Apple's iPhone 14: Why some people shouldn't bother to upgrade now

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Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2022

You don’t need to upgrade if your iPhone isn’t more than two years old

Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro have arrived. The tech titan’s most important products, the latest iPhones pack improved performance, longer battery life, cameras with better low-light performance, and new safety features.

The iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro are solid evolutions of the iPhone formula, which helped make Apple one of the richest public companies on Earth by market cap at nearly $2.5 trillion. Does that mean you should crash through the front door of your local Apple Store and grab a new iPhone? Not necessarily.

“It’s good to have all these features, but it’s not enough to just kind of drop everything and go out and buy a new phone yet,” Santosh Rao, Manhattan Venture Partners head of research, told Yahoo Finance.

That’s especially true if you’ve got an iPhone 13 or iPhone 13 Pro, or even an iPhone 12 or iPhone 12 Pro. That’s not to say Apple hasn’t improved its smartphone. But when it comes to dropping major bucks on them? You can save your cash if you’re still packing a fairly new phone.

Big changes for the Pros, but not enough if you’ve got a newer iPhone

The iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max are Apple’s flagship devices. They pack the company’s all-new A16 chip, 48-megapixel camera sensors, and an updated cutout for the front-facing cameras and Face ID sensors called the Dynamic Island.

But at $999 and $1,099 for the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, respectively, the Pros are pricey propositions for even the biggest Apple fanboys and gals.

That said, you should consider making the leap to a new phone if you’re still using an iPhone 11 Pro or an iPhone XS. The power jump will improve your phone’s performance while it’s running newer apps and games, and the camera upgrades will help you shoot from a distance. Perhaps most crucially, you’ll enjoy new safety features like crash detection and satellite communication.

It’s an easy sell if you’re an Apple fan, want the company’s top-of-the-line offerings, and have an older phone. But if you’ve still got an iPhone 12 Pro or iPhone 13 Pro, the new phones are a tougher sell. You’ll get always-on displays and improved camera capabilities out of the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max, but it’s a difficult call to know whether those changes are worth more the $1,000.

One major difference is a new “Dynamic Island” space at the top of the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max that houses the True Depth camera and Face ID sensor. It’s a functional area that can display music you’re playing, timers, and even sports scores — great additions for sure, but not make-or-break propositions.

The iPhone 14 Pros also get better low-light capabilities thanks to the new 48-megapixel main camera sensors and Photonic Engine. Apple says the phones will get 2x better low-light performance from the main, telephoto, and True Depth cameras, and 3x better on the ultra-wide camera.

Again, these features are nice to have. But upgrading is not essential if you’ve got an iPhone 12 Pro or iPhone 13 Pro, and you have other items you need to spend money on, like video games or food.

IPhone 13 owners should hold off on the iPhone 14

Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max took center stage at the company’s Sept. 7 event. The standard iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus, however, didn’t get much in terms of Earth-shattering updates.

The new phones pack the same chip found in the iPhone 13 line, and offer slight improvements to overall battery life and performance. The new 12-megapixel cameras paired with Apple’s Photonic Engine mean you’ll get better low-light photo capabilities with 2x better overall low-light performance via the ultra-wide camera and front True Depth camera, and 2.5x better performance from the main camera.

Those who own the iPhone 12 may want to consider the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus because they will likely provide a speed boost, better longevity, and sharper cameras. Still, people who are perfectly satisfied with these elements of their phone might want to hold on to the iPhone 12 just a bit longer.

Who should upgrade

Apple’s new iPhones are impressive pieces of technology, and absolutely worth upgrading to for certain consumers. If you’ve still got an iPhone 8 knocking around in your pocket or handbag, it’s time to send that bad boy to the big tech graveyard in the sky and upgrade.

You’re going to get far better performance, longer-lasting batteries, and wildly improved cameras. My mom is still holding on to her iPhone 8 Plus, and these new phones are calling her name.

Those who own the iPhone X and Xs should also ditch their ancient phones for the iPhone 14 or iPhone 14 Pro. They’ve outlived their usefulness. The same goes for the iPhone 11.

If you’ve got an iPhone 12, the decision is a bit harder. You’re going to get big improvements in terms of camera quality and performance, but your phone likely still works well. If you’re on the fence, it comes down to how badly you want to spend the cash.

What if you’re the type of person who wants to see how long you can keep your iPhone before it dies? Go for it. There’s no law against keeping an outdated smartphone.

For everyone else with an older model, the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro are worth a look.

By Daniel Howley, tech editor at Yahoo Finance. Follow him @DanielHowley

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