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Should You Update to the iPhone 14?

It’s the question every Apple phone owner (and some Android users, no doubt) grapple with every year; should we update to the latest and greatest iPhone? While it’s easy to make a case for owning the newest and shiniest of anything, smartphones, and particularly flagship smart phones like the Apple iPhone 14, are not inexpensive.

Upgrading to a new phone can cost as much as rent in some cases so it’s not in the cards for all of us. What then does make upgrading worth it? Is it a certain feature? An overall aesthetic? Faster speeds or better guts? Or is it all of the above? In this post we’ll take a look at some of the factors to consider when thinking about upgrading to the iPhone 14. It’s no surprise that Apple’s iPhones are widely considered some of the best smartphones around.

We’ll also offer this caveat; we’re going to evaluate this decision making with an eye towards evaluating this choice as an average user who doesn’t spend a lot of time in the smartphone spec trenches. If you want to check specs, compare speed tests and create spreadsheets with all the nitty gritty, we can do that… just not here.

Factors to Consider for Updating to iPhone 14

If your old phone is damaged

Let’s get this one out of the way really quick: if your old phone is damaged or otherwise not functioning up to its full potential, it’s always a good time to upgrade. A smashed screen, or outdated operating system can contribute to operating problems (slow download speeds) and if we’re being honest, it makes a phone a lot less fun and useful. Repairing a dead screen or replacing a battery costs less than a whole new phone, sure, but factor in the other upgrades you’d be getting with a new phone and it might be worth it. (And get a proper case, already!)

John Velasco | SPY

You’re more than 3-4 phones behind

There can be a lot of really good reasons to have a current phone. If you’ve ever heard the term ‘brick’ and know it intimately, you know what we mean. Older phones can struggle with newer software and operating systems, plus their batteries can degrade after thousands of charging cycles. Then there’s apps; some apps just don’t work so well on older handsets.

Generally speaking a new phone like iPhone 14 would be faster for things like uploading social posts, downloading Netflix videos, and switching between apps and tasks. While we’re really talking about fractions of seconds here, we likely all know how frustrating a laggy phone can be. If you tend to put your phone down and go pour a coffee while waiting for it to complete a task, you might be ready for a new phone.

Courtesy of Visible

Improvements that make upgrading to iPhone 14 worthwhile

A New Battery is a Strong Battery

Apple markets the battery life in the iPhone 14 as, “our longest battery life ever”. On the iPhone 14 there’s 20 hours of use and the iPhone 14 Pro boasts 26 hours but Apple doesn’t spell out the actual milliamp hours (mAh) in any place you can find it easily. Maybe that’s because at 4,323 mAh it’s technically smaller than something like the iPhone 13 Pro Max.

The iPhone 14 Pro Max has a battery rated at 4323 milliamp hours (mAh), which is actually lower than the 4352 mAh of the iPhone 13 Pro Max. If you’re a heavy iPhone user and always trying to squeeze the last drops of juice from your phone, having a new and powerful battery might be worth it.

Always-on Display

Android users have long enjoyed the convenience of an always on display, but Apple has balked at adding this feature. While it does make an appearance in the iPhone 14 lineup, it’s not available on every phone. To enjoy the ease of glancing down at your phone to see the clock, weather and other instant info you must upgrade to the iPhone 14 Pro or Pro Max versions.

Courtesy of Apple

If you use your camera for work

If part of your work or daily life involves using your camera for things like TikTok videos, YouTube shorts, or Instagram photos, you know how important it is to have a camera you can rely on even in less than ideal situations. While a few generations back Apple didn’t seem to be taking its phone features seriously, (resulting in Google getting a massive leg up on the smartphone camera market with its Pixel phone lineup. Many of us have frequently use the iPhone for work but brought along a Pixel phone to take any photos that were actually important (it’s massively closed the gap in recent years).

John Velasco | SPY

Apple continues to make improvements in its phone system and the iPhone 14 is no exception. Where smartphone cameras have often fallen down is in low light situations, so Apple has said that the iPhone 14 ’s ability to take low light photos is now up to two times better. Plus it boasts a new TrueDepth front camera with auto-focus and a larger aperture.

Also added is the ability to record 4K video at 24 frames per second, which is the same frame rate you see in the movies. Plus there’s Action Mode which stabilizes shaky video better though it requires brighter light to work correctly. Video stabilization is by no means new technology but as more and more of us demand better from our smartphone photos and video, it’s becoming table stakes, so Apple is wise to include some version of it.

You Work Alone, or Work Remotely

Another reason you might consider updating to the Apple iPhone 14 is for some of its emergency assistance features. Not to belabor this point, but emergency assistance features have been standard on Android phones for some time, much to the chagrin of many an iPhone user.

In the iPhone 14, Apple adds Crash Detection which uses the phone’s accelerometer to detect sudden speed changes, or direction changes, the phone’s built in barometer to measure pressure changes, like those caused by inflating airbags, and the microphone to piuck up loud sounds. If any of these are detected, the phone can initiate a call to emergency services unless you tell it otherwise.

There’s also the option of using satellites to text for help if you’re in an area where there’s no Wi-Fi or cell service, and your phone’s GPS can also share your location.

Dynamic Island

Sometimes the success or failure of a feature is in a name. With that said, I don’t know what the future has in store for Apple’s Dynamic Island. When it was called The Notch, it was extremely unpopular. So will rebranding help?

On its own, it’s a lofty sounding but meaningless term that is likely not helping to sell more phones. But if you’re doing any research into the iPhone 14 lineup you may already know what it does.

Dynamic Island essentially re-brands the notch as a living breathing “island”— a now deliberate feature instead of empty space; one that’s capable of adjusting its size based on its interaction with apps and features of the phone. For example it can moor a FaceTime camera icon on the island if you’re on a call, or dock your phone call info there for quick reference. How the island reacts is a bit dependent on the app you might be using.

It’s a bit of a clever way to repurpose that space, but we’ll have to see if Apple users are ready to board that yacht.

In short, there are some really good reasons to upgrade to an iPhone 14. Whether or not these reasons apply to you may help you make your decision.

John Velasco | SPY

Apple iPhone 13 vs iPhone 14

A lot of phone users don’t think it’s worth it to upgrade to the newest phone when the one they have is only about a year old. But if you need a new phone for one of the reasons we noted above, it probably makes a lot of sense to just go for it since the newest iPhone 14 is only a little more expensive.

The iPhone 13 starts at $599 and the iPhone 14 is $799.

The differences between these phones are truly incremental; the camera in the iPhone 14 is only marginally improved, listed as an “advanced “ dual cameras system as sompared to the iPhone 13’s mere dual camera system. The Bluetooth has been upgraded and the battery is s smidge better. One main difference for some travelers: the iPhone 13 uses both a traditional SIM card and an e-SIM, while the 14 is 100% e-SIM, so if for some reason you need to stick with an analogue SIM card, you’ll need to stay put.

Reasons to Upgrade to iPhone 14:

  • SOS and Crash Detection
  • New colors
  • Slight improvements to memory, chipset

Bottom line, upgrading to the iPhone 14 probably only makes sense for those currently running a much older smartphone—or for those with some cash burning a hole in the pocket.

Apple iPhone 14 vs iPhone 14 Pro

A legitimate debate regarding the new iPhone is whether you should get the iPhone 4, or the iPhone 4 Pro. On the surface it seems this is just a debate over a slightly larger screen and larger form factor. But there are good reasons to on either phone.

The iPhone 14 starts at $799 and the iPhone 14 Pro is $999.

The iPhone 14 Pro, for example uses the new (to Apple) Always-on Display. It’s made from a seemingly more durable surgical-grade stainless steel, while the iPhone 14 is an aluminum build. The 14 Pro also boasts extra battery life, lasting up to about 23 hours.

When it comes to those photography and video features, there’s even more reasons to upgrade and pay more for the iPhone 14 Pro:

Reasons to Upgrade to iPhone 14 Pro:

  • Apple ProRAW format available
  • ProRes video recording up to 4K at 30 fps (1080p at 30 fps)
  • Macro video recording
  • 6x optical zoom range, digital zoom up to 15x

The 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max are also the only phones that have rolled out the aforementioned Dynamic Island, so if you want to play in that sandbox, there’s only one series of iPhone for you.

If you’re a heavy smartphone user and you take your photography or videos seriously in any way, the additional $200 you’ll pay for the pro version will absolutely seem worth the splurge.

Courtesy of Best Buy

Best iPhone 14 Cases

Naturally if you’re investing this kind of money in a brand-new smart phone, it makes sense to protect it with some insurance, in this instance, a reliable case. Cases are obviously very personal; after all some of us want a case that says a lot about who we are (Ted Lasso iPhone case? Okay…) while others want all that glass and steel to show through (after all, why pay $999 for a phone only to cover it up?).

Courtesy of Ampere

$19 $49 61% off

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We love the Ampere Biodegradable case since it just makes sense your case shouldn’t last in a landfill longer than you even have the phone, right?

Courtesy of Amazon

$27.22 $59.95 55% off

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The OtterBox Defender series is the only way to go for serious butterfingers types, while Nomad’s modern leather wrap is a professional looking option. We picked out the best iPhone 14 cases in this roundup, so be sure to check out our top picks.

Best iPhone 14 Deals

It’s tough to get a deal on a brand new gadget that’s just come on the market. After all, everybody wants that shiny new toy, and supply chain issues mean sometimes items like smart phones are in short supply. Even so, if you’re wondering, ‘where can I find the lowest prices on the iPhone 14, is possible to find some sweet deals. We’ve written up all the tips, tricks and hacks for you to find the best iPhone 14 deals, so check out our article.

Best iPhone 14 Accessories

Part of the fun of getting a new phone is tricking it out with just the right accessories. While you will definitely get a proper charging cable with your new phone, there are a few other things you might want to consider; primarily a MagSafe charger. If none of these work for you, check out our full post on the best iPhone accessories.

Courtesy of Amazon

Apple’s MagSafe charging puck is the original and best and it’s extremely convenient for quickly and easily charging your shiny new phone. Do yourself a favor and just add this to your cart without giving it too much thought

Courtesy of Amazon

The other option that utilizes MagSafe is a sleek charging stand that keeps your phone propped up and in view at all times. This option from Satechi is ideal for the bedside, and the base will even charge your AirPods Pro.

Courtesy of Amazon

$24.59 $30.18 19% off

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If you’re always on the go, stash one of these in your bag for extra juice anytime you’re in the car; whether it’s your car or your pals. The new Anker power drive car charger has both a USB and USB-C connector meaning it’s compatible with pretty much any device out there, not just your new iPhone 14.