iPhone 13 Pre-orders: How & When to Buy, Plus Which iPhone Is Right for You

Everything you need to know about choosing and ordering a new iPhone

Apple introduced the new iPhone 13 during the September 14 Apple event! Whether the latest iPhone release has you itching to upgrade your device, or you simply need to replace a broken or outdated model, we've got you covered. Let's go over when and how to pre-order the iPhone 13. We'll also cover the differences between available iPhone models, and help you find which iPhone is best suited to fit your needs. 

Related: The iPhone 13 Has Arrived

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When Can I buy the iPhone 13? 

  • Pre-order: Starting at 5 a.m. PDT on September 17.
  • Available in stores and online: September 24. 

How Can I Purchase the iPhone 13?

If you prefer to interact with the different iPhone models before purchasing, I recommend visiting a nearby Apple Store location to test out the available iPhones, which will include the latest iPhone 13 starting on September 24. One of the most popular options for buying the iPhone 13 is to order it directly through the Apple Store online. However, a lesser-known option is to purchase your new iPhone through the Apple Store app. If you love new technology and are setting an early alarm to pre-order the iPhone 13, this option is for you as the Apple Store app is typically the first place the new products become available!

If you purchase online and have an older iPhone model, you might want to have the serial number (or model info) on your old iPhone on hand, so you can see how much money you can save through Apple Trade-In. When you purchase online, you simply select your preferred iPhone model, color, and storage capacity. Then, you can select the model of your older iPhone to see how much of a discount you can earn by trading in your older iPhone. How much much you will save with a trade-in will depend on the condition and model of your old iPhone. You may also want to look in to trade in deals from from different carriers, especially if you are already considering switching providers or adding a phone line.

Which iPhone Should I Buy?

Which iPhone you decide to buy will likely depend on your budget, your required storage space, and the features you consider most important. Below, we'll cover the basics of each model, including price, size, storage capacity, and main device features. If you're not seeing the specific model you want, you can also go through an authorized reseller and purchase a refurbished iPhone. However, with eight different iPhone models still available, it is likely that we will be able to find one that suits your needs and preferences.

All iPhone Models: Price Comparison 

While I love purchasing the latest Apple products, my budget is a pretty significant factor in my decision-making process. Because of this, I've listed the starting price of every available iPhone model (from newest to oldest). Keep in mind that the actual price will vary depending on your selected storage capacity and whether you opt to trade in your old smartphone.

  • iPhone 13 Pro Max starts at $1,099
  • iPhone 13 Pro starts at $999
  • iPhone 13 starts at $799
  • iPhone 13 mini starts at $699
  • iPhone 12 starts at $699
  • iPhone 12 mini starts at $599
  • iPhone 11 starts at $499
  • iPhone SE starts at $399

iPhone 13 Pro Max 

  • Price: from $1,099
  • Size & Display: 6.7" Super Retina XDR display with ProMotion
  • Camera: Ultra Wide, Wide, Telephoto
  • Chip: A15 Bionic
  • Capacity options: 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB
  • Colors: Silver, graphite, gold, sierra blue

Once you upgrade to the Pro Max, it's hard to go back! The Pro and Pro Max models are only available for iPhone 13. The iPhone 13 Pro Max is the most expensive iPhone model, but brings a bevy of fun and practical features to compensate for the heavy price tag. The iPhone Pro Max has the largest screen of any iPhone, 6.7" instead of the 6.1" offered by the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro. With a muted and professional color palette, both the Pro and Pro Max models offer a storage capacity of up to 1 terabyte (the largest amount of storage available on any iPhone ever!). The battery life supports up to 28 hours of non-stop video playback, and offers a new Telephotos lens and a LiDAR scanner for night-time portraits. If you love having the highest quality camera features, a larger phone, and a nearly inexhaustible amount of storage space, this iPhone is for you! If you're interested in learning more about the iPhone 13, you can read about the new features and differences between the iPhone 13 models

iPhone 13 Pro

  • Price: from $999
  • Size & Display: 6.1" Super Retina XDR display with ProMotion
  • Camera: Ultra Wide, Wide, Telephoto
  • Chip: A15 Bionic
  • Storage Capacity: 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB
  • Colors: Silver, graphite, gold, sierra blue

If you love having the best camera and cinematography features while sticking to a more portable option, this iPhone is for you! With a smaller screen than the iPhone Pro Max, this iPhone model has the new telephoto lens offered only with the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max. With a LiDAR scanner for Night Mode portraits, this iPhone shines at taking photos in low-light conditions (a feature the iPhone 13 does not offer). The iPhone Pro allows for up to 22 hours of video playback without charging and also offers the 1 TB storage available for the iPhone 13 Pro Max, which means you can store as many photos, videos, and documents as you'd like! If you love photography or videography, or need a lot of storage capacity, it is worth shelling out the few extra bucks to upgrade to the iPhone 13 Pro. 

iPhone 13

  • Price: from $799
  • Size & Display: 6.1" Super Retina XDR display
  • Camera: Ultra Wide, Wide
  • Chip: A15 Bionic
  • Storage Capacity: 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB
  • Colors: Starlight, midnight, blue, pink, (PRODUCT)RED 

The iPhone 13 has twice the storage capacity of the iPhone 12, with the faster processing speeds made possible by the A15 chip. It is $200 less than the iPhone 13 Pro, making it a less expensive option for those who still want the fast processing speeds and longer battery life (up to 19 hours of video playback) offered by the latest A15 Bionic chip. While this iPhone model lacks some of the advanced camera features and the 1 TB storage size option available with the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max, it still offers 2x the storage of its predecessor, the iPhone 12. 

iPhone 13 mini

  • Price: from $699
  • Size & Display: 5.4" Super Retina XDR display
  • Camera: Ultra Wide, Wide
  • Chip: A15 Bionic
  • Storage Capacity: 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB
  • Colors: starlight, midnight, blue, pink, (PRODUCT)RED

With the small size relished by many dedicated iPhone users, the new iPhone 13 mini packs a punch for the price! With up to 512 GB storage capacity (nearly double its predecessor, the iPhone 12 mini), the iPhone 3 mini has the new A15 Bionic chip, making for faster processing speeds. It is also enabled for 5G streaming, and supports up to 17 hours of video playback. Essentially, the iPhone 13 offers a longer battery life, twice the storage, and upgraded camera features for only $100 more than the iPhone 12 mini, which makes for a strong argument to upgrade to the latest mini model. You can also click here to read more details about the iPhone 13 features. 

iPhone 12 

  • Price: from $699
  • Size & Display: 6.1" Super Retina XDR display
  • Camera: Ultra Wide, Wide
  • Chip: A14 Bionic
  • Storage Capacity: 64 GB, 128 GB, 256 GB
  • Colors: Black, white, purple, blue, green, (PRODUCT)RED

This popular iPhone model is MagSafe compatible (hooray for wireless charging!) and has a battery life supporting up to 17 hours of video playback. If you're not an early adopter, and prefer to wait until a product has been thoroughly reviewed, this option is a great choice if you want many of the latest features while staying with a tried-and-true model, which has seen great reviews since its release last year.

iPhone 12 mini

  • Price: from $599
  • Size & Display: 5.4" Super Retina XDR display
  • Camera: Ultra Wide, Wide
  • Chip: A14 Bionic
  • Storage Capacity: 64 GB, 128 GB, 256 GB
  • Colors: Black, white, purple, blue, green, (PRODUCT)RED

If you appreciate the smaller size offered by the iPhone minis and are looking for a more budget-friendly option, the iPhone 12 mini still has many of the great features offered by the iPhone 13 mini. The iPhone 12 mini offers a higher-quality display and faster processing than the iPhone 11 and iPhone SE (the oldest and smallest iPhone available), while costing $100 less than the newest iPhone 13 mini. The iPhone 12 offers 5G streaming and a battery life allowing for up to 15 hours of video playback (compared to the 17 hours of the iPhone 13 mini). As an added benefit, it is also compatible with MagSafe wireless chargers and accessories. The biggest downside of opting with the iPhone 12 mini is that the largest storage capacity offered is 256 GB, while the iPhone 13 mini offers up to 512 GB. 

iPhone 11

  • Price: from $499
  • Size & Display: 6.1" Liquid Retina HD display
  • Camera: Ultra Wide, Wide
  • Chip: A13 Bionic
  • Storage Capacity: 64 GB, 128 GB, 256 GB
  • Colors: Black, white, purple, yellow, green, (PRODUCT) RED

Only $200 more than the iPhone SE, the iPhone 11 offers a larger display and higher-resolution screen. This model also has the additional rear-facing Ultra Wide lens, making it easier to take those large group photos and landscape shots. This iPhone is a step up from the older iPhone SE, but doesn't offer the many of the convenient features of the iPhone 12 models. A key difference between the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 is that the iPhone 11 is not MagSafe compatible, so if you love the idea of wireless charging you're better paying paying a little extra for the upgrade to iPhone 12. Another important difference is that the iPhone 11 is only enabled for 4G LTE, but not for 5G like the iPhone 12 models. 

iPhone SE

  • Price: from $399
  • Size & Display: 4.7" Retina HD display
  • Camera: Wide
  • Chip: A13 Bionic
  • Capacity options: 64 GB, 128 GB, 256 GB
  • Color options: Black, white, (PRODUCT)RED

    If you're looking for a budget-friendly option, the iPhone SE is the least expensive available iPhone. The display size is significantly smaller than the current iPhone versions, so if you watch TV shows, YouTube videos, or spend a fair amount of time browsing on your iPhone, I'd recommend making the small price jump to iPhone 11 ($200 more), which has a display size of 6.1" instead of the 4.7" offered by the iPhone SE. However, if you're only planning to use your iPhone for basic daily tasks, the iPhone SE is still a great (and very pocket-friendly option). 

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    Ashleigh Page's picture

    Author Details

    Ashleigh Page

    Ashleigh Page is a Feature Writer for iPhone Life. With a background in computer science and creative writing, she loves blending aspects of the technical and creative. An avid technology enthusiast, she adores Apple products and keeping up with the latest innovations. When she’s not working, Ashleigh is often found crafting whimsical (and sometimes nonsensical) short stories, hiking, and playing sand volleyball.