Goodbye my covid baby, the iPhone 12 Mini

Tyler Hackbart
3 min readMay 14, 2024
iPhone 12 Mini standing with its original box, ready to be shipped to recycle

It may not be the biggest, fastest, or have the best battery, but it certainly was a one-handed phone for everyone. Apple tried, but even with two attempts, the masses didn’t flock to this phone. As I say goodbye to my iPhone 12 Mini this month, I thought I’d give a final justification, discuss the faults, and explain why I would buy it all over again if I could.

Many iPhones have come and gone, but the history of small phones is further in the rearview mirror than ever. However, the compact size is the number one thing I will miss about this phone. The other features are just standard iPhone items that exist on all other models, as Apple has been doing incremental upgrades for everyday people. Every release does have a standout feature, but it’s often a niche feature for a specific group of users. Being almost 4 years old now, my “COVID phone” with its display and 5G capabilities still competes with today’s iPhones.

The reasons why the iPhone 12 Mini fails and why I needed to upgrade are ironically interconnected. The phone’s performance has decreased with each new iOS software update. It still functions, but having access to the latest software capabilities when your iPhone can’t handle the processes creates a slow and almost broken experience. (Don’t get me started on something as “simple” as creating a sticker from a photo item, a new feature for iOS 17 that shouldn’t be accessible to anyone with an iPhone older than the 13 series.) The phone’s performance is also affected by heavy background processes and functionalities, causing the iPhone Mini to heat up quickly, sometimes to a dangerous level. This results in a drop in battery health (it was at 85% when I sent it off for recycling). I won’t miss having to pre-charge my iPhone before just going to the grocery store or having to charge it 2–3 times a day just to make it last till bedtime. During the COVID pandemic, staying at home with a charger close was manageable. However, now in 2024, I need a battery that can last longer than just a short trip out.

This is more of a sidebar comment about the iPhone Mini size. This was never the top-of-the-line phone, almost a pet project by someone at Apple who really wanted a smaller phone with the newer chips and cameras. Obviously, the battery size will be smaller, but the pet project also extended to iOS software. As a developer, you notice the smaller changes/experiences that are just squished to work on the Mini line, where the UI looks planned and thought out on the flagship sizes of 6.1 and 6.7-inch. Apple hasn’t just made small phones for the Mini 12 and 13, they have made them for years before and still support iOS on some of those, which only validates the pet project consideration.

No matter what Apple does in the future, whether the Mini line comes back as an iPhone SE or iPhone 19 Mini, I can confirm that I will be in line to get my hands on it. Now that Apple has revealed the new iPad Pro, which is the thinnest Apple product ever, my ideal iPhone would be one that takes a page from their other product lines like the iPod and new iPads. It should be thinner and perhaps have a slightly smaller screen for the few people who still prefer the idea of small phones.

If you don’t want to read everything above but still curious, here is a summary of my thoughts:

Things to miss

  • one handed everything

Things to not miss

  • Lagging
  • battery
  • iOS software

Hopes for the future

  • New iPad Pro thin design

👋 😢 Goodbye iPhone 12 Mini, Hello iPhone 15 …. gosh you are massive

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