Have an old iPhone? which version is still worth buying?

Since the iPhone 12, Apple’s phone has had 5G. See what to pay attention to when buying an older model and tips to increase the device’s security.

The iPhone 15, released at the end of 2023, is Apple’s latest cellphone.

And its price doesn’t always fit the consumer’s budget. There are alternatives: older models that will still receive updates for a few more years.

But which “old” iPhone is still worth buying in 2024?

The first reason to check an older iPhone version is connectivity.

Although still a more expensive feature for a few, 5G ensures having the latest technology on the daily use cellphone.

All iPhones since the 12th version, launched in 2020, are ready for 5G.

This list includes the iPhones 12, 13, and 13 mini, 14 and 14 Plus, 15 and 15 Plus/15 Pro and 15 Pro Max, as well as the third-generation iPhone SE.

The second factor is the operating system update capability.

The older it is, the faster the cellphone may become obsolete and lose access to new iOS features, currently in version 17.2.

Historically, Apple usually updates phones with a new version of the iOS system for five or six years after its launch, depending on the model.

An iPhone 12 should receive updates until 2025 or 2026. An iPhone 13 should have upgrades until 2026 or 2027 and so on. The newer the release, the longer the smartphone will last.

And the price?

It’s worth noting that there are no “cheap” iPhones, as is common among Android phones.

And Apple doesn’t usually offer discounts on its product line, but it reduces prices a bit when a new generation is launched – almost always between September and October.

Bigger discounts on prices end up being the responsibility of stores, and it’s necessary to research extensively to find offers and discounts.

Differences between 5G models

The third-generation iPhone SE (see the test) is the smallest of Apple’s phones, with a 4.7-inch screen. It is also the last “button” iPhone, without facial recognition features for unlocking the device, only with fingerprint reading.

In the online stores consulted, the device was priced between $500 and $600. It is the cheapest iPhone on the list.

The iPhone 13 Mini (read the review) is a miniature version of the brand’s more advanced models. The difference is the smaller 5.4-inch screen (compared to 6.1″ in conventional models), but it has screen unlocking by face recognition.

This device cost around $1,100 in the internet stores surveyed in mid-January, only in the version with 512 GB of internal storage.

The other models are the iPhones 12, 13, and 14 – generations that usually have more attractive prices in online stores.

All have 6.1-inch screens (the same size as the iPhone 15) and have small incremental improvements in cameras and processing capacity between generations, without major changes.

The iPhone 12 (see the test) was sold between $650 and $700 on the sites surveyed in mid-January. It has the shortest battery life estimated by the manufacturer – 11 hours of streaming, against 15 hours of the iPhone 13, according to the manufacturer.

The 12-megapixel camera is also the most “basic” compared to the iPhones 13 and 14.

The iPhone 13 cost around $800.

And the iPhone 14 was also in this price range – it’s worth noting that these two models are quite similar inside and out.

The biggest difference between them is in the cameras: the iPhone 14 came with the Photonic Engine feature, which is also present in the more expensive and advanced 14 Pro model (see the test) and significantly improves the quality of images taken in low-light situations.

Which iPhone to buy, 13 or 14?

For the value and the forecast of iOS updates for a longer time (until 2027 or more), the iPhone 14 is the best option.

But if the consumer is looking for a more advanced camera, the recommendation is to go for the iPhone 15, which has improved zoom and a 48-megapixel sensor, larger than those of previous generations.

And it already has the USB-C connector instead of the old Lightning.

Tips to increase security when using the iPhone

Using the iPhone on the street, on public transport, or in the car can be a security risk, with thefts and robberies occurring in all major big cities.

But there are quick tips that help protect the device, limit its features for a specified period, and prevent curious people from accessing sensitive areas of the iPhone.

Use the Secure Cellphone app
The Secure Cellphone app from allows those who have their cellphones stolen, robbed, or lost to notify several government partner institutions at once, and banks – check your area for the list and how to register.

The tool acts as a first layer of protection in case of cellphone theft or robbery – the feature also works on Android devices.

✅ The alert will be sent simultaneously to telecommunications operators and banks participating in the initiative. Thus, the victim will spend less time contacting each institution.

⛔ There is no guarantee of immediate blocking. Operators mention up to 6 hours to forward the request and an additional business day for the line to be blocked. Some banks mention immediate blocking, but others have a deadline of up to half an hour, from the receipt of the alert made by the app.

Activate assistive access

Activating the Assistive Access feature on any iPhone means leaving the phone with only applications selected by the owner for use.

It is an accessibility feature – it also serves to make cellphone use easier for the elderly – and its configuration is simple:

  • Go to the iPhone settings menu, select Accessibility.
  • At the end of the list, under “General,” select the Assistive Access option.
  • Choose the apps and format (list or app grid).
  • In Code Settings, set a 4-digit code to activate and deactivate Assistive Access.
  • The feature can be activated using a shortcut: go to Settings | Accessibility | Accessibility Shortcut and select the Assistive Access option. Thus, with three clicks on the iPhone’s power button, the feature can be activated more quickly.

When activated or deactivated, Assistive Access will always request the four-digit code, which is different from the code to unlock the iPhone.

✅ In case of iPhone theft or robbery, main apps and the system – including passwords – are “hidden” and inaccessible.

⛔ Assistive Access, when activated, does not require an unlock password for use – only to disable the feature. And this code is only 4 digits, which may be easier to discover.

Update to iOS 17.3
Another alternative to increase protection was released by Apple in mid-January. It is the iOS system update to version 17.3 with the Stolen Device Protection feature.

To activate it, go to Settings | Face ID and Code | choose Stolen Device Protection.
This feature promises to make it difficult to access passwords saved on the phone and block changes in certain settings (such as changing the Apple ID password).

In addition, a 1-hour timer, called “Security Delay,” will be activated every time the phone owner wants to modify settings when not in a “familiar” location (defined as home or office, for example).

✅ Adds several layers of security, including locking the password area and more time to be able to change the Apple ID in unauthorized locations.

✅ One hour of advantage allows the cellphone owner, in theory, to remotely lock the iPhone.


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