Some mark the start of fall as September 1st; others say fall doesn’t begin until the autumn equinox later in September. Any Apple loyalist will tell you that the true beginning of fall is indicated by the announcement of a brand new iPhone model.
In the fall of 2021, that model was the iPhone 13. Announced alongside the iPhone 13 Mini, the iPhone 13 Pro, and the iPhone 13 Pro Max, the iPhone 13 brought along some exciting, innovative new features. Namely, the continuation of the aforementioned “Mini” version. But, what’s the real difference between the iPhone 13 Mini and the iPhone 13?
In order to pin down an answer, we’ll first need to make a full comparison between the iPhone 13 Mini and the iPhone 13 model. From there, we’ll do a side-by-side comparison of their specs and go over some must-know facts about these two distinct versions of this phone. After that, we’ll take a closer look at the history of the iPhone 13 and how these two versions compare to the Pro tier.
Let’s get started!
iPhone 13 Mini vs. iPhone 13: Full Comparison
To begin, the most obvious distinction between the iPhone 13 Mini and the iPhone 13 can be seen right there in their names: one is smaller than the other.
The 13 Mini’s screen size measures in at 5.4 inches, while the iPhone 13 proper measures in at a display of 6.1 inches. In a similar vein, the 13 Mini is around an ounce lighter than the 13 base model. The 13 Mini also measures a fraction of an inch smaller on all sides to go along with the smaller display size in comparison to the 13. The battery on the 13 is also slightly larger than the battery on the 13 Mini, offering a couple of extra hours of life.
Interestingly enough, 2022’s third-generation iPhone SE is also bigger than the 13 Mini, yet the SE happens to be thinner, with an even smaller display size of 4.7 inches. At $429, the SE is also much cheaper than the 13 Mini and the 13 base model, which come in at $699 and $799, respectively. Looking beyond these differences in price, size, and weight, you’ll see that the iPhone 13 Mini and the iPhone 13 have far more similarities than you’d think.
Both versions of the 13 operate with the same A15 Bionic system-on-a-chip. The 13 Mini and the 13 both feature the same number of cameras with the same exact specifications. They boast the same storage options (128, 256, and 512 GB), the same 4GB RAM with the same 4-core GPU, and the same color options (Midnight, Starlight, Product Red, Blue, Pink, and Green). As you can see, the biggest distinguisher between the two comes down to the physical size of the phones themselves. As far as the internal makeup is concerned, it’s practically the same phone.
iPhone 13 Mini vs. iPhone 13: A Side-by-Side Comparison
|iPhone 13 Mini||iPhone 13|
|Release Date||September 24th, 2021||September 24th, 2021|
|Display Size||5.4 in.||6.1 in.|
|Weight||4.97 oz.||6.14 oz.|
|System-on-a-Chip||A15 Bionic||A15 Bionic|
|Battery Life||17 hours of video playback||19 hours of video playback|
|Storage||128, 256, 512 GB||128, 256, 512 GB|
|Cameras||12 MP wide, 12 MP ultrawide (rear); 12 MP wide (front)||12 MP wide, 12 MP ultrawide (rear); 12 MP wide (front)|
5 Must-Know Facts About the iPhone 13
- The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus both rely on the same system-on-a-chip as the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Mini: the A15 Bionic.
- The iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Mini clearly differ in size, but their internal makeup is not that different. Most notable is the battery size: the 13’s is just a little bit better.
- The 13 Mini marks the final time Apple has released a “Mini” version of its base model (at least as of this writing).
- The iPhone 13 model has a ceramic shield to protect its front screen from drops.
- The internal makeup of the iPhone 14, released on September 16th of 2022, is quite similar to the iPhone 13’s. It has the same display, same size, same ceramic shield, even the same system-on-a-chip as mentioned above.
The History of the iPhone 13 Mini
The iPhone 13 Mini was announced and released the same day as the iPhone 13 base model: September 24th, 2021. As a successor to the iPhone 12 Mini, the iPhone 13 Mini delivered many of the same features Apple aficionados and tech analysts expected. These included a smaller screen size than its slightly larger base model and a smaller notch at the top of the screen compared to the 13, the 13 Pro, and the 13 Pro Max. Like the base model 13, the cameras are also smaller and fewer in number compared to the 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max.
The “Mini” version of the 13 serves as the second iteration of this specific, smaller version of the base model. It began with the 12 Mini in September of 2020, which was the first major redesign for an iPhone model since the iPhone X in 2017. Its reception was mixed when debuted alongside the 12. Some liked the option of a littler phone. Others felt that the smaller size and lesser battery was simply not justifiable considering the base model was already plenty small enough compared to the Max and Max Pro versions. The 13 Mini did little to counter these criticisms.
Given the mixed reception to the 12 and 13 Minis, it’s not surprising that—with the announcement of the upcoming iPhone 14—the “Mini” iPhone has been discontinued as of this writing. Instead of a 14 Mini, Apple returned to the “Plus” version. The iPhone 14 Plus is the first time the “Plus” version has been used by the tech titan since the iPhone 8 Plus in 2017. Whether or not the iPhone ever gives the “Mini” name a shot again remains to be seen. Now, given the fact that the “Plus” has made a comeback, one should never say never.
Other iPhone 13 Models
In addition to the iPhone 13 and the iPhone 13 Mini, there’s also the aforementioned 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max. The first time Apple users were introduced to the “Max” moniker was with the XS Max in 2018. Since then, Apple has introduced a Max version of their latest annual base model. This includes 11, the 12, the 13, and the upcoming 14. Since the 11, this “Max” version has added another word to the name: “Pro.” In other words, the “Max” became the “Pro Max” with the iPhone 11 and has stayed that way ever since.
The “Pro” version was also introduced alongside the iPhone 11 Pro Max. Residing in between the base model and the Pro Max version, the iPhone 11 Pro’s name recalls the same “Pro” connotation previously assigned to Apple’s Macbooks and iPads. The reasoning for the name is similar to its usage with other Apple products. It’s a more professional—i.e. more high-performing —version of the base model iPhone. This includes a bigger and better battery, a more powerful system-on-a-chip, additional upgraded cameras, and more.
To be specific, the 13 Pro and the 13 Pro Max make several significant upgrades to the 13 and 13 Mini versions. These improvements include:
- Stainless steel design
- 1,000-nit ProMotion Super Retina XDR display
- Five-core GPU
- More memory
- Longer battery life
- Additional cameras with LiDAR Scanner and Apple ProRes video
- 1TB storage option
Pros and Cons of iPhone 13 Mini vs. iPhone 13
|Pros of iPhone 13 Mini||Cons of iPhone 13 Mini||Pros of iPhone 13||Cons of iPhone 13|
|Slightly smaller in size, making it more portable||While “Mini,” the 2022 iPhone SE is thinner with a smaller screen||Bigger screen than the iPhone 13 Mini||Fewer cameras than the 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max|
|Offers many of the same specs as the 13 at a lower price||At just $100 cheaper, some may prefer to just go with the 13 proper||Offers many of the same features as the 13 Mini with a better battery||Nearly identical internal makeup to the iPhone 13 Mini|
|Comes in the same colors as the 13 base model||Pales in comparison to the 13 Pro and Pro Max’s features||Cheaper than the 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max||200 nits dimmer than the iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max’s screens|
|Lighter than the iPhone 13 base model||Discontinued after the 13 model, suggesting the Mini was a failure||Markedly better than the iPhone 12 model||Less memory than the 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max|
iPhone 13 Mini vs. iPhone 13: Which Version is Best?
Now that we’ve laid out all the similarities and differences between the iPhone 13 Mini and iPhone 13, the question still remains. Which version of the iPhone 13 is best? Is it the iPhone 13 Mini, with its smaller size but similar internal makeup? Or is it the 13 proper, with a better battery life and comparable specs at a slightly higher price point? When all is said and done, it’s hard to argue against the iPhone 13 being crowned the winner here.
Sure, the iPhone 13 Mini is smaller and cheaper but, in truth, it’s not that much smaller nor that much cheaper. For $100 more, iPhone buyers can get a slightly bigger phone with a better battery life and identical specs. It’s the more sensical option (unless, of course, you just need to save that $100 or those mere fractions of an inch). It’s easy to see why Apple discontinued the “Mini” version after the 13. The Mini is just not different enough to justify its existence in comparison to the base model of the phone.