Apple A12

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Apple A12 Bionic
Apple A12.jpg
General information
LaunchedSeptember 12, 2018; 3 years ago (2018-09-12)
Designed byApple Inc.
Common manufacturer(s)
Product codeAPL1W81[2]
Max. CPU clock rateto 2.49[3] GHz
L1 cache128 KB instruction, 128 KB data
L2 cache8 MB
Architecture and classification
Min. feature size7 nm[4][5]
Microarchitecture"Vortex" and "Tempest"
Instruction setAarch64; ARMv8.3-A
Physical specifications
  • 6.9 billion
GPU(s)Apple-designed 4 core "Apple G11P"[4][6]
Products, models, variants
PredecessorApple A11
SuccessorApple A13

The Apple A12 Bionic is a 64-bit ARM-based system on a chip (SoC) designed by Apple Inc.[7] It first appeared in the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR in 2018, the 2019 versions of the iPad Air and iPad Mini, the 8th generation iPad, and the 2021 version of the Apple TV 4K.[7][5] Apple states that the two high-performance cores are 15% faster and 50% more energy-efficient than the Apple A11's, and the four high-efficiency cores use 50% less power than the A11's.[7][6] It is the first mass-market system on a chip to be built on the 7 nm node.[8]


The Apple A12 SoC features an Apple-designed 64-bit ARMv8.3-A six-core CPU, with two high-performance cores called Vortex, running at 2.49 GHz, and four energy-efficient cores called Tempest.[4][5] The Vortex cores are a 7-wide decode out-of-order superscalar design, while the Tempest cores are a 3-wide decode out-of-order superscalar design. Like the A11's Mistral cores, the Tempest cores are based on Apple's Swift cores from the Apple A6.[9]

The A12 also integrates an Apple-designed four-core graphics processing unit (GPU) with 50% faster graphics performance than the A11.[4][7] The A12 includes dedicated neural network hardware that Apple calls a "Next-generation Neural Engine."[10] This neural network hardware has eight cores[6] and can perform up to 5 trillion 8-bit operations per second.[4][5] Unlike the A11's Neural Engine, third party apps can access the A12's Neural Engine.[11]

The A12 is manufactured by TSMC[1] using a 7 nm[5] FinFET process, the first to ship in a consumer product,[4][1] containing 6.9 billion transistors.[1] The die size of the A12 is 83.27 mm2, 5% smaller than the A11.[12] It is manufactured in a package on package (PoP) together with 4 GiB of LPDDR4X memory in the iPhone XS[2] and XS Max[12] and 3 GB of LPDDR4X memory in the iPhone XR, the iPad Air (2019), the 5th generation iPad mini, and the iPad (2020).[13] The ARMv8.3 instruction set it supports brings a significant security improvement in the form of pointer authentication, which mitigates exploitation techniques such as those involving memory corruption, Jump-Oriented-Programming, and Return-Oriented-Programming.[14]

The support of Codecs by decoding and encoding is extended to HEVC 264, 265 (8/10bit), VP 8, VP9 and JPEG. AVC and VC1 are available for decoding. AV1 is not supported by hardware. [15]

Die Block Comparison (mm²)[16]
SoC A12 (7 nm) A11 (10 nm)
Total Die 83.27 87.66
Big Core 2.07 2.68
Small Core 0.43 0.53
CPU Complex (incl. cores) 11.90 14.48
GPU Core 3.23 4.43
GPU Total 14.88 15.28
NPU 5.79 1.83

Products that include the Apple A12 Bionic[edit]


Apple A12 SoC on iPhone XR main logic board.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Summers, Nick (September 12, 2018). "Apple's A12 Bionic is the first 7-nanometer smartphone chip". Engadget. Retrieved September 12, 2018.
  2. ^ a b "iPhone XS and XS Max Teardown". iFixit. September 21, 2018. Retrieved September 21, 2018.
  3. ^ "iPhone XS Benchmarks - Geekbench Browser". Geekbench. Retrieved September 22, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Smith, Ryan (September 12, 2018). "Apple Announces the 2018 iPhones: iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, & iPhone XR". AnandTech. Retrieved September 12, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d e "iPhone Xs and iPhone Xs Max bring the best and biggest displays to iPhone" (Press release). Apple. September 12, 2018. Retrieved September 12, 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d "A12 Bionic". Apple. September 12, 2018. Retrieved September 12, 2018.
  7. ^ a b c d "Apple introduces iPhone XR" (Press release). Apple. September 12, 2018. Retrieved September 12, 2018.
  8. ^ Shankland, Stephen. "Apple's A12 Bionic CPU for the new iPhone XS is ahead of the industry moving to 7nm chip manufacturing tech". CNET. Retrieved July 1, 2020.
  9. ^ Frumusanu, Andrei. "The iPhone XS & XS Max Review: Unveiling the Silicon Secrets". AnandTech. Retrieved January 27, 2019.
  10. ^ "iPhone XS - Technical Specification". Apple Inc. September 12, 2018. Retrieved September 12, 2018.
  11. ^ Frumusanu, Andrei (October 5, 2018). "The iPhone XS & XS Max Review: Unveiling the Silicon Secrets". AnandTech. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  12. ^ a b Yang, Daniel; Wegner, Stacy (September 21, 2018). "Apple iPhone Xs Max Teardown". TechInsights. Retrieved September 21, 2018.
  13. ^ "iPhone XR Teardown". iFixit. October 26, 2018. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
  14. ^ Levin, Jonathan (September 15, 2018). "iPhone Xs, Xr... And, one more thing..." Retrieved September 15, 2018.
  15. ^
  16. ^ Frumusanu, Andrei. "The iPhone XS & XS Max Review: Unveiling the Silicon Secrets". AnandTech. Retrieved February 2, 2019.