iPhone 12 Pro vs. iPhone 15 Pro Buyer's Guide: 50+ Differences Compared

The iPhone 15 Pro brings over 50 new features and improvements to Apple's high-end smartphones compared to the iPhone 12 Pro, which was released three years prior. This buyer's guide breaks down every major difference you should be aware of between the two generations and helps you to decide whether it's worth upgrading.

iPhone 12 Pro vs 15 Pro Feature
The ‌iPhone‌ 12 Pro debuted in 2020, introducing the A14 Bionic chip, MagSafe, improved water resistance, Ceramic Shield glass, 2GB more memory, a LiDAR scanner, Night mode portraits and Apple ProRAW images, HDR video recording with Dolby Vision, and a larger display on the smaller model. The ‌iPhone‌ 12 Pro was discontinued upon the announcement of the iPhone 13 Pro in 2021, but it is still possible to get hold of it at fairly low prices second-hand.

Our guide helps to answer the question of how to decide which of these two ‌iPhone‌ models is best for you by clearly showing all of the differences that the ‌iPhone 15 Pro‌ brings to the table. This article focuses on the ‌iPhone‌ 12 Pro and ‌iPhone 15 Pro‌, but to understand the differences between the iPhone 14 Pro and ‌iPhone 15 Pro‌, see our other buyer's guide:

Although the ‌iPhone‌ 12 Pro and ‌iPhone 15 Pro‌ share most of their basic features, the ‌iPhone 15 Pro‌ offers a large number of notable upgrades, such as a titanium design, always-on Retina display with ProMotion, Action button, USB-C port, 48-megapixel main camera, A17 Pro chip, and longer battery life.

‌iPhone‌ 12 Pro ‌iPhone 15 Pro‌
Surgical-grade stainless steel chassis with squared-off edges Aerospace-grade titanium chassis with contoured edges
More repairable design
7.4mm depth 8.25mm depth (0.6mm thicker)
187g or 226g weight 187g or 221g weight
"Notch" TrueDepth camera array TrueDepth camera array with ‌Dynamic Island
Thinner borders around the display for slightly smaller overall footprint
1,200 nits peak brightness (HDR) 1,600 nits peak brightness (HDR) and 2,000 nits peak brightness (outdoor)
ProMotion technology for refresh rates up to 120Hz
Always-On display
Ring/Silent switch Action button
A14 Bionic chip (5nm) A17 Pro chip (3nm)
4-core GPU 6-core GPU with with hardware-accelerated ray tracing
Dedicated AV1 decoder
6GB memory 8GB memory
12-megapixel main camera with ƒ/1.6 aperture 48-megapixel main camera with ƒ/1.78 aperture and larger sensor
12-megapixel ultra-wide camera with ƒ/2.4 aperture 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera with ƒ/2.2 aperture
12-megapixel telephoto camera with ƒ/2.0 aperture and sensor-shift optical image stabilization 12-megapixel telephoto camera with ƒ/2.8 aperture and larger sensor, folded tetraprism design, optical image stabilization, and autofocus 3D sensor-shift module (Pro Max only)
12-megapixel front-facing camera with ƒ/2.2 aperture 12-megapixel front-facing camera with ƒ/1.9 aperture and autofocus
Anti-reflective coating on camera lenses
True Tone flash Adaptive True Tone flash
0.5x, 1x, and 2x optical zoom 0.5x, 1x, 2x, and 3x optical zoom (5x instead of 3x on Pro Max)
13mm, 24mm, 28mm, 35mm, and 77mm focal length picker (120mm instead of 77mm on Pro Max)
24- and 48-megapixel super-high-resolution photos
Photonic Engine
Smart HDR 3 Smart HDR 5
Photographic Styles
Macro photography
Portrait mode with Depth Control Next-generation portraits with Focus and Depth Control
Night mode and Night mode portraits Improved Night mode and Night mode portraits
Shoot and instantly transfer 48-megapixel ProRAW images to Mac via USB 3
Record video directly to an external drive
ProRes video recording up to 4K at 60 fps with external recording
Cinematic mode for recording videos with shallow depth of field (4K HDR up to 30 fps)
Action mode
Log video recording
Academy Color Encoding System
Record spatial video for Apple Vision Pro
Improved audio quality on phone calls
Bluetooth 5.0 Bluetooth 5.3
Wi‑Fi 6 connectivity Wi‑Fi 6E connectivity
Thread networking technology
First-generation Ultra Wideband chip Second-generation Ultra Wideband chip (connects from 3x further away)
Precision Finding for Find My friends
Emergency SOS Emergency SOS and Roadside Assistance via satellite
Crash Detection
eSIM optional eSIM only (in the U.S.)
Lightning port USB-C port
USB 2 transfer speeds (up to 480Mb/s) USB 3 transfer speeds (up to 10Gb/s, 20x faster)
DisplayPort support for up to 4K HDR video output
Support for Qi wireless charging Support for Qi 2 wireless charging
17- or 20-hour battery life 23- or 29-hour battery life
Setting to prevent charging above 80%
Battery manufacture date, first use, and cycle count information in Settings
128GB, 256GB, and 512GB storage options 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB storage options (no 128GB tier on Pro Max)
Pacific Blue, Silver, Gold, and Graphite color options Natural Titanium, Blue Titanium, White Titanium, and Black Titanium color options

Overall, the ‌iPhone 15 Pro‌ is a significant upgrade over the ‌iPhone‌ 12 Pro, with significant changes in virtually every area of the device. The display's ‌Dynamic Island‌, always-on functionality, ProMotion technology for refresh rates up to 120Hz, slimmer bezels, and considerably higher peak brightness make for significant changes on the front of the device, while the switch to a titanium chassis, USB-C port, and Action button are similarly noticeable elsewhere. The photography and videography capabilities of the devices radically differ, with over 20 of the differences between the smartphones relating to camera technologies. The ‌iPhone 15 Pro‌'s more repairable design, 2GB of additional memory, and A17 Pro chip also ensure that it will be a more future-proof device.

Due to the scale and breadth of these improvements, most ‌iPhone‌ 12 Pro users will be able to justify upgrading to the ‌iPhone 15 Pro‌, especially if they value its more refined design, USB-C port, Action button, and camera improvements. It is only worth sticking with the ‌iPhone‌ 12 Pro if you are holding off for an even more substantial upgrade with next year's iPhone 16 Pro, but many users will see a multitude of tangible benefits by upgrading now.

Related Roundup: iPhone 15 Pro
Related Forum: iPhone

Top Rated Comments

multipasser Avatar
9 weeks ago
Wait at least 3 versions, otherwise it is too fast. Imo 12 pro's can wait for 16 or even 17.Unless you neeeed a new feature.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
winxmac Avatar
9 weeks ago
If you're using the iPhone 12 series [Pro and non-Pro], just upgrade... It introduced 5G network, yet have a smaller battery capacity compared to the iPhone 11 series... Even if you don't use 5G, just get away from the iPhone 12 series...

It does not matter which series, iPhone 13, iPhone 14, iPhone 15, just upgrade...
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
PhoenixAnhart Avatar
8 weeks ago
Funny how the metric is now the current phone vs the phone from three generations ago. It's indicative of how much this industry has inevitably levelled off.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Fuzzball84 Avatar
9 weeks ago
I guess this is a good argument for refreshes being spaced over 2 to 3 years rather than smaller iterations every year.

That way they can focus on making the best hardware possible, and more testing!

It makes sense from a business and environmental sense in that there would be a bigger incentive to upgrade on the refresh. Better hardware released, fewer products for Apple to support with repairs etc, and a bigger incentive for people to upgrade when the refresh does arrive. They could then have more focus on optimizing the software for the two to three years that a product is out.

More and more people are keeping their phones longer.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kerr Avatar
9 weeks ago
I went from an iPhone XS to a 15 Pro. Very happy. Tempted though to also upgrade my 1st Gen AirPods Pro so that both are USB-C.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MyPhone99 Avatar
8 weeks ago
My 12 Pro max is in great condition. Pro motion and cameras may be tempting features to upgrade. Even those are fine for normal day to day usage. Rest are all not so "mandatory " features
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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