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- The iPhone 14 runs on the same A15 Bionic processor as last year’s iPhone 13.
- If you didn’t upgrade to the iPhone 13 already, you could argue against upgrading the iPhone 14, too.
- Plus, the A15 Bionic’s extended relevance could even give older iPhones a boost of life.
Apple announced the iPhone 14 series during its September 7 event, and it’s usually pretty easy to decide whether you want to upgrade or not. Yet, this year is different.
The latest iPhones typically come with the latest and most powerful processor, as well as some camera upgrades that are usually incremental. Occasionally, there will be an exciting design refresh, too. And once in a blue moon, support for the latest mobile network — like 5G — will make a debut.
It’s usually performance from the latest processors that encourages or justifies an upgrade. However, Apple has given owners of older iPhones a reason to hang on to their older device.
The reason? The iPhone 14 models run on the same A15 Bionic processor as the iPhone 13 series. Only the iPhone 14 Pro models run on Apple’s latest processor, the A16 Bionic.
If you didn’t upgrade to the iPhone 13, you could pass on the iPhone 14
Performance is a key factor when justifying the expense of an upgrade, and some may be disappointed to learn that, on paper, the A15 Bionic processor in the iPhone 14 doesn’t perform any better or faster than the iPhone 13.
With that in mind, there’s little reason to upgrade from an older iPhone to the iPhone 14 if you already passed on the iPhone 13.
Even further, your iPhone older than the iPhone 13 could theoretically continue to run smoothly for a year longer than usual, as the A15 Bionic processor is as relevant to Apple and app developers as the A16 because it’s part of the latest iPhone 14 lineup.
Essentially, your old iPhone could perform better as if the iPhone 13 was still the latest iPhone.
There are still two good reasons you’d want to upgrade to the iPhone 14 from an older iPhone
Despite running on a one-year-old processor, iPhone 14 still makes a couple meaningful proposals for an upgrade, at least if your iPhone is older than the iPhone 13.
If battery life is paramount, the iPhone 14 has better battery life than the iPhone 13, according to Apple specs. The iPhone 14 can stream 16 hours of video, while the iPhone 13 can stream 15 hours. However, the difference between these two models is marginal and wouldn’t make a meaningful difference in day-to-day use.
Upgrading for battery life would make more sense for older iPhones, however. The iPhone 12, for example, can stream 11 hours of video, while the iPhone 11 streams 10 hours. That’s a meaningful difference.
And if you want to take battery life to the next level, the iPhone 14 Plus makes a seriously strong case for an upgrade, as it can stream up to 20 hours of video. That’s twice the battery life of the iPhone 11.
The other reason you’d want to upgrade to the iPhone 14 is better cameras.
Simply based on Apple’s announcement, the iPhone 14’s cameras aren’t that much better than the iPhone 13’s. The main improvements will be seen in low-light and photos taken in shaded areas. It’s an incremental upgrade, which we typically see with every new iPhone lineup.
However, those incremental camera improvements add up quickly, and you can usually start to tell a difference in camera quality after a couple new iPhones have been released. We have yet to try the iPhone 14’s cameras, but based on our experience, iPhone 11 and earlier owners will see the biggest improvements.
As a bonus, and speaking frankly, the fact that the iPhone 14 runs on last year’s processor isn’t a huge deal. The A15 Bionic is still a superb processor — it’s more powerful than the leading processor in Android phones in benchmarks, and it runs apps as quickly and smoothly as one could possibly wish, and it’ll do so for years to come.
But if you’re looking for a “true” upgrade that includes performance, the best route will be to get the iPhone 14 Pro that runs on the A16 Bionic processor. That’s a tough pill to swallow if you weren’t considering spending $999 on the iPhone 14 Pro.