iPhone 12 versions: Which is the Best?

After reading my previous blog post explaining the differences between the various iPhone versions, a good number of readers reached out to me wanting to know exactly which version is the best. Before I get to my conclusion, let me briefly elaborate on the different iPhone versions.

In the United Arab Emirates, if you shop online for an iPhone 12, you’re going to get blown away by the ton of versions that are listed. International version, Middle east version, UAE version, Japan version, Hong Kong version, Dual Sim version, etc.

That can be pretty confusing for the average consumer. If you read until the end of this post, you would have a clear understanding of the different iPhone Models and iPhone versions. Then I will reveal which one is the best. So, let’s get started.

There are two main things that differentiate the iPhone versions. Their Model Numbers and Part Numbers. The model number designates the market region where Apple originally intended to sell it. Meanwhile, the part number indicates its storage capacity, color, and the specific country where Apple supplies it.

Also read
Japan iPhone official camera shutter sound Fix – iOS 15

You may watch the video format or continue reading the post below

What are the various iPhone 12 models?

First, let’s talk about iPhone 12 Models (Model numbers). Apple recognizes four main regions for the iPhone 12. The first region bears only one country, the USA. Region two comprises; Canada, Guam, Puerto Rico, and USVM.

Region three contains; China Mainland, Hong Kong, and Macao. Region four includes all other countries not included in the first three. The table below shows the various iPhone 12 models supplied by Apple to each region.

Region 1: United StatesRegion 2: Canada Guam Japan Puerto Rico USVIRegion 3: China Mainland, Hong Kong & MacaoRegion 4: All other countries
iPhone 12 Pro
Model A2341
iPhone 12 Pro
Model A2406
iPhone 12 Pro
Model A2408
iPhone 12 Pro
Model A2407
iPhone 12 Pro Max
Model A2342
iPhone 12 Pro Max
Model A2410
iPhone 12 Pro Max
Model A2412
iPhone 12 Pro Max
Model A2411
iPhone 12
Model A2172
iPhone 12
Model A2402
iPhone 12
Model A2404
iPhone 12
Model A2403
iPhone 12 mini
Model A2176
iPhone 12 mini
Model A2398
iPhone 12 mini
Model A2400
(China Mainland)
iPhone 12 mini
Model A2399
(HK & Macao)
iPhone 12 mini Model A2399
All iPhone 12 Regions and Model numbers

What’s an iPhone 12 version?

Now, let’s discuss iPhone 12 versions (Part Numbers). iPhones from countries grouped in the same region can have a matching model number but different part numbers. For example, the iPhone 12 Pro Max for Canada and Japan have the same model number A2410. But their part numbers are different.

As illustrated in the table below, the Part Number can be used to identify the exact storage capacity and color. It is also the only way to know from which country the iPhone originates.

iPhone 12 Pro Max Model Number A2410 Canadian vs Japanese versions

iPhone 12 Pro Max Canadian Version Part NumbersiPhone 12 Pro Max Japanese Version Part Numbers
128GB Graphite MGCU3VC/A128GB Graphite MGCU3J/A
256GB Graphite MGCY3VC/A256GB Graphite MGCY3J/A
512GB Graphite MGD33VC/A512GB Graphite MGD33J/A
128GB Silver MGCV3VC/A128GB Silver MGCV3J/A
256GB Silver MGD03VC/A256GB Silver MGD03J/A
512GB Silver MGD43VC/A512GB Silver MGD43J/A
128GB Gold MGCW3VC/A128GB Gold MGCW3J/A
256GB Gold MGD13VC/A256GB Gold MGD13J/A
512GB Gold MGD53VC/A512GB Gold MGD53J/A
128GB Pacific Blue MGCX3VC/A128GB Pacific Blue MGCX3J/A
256GB Pacific Blue MGD23VC/A256GB Pacific Blue MGD23J/A
512GB Pacific Blue MGD63VC/A512GB Pacific Blue MGD63J/A
iPhone 12 Pro Max Canadian version (left) versus Japanese version (right)

Click here, to check the model numbers and part numbers for any iPhone models. Before I draw my conclusion on which version is the best, let me briefly explain the differences between the various iPhone 12 versions listed on the market.

Also read:
How to check your iPhone’s Country of Origin?
Click here to check all iPhone Model Numbers.

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iPhone 12 unique version differences

The Japanese iPhone 12 version

Let’s start with the Japanese iPhone 12 version. It usually has the cheapest price. Not because it’s a bad model or has a lower quality. In fact, it has the same specs, build quality, and features as any other iPhone 12 model.

But apparently, the Japanese telecom authorities are very concerned about letting people know when someone is taking pictures around them with an iPhone. So they require Apple to make it impossible to turn off its camera shutter sound.

Because of that, most people are not interested in buying the Japanese iPhone 12. So to make it more appealing to consumers, sellers usually list it at a lower price.

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The Hong Kong iPhone 12 version 

Let’s move on to the Hong Kong iPhone 12 version. This is the model that Apple ships to China Mainland, Hong Kong, and Macao. When people hear the name Hong Kong, they get frightened since it’s closely associated with the term “Made in China”.

And I can’t blame them because for many years now, the phrase “made in china” has often been associated with low-quality products. For this reason, some sellers prefer not to mention the name “Hong Kong” in their iPhone 12 listing.

They’d rather call it the “HK version with Dual Physical Sim”, or simply the “Physical Dual Sim version”. Because it’s the only iPhone variant that has two physical nano sim card slots. All other versions can only support one nano sim plus an eSim.

But rest assured, there’s nothing fake about this model. Apple gave it the dual physical sim card support because it was meant to compete in the Chinese market, where other brands like One Plus, Huawei and Xiaomi, usually ship smartphones with that feature.

By the way, as I would explain a bit later in this post most iPhones are assembled in China. Even though Apple’s assemblers, Foxconn & Pegatron also have assembly plants in other countries such as India, Thailand, Malaysia, the Czech Republic, South Korea, Singapore, and the Philippines.

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The Middle East iPhone 12 version 

Next is the Middle East iPhone 12, which is the official model supplied by Apple to Middle Eastern countries. The most common ones found here are the UAE and Saudi Arabian versions. Several years ago, telecom authorities in the UAE and KSA, restricted Apple from shipping iPhones with FaceTime to their markets. 

For anyone who doesn’t know, FaceTime is Apple’s proprietary audio and video calling application available in iPhones, Macs, iPads, and the Apple Watch. In September 2017, the Saudi Government decided to end its FaceTime ban. So, Apple pushed the iOS 11.3 update which unlocked FaceTime in the KSA version of iPhones.

But facetime is still restricted in the UAE. However, ever since iOS 13.6 you can enable facetime in a UAE iPhone by simply changing the region in the phone settings to let’s say KSA or Egypt for example.

I made a whole video on this topic and I’ll link to it below, for anyone who’s interested. So in Dubai, if you buy an iPhone 12 listed as the “Middle East version with FaceTime”, you would most probably receive either a UAE or KSA model.

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Here’s how to enable facetime on a UAE iPhone version

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The International iPhone version 

And finally, the only version that doesn’t actually exist. I’m referring to the international version. I really don’t know how they came up with this name. Because there isn’t any model number that refers to a version that is supposed to be an “International Version”. 

So, why on earth is there a listing for it? Let me try to explain. Authorized iPhone resellers in the UAE like Jumbo, Emax, Sharaf Dg, etc, can only get their stock from Apple’s authorized suppliers. And the UAE authorized supplier can only supply the UAE version which is sometimes called the Middle east iPhone version. 

On the other hand, third-party sellers must not only get their stock from the authorized UAE supplier. They can import their iPhones from any country where they find them with a good profit margin.

As such, it would be very cumbersome if each listing had to include the name of the country from where each iPhone was imported. So, if an iPhone doesn’t come from either the Middle East, Japan, or Hong Kong, the sellers would likely categorize it as an “International Version”. Therefore, if you buy an iPhone 12 listed online as an “International Version”, you would probably receive a phone that was imported from either the USA, UK, Canada, etc. 

iPhone versions performance and build quality

One thing that people are usually mistaken about is that the various Phone 12 versions have a different build quality and performance. That’s incorrect because iPhones are designed, manufactured, and assembled using the same process. First, Apple makes a design in Cupertino California.

Then over 200 companies around the world use that design to manufacture the iPhones individual parts. They then ship the finished parts to Foxconn & Pegatron who assemble them into the iPhone. 

These assemblers have their largest assembly plants located in China. That’s why it’s very common to find iPhones with the statement “Designed by Apple in California, Assembled in China”. Even though iPhones are also assembled in several other countries apart from China.

Therefore, they all have the same build quality, parts, and performance. Only the Hong Kong version has a major physical difference, due to its dual sim card slots. I will later add a link here to a future post about how iPhones are made.

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iPhone 12 bandwidth version differences

However, there’s a slight difference between the various models in terms of the number of 5G and LTE bandwidths that they are capable of supporting. Using information obtained from Apple’s official website, I was able to create this chart that shows the different bandwidths supported by the various iPhone 12 models.

iPhone 12 5G Bandwidths

iPhone 12 5G Bandwidths

Region 1:
United States

A2341, A2342,
A2172, A2176
Region 2:
Canada, Guam,
Japan, USVI
Puerto Rico,

A2406, A2410,
A2402, A2398
Region 3:
China Mainland,
Hong Kong.
& Macao

A2408, A2412,
A2404, A2400,
A2399
Region 4:
All other
countries

A2407, A2411,
A2403, A2399
n1 (2100 MHz)n1 (2100 MHz)n1 (2100 MHz)n1 (2100 MHz)
n2 (1900 MHz)n2 (1900 MHz)n2 (1900 MHz)n2 (1900 MHz)
n3 (1800 MHz)n3 (1800 MHz)n3 (1800 MHz)n3 (1800 MHz)
n5 (850 MHz)n5 (850 MHz)n5 (850 MHz)n5 (850 MHz)
n7 (2600 MHz)n7 (2600 MHz)n7 (2600 MHz)n7 (2600 MHz)
n8 (900 MHz)n8 (900 MHz)n8 (900 MHz)n8 (900 MHz)
n12 (700 MHz)n12 (700 MHz)n12 (700 MHz)n12 (700 MHz)
n20 (800 DD)n20 (800 DD)n20 (800 DD)n20 (800 DD)
n25 (1900 MHz)n25 (1900 MHz)n25 (1900 MHz)n25 (1900 MHz)
n28 (700 APT)n28 (700 APT)n28 (700 APT)n28 (700 APT)
n38 (TD 2600)n38 (TD 2600)n38 (TD 2600)n38 (TD 2600)
n40 (TD 2300)n40 (TD 2300)n40 (TD 2300)n40 (TD 2300)
n41 (TD 2500)n41 (TD 2500)n41 (TD 2500)n41 (TD 2500)
n66 (AWS-3)n66 (AWS-3)n66 (AWS-3)n66 (AWS-3)
n71 (600 MHz)n71 (600 MHz)n/an/a
n77 (TD 3700)n77 (TD 3700)n77 (TD 3700)n77 (TD 3700)
n78 (TD 3500)n78 (TD 3500)n78 (TD 3500)n78 (TD 3500)
n79 (TD 4700)n79 (TD 4700)n79 (TD 4700)n79 (TD 4700)
n260 (39 GHz)n/an/an/a
n261 (28 GHz)n/an/an/a
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As shown in the table, the USA iPhone 12 supports the widest variety of 5G bandwidths. Followed by the Canadian version. Apart from these two all other models have the same 5G bandwidth compatibility. With regards to 4G or LTE, it’s the Canadian iPhone 12 that supports the widest variety, followed by the USA model, then all other versions.

iPhone 12 LTE Bandwidths

Region 1:
United States
Region 2:
Canada Guam,
Japan, Puerto Rico,
USVI
Region 3:
China Mainland,
Hong Kong,
& Macao
Region 4:
All other
countries
1 (2100 MHz)1 (2100 MHz)1 (2100 MHz)1 (2100 MHz)
2 (1900 MHz)2 (1900 MHz)2 (1900 MHz)2 (1900 MHz)
3 (1800 MHz)3 (1800 MHz)3 (1800 MHz)3 (1800 MHz)
4 (AWS)4 (AWS)4 (AWS)4 (AWS)
5 (850 MHz)5 (850 MHz)5 (850 MHz)5 (850 MHz)
7 (2600 MHz)7 (2600 MHz)7 (2600 MHz)7 (2600 MHz)
8 (900 MHz)8 (900 MHz)8 (900 MHz)8 (900 MHz)
n/a11 (1500 MHz)n/an/a
12 (700 MHz)12 (700 MHz)12 (700 MHz)12 (700 MHz)
13 (700c MHz)13 (700c MHz)13 (700c MHz)13 (700c MHz)
14 (700 PS)14 (700 PS)n/an/a
17 (700b MHz)17 (700b MHz)17 (700b MHz)17 (700b MHz)
18 (800 MHz)18 (800 MHz)18 (800 MHz)18 (800 MHz)
19 (800 MHz)19 (800 MHz)19 (800 MHz)19 (800 MHz)
20 (800 DD)20 (800 DD)20 (800 DD)20 (800 DD)
n/a21 (1500 MHz)n/an/a
25 (1900 MHz)25 (1900 MHz)25 (1900 MHz)25 (1900 MHz)
26 (800 MHz)26 (800 MHz)26 (800 MHz)26 (800 MHz)
28 (700 APT)28 (700 APT)28 (700 APT)28 (700 APT)
29 (700d MHz)29 (700d MHz)n/an/a
30 (2300 MHz)30 (2300 MHz)30 (2300 MHz)30 (2300 MHz)
32 (1500 L-band)32 (1500 L-band)32 (1500 L-band)32 (1500 L-band)
34 (TD 2000)34 (TD 2000)34 (TD 2000)34 (TD 2000)
38 (TD 2600)38 (TD 2600)38 (TD 2600)38 (TD 2600)
39 (TD 1900)39 (TD 1900)39 (TD 1900)39 (TD 1900)
40 (TD 2300)40 (TD 2300)40 (TD 2300)40 (TD 2300)
41 (TD 2500)41 (TD 2500)41 (TD 2500)41 (TD 2500)
42 (TD 3500)42 (TD 3500)42 (TD 3500)42 (TD 3500)
46 (TD Unlicensed)46 (TD Unlicensed)46 (TD Unlicensed)46 (TD Unlicensed)
48 (TD 3600)48 (TD 3600)48 (TD 3600)48 (TD 3600)
66 (AWS-3)66 (AWS-3)66 (AWS-3)66 (AWS-3)
71 (600 MHz)71 (600 MHz)n/an/a

Check iPhone 13 pro, 13 pro max, 13, & 13 mini model numbers here

iPhone 13 Mini model number check A2481, A2626, A2628, A2629, A2630
iPhone 13 model number check A2482, A2631, A2633, A2634, A2635
iPhone 13 Pro Max model number check A2484, A2641, A2643, A2644, A2645
iPhone 13 Pro Model Number Check A2483, A2636, A2638, A2639, A2640

Conclusion

Here’s how to get FaceTime on your UAE iPhone

What’s the best iPhone version to buy?

So what’s the best iPhone to buy? Well, that depends on your priority. If you want the finest 5G bandwidth compatibility, then the best choice is the USA version (A2341, A2342, A2172, A2176).

However, if you live in a country where LTE is still the mainstream, then the Canadian version has the widest range of LTE bandwidths and should be the most convenient (A2406, A2410, A2402, A2398 Click here for Part Numbers). 

If you want an i Phone 12 that can use two physical sim cards at the same time, then the only option is the Hong Kong version (A2408, A2412, A2404, A2400, A2399). The Japanese iPhone 12 is recommendable to people on a tight budget because it’s usually the cheapest version. But make sure you don’t mind its camera shutter sound because it can’t be turned off.

Just make sure that wherever you buy your iPhone the seller should provide at least a one-year warranty. Also, if you’re planning to use the phone in a different country, always confirm that the iPhone is unlocked.

Because if the phone is locked to a specific carrier, then it won’t be possible to use it in another country with a different carrier. Thanks for reading to the end and I hope you found this post helpful.

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New iPhone 13 best deals UAE
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