Apple announced the iPhone 12 mini (along with its big brothers, the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max) at a special event on Tuesday 13 October 2020. In this article we bring you all the launch details, from the pre-order and on-sale dates and pricing (in the UK and US) to the new features, tech specs and design of the new handset.
Update 8 February 2021: Apple is said to be considering discontinuing the iPhone 12 mini.
- iPhone 12 mini pre-orders: 6 November
- iPhone 12 mini on-sale: 13 November
Apple announced four new iPhone models at its 13 October launch event, we discuss the features and details of the other iPhone 12 models here, but this article is all about the brand new iPhone 12 mini.
On 6 November the iPhone 12 mini (and iPhone 12 Pro Max) became available to preorder.
The iPhone 12 mini hit the shops on 13 November.
How much does the iPhone 12 mini cost?
The iPhone 12 mini starts at £699/$699, and is available in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB storage options.
Here's the full price list:
- iPhone 12 mini (64GB): £699/$699
- iPhone 12 mini (128GB): £749/$749
- iPhone 12 mini (256GB): £849/$849
Last year the entry level iPhone 11 started at £729/$699, so this is a decent saving on the price of entry to a new iPhone.
It's still not as cheap as the iPhone SE though, which has seen a price drop in the UK to £399 from £419 (it was always $399 in the US).
The iPhone XR has also seen a further price drop: at launch that phone was £749/$749, then £629/$599, it now starts at £499/$499.
As you can see, Apple's iPhone line up now includes some much lower price points than it did previously, so the iPhone 12 mini has some competition.
Of course you may be looking at those prices and wondering what exchange rate Apple is using. As usual if you were to perform a straight currency conversion the iPhones cost more in pounds than they do in dollars, but there is of course no VAT included in the US prices, and Apple tends to blame the cost of doing business here for its clever exchange rate calculations.
You can experiment with the iPhone 12 mini design and accessories in Apple's iPhone 12 website.
How popular is iPhone 12 mini?
There are reports that the mini model hasn't been all that popular, with only 6% of sales. More here: iPhone 12 mini is less popular than the larger models.
And according to an analyst report Apple has reduced production of the iPhone 12 mini.
Where to buy the iPhone 12 mini
You can pre-order the iPhone 12 mini handset from Apple itself here, but there will be plenty of other options. We have a separate article where we run through the different places that will sell the iPhone 12, but you can try the following:
iPhone 12 mini - SIM-Free
- Apple - Up to £280 off with Apple Trade-In
- Carphone Warehouse - Up to £400 off with old iPhone trade-in
- John Lewis - Up to £300 with old iPhone trade-in
- KRCS - Already has £7 off!
- Walmart (US)
- Best Buy (US)
iPhone 12 mini - On Contract
- Carphone Warehouse - Best deal: £400 with old iPhone trade in - £99 upfront, £34.99 per month for 20GB data
- EE - Best deal: £300 off with trade-in of iPhone XS or XS Max, £61 per month for unlimited data (no upfront cost), includes 3 Smart Benefits (Apple Music, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade and more)
- O2 - Best deal: £47.95 per month, £30 upfront for 90GB data (includes 20% off AirPods Pro, £350 off with trade-in, and 6 months of Disney+, Prime Video or another streaming app)
- Sky Mobile - Best Deal: £30 off AirPods - £36 per month for 10GB data (no upfront cost)
- Three - Best Deal: Free AirPods with unlimited data - £56 per month reduced to £28 per month, £99 upfront
- Virgin Mobile - Best Deal: £35 per month, no upfront cost for 100GB data with free accessories bundle
- Vodafone - Best Deal: £21 off Unlimited Max plan - £46 per month (was £67), £29 upfront for unlimited data
- AT&T (US) - Starts at £25 per month with up to $700 off when you trade-in and add a new line
- Verizon (US) - Starts at £29.16 per month, upgrade and save up to $412, or save $150 on an iPad or $100 on Apple Watch
iPhone 12 mini design
Apple describes the iPhone 12 mini as the "smallest, thinnest and lightest 5G phone in the world".
Compared to Apple's other small iPhone, the iPhone SE, the dimensions are as follows:
- iPhone 12 mini 131.5mm x 64.2mm x 7.4mm (135g)
- iPhone SE 138.4mm x 67.3mm x 7.3mm (148g)
The iPhone 12 mini is thereby smaller and lighter than the iPhone SE, with the SE being only a fraction narrower (you aren't going to notice a fraction of a millimetre).
Of course the iPhone 12 mini might be smaller, but it has a bigger 5.4in display, as opposed to a 4.7in display, thanks to the removal of the Home button. Therefore the iPhone 12 mini has the famous notch at the top of the display for Face ID, rather than Touch ID like the iPhone SE. Speaking of Touch ID, there were some desperate rumours that there would be Touch ID on the iPhone 12's power button, but unfortunately not.
iPhone 12 mini colour options
As usual the iPhone 12 mini (and it's larger sibling the iPhone 12) come in 'fun' colours. The iPhone 12 and the 12 mini come in blue, green, (PRODUCT) Red, white and black. The pro models come in 'professional' Pacific Blue, gold, graphite and silver finishes. We imagine that blue will be a popular option. 2020 seems to be the year of Blue if the Apple Watch Series 6 is anything to go by.
iPhone 12 mini specs
Despite being smaller than the iPhone 12, the iPhone 12 mini shares the same features as its larger sibling. There are, of course, features on the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max that the 12 and the mini lack.
To find out more about what's inside the iPhone 12 mini read: iFixit takes apart the iPhone 12 mini.
All the new iPhones offer a new Ceramic Shield front cover - this is the ceramic screen tech that was rumoured earlier, described as ceramic substrate glass that increases hardness and resistance. So it should be tougher and less likely to smash if (when) you drop it. Apple used to use Gorilla Glass but in our experience that has never stopped a screen smashing for us, so hopefully the new glass will be more smash proof. Apple says it "increases drop performance by 4x".
Those displays are Super Retina XDR display, like those on the iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max. It's an improvement on the Liquid Retina HD display of the iPhone 11 and iPhone XR and the Retina HD display of the SE though.
Apple also boasts a 2 million-to-1 contrast ratio for true blacks, and an immersive HDR viewing experience for high-definition video, photos with more detail, and nearly twice the peak brightness of iPhone 11.
There are reports that some users are experiencing a problem with the iPhone 12 mini lock screen being unresponsive.
The iPhone 12 mini offers a dual-lens rear camera, as does the iPhone 12. The camera has a 12MP ultra-wide ƒ/2.4 aperture lens and a 12MP wide ƒ/1.6 aperture lens.
This isn't as advanced as the camera on the iPhone 12 Pro, which has three lenses, and the iPhone 12 Pro Max has an even better camera with a sensor that is 47% larger for better low light photographs. The iPhone 12 Pro adds a ƒ/2.0 aperture telephoto lens (while the Pro Mac has a ƒ/2.2 aperture telephoto lens).
Like the iPhone 11 series the new iPhone 12 models, including the mini, offer Night Mode, Deep Fusion. The iPhones SE and XR lack these modes. Apple says that improvements to Night Mode will result in brighter pictures and better contrast for photos shot in low-light settings, and there should be more texture and less noise in Deep Fusion photos.
With HDR video recording with Dolby Vision up to 30 fps, Apple is boasting "the highest quality video in a smartphone." The iPhone 12 Pro models go up to 60fps. This same video quality capability is shared by the front facing camera, so you'll look good in FaceTime calls. Speaking of which, it is possible to experience FaceTime HD (1080p) over 5G or Wi-Fi.
Another addition, smart HDR 3 will use machine learning to "intelligently adjust the white balance, contrast, texture, and saturation of a photo for remarkably natural-looking images".
Like all the iPhone 12 models the iPhone 12 mini gets the new A14 Bionic chip that Apple describes as the "fastest CPU and GPU by up to 50 percent compared to the fastest competing smartphone chips, enabling console-quality gaming experiences, powerful computational photography, and more, while delivering great battery life."
It's also got a 16-core Neural Engine, which should mean an 80 percent increase in performance, according to Apple.
Battery and charging
The iPhone 12 Mini has a 2,227mAh battery, which is smaller than its siblings. Therefore it's no surprise that battery life isn't quite as good. Apple claims up to 15 hours video playback, for example, compared to 17 hours for the 12 and the Pro, and 20 on the Max.
As for charging, Apple has revived the MagSafe, but this time it will describe a new technology for wireless chargers and cases. MagSafe was originally the name of the technology that allowed the power cable of a MacBook to attach and detach via magnets (so that if you tripped over the wire your laptop wouldn't go flying). This time the name describes a circular magnet on the back of the iPhone to which wireless chargers - so far the MagSafe Charger and the MagSafe Duo Charger - can attach. There will also be third party products available.
Note that the iPhone 12 mini only charges at 12 watts with MagSafe.
There is no power adapter included with the iPhone 12 - or the XR, 11 or SE from now on. Here are details on which power adapter plug you need for the iPhone.
Also, read about why MagSafe rather than USB-C is the future of the iPhone here: Why we will never see an iPhone with USB-C
Learn more about MagSafe here: What is MagSafe?
One last thing that we can't not mention is 5G. The iPhone 12 mini, like all its new siblings, will offer 5G connectivity. Whether your network will probably depends on a lot of factors.