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Should I Get a New Mobile Phone?

Jeffrey M Allen and Ashley Hallene


  • With the release of Apple's iPhone 14 family and the iOS 16 operating system, iPhone users are encouraged to upgrade to iOS 16, which has new features such as improved lock screen customizability, the ability to undo or unsend messages, enhanced security in Photos, scheduled email sending in Mail, and updates in Live Text, Maps, and Safari browser.
  • If you're considering whether to purchase an iPhone 14 series, tthere are many factors so consider like the phone's age, 5G capability, desired features such as battery life, camera capabilities, processing speed, memory, and biometric security.
  • The cost is also a consideration since high-end phones can be over $1,000, but discounts and trade-in options are available.
  • The authors express a positive view of the iPhone 14 series, recommending it to readers.
Should I Get a New Mobile Phone?

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About this time each year Apple releases its newest iteration of the iPhone and usually an upgrade to its operating system.  While more phones use the Android Operating System than Apple’s iOS, more people use the iPhone than any other brand.  As most of our readers know, we strongly prefer the Apple universe and many of the seniors we know have iPhones of one or another generation, we regularly receive questions from seniors asking whether they should upgrade to a newer model of the iPhone.  Sometimes we get questions about whether they should switch to an iPhone and occasionally questions about upgrading Android phones.  While we do not pay as much attention to the Android phones as to those from Apple, we have developed a favorite Android manufacturer, Samsung.  One of us (Jeff) maintains more than one mobile phone account and generally has at least one iPhone and one Samsung to enable him to look at what’s happening in the Android world so that he can write about it from time to time. 

In this article we will focus on the question of upgrading to the newest iteration of the iPhone (the iPhone 14 family) and will also talk about general considerations respecting whether to upgrade any phone.

In September, Apple announced and released the iPhone 14 family consisting of four new phones: The iPhone 14, 14 Max, 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max.  It also announced and released the newest iteration of the iOS, iOS 16.  The iOS offers backwards compatibility with the last several year’s models of the iPhone, subject to the limitation that some of the older models do not have the same hardware capabilities of the newer models and will not have the ability to utilize some of the features afforded by iOS 16 and the fact that older models of the iPhone generally work more slowly than newer models, making some of the features less impressive on older models. Nevertheless, we think everyone with an iPhone that will run iOS 16 should upgrade to it.

We like the iPhone 14 a lot, but we like the 14 Pro more and think it justifies its acquisition cost.  We also think that, for most people, the less costly iPhone 14 will suffice. Conversely, if you tend to hold on to your phones for several years and/or you use your iphone as a camera a lot, we recommend that you consider getting the 14 Pro or Pro Max as it uses a generation newer processor than the 14 and 14 Max, so it will perform at a higher level and last longer; and it also has a much superior camera set up.

Compare phones:  The differences between the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus are the screen size (6.1”-6.7”), the case size, the weight, the size of the battery, and the price.  The differences between the iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max are the same as those between the 14 and 14 Plus.  You will find many significant differences between the two Pro models and the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus. Those differences include:

Pro Models Standard Models
Pro Motion Technology ----
Dynamic island interface ----
Always on display ----
Pro camera system (w/48 MP Main, Ultrawide and telephoto lenses. Dual camera system (w/12 MP  Main and ultrawide lenses.  
6X Optical Zoom 2X Optical Zoom
15X Digital Zoom 5X Digital Zoom
Macro Photography ----
Apple Raw ----
A16 Bionic Chip        A15 Bionic Chip       
Memory options: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB Memory options: 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB


For a more complete comparison and a list of features common to all the iPhone 14 series phones, check out the Apple Website at

iOS 16:  If you currently use iOS 15, the switch to iOS 16 should not create any major surprises, but you will find some changes. Upgrading to the new OS will kill some of your apps unless and until they get upgraded.  Note that older devices cannot offer all the features available in the new iterations of the iOS as a result of hardware differences between the devices. For example, you cannot get facial recognition on an iPhone 7, as it lacks the required hardware.

Included in the list of new and upgraded features in iOS 16:

  1. Improved Lock Screen.  The new lock screen gives you much more customizability than its predecessor:  you can add more widgets;  you can track live events, such as sports; and the notifications and now playing screen have relocated to the bottom of your display, making them easier to access with your thumbs.
  2. Messages allows you to undo or unsend a message up to 15 minutes after you send it.  On the flip side of that coin, you can recover a deleted message for up to 30 days following deletion.
  3. Apple modified Photos to allow you to lock an album and password protect it. Apple has also increased your security by preventing access to the Recently Deleted Album unless you verify through face ID. 
  4. Mail lets you schedule when an email gets sent and also allows you to “unsend it.”
  5. In iOS 16, Apple builds more into Live Text.  You can now check the exchange rate of goods directly with the Camera.  You can copy, translate, and query text in a video, if you have a device powered by an A12 or higher chip.  Earlier models will not have those features.
  6. Apple redesigned Maps for iOS 16.  Maps now supports multistep routing. Users can plan journeys with up to 15 different stops along the way.
  7. The Safari browser also got an update, making it more secure.

You can get more information on iOS 16, including a more complete list of the new features on Apple’s website at https:

You have many considerations in deciding whether to upgrade your phone.  The most important ones include:

  1. How old is your current phone?  The longer the period since its manufacture, the more likely you should consider upgrading.
  2. Does your current phone run 5G?  If not, you should consider upgrading.  Note, however, that not every provider has 5G service everywhere.  If your current provider does not have 5G service in your area, you might want to consider switching to another provider or delaying an upgrade.  We think 5G offers enough advantages to make it worth moving.  If you live in a rural area, you may not have 5G service available at all for the present, which moots the question of whether your current phone runs 5G.
  3. Does the newer phone add features that you really want.  Important considerations include: battery life per charge, the camera capabilities, processing speed, memory, and biometric security.
  4. Cost will not influence some users, but will deter others.  None of the top end phones come inexpensively.  Often you will look at an acquisition cost of more than $1,000.  We cannot answer the question of whether the newer phone and its features justify the cost to you;  you will have to make that decision; but you certainly will want to give some thought to that question.  In making that analysis remember that many providers offer discounts to get you to switch to their system and you can often get a discount by trading in your old phone.  A number of manufacturers (including Apple) have special financing structures that facilitate you returning your phone and getting a new one every year or two.  

While you will have to make your own choice, in the for what it’s worth department, we like the iPhone 14 series phones a lot and have no reluctance to recommend the phones to you.

The newest iPhones, the iPhone 14 series, came out in September 2021. As in recent years, Apple released more than one model in the same numerical sequence. The iPhone 14 represents the basic unit in the new top of Apple’s line. It will come in two screen sizes,  the iPhone 14 at 6.1” and the iPhone 14 Plus at 6.7”.  The Pro versions of the 14 add additional features and boost the price. The differences between the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max primarily relate to the size of the device and its screen (again 6.1” or 6.7”), although there are a few other differences. The specifications of the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus reflect virtually identical construction except for size and weight. The larger size also allows for the use of a larger battery in the Plus, giving you a little more operating time between charges.  The other difference is cost.  The Plus costs $100 more than the iPhone 14.