iPhone 14: Is the upgrade worth it? (2023)

This story is part ofFocus iPhone 2023, CNET's collection of news, tips and advice on Apple's most popular product.

applesiPhone 14,iPhone 14PlusAndiPhone 14 Pro-Phoneare hard to come by and sold out. If you've seen one in the wild, you might be wondering: should I upgrade? The answer mostly depends on which phone you currently own. If you have a newer model like thatiPhone 13or 12, you should wait. However, if your phone is older, it's worth finding out how much you'll gain by switching to a newer iPhone.

The $799 ($849, $1,399) iPhone 14 brings modest improvements, but not game-changing ones. These changes include fundamental camera improvements,car crash detectionand support forsatellite emergency notification. (Hopefully you'll never find yourself in a situation where you need to use the latter two.) The iPhone 14 also has a new internal design with easier access to internal components.making it easier to repairthan previous models.I attach it, a website that breaks down tech products and rates how easy they are to fix, called it "the most repairable iPhone in years." And if you want those features in a larger size, the iPhone 14 Plus starts at $100 more, at $899.

iPhone 14: Is the upgrade worth it? (1)

Currently running: Look at that: iPhone 14 Review: A decent upgrade for most


TheiPhone 14 Pro and Pro MaxUpgrades are more dramatic, but you still don'tneedto upgrade unless you can get a great resultInzahlungnahme. Apple has saved its most interesting new features for the Pro range, including theDynamic Islandreplacing the notch, the new A16 Bionic processor and a 48-megapixel main camera sensor.

It's important to remember that you don't have to buy the iPhone 14 to get camera, battery, and performance improvements over a previous iPhone.

The recently discounted $699 iPhone 13 or the smaller $599 13 Mini could be a good option if you still want more storage, faster performance, and an improved camera, especially if you're coming from a phone that is 3 years or older. It's also the only option if that's what you wantlittle miniand its 5.4-inch screen, as the iPhone 14 range eliminates that size in favor of the new $899 iPhone 14 Plus with a 6.7-inch screen.

Purchasing decisions will always vary based on your budget, how well your phone is currently performing, and your personal needs, so there's no one-size-fits-all answer. But here are the biggest differences between the iPhone 14 range and previous iPhone generations to help you decide.

iPhone 14: Is the upgrade worth it? (3)

iPhone 14 vs. iPhone 13, 13 Pro, 13 Pro Max

The iPhone 14 range introduces new features such as car crash detection, theRemoving the physical SIM cardfor US phones and upgraded front and rear cameras. Despite these changes, the iPhone 14 isn't different enough to warrant an upgrade from the iPhone 13. And even though Apple finally got rid of the infamous notch in the Pro models, the 14 and 14 Plus still have one - it's the samesmaller notchwhich debuted on the iPhone 13 series. In fact, the iPhone 14 represents "one of the most minimal annual upgrades in Apple history," according to CNET's Patrick Holland, who reviewed Apple's latest phones.

The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus have last year's A15 Bionic chipiPhone 13 proAndiPhone 13 Promax. The 14's screen looks the same as the 13. Perhaps the most notable change this year is the introduction of a larger version of the iPhone 14 called the iPhone 14 Plus, which has a 6.7-inch screen like the Pro Max. That means you no longer have to buy Apple's most expensive iPhone if you want the largest possible screen.

Of course, the iPhone 14 is still highly rated, but we recommend saving your money and skipping the upgrade. If you've decided to upgrade, we recommend opting for an iPhone 14 Pro or iPhone 14 Pro Max if you can afford it. These phones are expensive, but they give you access to some standout changes - namely, a high refresh rate display, Apple's new Dynamic Island multitasking bar, an always-on display, plus better cameras, among other things.

The final result: If you have an iPhone 13 or 13 Pro, do not upgrade. But if you're determined to buy a new phone, go for the iPhone 14 Pro or 14 Pro Max, especially if you must have the Dynamic Island now.

Continue reading: iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max in review

iPhone 14: Is the upgrade worth it? (4)

iPhone 14 vs. iPhone 12, 12 Pro

Although theiPhone 12lineup was released two years ago, it still shares many similarities with Apple's latest phones. Both the iPhone 12 and iPhone 14 support 5G, run on fast processors, offer great cameras and are compatible with MagSafe accessories.

Since the iPhone 14 is more of a refresh than a major upgrade, we recommend sticking with yoursiPhone 12if it is still in good condition. You can take advantage of iPhone's latest software features, such as: B. Lock screen customizations, widgets and the ability to undo sending text messages by upgrading toiOS 16.

The iPhone 14 has received some notable camera upgrades, such as a larger sensor, a new lens with a faster aperture, improved photo processing, and an Actions mode that makes motion in videos appear smoother when recording.

But the iPhone 12's cameras remain excellent despite being 2 years old. The iPhone 12 has a dual 12-megapixel camera system, while the iPhone 12 Pro has a third camera with a telephoto lens. Check out oursiPhone 12 Testto see how the cameras held up when CNET put them through their paces.

Keep in mind that the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max come with more noticeable upgrades. That includes everything that's new in the 14, plus an upgraded main camera with a larger 48-megapixel sensor, an ultrawide camera that lets you take macro photos, and a third camera with a telephoto lens. If you can get a good trade-in offer that brings the iPhone 14 Pro price down significantly, upgrading from the regular iPhone 12 is a decent step up.

The final result: Hold on to your iPhone 12 for another year as the iPhone 14 isn't dramatically different. However, the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max bring more significant changes that could be worth your while if you can snag a good trade-in deal.

Continue reading:All the "new" iPhone features that have been on Android for years

iPhone 14: Is the upgrade worth it? (5)

iPhone 14 vs. iPhone 11, 11 Pro

If you use oneiPhone 11, we recommend upgrading to an iPhone 14 (or even an iPhone 13). In the past three years, Apple has made enough changes to features like battery life, performance, screen quality, cameras, and durability to justify buying a new iPhone.

If you upgrade to the iPhone 14, you get 5G support, more storage (128GB at the base level vs. 64GB), a better main camera with a larger aperture lens, new video capture options like Action mode and Cinematic mode, a better one Selfie camera with night mode and Apple's Photonic Engine processing, compatibility with Apple's MagSafe accessory, longer battery life and faster performance. This is in addition to car crash detection and Apple's new emergency satellite messaging feature.

Most of the improvements in photography and videography are dramatic changes compared to the iPhone 11. And the longer battery life and extra storage are welcome upgrades that you'll notice on a daily basis.

As mentioned, if you opt for the 14 Pro instead you get a new 48MP main camera, a closer 3x optical zoom compared to the 11 Pro Max's 2x zoom, the dynamic island instead of the notch and numerous other upgrades as always -on screen.

The final result: The iPhone 14 range has enough changes to warrant an upgrade from the iPhone 11. However, if your phone is still in good condition and you are happy with it, install iOS 16 and keep it for another year.

iPhone 14: Is the upgrade worth it? (8)

iPhone 14 vs. iPhone XS, XS Max, XR

If you bought thoseiPhone XS, XS Max orXRAt launch, this means your phone is around 4 years old and may be feeling slow. That alone is an upgrade, but there's a lot more to gain.

Compared to the iPhone XS, the iPhone 14 offers six hours of extra battery life (Apple estimates). In addition to everything that's new specifically in the iPhone 14, you'll also get other upgrades that Apple has added to the iPhone over the past few years.

That includes 5G support, more storage (again, you get 128GB versus 64GB), faster performance, and a better camera. The iPhone XS generation lacks Night mode to capture clearer images in the dark, nor does it feature Deep Fusion, 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 iPhone 14's larger and newer 12-megapixel sensor. Upgrading from an iPhone XR also gets an additional camera with an ultrawide lens for capturing wider group shots for the first time.

The iPhone 14 also has a larger 6.1-inch screen compared to the iPhone XS's 5.8-inch display (the iPhone XS Max has a 6.5-inch screen, while the XR's screen is also 6, is 1 inch tall). The design has also changed quite a bit in the last 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 phone not only feels more modern, but also looks newer.

The final result: If you have an iPhone XS, XS Max, or XR, it's definitely worth upgrading. You get a noticeable boost in camera quality, battery life, and performance, among other things.

iPhone 14: Is the upgrade worth it? (11)

iPhone 14 vs. iPhone X

The iPhone X is about 5 years old, which means it's probably feeling slow and its battery life isn't what it used to be. With an iPhone 14, you'll see a significant upgrade in both categories, as well as design, improved durability, connectivity, and camera quality.

Let's start with performance. The iPhone X runs on a much older A11 Bionic chip, now 5 years old, while the iPhone 14 runs on Apple's A15 Bionic processor. The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max run on Apple's newer A16 Bionic chip. Both the new processors are far ahead of the A11 chip, which only has a two-core neural engine compared to the A15 Bionic's 16-core neural engine.

The iPhone's neural engine supports machine learning and artificial intelligence-based tasks, which are becoming an increasingly large part of the iPhone experience. Things like app suggestions in the App Library and Apple's Translate app rely on machine learning to work, suggesting the iPhone X may struggle to keep up with newer features.

The iPhone X also has a dual-lens camera similar to that of the iPhone XS, meaning it lacks the iPhone 14's camera hardware improvements, along with Night mode, Deep Fusion, and the ability to control depth of field and blur in portrait mode . Like the iPhone XS, you only get a 7-megapixel front camera compared to a 12-megapixel selfie camera on Apple's newer phones.

Apple's five-year-old iPhone also has a shorter battery life, with Apple estimating it should last 13 hours of video playback compared to 20 hours on the iPhone 14. The iPhone 14's 6.1-inch screen is larger than the 5.8-inch display on the iPhone X, and it should be brighter too, as it can max out at 800 nits compared to the iPhone X's 625-nit screen.

The iPhone 14 supports Dolby Atmos andspatial audioPlayback while iPhone X only has stereo playback. That's probably not a deal-breaker, but it could be crucial if you watch a lot of videos on your phone without headphones.

And of course there's the benefit of car accident detection, Apple's new emergency SOS notification via satellite, better water resistance (up to 6 meters for 30 minutes versus 1 meter), 5G support, more storage, Ceramic Shield for the display, a refreshed design and the possibility of using itMagSafe accessorieson iPhone 14.

The final result: If you have the iPhone X, it's time for an upgrade. The iPhone 14 will feel new in almost every way, from the camera to performance, battery life to the way it looks and feels.

iPhone 14: Is the upgrade worth it? (14)

iPhone 14 vs. iPhone 8, 8 Plus

TheiPhone 8Generation has Apple's old iPhone design that fits a phone that's now 5 years old. If you have an iPhone 8 and are considering an upgrade, many of the reasons for doing so are the same as the reasons for upgrading from the iPhone X. The processor is getting old, which could make it harder to use newer iPhone features that are built on it rely on machine learning. Cameras are dated and lack features like night mode (the smaller iPhone 8 doesn't have portrait mode either, as it only has one lens). The upgrade gets you more storage, significantly longer battery life, support for 5G connectivity, and MagSafe accessories too.

But the biggest difference lies in the iPhone 8's design, which is much more than just an aesthetic upgrade. Phones with Apple's more modern edge-to-edge screens swap Touch ID for Face ID, which lets you unlock your phone 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 should at least consider upgrading to $429iPhone SE, as it has the same processor as the iPhone 13, 5G compatibility and many photographic improvements in a body similar to the iPhone 8.

The upgrade to the iPhone 14 has a noticeably big jump in display size and quality. Since newer phones like the iPhone 14 don't have a home button, Apple has more room to expand the screen without making the device feel cumbersome. The iPhone 14's screen is even larger than the iPhone 8 Plus's 5.5-inch screen, although the device itself feels more compact. (And for more perspective, consider that the iPhone 13 Mini has a 5.4-inch display). If you opt for the 14 Pro, you get another big change: the Dynamic Island, which turns the notch area into an area for showing alerts, system notifications, and apps like Spotify or Apple Music running in the background.

From personal experience, going from an iPhone 8 (which has a 4.7-inch screen) to the iPhone 12's 6.1-inch display makes reading, checking email, and watching videos much more comfortable. Not only is the screen bigger, but it's also more vibrant with better contrast since it uses an OLED display instead of an LCD.

The bottom line:The iPhone 14 is a big leap from the iPhone 8. Everything about this phone will feel fast and new: the much larger and bolder screen, Face ID, the faster processor, its longer battery life, and of course the vastly improved cameras. Note, however, that if you really want a newer iPhone but want to keep the design of the iPhone 8, trade up to the current 2022iPhone SE.

iPhone 14: Is the upgrade worth it? (17)

iPhone 14 vs. iPhone 7, 7 Plus

if you have oneiPhone 7, it's time for an upgrade. It's 6 years old and it shows in everything from the processor to the camera to the storage space. The iPhone 7 doesn't support iOS 16, which gives even more incentive to buy a newer device.

While we generally recommend choosing the iPhone 14 Pro over the iPhone 14 in most cases, such an old phone means you'll find a lot of new things in the iPhone 14.

The iPhone 7 runs on an aging A10 Fusion processor that doesn't even have a neural engine and is years behind Apple's latest tech. It has a single lens camera with no portrait mode while the7 plushas two cameras. But these cameras lack many modern features like night mode and portrait lighting, which add specific lighting effects to your portraits.

Similar to the iPhone 8, the iPhone 7 series features Touch ID and is available in 4.7-inch or 5.5-inch screen sizes. However, since the iPhone 7 predates the iPhone 8 by a year, it also lacks wireless charging, meaning you have to plug it in to charge.

If you've owned an iPhone 7 for several years, it's probably bursting at the seams as it has significantly less storage space. The entry-level iPhone 7 only had 32GB of storage, which is a quarter of the capacity available on the cheapest iPhone 14.

The iPhone 14 brings big wins in almost every aspect. The standard model has a larger, beefier, and brighter 6.1-inch bezel-less screen that still feels compact because it doesn't have a home button. It runs on Apple's A15 Bionic processor, which is better suited for newer iOS features. And it has a dramatically improved dual-lens camera with a larger main camera sensor and advanced features like the new Cinematic mode for video and Night mode. Also, Apple's estimates suggest it will offer seven hours of extra battery life during video playback, which is a huge increase.

The bottom line:If you're still holding on to your iPhone 7, there's no question that you're due for an upgrade. A better screen, iOS 16 compatibility, longer battery life, and more advanced cameras are just some of the advantages the iPhone 14 has to offer over the iPhone 7. And similar to my recommendation with the iPhone 8, if you really want to stick with the home button and save some money, consider the iPhone SE. It offers you newer performance improvements while keeping a similar phone style.

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