoother graphics, and powers iPhone 14’s new Photonic Engine for better photography capabilities, as well as longer battery life.

iPhone 14 vs. iPhone 13: Customization and battery

All the colors of iPhone 14

(Image credit: Apple)

When it comes to customization, iPhone 13 has a bit of an edge over iPhone 14 when it comes to colors as it has a wider selection: pink, blue, Midnight, Starlight, green, and (PRODUCT)RED. iPhone 14 offers a few new colors and comes in: blue, purple, Midnight, Starlight, and (PRODUCT)RED.

In terms of battery, you’re going to get longer battery life out of iPhone 14. It delivers up to 20 hours of video playback, and up to 80 hours of audio playback. iPhone 13 provides up to 19 hours of video playback and up to 75 hours of audio playback. Both iPhones support wireless and fast-charging.

iPhone 14 vs. iPhone 13: Which should you buy? 

If you can expense it and want the best of what Apple has to offer, we recommend buying iPhone 14. It offers new and advanced safety, camera, video, battery, and SIM features for a better user experience overall. You can pre-order today, and it will be available on September 16, 2022. 

However, if you want your phone right now, a wider selection of colors, and can’t expense the additional cost, iPhone 13 is still an excellent iPhone. You’re going to get the high performance we’ve come to expect via Apple and iOS 16, minus the new features that only come with iPhone 14.

Nicolette Roux
Contributor

Nicolette is a freelance writer for iMore. She's been hooked on Apple products since she got the very first iPhone in 2007 and made the switch from PC to Mac in 2008 after inadvertently dousing her laptop with a hefty dose of water. A dedicated creative, Nicolette has had the pleasure of working with some of the top websites, studios, and brands in the industry throughout her career, and enjoys writing about all things: Apple, health, fitness, audio, and home. With over a decade of high-level experience as a health and fitness professional, Nicolette specializes in tech pertaining to the field. If she’s not working, you can find her sipping a glass of wine, enjoying a concert, or hanging with her family.