1. Submerge It in Up to 6 Meters of Water (All Models)
Until the late-2020 models came out, Apple's IP68 rating (under IEC standard 60529) for dust and water resistance only rated the iPhone up to a depth of four meters (or 13 feet) for up to 30 minutes. While the IP68 rating has stayed the same on the iPhone 12, 12 mini, 12 Pro, and 12 Pro Max, the maximum depth rose to six meters (almost 20 feet) during the same time period.
Two meters may not sound like much, but it can make or break your iPhone if you accidentally drop your iPhone in a swimming pool, lake, or even the ocean. Apple doesn't recommend swimming with or intentionally dunking your iPhone underwater (even though tests show it can handle it just fine), and its warranties don't cover water damage, so you're on your own if you decide to scuba dive in shallow waters or shoot time-lapse underwater videos. Chlorine and saltwater can ruin the iPhone's finish, so that's always a risk you take as well.
2. Measure Someone's Height (Pro Models Only)
Since the 12 Pro models have lidar scanners, sensors that no other iPhone models have, they can determine the distance away from you and items in front of your rear camera system more accurately. The lidar scans the environment with short bursts of laser pulses, creating a depth map that the Measure app can use to help determine distances, heights, widths, and other measurements more precisely. Because of that, Apple has built-in a people-detector into the Measure app that lets you instantly get a person's height whether they're standing or seated.
3. Record HDR Videos with Dolby Vision
All of the new iPhones can shoot videos in HDR with Dolby Vision. I'm sure you all know what HDR means (high-dynamic range) and how it works for photos, and it works very much the same way for videos. Bringing that to the iPhone is a feat in itself. But Apple went a step further with Dolby Vision, a mastering and delivery format that gives you more control over color grading each frame — right from the Photos app (and other compatible editing apps).
For more information on what HDR with Dolby Vision is and what it means for your video recordings, check out our full explainer.
4. Use 5G Cellular Data Networks
In all four models, there is 5G support. So if you have the right carrier and are in the right spot, you can get faster speeds and less latency in the U.S. There are some important things to note about it, though. For example, you can't use 5G if you have two active cellular plans at the same time. For another, if you can use 5G, iOS will only use it when it thinks it's necessary, so you could be using LTE even if it says 5G in the status bar. You can change your settings to use 5G always, but that could drain your battery.
Image via apple
5. Connect Magnetic Accessories
The whole iPhone 12 lineup comes equipped with MagSafe, a circular magnetic array under the rear glass, which lets you connect MagSafe-compatible accessories. For wireless charging, it helps maximize the charging time by ensuring the charger is aligned perfectly each time. As for other accessories, you can attach magnetic wallets, magnetic mounts, magnetic cold shoes, and more. Connecting accessories has never been easier on the iPhone.
6. Shoot in Apple ProRAW Format (Pro Models Only)
You could shoot in RAW before with third-party apps, but the iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max up the ante with Apple ProRAW. According to Apple's Senior Manager of Camera Software Engineering, it "provides many of the benefits of [Apple's] multi-frame image processing and computational photography, like Deep Fusion and Smart HDR, and combines them with the depth and flexibility of a raw format."
Image via Apple
So think of ProRAW as a deep image file that has multiple layers, such as exposures, highlights, dynamic range, channels, tone maps, white balance, sharpening, etc. That means many of Apple's computational choices that happen in the CPU, GPU, ISP, and Neural Engine can be adjusted after the fact by you manually. Edits can be done in the Photos app or compatible photo-editing software.