iPhone 12 doesn't have a 120Hz display after all: One potential reason why

Rumor had it that iPhone 12 Pro screens would double the refresh rate of the iPhone 11, but that isn't actually the case.

Alison DeNisco Rayome Managing Editor
Managing Editor Alison DeNisco Rayome joined CNET in 2019, and is a member of the Home team. She is a co-lead of the CNET Tips and We Do the Math series, and manages the Home Tips series, testing out new hacks for cooking, cleaning and tinkering with all of the gadgets and appliances in your house. Alison was previously an editor at TechRepublic.
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Alison DeNisco Rayome
2 min read

Turns out the iPhone 12 does not have a 120hz refresh rate.

Patrick Holland/CNET

The iPhone 12 is finally available, and we now know everything about the new phone's price, specs and 5G capabilities. Before it was unveiled at an Apple event in October, we saw speculation around whether the iPhone 12 (and the iPhone 12 Pro, Pro Max and Mini models) would have a 120Hz screen refresh rate -- double that of the iPhone 11. But as it turns out, that's not the case: The iPhone 12 variants all have a 60Hz screen refresh rate, matching the iPhone 11 display. 

The number of hertz a phone screen is able to display refers to its number of frames per second, which determines how fast and smooth the screen feels when you're scrolling through apps and web pages. It also affects how smooth supported games feel. 

Read more: iPhone 12 drop test results are in: Ceramic shield is as tough as it sounds

Most phones have a 60Hz refresh rate. But some higher-end models, including the Samsung Galaxy S20 and the OnePlus 8 Pro, have a rate of 120Hz, so it's surprising that Apple hasn't added it to its repertoire. On Twitter, tech analyst and leaker Jon Prosser claimed the decision not to implement 120Hz in the iPhone 12 pro was made due to battery life issues, since 5G drains so much battery on its own. 

The iPhone 12 Pro models were also rumored to have Apple's proprietary ProMotion display, which you can find in iPad Pro models. This technology dynamically adjusts the display to how content moves for more responsive, fluid scrolling. However, this rumor also proved to be untrue. 

For more, check out how to prepare your current phone before upgrading to the iPhone 12 and the main differences between the iPhone 11 and the iPhone 12.

Watch this: Our in-depth review of the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro