Hands on with the iPhone 12 Pro

From a better camera for portraits and low-light photography, to 5G speeds, to a flat-edged design, learn what makes the 12 Pro worth the upgrade.

In the 146th episode, Donna shares her experiences with her new iPhone 12 Pro. From a better camera for portraits and low-light photography, to 5G speeds, to a flat-edged design, learn what makes the 12 Pro worth the upgrade.

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Episode 146 transcript:

- Hi and welcome to the iPhone Life Podcast. I'm Donna Cleveland Editor in Chief at iPhone Life.

- And I'm David Averbach, CEO and Publisher.

- Each episode we bring to you the best apps, great gear and top tips in the iOS world. And today we also are gonna bring you a hands on review of the iPhone 12 Pro, which I'm holding in my hands. For those of you watching the video version of this podcast. And then, so I am

- So pretty.

- I'm kind of gloating a little bit because I'm the first one at our company to receive mine. So I'm feeling pretty good about myself right now.

- You should, you can see.

- Yeah so we have a phone episode for you. I'll I'm gonna tell you about how it's been going with the camera, which just spoiler it's better than expected and how I like the design. And then we'll talk about other features like 5G and MagSafe charging, which I have not had a chance to try out myself yet, but we'll talk about what we've heard about it so far. So we've got a lot of fun stuff for you this episode. And David, why don't you tell us who our sponsor is today?

- So today's sponsor is Raptic. And Raptic has really excellent iPhone cases for... they have them now for the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro as well as all older phones. And they really just cover the basis of what you're looking for in an iPhone case. And that they're really affordable. They offer great drop protection. They have 10 feet drop protection. They're sleek, they look nice. They have this anodized metal rim around them. That looks really nice and protects the phone well. And so make sure you check them out. You may know them. They were a sponsor in the past by the name of Victoria, they have rebranded to Raptic. So you can go to rapticstrong.com or we will link to it in the show notes@iphonelife.com/podcast.

- I also wanna tell you about our free daily tips newsletter. If you sign up at iphonelife.com/dailytips, we'll email you every day with a one-minute tip, teaching you something cool you can do with your phone. And right now we're really focusing on iOS 14 tips. So you'll be learning all of the new features that you probably haven't discovered yet. So good, iphonelife.com/dailytips. And I have a phone tip to share today, David, and this is one,

- Woo I'm excited.

- you also I think have used differently than me. So it'll be fun to talk about why we personally like it. And that's how to add a caption to photos with iOS 14. So with this latest software update, Apple has allowed you to organize and customize your photo collection more than they have in the past. And captions is one of the ways they're allowing you to do that. You also, now with custom albums can sort the order of your photos, the way you want, things like that, which is really nice. But this tip is super simple. All you do is anytime you're open, you have your photos app open and are open on to a certain photo, you just swipe up. And when you do that, you get all the usual stuff that you saw before like you'll see, if there's any people pictured there or things like that. But right below the photo, you'll see a little gray box where you can add a caption. And so if you can just type in details there, and the beauty of this is that the captions are searchable. So anytime you then go to the search tab, which is over on the far right of the photos app and type in any of the keywords you used in that caption, your photo will show up. So I've been using this for things like taking pictures of receipts or notes or things like, that I left around my house and then add a caption to it, like my handyman business card, I did that for, and then I can quickly type into keywords and see all the details there or things like that, or paint color, little thing that I took a picture of. What do you call that?

- Swatch?

- No, something like that.

- I was going to swab, but I knew I was wrong. So then I didn't say.

- I think... you're like swab, you're like in flu season mentality.

- Onto in COVID land.

- Yeah but how do you use captions David?

- Well, okay, I mean, those are really good use cases. If I were to admit, I haven't really used them very much, but I will say that I am excited to talk about this feature because when we were teaching our class, this was a really popular feature. It's actually something that our audience has been asking for for years. So there's two main ways that I've heard from our audience that people are using it. The first is similar to what you're talking about, which is kind of as a tag system. So Apple allows you to search and it does a pretty good job on sort of the basics of like people or location. And even some things like you could do hats and I'll show you people with hats on and things like that--

- Or they dog .

- Dog yeah, but there's a degree to which it just can't do. And so you can use this to tag that. So if you wanna have very specific things like holiday party, 2018, you know, things like that, you can tag your photos or however you wanna do, you can create any form of tagging system. So that's one really powerful use case. And I think that's how our audience wants to use it. The other way is, and I think the main way that Apple is intending for this to be used is for albums, especially shared albums. Apple has added a lot of new functionality for albums and shared albums. And so that was what Colin was saying, where he had gone and created an album of kind of a genealogical, like family tree of parents, grandparents, and et cetera over the years. He shared it with his family, but he put a caption on each one, so you could be like grandpa in England 1918, something like that, where each one, then when you're sharing it has a description where people know what it is. So those I think are the two most valuable use cases that I've heard so far, but yours, I liked a lot.

- That's so great. Yeah I was gonna say that's a great use case for something like that, especially, genealogy if you're sharing an album with people that your other family members might not even recognize.

- Honestly it's kind of inspired me to want to share albums more because I don't typically do that. And often, for example, when I go on a trip, I'll come back. I went to Egypt and all these amazing photos and I just... they're on my phone, no one ever sees them. And so it would be fun to like kinda go a little bit old school, which is not that old, but like create an album and send it to my friends and have like, you know, here's me at the pyramids and et cetera, et cetera. Like I think there's... I feel like people will start doing it more now.

- Yeah. I mean, as a side note, Apple also in my experience has really improved their shared album feature. Like I used to kind of avoid it because it would take a long time for people to actually receive the invitation for some reason. And then the photos loaded really slowly. And so I feel like it was just iCloud has gotten better now and doing shared iCloud albums is just works pretty seamlessly at this point. What about you? Or are you saying it hasn't lately?

- The capacity to share an album does feel like it's gotten a lot better. Like if I have a bunch of pictures, I can send it to someone at a lot of magically combine it, or I could put it in an album easier now. The area that feels like just an area that has not been solved, that all of us suffer from is the collaborative album where like you go to a wedding, everybody takes photos of the wedding. You want everybody's photos in one album. Number one, ICAD is not a good solution because some people have Androids unfortunately. Everyone has that one friend, no, just kidding. And number two, I find that even if everyone has iPhones that functionality, if everyone uploading into an album just never works.

- Really, so I've been having a different experience.

- Okay, its good to know.

- Yeah with my family. With my family now. So it's like shared with six people. We have been doing lots of shared albums, iCloud albums of my niece and nephew. And it's like, it's actually working, which is so nice because in the past I've found it very frustrating. Like, you know, a few of our coworkers went on a trip to Mexico a few years ago, after a big conference in Vegas CES. For those of you who are, in the tech loop. And it was super fun, but we really wanted to share photos. And we ended up using an app from Facebook that has now been expired. What was it called again?

- It was called Moment and I was just getting ready to say that I really miss it. It was the solution to this exact problem. And I don't know if Facebook killed it off, I guess it probably has never gained traction, but you need something that is operating system agnostic. So you can't really be a Google or Apple solution unless Google and Apple learned to play nice, which is unlikely. Although I will say that Google Photos can work because there's an iPhone app for this. But yeah if everybody has an iPhone, even so I've steered clear of the iCloud shared albums. So it's nice to know that those are working better.

- Yeah and like for people listening, anytime you have, have selected some photos or an album or something, and you go to the share menu, you'll have that option pop up, to either add it to an album or add to a shared album and you can go from there and create one and invite other iPhone users or Apple users to it. So we got a little off into the weeds.

- How did you do?

- So that's how you add a caption to a photo.

- Brought us right back, Donna..

- All right, moving right along. I wanted to tell you all, I told you about our free offering daily tips, which are awesome and you should sign up for if you're just getting started with iPhone Life. But we have a premium subscription. That's our educational platform that's called iPhone Life Insider. And right now is especially awesome time to join 'cause we're offering a 50% off discount to the subscription in celebration of the iPhone 12 series release and of iOS 14. We just released a guide and we have a whole course on iOS 14 that you can watch. So you can make sure to learn from start to finish. What are all of the new features and how to take advantage of them. And not only that, but we offer up like how, really the context of like how it's useful in our lives, how it can be useful in your lives, because Apple does a good job of telling you what the features are, but not necessarily how to apply it into your life. So iphonelife.com/podcastdiscount is where you can go to claim that 50% off right now. And we're offering this for a limited time. We've been running this promotion for a little while, so we're kind of wrapping it up. So now is the time to go take advantage of it, if you wanna lock in that 50% off. We never offer a better deal. And we have already a senior discount available at all times that gives you 10% off. So you can apply that on top of your 50% off and get a total of 60% off right now. If you are a veteran service personnel or--

- Senior or healthcare professional.

- Senior. Yes thank you.

- Yeah, in a couple of things, it is wrapping up soon. I believe it's next week is the deadline to claim your 50% off. And as Donna said, this is the cheapest we ever offer it. You will literally never be able to subscribe for cheaper. I promise you. So if you've been thinking about it, this is your chance 'cause it's ending. Number two, you'll probably be seeing an email from me soon, but I am so excited to announce, in addition to our iOS 14 guide, we have updated several new guides to include coverage for all the updates. So we are coming out with an update to our iPad guide that has all of the new features for iPad OS 14. So everything new will be added to this guide. In addition to that, what other guides under the messages guide.

- Messages, FaceTime and, those are the ones that are coming to mind right now. So it's the iPad guide messages and FaceTime. And we have more coming. We've been really growing our video team. And so we have a lot of awesome video content behind our paywall that you don't wanna miss out on.

- Yeah. You do not wanna miss out. And now's the time 'cause it's the cheapest it's ever gonna be.

- Yeah. So it's iphonelife.com/podcastdiscount. And that's a wrap on that. I have a question from one of our insider subscribers I wanted to share with you all. I think this is kind of a fun one. And Colin is our resident expert these days who answers our insider questions. This is one of the benefits you get when you sign up, if you have a tech issue, you can ask us. So here is the question. How did my wife and I set up location tracking for each other on our iPhones? We both have... They both have the latest iPhones with iOS 14. Sincerely, where did you go? Dear where, so awhile back Apple changed it's find my iPhone app and find my friends app merged them into one app called find my. And so that's my... I presume that's why this person was confused 'cause where you go has changed. So you open up the, Find My app. And first, before you do that, though, each of you will need to turn on location sharing. So you go to settings, tap your Apple ID at the top, tap find my and toggle on, share my location. So that's the baseline you have to be sharing your locations in order to do this. Now each of the husband and wife need to go, open the Find My app, tap on the people tab in the lower left corner, tap share my location, enter the spouses name and phone number, and then tap send. So you're like sending an invitation to share. So you can choose to share your location for one hour until the end of the day or indefinitely. Once your wife gets the notification that you're sharing your location with her, she can then choose to share hers with you too.

- So Donna, are you a location share?

- So I feel like I explained that in a really in concise way. Hopefully people got that, but yeah, part of the reason we chose this question is because we wanted to discuss a little bit the controversies around location sharing with other people. No, I do not share my location with my spouse, but I do share my location with my best friends. And I get, I think, I've talked to Tyler about this and we both agreed that to us, it felt a little creepy to be tracking each other's locations. And we don't have any practical reason that we need to. I mean, both of us are pretty good about responding to each other's texts if, you know, we need to get in touch or find out where the person is, but we just felt like it, there was the potential for it to create an unhealthy dynamic.

- Yeah, and I mean, that it's definitely one of the same like privacy versus convenience conversations. But in addition to privacy, it's like, yeah, privacy between couples is a really hairy area that everybody has their own opinions on. And so, and this conversation brings all of that up, but why is it... And I'm going to lean in. So why is it creepy for you to share with your partner, but not with your best friends?

- I think it's just because in my experience and I can't speak for other people, but there's just more potential for like possessiveness or jealousy or controlling behaviors in a romantic partnership as opposed to friendships. So there might be more like potential for emotions that you don't want to encourage in a relationship to come up. So that's why I steer clear. But actually I have had with my friends, some situations that are like slightly odd, I think we've shared with each other just, we thought it would be kind of fun and we're trying out the feature and, there is some practical benefit to like if someone, one of my friends is going on a date with someone new or things like that, it's kind of, there's some safety aspect to it that we can track each other. But there's definitely been times in my friend group where we've been in fights or like not on the best terms and knowing at those times that I'm sharing my location adds like an extra complication and then I'm like, should I unshare it? But then that feels like a statement. And fun story too. I feel like for years, the people who went on the Mexico trip, which has kept sharing our locations with each other.

- Yeah I was gonna say--

- I was not even thinking about it. I might still be sharing my location with you. I have no--

- No you unshared it with me, thank you very much.

- Oh, I was--

- No you gonna checked. No, just kidding.

- That was to send a clear message, David.

- I got it, received loud and clear.

- Yeah, what about you? Tell me about your location sharing.

- I have a lot of thoughts on this. My partner and I do share location and it's gone fine. It's hasn't been an area of conflict for us. It's sort of just the practicality of, sometimes we aren't the best at texting each other updates, for example, like if we're in the car. So it's been nice like one use case was like, my partner was driving home from out of town and I wanted to have dinner ready for her when she came home, but she wasn't checking. She didn't wanna text while she was driving. So before she had CarPlay and so I could track your location and I had dinner picked up and warm exactly the time she got home. So little things like that can be nice. And also, it is, I do, honestly, if she's out with friends, it does help make me feel safe. It's like a safety factor. Like I know that like, oh, she's at her friend's house and she's not like, I don't know, passed out in a ditch or some awful scenario. So it's not... it's less about like the like jealousy thing and more just about the knowing she's safe. If she is not able to text me and vice versa. So I, yeah, we've done that. I will say a couple of caveats here. I one time accidentally let an ex have my location for like several years. I think I've told you this story.

- I think like right now we actually should have everybody listening. Go open up your, Find My app and just check. Who are you sharing your location with? Because you might be in for an unpleasant surprise.

- Yeah, it was... I mean, I don't know that she even realized it. So I had nothing bad came of it. Another use case, a couple of other use cases. Number one, you already mentioned a little bit, but if you are doing anything that feels at all unsafe, for example, if you're going on a date for the first time, or you have a friend who's going on a date for the first time, that is a really valuable time to share a location and you can do it as you said for an hour, for a day. So you don't have to feel like you're sharing it indefinitely. You don't have the awkward, like I am now unsharing it with you. But anytime you're doing anything that feels like it might be remotely unsafe. I think that's a really good time to be proactive about sharing. We also, I one time had this scenario and this was actually been on my list to share with everybody on our podcast forever. So I'm glad to share it. I was driving home from CES, the Consumer Electronics Show from the airport. It was a blizzard and it was snowing so hard that the windshield wipers on my car stopped working. The motor wore out, and I couldn't see anything. And so I'm stranded on the side of the road like in a blizzard and Sarah who's my co-worker, who we used to be on the podcast was driving behind us. And so we were able to share location and she could very easily know where we were 'cause we were just on some random exit and come find us and picked us up and took us home. And that was one of those little scenarios where it would have been such a nightmare without location tracking, but it was so easy to navigate that with location tracking.

- That's very cool. Yeah, I just wanted to... I think that's a great reason to do it. I just want to share like the story of a friend. I think this is what turned me off to location tracking in a relationship was that they were doing a long distance relationship and we live in a pretty rural area. I think location trackings may be a little less precise. I don't know, but we were out to dinner and she had texted him being like, "Oh, out for sushi with a friend." And he was like, "You're lying, you're at the Mexican restaurant." I can see that you're there.

- Oh my Gosh.

- Why are you lying about where you are? But like, we were like around the block. I was there to vouch for her, that's where we were. But like, it just kind of sowed seeds of distrust or something, it was strange. And then I was like, no, I don't like that dynamic.

- And the other to take that a little bit to the extreme, 'cause I know, Sarah is a big advocate of not doing location tracking because if you are in an abusive relationship, it can be a very controlling situation. At the end of the day, my stance on it is, if you're having these issues, it's not likely because of find my iPhone. This is a relationship that needs to be addressed either way. But certainly there are legitimate security and just safety concerns that can... it can any issue you are having in any type of relationship can get you into trouble if they always know where you are. So that's all I have to say about that.

- Yeah. So there you go. Do that what you wish. But let's move on and talk about my new iPhone.

- Yes. Much more fun topic than .

- So I just, first of all, wanted to, for those of you watching the video podcast, show it to you. I ordered the silver at this time around in the past I've gone gold last year with the 11 Pro, which I have here still. I got the matte green version. But I'm loving the... I'm loving the kind of chrome casing on this and the nice matte white back. I'm already like really sad about having to put a case on it but, from what you know, Apple's description, the screen is a lot more durable than the past, but the back isn't. So it's just as necessary to have a case. And I still always recommend using a screen protector, especially now that all the iPhones have OLED displays, which are really high quality. You're gonna pay a lot. You're gonna pay like around 250 to replace your display. And you don't wanna have to do that. It's also a huge pain. So I would use a screen protector if I were you. But yeah, I think probably for me, the biggest surprise was how much I'm enjoying the design of it. Like I do like the return to the flat edges, they're able to fit because they don't have a curved display. They're able to fit a bigger display in a smaller phone. So this has a five, wait, let me, oh, this has a 6.1 inch display my iPhone 11 Pro had a 5.8 inch display and they're the same size.

- And is it noticeable? Like is that difference in display size? Do you like notice it?

- It is, yeah, it is noticeable. And like, I don't, they didn't emphasize this in the announcement, but the display quality looks better to me.

- Interesting, interesting. It does look a little bit thicker than I expected. How is the width compared to the iPhone 11 Pro?

- It is thicker. It's quite a bit thicker. I could pull up. I have a nice little... Apple on its website has a nice feature where you can go compare models. 'Cause I don't know off the top of my head, the dimensions, but the thickness is significantly more and it's heavier,

- That's interesting.

- Like it doesn't really, it hasn't bothered me for whatever reason.

- I think like, we've reached a point in iPhones where it's like, unless it really dramatically moves one way or the other, if they're light enough and thin enough where it's not substantial, but I'm surprised 'cause I wasn't obviously Apple, isn't gonna necessarily like advertise that they are making a heavier, thicker phone, but it wasn't on my radar that that was a factor to consider.

- Yeah, I'm just pulling up the details on this. So yeah got it right in terms of the 11 Pro is 5.8 inch display, 12 Pro 6.1, but then the dimensions, the weight, oh yeah, it is significant, the 12 Pro wait, nevermind, oh, the 12 Pro Max is eight ounces and the 12 Pro is 6.6 ounces, 6.66 ounces, and the 11 Pro is 6.63 ounces. I don't know why, I think it's heavier.

- That 0.03 ounces though. Okay, that's good to know. So it is not heavier, but it is a little bit thicker.

- It's not even, I don't know, this is like old. Now it's just messing with me. The width is 0.01 inches. It's 2.81 width as opposed to 2.82 width.

- I do wonder if it's largely a design factor where the tapered edges do make it. You perceive it as being thinner because you have it's the flat edges, you can see the width a little bit clearer. That makes sense.

- Yeah, I'm glad I checked this 'cause it does... It's really showing like they are the same size. It's just that. And definitely the 12 Pro is a little bit taller, but the width and the length are the same.

- Okay I have like a million more questions for you, are you ready?

- Okay yeah so we talked about the design. Let's talk about other things.

- Why did you not go with Pacific blue? That's my first question.

- Well, last year I went with the new color that I was excited about, with the green. And ultimately like I ended up feeling like, even though this is a nice color, it has a little bit of more of like a murky, dirty look to it as opposed... Like, I feel like this just looks shinier and prettier maybe it's like a wanting more of a feminine design potentially. I feel like the Pacific blue, I just thought would end up feeling similar to me to the green that I went with last year in terms of like... 'Cause the Pacific blue, it's like a darker blue kind of.

- Gotchu. Okay, now my next question is the camera, which is the major upgrade. Is it noticeably better? What have you noticed with the camera?

- Yeah, so the camera is way better and that's... to me, that's what's making me feel like the upgrade was worth it 'cause having upgraded last year, I wasn't feeling as much of an urge like I already have a triple lens camera and you know, like a lot of the features are the same. I have the OLED display all that, but the LIDAR scanner that's in now included along with the triple lens system and there are improvements in the existing lenses. The light capture is just way, way better so, portrait mode, I noticed that it was like, the photos are way better lit. It's been fun having both of them here and I've done like some side-by-side comparisons. And I noticed just sort of like the portrait mode photos I was taking on my 11 Pro all had just more of like a grayish hue to them and like weren't as well lit. And though the ones on my 12 Pro were like the tone and the lighting just looked a lot better. And then I noticed in portrait mode, because in this I assume is because the LIDAR scanner, the depth sensing capability is way better. So I noticed without having to mess with it after the fact that even just like the details around my hair, it was very like accurate. And so there wasn't any of that sort of blurring of things on your subjects that you don't wanna be blurred. And then the background was like blurred very clearly. So I think that for people who like taking portrait mode photography, that's a big improvement. And then the night mode photos, I last year was really excited about night mode. For those of you who don't know that Apple came out with this feature to take better low-light photography, you have to hold your phone steadier so that, because it has a longer exposure as a DSLR would in order to get enough light, to create a nice photo, even in a dark atmosphere. It wasn't very good. Like my experience with night mode in the last year has been that all of the photos turn out kind of like a orangy or reddish tone, did you notice that?

- Yeah and you have to hold it for so long that if like, if anybody moves in the photo, it ends up being blurry anyway. I think there are a lot of scenarios where night mode is helping you and you don't realize it. Like if you're kind of in a slightly low light and you take a photo, you don't have to use a flash or you might have otherwise. But yeah, I agree that I both like it, but wished it was way better.

- Yeah, it's one of those features too that, like David said, it kicks in automatically. So you might not always be knowing that it's helping, but you also can manually adjust it. But anyways, the 12 Pro just on its own, the color tone is a lot better. It looks like I took a selfie the other night and I was just... First of all, it seems like it's doing it faster. Like it's not making you hold it still so long. Apple mentioned that it focuses in night mode faster. 'Cause that's one thing too, that it was like taking a while to do. And just, yeah, it looks less strange. Like I feel like night mode photos before you were kind of like, there's something wrong with this photo and this one, it just doesn't feel like that. So I think the camera alone is a really legitimate reason to upgrade. I know that the 12 and 12 mini don't have... they only have a dual lens system. So they're not gonna have the LIDAR scanner or the telephoto lens but from reading reviews online of both of those two, I think the camera's pretty good as well. But it is to me, that's the biggest reason to go for the Pro or Pro Max.

- I agree. After our last podcast, the more I thought about it, if I do upgrade, it'll be to the Pro or Pro max. So okay you're upgrading from the 11 Pro other than the camera, were there other noticeable differences? Is it noticeably faster? How's the battery life? I'm assuming you haven't been able to test 5G suddenly.

- Yeah so the battery has been good so far, but it's like about the same as my 11 Pro and yeah so we live in the middle of Iowa and we're not somewhere where the 5G network has been built out yet. So I haven't been able to test that. I also need to apparently get a new SIM card. This was actually gonna be my complaint for this week 'cause I didn't realize like buying an unlocked iPhone from the Apple website and putting my old Verizon SIM card in my new phone. I didn't know that was gonna be a problem. And it said I got a notification letting me know that I need to contact my carrier and get a 5G capable SIM card.

- Oh, what a bummer.

- Yeah. So for anyone ordering at home, I think, if you already know what your carrier is, go ahead and select that and buy your iPhone with a new SIM card in it.

- That makes sense. But also what I've typically been doing lately 'cause it's so much easier than having to call Verizon is when I get a new phone, I just literally swap SIM cards and then don't think about it. But you won't be able to do that this time around, you have to call Verizon and get them to port your number over to the new phone or whatever carrier you have.

- Well, I did. So I did switch SIM cards and it's working, but it's just saying I won't be able to use 5G.

- Oh, okay. Okay. Gotchu. So, yeah and the speed, is it faster?

- I mean, I think it is.

- Yeah.

- But it's one of those things like the 11 Pro was really fast, so it's not noticeable to me at least. Like I haven't noticed a big difference there. But yeah, I wanted to just say with 5G though, for people who are in areas where it's built out, what I've been reading online from early hands-on reviews is that it is a battery hog. And so that's something that's like kind of a bummer about it. And that is just very unreliable. Like if you happen to be in, walking down the block that does have a network coverage and that's not being blocked by buildings or whatever, like suddenly things will download like twice the speed or whatever, and that it's noticeable, but then it's just like finicky and not even in like cities, it's not available everywhere. It's like in certain little pockets. You'll suddenly get really blazing fast speeds.

- It's one of those, future looking things though, like if you're buying a phone now you need it to be 5G because it's gonna get better and better. I mean, it was the same thing when 4G came out, it was like all of a sudden, 4G would be like really fast, then you'd drive another block and it wouldn't be there. But I think you're right that 5G is smaller signal. So it's like, it's much more block by block than like city by city.

- Yeah and it's a pretty cool vision to just the idea of having like real-time communications, zero latency, like, the NFL app example they showed where you have like seven angles on a football game, all streaming, without any latency. At some point it's gonna be pretty amazing and being able to like download a movie from Netflix, basically like in a few seconds, things like that, it's going to be amazing. And it seems like even just in 2021, there's gonna be... It's gonna be a lot more widely available.

- I think it's coming soon. It was one of those chicken and egg things where the carriers weren't incentivized to invest too heavily in 5G because the iPhone didn't work with 5G, but Apple wasn't incentivized to make the iPhone work with 5G until the carriers were investing. And I think they came to terms. Okay so other than that,

- MagSafe.

- I wanna. Yes let's talk MagSafe. So first of all-

- Is that what you gonna ask--

- We're on the same page. So the box does not come with a MagSafe Charger. Is that correct?

- No, it doesn't. The only thing that comes with the iPhone this time around is a USB-C to Lightning Cable. And so the nice thing with that is that it allows you to charge your iPhone with rapid charge. And that means it can charge in up to 50% in 30 minutes, which is pretty great. In the past we've just gotten USB-A Tulane and cables.

- Yeah, does it come with the adapter or are they sitting in the environment by not giving us an adapter?

- So you no longer get an adapter, I know which I mean I do have some adapters around, so it's okay. But it's kind of like annoying.

- I think that's pretty annoying because I think, you and I are fine 'cause we've been rapid charging for a while now, but like most people I would speculate do not have a USB-C adapter just lying around at home. So they are going to have to go buy one.

- Yeah. Yep.

- Which is silly and it's like, I'm all for saving the environment, but it feels a lot more like they are saving their money than saving the environment

- I know.

- on this particular scenario situation.

- Yeah, I would agree with that. adapter I mean, just because of that fact too, like I haven't actually used mine yet. I actually don't have a USB-C wall adapter and I don't have a MacBook that has a USB-C port. So I can't even like plug it into my MacBook and charge it. So yeah, they're making a lot of assumptions about people having those things, or they're just forcing you to go out and spend like 30 to 40 bucks to buy one, which is annoying. But yeah, so MagSafe charging is really interesting. Apple has a, and the new iPhone 12 series has built in magnets in the iPhone itself that will work with accessories for wireless charging, for instance, also for car mounts and with certain cases it'll work too. And so David and I were doing a little research ahead of this podcast to figure out how it works exactly 'cause I got my new iPhone, but I don't have any of the MagSafe accessories that would make it useful yet. So you actually have to, in order to use MagSafe wireless charger, you need to have a case that works with MagSafe. Like I could use it without a case at all with a MagSafe wireless charger, but most people want a case on their phone and it doesn't sound from what we're reading like it'll work unless you have a MagSafe compatible case.

- Now just to clarify, because the MagSafe chargers are also Qi wireless compatible. So if you have a traditional Qi wireless charger, you could put any case on your iPhone 12 Pro and use that Qi wireless charger. But the magnetic functionality won't work. So if you have that, we believe, we have not yet been able to test this yet, but from our research. And there actually is not a lot of information out there 'cause everyone's sort of in the same camp, we are still figuring it all out. But it appears that if you have a normal case, you have the MagSafe kind of puck and you try to put it on, it will not work. So that's the piece that doesn't work. Apple of course sells the Qi wireless or the MagSafe compatible cases. And Donna and I were also mentioning that while I'm sure the case manufacturers are frustrated 'cause they're all caught off-guard, give it a month and I guarantee you, every single case manufacturer will have a MagSafe compatible case. So you may wanna just hang tight there unless you happen to like Apples cases, but they tend to be kind of pricey for what they are. So, yeah.

- Yeah so the big benefits of MagSafe, because really what I just mentioned all sounds kind of like a big headache and like why now there's more to deal with, but it is pretty cool just in that, the wireless chargers that are MagSafe compatible can charge your phone with 15 watts of power whereas all Qi wireless chargers with the iPhone previously could only use seven and a half watts. That means like even some Qi wireless chargers have been higher wattage, but that's all that your iPhone could receive was up to seven and a half watts of charging power. So this theoretically should charge your iPhone twice as fast if you have a compatible phone. And the other nice thing is just that, I've had the experience with Qi wireless chargers a lot where I didn't line it up right, and I wake up in the morning and my phone didn't charge. So because they have these magnets in it, it like walks into place securely and so you'll get a good charge. So faster charging, more reliable charging.

- Yeah, I was just getting ready to say that actually happened to me this morning and I was real grumpy. I woke up and my phone was dead 'cause I just had like slightly gotten it misaligned. And it happens to me enough where it's a really nice feature to have a magnet kind of alignment for you. The other cool thing is I was preparing for this podcast that they talked about the announcement, but like they kind of showed, but didn't explain, but I think it's kinda cool. Apple now sells a little wallet piece of the case and it uses the magnet functionality. So you can have a normal case and then you can snap the wallet in when you want it. 'Cause for me most of the time, I wanna just have my wallet 'cause I have enough stuff in there that I don't wanna deal. But like on occasion, if I'm not wanting to take up a lot of pocket space, it is nice to have and be able to use some times and not other times without having to like switch cases altogether or own multiple cases. So I thought that was a cool functionality. A cool use case for it.

- Yeah, I agree like it does seem potentially hopefully that magnets really strong 'cause it's your wallet's not something you want to snap off without you meaning to. So I just hope that in that way, that it's good. But yeah, that's really nice. I mean also for any sort of mount or doc type situation that's been using magnets, I've had car mounts that are magnetically charged. This is a huge improvement as well, just because I hate having to stick a magnet to the back of my phone. And I'm sure many listeners have used accessories this way too. You get like gummy stuff on the back of your phone. It doesn't look that great. And it can be hard to keep track of all the parts. Like it's nice, it's just built in now. So if you get some sort of magnetic docking situation, it should just stick there .

- Well and also this is another one that feels like it'll become more exciting as we move forward because Apple didn't give carrier or didn't give accessory manufacturers a lot of warning on this feature, but they now they're all working on it. And I've actually talked to several accessory manufacturers who are currently working on it. And gonna roll stuff out soon. So I know that there will be a lot of MagSafe compatible accessories coming soon and they'll be universal as opposed to before where there were a lot of magnetic based solutions out there, but you had to only commit to one of them 'cause you had that specific fit of magnet on, then you would wanna use those devices or those accessories. So now you could like have a Belkin in one room and a Scotia in the other room and it would all just work seamlessly, hope, presumably. So I'm excited about that. Okay anything else you wanna share about your experience or should we... I realize we skipped over our comments from listeners, I wanna read them.

- Yeah, those would be fun. Do you want to read some?

- Sure. So this one came from Johnny Walker. I wonder if that's, oh, John Walker. In my head translated that to Johnny Walker and then I was gonna make fun of it. But now it's just my own subconscious wanting to drink at 10:30 in the morning. Okay, the HomePod mini. So the John Walker says the HomePod mini is exactly what I've been waiting for. The original HomePod was way too expensive for me and was also a bit too big as I don't have a lot of space in my living room where I will use it, when I'm eligible for an iPhone upgrade in March of next year, I definitely want to get the blue iPhone 12 Pro Max. So he's with me on the Pacific blue. At least I won't have to wait for any back orders by March. That is fair. Although I am interested because most people are not doing the contract model anymore. So that's an interesting thing that he's doing that. Cool okay, next one comes from Abby. I really would love the cute little iPhone 12 mini, but it doesn't have the new zoom lens nor the 512 gigabytes of storage. And I'm concerned about battery life. Ooh, 512 gigabytes of storage, Abby, that is a lot of storage. Okay, any comments on these?

- I want to give Abby a little shout out too 'cause she's been in our insider classes a lot, and has been one of the more, you know, vocal participants. And so it's fun to hear from her. I considered the mini and I had the same concerns as her. Not that I needed 512 gigabytes, but I wanted more than 64. And I don't like the idea of taking a step back with battery. I only want improvements in battery.

- Yeah, that's fair. I do agree, it's one of the fun parts of the classes as now I'm getting to know people and I'm like, oh my friend, Abby emailed us.

- Yeah.

- Okay. This one's from Mary C who I don't think takes the classes 'cause I don't know her or maybe she just doesn't speak up as much. I'll get the new iPhone 12 because it's exactly what I need. It'll be a huge upgrade for me. I'm on an iPhone 8 Plus don't judge. Nobody's judging you Mary we're in a safe place here. Okay. Two more for ya. I'll upgrade to the iPhone 12 Pro Max because I just turned 65 and I can't see my XS Max. I need all the screen I can get and hope for better with iPhone 12 critter pictures are a thing for me and I want to take better pictures of my squad. I have an autoimmune disease that causes me to spend much of my timeline down in my phone, is my link to the world. Increased battery life will make my life easier. Oh, that's nice. So I'm glad, I love these questions because I feel like everybody has such personal reasons why they are upgrading or not. And it's hard for us to kind of cover all of that. And it's nice to hear from everybody. So thanks to everybody that emailed us.

- I thought that was so cute too. Taking pictures of her squad.

- Yeah, that was very cute. Okay so complaints and learning and then we will be done except for insiders, who will have... We're switching it up in case you didn't notice, we're doing complaints and learning for you all. So normally we do this just for insiders. So if you like hearing us complain, then go subscribe to insider and you'll get it every podcast.

- Yeah, and this time around in our insider section, I'm gonna talk about the accessories that I've bought so far or that I'm using so far for my 12 Pro.

- And I have a good 12 Pro accessory as well for insiders. So stay tuned insiders. Okay the reason... Here's the reason why I made a switch it for real though, which is I have a really good learning for everybody that I felt like was so important that I didn't want to save it just for insiders, especially 'cause I've been complaining about this for a while. So Donna, you know how often I've been complaining about my battery life when I was 14, right?

- Yes.

- So I've been really struggling. I have the iPhone 11 Pro, which should be totally sufficient for battery life. Before I upgraded to iOS 14, I would make it through the day and I would end at about 40% battery life. Like it was great, I never thought about it. I have great, I was 14 and suddenly around seven o'clock at night, every night, my phone would just die. So it was a huge difference. And so I had some breakthroughs and I wanna share them with people. You ready?

- Let's hear it.

- Okay so the first one was, I switched my phone to dark mode. I had my phone, so it was on dark mode some of the time, but not all of the time. And that did seem to make a difference. And so that's one of those things that will only make a difference for you, if you are on a phone that has an OLED display 'cause of the way OLED displays work, each pixel is individually illuminated. So if you have a black part of your display, that pixel will literally be turned off and it can save you sometimes as much as like, they advertise as much as like 50% battery life, it's crazy. I had a little bit of improvement, not a lot a bit of improvement. But here's the thing that actually was making the really big difference. So it was a widget. What happened was I had my weather widget on my phone, but I had my weather widget location set to my location as opposed to set to like just permanently at one location. And so my theory was, it was continually tracking my location to know where I was to serve me weather. And that's what was draining my battery. Isn't that wild?

- Oh yeah, wait, shoo. I don't wanna, I wonder if I have that.

- Yeah so this is why I wanted everybody to go check. So what I did is I just set my location... I went into the widget and if you long press, it brings up... You put in jiggle mode and it puts up like an edit widget and you can actually change it. And so I, especially during the pandemic, I'm not traveling very much. I just set my location for my hometown, which is where I always am anyway. So it made no practical difference for my ability to see my weather, but it made a large difference for my battery life.

- I'm still by the end of the day, I'm on low battery and sometimes it dies, sometimes it doesn't. So I don't wanna make it really believe that all the problems are gone 'cause I used to like end the day, like 30, 40%, but it made a huge difference. So those two things combined made it so I could more or less make it through the day, which is a big difference from not being able to make it through the day.

- That's very good to know. Yeah, I'm like going and changing that right now 'cause I have noticed definitely like a hit to my battery life on the 11 Pro. I haven't noticed anything with the 12 Pro yet, but like why have a feature on that is using more battery than it needs to, even if you're not having a huge problem.

- It made me really annoyed at Apple because it was the default setting was to have it set to my location and Apple should know better. Like this is the whole benefit of Apple is their hardware and software company combined. And they should be preemptively protecting your battery by not doing things like that. And also like how often do they really need to track my location to serve me the weather like ping it once an hour or once every few hours, don't ping it constantly to drain my battery. And again, this is just my hypothesis, so I could be wrong, but it did seem to make a large difference for me.

- Cool, yeah, it's kind of a good cautionary tale about widgets. We've been excited about them, but just that you do need to keep an eye on that to make sure none of them are big battery hogs.

- Well, and when we, so we have an article about battery drainage and one of the things we noticed was a lot of people were searching for, do widgets drain your battery? We were, you know, giving the company line accidentally, saying no widgets don't drain your battery. 'Cause there's no reason that a widget should drain your battery. But this is a good reminder that widgets in and of themselves don't drain the battery. But if you have a functionality turned on on a widget that does, it can drain your battery, especially location tracking is known to. The other thing of my complaint though, is that Apple was not... I kept checking my the battery app to tell me what apps were draining my battery. And Apple was not telling me that this was draining my battery. But I'm pretty certain it was because, I started by just deleting the weather app or the weather widget from my phone. And as soon as I did it, it solved it. So I'm pretty confident that that was the problem. And conversely, Apple kept telling me that it was Facebook, that was the problem. And I deleted the Facebook app from my phone and it really did not fix it. So Facebook is not my problem, thankfully.

- Cool, that's a good one, David. Mine, I already mentioned it when we were talking about hands-on, but I just, it was the fact that you do need apparently to have a 5G compatible SIM card. I knew that you have to have a 5G compatible phone to take advantage of the network, but you can't use an older SIM card. So for people in the market for a new iPhone, you wanna think about that when purchasing your new phone. And either get one from your carrier, if you're buying it from the Apple website or maybe just buy it directly from your carrier. And so, yeah, that's interesting. I didn't know that that was gonna be a thing.

- So if you enjoy our complaints and learnings, then make sure you subscribe and become an insider. We do them every episode. I think that does it.

- It does and just a reminder too, if you are enjoying the show, please go and leave us a review in the App Store. And that helps other iPhone enthusiasts, like you find our show and we really appreciate it. It helps us keep doing what we're doing. And we did not add a question of the week as well, which I think it would be fun to hear from other people who are starting to get their new devices. I mean, I know that the new, the Pro Max and the 12 mini are not available yet. But still if some of you are probably getting the 12 and 12 Pro and could let us know what your hands on our experiences are so far and if you're happy with your purchases. Also continue to let us know about what your future purchase plans are. The HomePod mini is going on pre-order November 6th and same with the 12 mini and the 12 Pro Max. So email us at podcastatiphonelife.com to let us know what your experiences are so far and what you're planning to buy in the future.

- Yeah thanks everyone for sticking around.

- Thanks. Bye. Okay David so for our insiders today, we have apps and gear. This is a little bit unusual or different order.

- It's unusual. So I thought it would be a nice idea to recommend in adapter since the iPhone 12 does not come with a USB-C adapter. In the buyer's guide, I'd wrote the article on the iPhone essentials. And so I did some reviewing on adapters. And the brand I would recommend everybody take a look at is a brand called Anker. Anker is they're... I think they're actually owned by a pretty large company. They're a Chinese manufacturer, but they are reputable. They do a good job and they actually are an industry leader in it's... I don't know how to say it. It's GAN charging technology, but basically what it does is it allows adapters to be smaller and lighter while still providing the appropriate wattage for rapid charging. And they're very affordable and they're sold on Amazon. So that's the one I would recommend everybody look at. You can get them on Amazon. If you just look up USB-C adapter on Amazon, it'll be there and easy to find. But I just part of why I'm recommending them is that you want to be a little careful in adapters. And in general buying things from Amazon, if you don't trust the brand. So this is a brand that I do think is trustworthy and also is very affordable and you can just buy it on Amazon. There are a lot of other companies that have adapters there. I also have an adapter that has a rapid charge. They have a bunch of different variations, so you can look at, so you could have one that has a rapid charge and it has the USB-A built into so that you could use that to charge your Apple watch as well as your iPhone, for example. The last thing I'll say about it is pay attention to the watts because just because it's USB-C doesn't mean it will be appropriate for all of your devices. So for example, you can get a very cheap, very small USB-C adapter for your iPhone, that'll be perfect, it'll be 15 watts, I believe that is maybe more. But it will not charge your iPad very well. You need a 60 watt to charge your iPad. You need, I think it's 110 watt to charge your MacBook Pro. So pay attention to the wattage, it's a kind of a complex area, figuring out what adapter you need for what, but if you mess it up, you can't charge your devices properly. So pay attention to that.

- So are you saying like you want a powerful adapter that can handle higher wattages and that will work then for all your devices?

- It will work, you can always charge a device that requires less wattage. So for example, if you get a 60 watt adapter, you can charge your iPad, but you can also charge your iPhone. But it's a trade-off. So I'm not saying one way or the other, because the less wattage the adapter has, the smaller the lighter it is, and also the cheaper it is. So if you're buying one specifically for your iPhone, then you do probably just want the cheap light one or you could get one that has both a USB-A and USB-C built in, it's sort of a little bit bigger, but still not that bulky. But where you get yourself in trouble is if you buy the cheap light one and it says USB-C, but you go and try to charge your iPad and it won't work. So it's understanding what you're buying the adapter for.

- I see. Okay, good to know. What I'm gonna talk about is I have a new Belkin screen protector. Belkin sent me a Belkin ultra glass privacy screen protector they have. So there's one, that's a privacy one, and one that's just clear. Right now I just put the regular clear one, but I'm planning to try out the privacy one next year. Excuse me

- Bless you.

- At home right now, so I'm not sneezing on anybody. Allergies are still acting up. So anyways, I always recommend that people use a screen protector with their phone. Everyone at iPhone Life would recommend that. It's almost even more important than a case because replacing your screen is what you're interfacing with all the time and it costs a lot to replace it now. The privacy one is interesting just in that, it makes it so that if you're looking at your phone at an angle, you can't read what's on the display. The downside of this is just that sometimes it makes it hard for you to even read what's on the screen.

- Yeah I never liked them for that reason.

- Yeah, so it's usually not like my first choice, but it is nice if you travel a lot, because I've found like on planes and things like that, people will sort of like read over your shoulder or what, you know, it's like, you can have some things like that.

- In general people feel weirdly entitled to look over your shoulder and read your phone. So I appreciate the benefit of it.

- And then I've got this nice, it's a blue case. It's one of the really thin ones, which is definitely I'm taking some chances with. It's Totallee... That's the name of the company. T O T A L L E E. And they're cheap cases that... Like I like the look of this a lot. It doesn't add any bulk, but it really is only adding scratch protection. It's not adding drop protection.

- Yeah, I mean it probably add to minimal drop.

- Oh minimal drop protection, yeah. So I'm liking that, and then, yeah, I'll keep you guys posted. Belkin is the first company to partner with Apple to come out with third-party MagSafe chargers. And when they're like finishing up production on that and are gonna be sending me a wireless charging system, it has Apple watch charger in there, and then also a MagSafe charger for your phone. I'm very excited to try that. So I'll let you guys know how that goes.

- Cool, can I tell you what my favorite screen protector is? I think I actually talked about in a recent podcast. Zagg has a screen protector, the visionguard pro. And it does a couple things that I like. I mean, first of all Zagg they're like the OG screen protectors. They invented screen protector. I like they have that it's their primary thing that they do. But they, this one, a is anti-microbial, which is very valuable right now. It includes antiviral. So they are working with the FDA, they can not yet claim that it prevents coronavirus, but they have no reason to believe that coronavirus would be an exception to the antiviral technology they have, let's put it that way. So that I like about it. It also

- That's nice.

- blocks blue light, which blue light can affect your circadian rhythms, and especially if you're using your phone at night. So it does that as well. And it's a high quality glass. I can't remember what it is, but it's like a special glass that is harder to break and high quality. It's not cheap, I think it's 50 or $60. Also the blue light technology is a little controversial because it does, I think make your phone slightly more yellow in the screen. My partner doesn't like it for that reason, but it hasn't bothered me. And I like the idea that it's helping me sleep, even though I can't imagine it really making a difference.

- Yeah that is really nice though, the blue light blocking, like just for peace of mind, hopefully that it makes a difference.

- Yeah if nothing else, the placebo, right.

- Yeah for me and you who don't sleep anymore.

- Yeah, exactly.

- Email us at podcastiphonelife.com with sleep remedy ideas.

- Seriously.

- Honestly. Yeah. Okay, so I think that was... Oh, I was wanting to check price for all of you on the screen protector. It is 3999. What do you think, do you think in general, do you like springing for a more expensive screen protector versus like, you know, you can get ones for like 10 bucks or 15 bucks?

- Yeah I all the way recommend it. I think if there was a period in time where the cheap ones and the not cheap ones were using the same glass, that period is no longer there. There is nicer quality glass and the nicer one companies are using. And just in general, you're trusting... You're like, you're sort of buying with a screen protector, you're sort of buying an insurance policy in a way. And you should buy an insurance policy from a reputable company, not from a Chinese manufacturer on Amazon. So that's my two cents on it. I do think it's worth it.

- And I would say Zagg and Belkin are both reputable companies. Like they are both good choices. Zagg like yours has some extra features that are extra nice. But one thing I'll say about Belkins too, that is nice is they send you an intuitive, nice little setup like there's a tray that fits your iPhone perfectly and it's all lined up for you. And, you know, tells you to clean off your phone and then just basically flip over the top and it'll put the protector exactly where it's supposed to be. So you don't have that whole process of having to try to figure that out yourself, which is nice, like trying to line it up and then you by accident, like didn't get it right. So then you pick it up and then you get a fingerprint under there, and then you kind of always hate your screen protector 'cause there's like fuzz and fingerprints under it.

- Yeah Zagg has the same thing and I agree. It's like that alone is worth the extra money. I hate having to line it up and I always line it up poorly and it's like, it's so stressful . I used to always make Sarah do it for me when we were in the office. But now I don't get to see her very much.

- Yeah. All right, Insiders thank you for sticking around. And we will be back in a couple of weeks with a new episode for you.

- Thanks everyone.

- Bye.

- Bye.

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Author Details

Donna Cleveland's picture

Author Details

Donna Cleveland

Donna Cleveland is the Editor in Chief of iPhone Life magazine and is a journalist with ten years of experience in writing, reporting, and producing multimedia content. In her 7 years at iPhone Life, she has produced over 15 in-depth guides and 20 issues of iPhone Life magazine, along with countless articles, podcasts, and blog posts. Aside from managing the editorial team and outside contributors, Donna co-hosts the iPhone Life Podcast, teaches online iPhone educational courses, and enjoys reporting on live Apple events.

Donna began her career as a newspaper reporter before joining the iPhone Life team, where she pairs her penchant for storytelling with her love of Apple products. She's the proud owner of an iPhone 11 Pro and Apple Watch Series 4 and is a defender of AirPods as the best wireless earbuds.

Donna holds a master's degree from the University of Iowa School of Journalism & Mass Communication and earned her undergraduate degree in Media & Communications from Maharishi International University. Her writing has appeared in the Cedar Rapids Gazette, Little Village Magazine, Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism, the Fairfield Ledger, and the Iowa Source, and she was a researcher for American journalist Claire Hoffman's memoir, Greetings from Utopia Park. She is also the host and executive producer of a feminist podcast, Thread the Needle (theneedle.co).