The iPhone 13 was launched as part of a new range of four handsets, giving Apple customers a wider choice than usual. The iPhone 13 Mini is the smaller sibling of the iPhone 13, offering exactly the same technology in a smaller package that is more pocket-friendly in both senses of the word. The iPhone 13 Pro is the premium model, along with the iPhone Pro Max – essentially the plus-sized version of the Pro for those that want the superior technology along with a larger screen.
The iPhone 13 offers the latest in Apple technology, much of which is largely an improvement on the iPhone 12, but there are a few particularly significant changes, notably with the introduction of the third camera lens that offers telephoto and macro capability. But before we get into the details, here are the vital statistics of the iPhone 13 and its siblings.
|iPhone 13 Mini
|iPhone 13 Pro
|iPhone 13 Pro Max
|Screen size (inches)
|Super Retina XDR display
|Super Retina XDR display
|Super Retina XDR display
|Super Retina XDR display
|Screen resolution (pixel)
|2532 x 1170
|2340 x 1080
|2532 x 1170
|2778 x 1284
|Battery life (hours)
|Up to 19
|Up to 17
|Up to 22
|Up to 28
|Capacity (up to)
It’s hard to imagine how an iPhone camera could be improved still further, but Apple have tweaked a few things and also introduced some significant improvements. The iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini don’t offer much extra from the iPhone 12; both have a Dual MP camera with Wide and Ultra Wide cameras and up to 5x digital zoom, and users can choose their own Portrait Lighting effects, with six to choose from.
In contrast, the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max have a new Telephoto camera that enables detailed macro photography and videos. Macro Control is automatic, so when you want to capture the bee landing on the flower from just centimetres away, you can. However, if you don’t want the macro capability to be automatic, you can choose to switch it off in settings. The Pro phones also have an improved 15x digital zoom and Night Mode now also comes with a LiDAR scanner to enable superb portrait photos in night mode.
Another new feature, available on all the iPhone 13 models, is Cinematic Mode. Much like Portrait Mode for photos, Cinematic Mode enables automatic focus tracking when taking videos that means you can keep the focus on the foreground subject and blur the background for a more professional result. You can also choose to change the depth of field and the subject on which you want to focus.
Some of the improvements Apple has introduced in the iPhone 13 means the battery life is better than the iPhone 12. Apple claims that the battery will support video playback for 19 hours from 17 hours previously in the iPhone 12, and streamed video playback for 15 hours (from 11). Audio playback is now supported for 75 hours, from 65 hours in the iPhone 12.
For the iPhone 13 Pro, the battery offers even further improvements, supporting 22 hours of video playback, and 28 hours in the Pro Max. Apple claims that up to 75 hours of audio playback is supported in the iPhone Pro, and 95 hours in the Pro Max.
All iPhone 13 models offer MagSafe and Qi wireless charging as well as cabled charging, and can charge to 50 per cent in 30 minutes with a 20W power adapter, such as the one available to buy from Apple.
All the iPhone 13 models come with the latest A15 Bionic chip, which Apple claims to have the fastest processor in any smartphone. It offers an improvement in overall performance from the A14 chip used in the iPhone 12. The A15 contains 15 billion transistors (almost 30 per cent more than the A14) and the 16-core Neural Engine can perform almost six trillion more operations per second than the A14. This means that not only does the iPhone 13 offer faster processing across the board, but any actions that require machine learning, such as Face ID and Siri, are also improved.
The iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max do have the edge over the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Mini however, by having a superior Graphics Processing Unit that ensures a smooth experience when it comes to more complex processing tasks such as playing games and editing videos.
All iPhone 13 models come with an HDR display and True Tone technology, which dynamically adjusts to the ambient light to give the user a very readable screen – even in full sunlight. The iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini have a standard display refresh rate of 60Hz, whereas the iPhone Pro and Pro Max come with Apple’s new ProMotion technology, which offers an adaptive refresh rate, ranging from 10Hz to 120Hz.
Refresh rates dictate how many times per second a new image (and the pixels within it) is displayed. The ProMotion technology will automatically change the refresh rate depending on what you are currently looking at on your phone – defaulting to a faster refresh rate for gaming and a lower one for more static pages such as text-heavy websites. Plus, the advantage of adaptive refresh rates is that battery power is saved by only having to support faster rates when needed.
The iPhone 13 screen is made with Ceramic Shield, a technologically advanced form of glass that contains nanoceramic crystals to improve the strength of the glass and minimize damage. Ceramic Shield is made by the same company as Gorilla Glass, largely used by Android handsets. First introduced on the iPhone 12, Ceramic Shield has been kept as the gold standard in screen durability for the iPhone 13.
When combined with the phone’s flat edge design, which helps minimise chips and cracks, and water resistance up to six meters in depth for 30 minutes, the iPhone 13 and its siblings are designed to cope well with the realities of life. The IP (ingress protection) rating of 68 not only protects against moisture, but also against dust, keeping your phone’s delicate internal systems protected from tiny particulates.
Practicalities aside, when it comes to looks, the iPhone 13 is slick and stylish as ever. The iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini are available in six colours: red, Starlight (warm white), Midnight (dark blue), blue, pink and green. The iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max come in a more limited, and muted, array of colours: Sierra Blue, Graphite, Gold, Silver or Alpine Green.
The iPhone 13 and Mini come with a glass back and an aluminium frame, whereas the iPhone Pro and Pro Max have a textured glass back and stainless steel frame. Stainless steel gives the premium handsets a weightier, and hence more premium “feel” and has the additional benefit of being more hard-wearing than aluminium.
The iPhone 13 is widely available both to purchase outright and as a pay monthly deal with a SIM plan. The retail price currently remains fixed and there are no reductions to be found for a brand new handset.
If you are prepared to pay out for a SIM-free handset upfront, you can choose to buy one either online or in store, from mobile specialists such as Carphone Warehouse to regular high street names such as Argos, John Lewis or Currys. You can also, of course, buy directly from Apple, either online or in store.
Once you have bought your new handset, you are free to choose any SIM-only deal to go with it. To see the best SIM-only deals currently available for the iPhone 13, visit our comparison page.
If you prefer to spread the cost of your new iPhone 13 and pair it with a SIM deal, then there is a huge selection of pay monthly deals available from mobile providers to choose from. Repayment contract lengths last from three to 36 months, depending on the provider and deal you choose. The iPhone 13 and its siblings are all 5G-ready and several unlimited data deals are available as well as smaller, limited data deals. To help narrow down the selection, take a look at our iPhone 13 deals comparison page.
All major mobile providers offer the iPhone 13, the iPhone Mini, the iPhone Pro and the iPhone Pro Max, although not all may offer the full selection of storage sizes. Storage options are 128GB, 256GB and 512GB for all models, with the additional choice of 1TB for the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max. The following mobile networks and providers all offer the full range of iPhone 13 handsets.
Apple isn’t the only show in town when it comes to top-end smartphones, even though its devoted followers may beg to differ. However, if you are pondering a change from the iPhone but still want a premium handset, there are a few options that are worth serious consideration.
Apple’s main competitor Samsung regularly releases its high-end handsets. The latest model is the S22, along with its siblings, the S22+ and the S22 Ultra. Pricewise the S22 is on a par with the iPhone 13 and from a technical point of view there is little to choose between them, apart from the S22 Ultra offering a superior camera set-up. The S22 Ultra is both the premium and the largest handset and bears more relation to a phablet than a phone, both in terms of size and the inclusion of the S-Pen.
For a truly innovative smartphone, the Z Fold3 currently holds top position. Its starting price of over £1500 is considerably more than the iPhone 13 or the Samsung Galaxy S22, but if a folding handset is an appealing prospect then this is a good choice. When folded it is larger than the iPhone 13 Pro Max, and unfolded it offers a very large screen, ideal for anyone looking for an easily portable, smartphone/tablet hybrid.
Starting at around £400, the latest Google Pixel 6 is set at a lower price point than both the Samsung Galaxy S22 and the Apple iPhone 13, making it a more affordable way to get hold of a high-end handset. Like the S22, it comes in three versions, the Pixel 6a, the 6 and the 6 Pro, the latter of which is the top model, with a triple rear camera system that easily competes with that of the S22 and the iPhone 13 Pro. With a fingerprint scanner, water-resistant casing, ultra fast processor and high-quality display, it is a good alternative for anyone seeking the premium experience without the premium price tag.