What We’ll Remember from the iPhone 12

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 3 min read

Comment: After nearly a year of use, MagSafe is the defining feature of the iPhone 12 - 9to5Mac

In recent years, there have been two “takes” I’ve made on a quick judgment. They were that the AirPods wouldn’t be a product hit and that MagSafe was a solution in search of a problem. I couldn’t have been more wrong on both of them. AirPods have gone to become a massive hit, and MagSafe has become the key feature that I think we will remember from the iPhone 12 release cycle.

Bradley Chambers makes a compelling case that MagSafe will be the thing we remember about the iPhone 12, and I wanted to consider the other things not able about the 12 lineup to see if I agree or disagree.

HDR Video

Without a doubt, HRD video has been the biggest feature upgrade for me. Especially when shooting at 60fps (12 Pro only), footage looks shockingly real, and in my opinion it’s the biggest jump in video quality we’ve had in years.

This is more of a me thing, and I don’t know if the world in general is as excited, but hey, this is my list 😋


This one gets eye rolls from most people in the tech blogger space, but 5G has been a solid update for me this year, and it’s fundamentally changed how I use my phone.

Before you ask me how much Verizon is paying me, read on…

I have T-Mobile service and while it’s easy to use and has no hard data caps, the LTE has universally sucked for me for a decade. I got no coverage in my home, my yard, or my driveway, and when I left the house I typically got 1-5Mbps speeds. Yes, I had mobile data, but it was good for web, email, and music. Video and any soft of large file transfers were basically things I had to wait until I got home to do.

Maybe it’s just because the 5G network is less congested, but my experience has been pretty consistent 50-100Mbps speeds, and sometimes even 200+ Mbps when the stars align just right. Some will say “but Verizon and Apple promised 10-20x those speeds!” and I hear you, but for me the change has felt like going from dial up to broadband and it’s been a big improvement for me.


The flat-edged design put me off when I first got the phone in hand last October, and while I’ve gotten used to it, I still immediately like my wife’s 11 Pro way better whenever I handle it. The 12 Pro in blue looks so good, I have no beef there, it’s just made me use a case more often than any other iPhone in recent memory to protect my hands from the edges.

Again, I can hear you saying, “but everyone uses a case anyway,” and my simple retort would be that if they both work well in a case, then the edge (no pun intended) should go to the one that’s less abrasive without one.

My opinion, of course.


Did you remember this year’s iPhone 12 Pro added LiDAR? Me neither! I’m sure I’ve gotten some benefit from it, but if I have then it’s too subtle for me to call it the thing we’ll remember about the iPhone 12.


Which brings us back to MagSafe, which I have personally used exclusively with Apple’s charging puck and in the Studio Neat Dock (my 1 minute review here). I have liked it for that, and as someone who has been wirelessly charging my phone for years, I have to say that it has indeed made that process better. People have horror stories about misaligning their phone overnight, and while I never had those issues, I very much appreciate the security it provides.

And has Bradley mentions, there has been a whole accessory market starting to take off with this feature. It’s still early days, but more things are starting to come out and that’s exciting.

Also, I know some people love it, but I tried using Apple’s wallet accessory and I only lasted a few weeks before giving it away to someone else. It just wasn’t at all what I wanted from a wallet.

The Winner?

The winner is whatever you want it to be, and for me it’s HDR video. That said, 5G is of course going to be a thing for a long time and this was the first time we got it on an iPhone, MagSafe is surely going to grow, and I think this will be looked back on as many people’s favorite iPhone design. All in all, the iPhone 12 was a pretty solid year for new and (likely) long lasting features for a device in a very mature smartphone market.