Which iPhone should you buy?

what to know

  • Determine your budget, storage capacity needs, hardware preferences, and the features you want.
  • The iPhone 15 Pro Max is the top model, with the biggest screen, best camera, and most impressive features.
  • Previous generations of iPhones were only a slight step down from their predecessors.

This article explains how to decide which iPhone is best for you among the iPhone models currently sold by Apple: iPhone 15 Pro Max, iPhone 15 Pro, iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14, iPhone 13, and iPhone SE (third generation).

We'll also look at older iPhone models currently only sold through Apple or third-party sellers: iPhone 14 Pro Max and iPhone 14 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Mini, iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 11 Pro, Pro Max and iPhone 11, iPhone XR and iPhone 8 and 8 Plus.

what we like
  • Brand new, powerful A17 chip.

  • Durable titanium design.

  • The thinnest bezels of any iPhone.

  • Professional camera system.

  • Convenient operation buttons.

what we don't like
  • A bit heavy.

  • Charging can be slow.

  • Color options are limited.

Who will want it : If having the coolest, most cutting-edge technology is important to you, the iPhone 15 Pro series is your only choice.

Noteworthy specs : The iPhone 15 Pro Max and iPhone 15 Pro have most of the same features. The series features dynamic islands, always-on technology, programmable operation buttons and the powerful new A17 chip to keep operation fast and efficient. Both models also feature a sturdy titanium body with the thinnest bezels of any iPhone, and feature a professional-grade ProMotion camera system with the longest optical zoom of any iPhone.

Bottom line : For users who want the latest and greatest from their iPhone, the iPhone 15 Pro series offers fast performance, highly durable design, and excellent camera technology upgrades.

what we like
  • Transition to USB-C.

  • Dynamic island technology.

  • Thinner construction.

  • Upgraded camera system.

  • Improved location lookup.

what we don't like
  • There are no promotions.

  • Colors limited.

  • Lack of always-on display.

Who's going to want it : If you don't need some of the premium features of the iPhone 15 Pro series, the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus offer most of the same features at a lower price.

Notable specs : Like all iPhone 15 Pro models, the base 6.1-inch iPhone 15 and 6.7-inch iPhone 15 Plus feature USB-C ports for charging and data transfer, Dynamic Island technology for real-time notifications, and improved SOS support and satellite roadside assistance. iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus also feature an improved 48MP camera and a 12MP telephoto lens with continuous zoom.

Bottom line : The iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus lack ProMotion and Always-On technology, but they have the same or nearly the same camera and design upgrades as the Pro models.

what we like
  • Always on display.

  • dynamic island

  • Extra battery life.

  • Improved professional-grade camera system.

what we don't like
  • Slightly heavier than iPhone 13 Pro.

  • It's not a huge leap compared to the iPhone 13.

  • Use lightning connector.

Who will want it : Older-generation iPhone users looking for improvements in camera and overall performance will find the iPhone 14 Pro Max and iPhone 14 Pro very popular.

Notable specs : iPhone 14 Pro Max and iPhone 14 Pro come with some big changes compared to the iPhone 13 Pro: Both introduce an A16 chip, always-on displays, dynamic islands for interactive alerts, and 48MP camera systems — —A huge improvement over the iPhone 13 Pro. 12MP iPhone 13 Pro system. The iPhone 14 Pro series also offers an hour more video playback time than the iPhone 13 Pro, as well as new emergency features such as collision detection and SOS via satellite.

Bottom line : While the iPhone 14 Pro series isn't all that different from the iPhone 13 Pro series, it does offer notable camera and chip upgrades.

Apple discontinued the iPhone 14 Pro Max and iPhone 14 Pro after the release of the iPhone 15 series.

what we like
  • New emergency function.

  • action mode.

  • Up to 26 hours of video playback.

  • 4K video in cinema mode.

what we don't like
  • Compared to the iPhone 13, there are few major upgrades.

  • Some people don't like the lack of physical SIM card support.

Who will want it : Older iPhone users looking for more of the latest features at a lower price may find a compromise with the iPhone 14 or iPhone 14 Plus.

Notable specs : Both the 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Plus and the 6.1-inch iPhone 14 feature an A15 Bionic chip and several emergency tool enhancements like collision detection, emergency SOS, and satellite roadside assistance. These models also feature action mode for more stable video shooting, up to 4K quality in movie mode, and support for 26 hours (iPhone 14 Plus) and 20 hours (iPhone 14) of video playback.

Bottom line : The iPhone 14 Plus and iPhone 14 don't have any more features than the iPhone 13, but the improved cameras could make a difference for older iPhone owners looking to upgrade.

what we like
  • Battery life is up to 30 hours.

  • Amazing camera technology.

  • High refresh rate.

  • The picture is clear and bright.

what we don't like
  • Lack of expandable storage space.

  • Lack of volume quality at higher volumes.

  • Big and heavy.

Who's going to want it : Both iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max offer Apple's TrueTone color management system, making them a great choice for artists, content creators, and heavy users.

Noteworthy specs : iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max feature incredible cameras, long battery life, and the A15 Bionic chip. The 13 Pro has a 6.1-inch screen, while the Pro Max has a 6.7-inch display with a resolution of 2,778 x 1,284 pixels. Both models have noticeably brighter screens than previous models and feature ProMotion displays, which means higher refresh rates.

Bottom line : iPhone 13 Pro or Pro Max will let you enjoy a gorgeous screen experience where animations and graphics (even everyday images) are smooth and clear.

When the iPhone 14 series debuted, Apple removed the iPhone 13 Pro Max and iPhone 13 Pro from its stores.

what we like
  • Improved performance and battery life.

  • Excellent camera.

  • Best value for money.

  • 5G connectivity.

what we don't like
  • The smaller notch isn't very useful.

  • Charging times are slower than some competitors.

  • Compared to the iPhone 12, this isn't a major update.

Who's going to want it : iPhone 13 offers improvements over previous models in storage, performance, battery life, and camera, making it a great device for those looking for an impressive phone at a reasonable price A smart choice for people with high-end smartphones.

Noteworthy specs : The iPhone 13 contains the same A15 Bionic chip as the 13 Pro and Pro Max. iPhone 13 also features a 6.1-inch OLED Super Retina XDR display with a resolution of 2532 x 1170 pixels, support for 5G connectivity, and dual cameras with 12MP ultra-wide and wide-angle lenses.

Bottom line : The iPhone 13 is a gorgeous device that offers many of the benefits of its souped-up Pro and Pro Max siblings, but at a lower price and smaller size that will appeal to the masses.

what we like
  • Compact and lightweight.

  • Durable, the screen is scratch-proof, dust-proof and waterproof.

  • The three cameras offer excellent photo and video quality.

what we don't like
  • There is no 120Hz refresh rate.

  • Does not ship with charger.

  • Battery life is lower than iPhone 13.

Who's going to want it : With its compact, lightweight, and durable design, the iPhone 13 Mini is an excellent choice for those who want the benefits of a flagship phone in a compact form factor.

Noteworthy specs : The iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Mini share many key features, including the same A15 Bionic chip. The 13 and Mini also share OLED Super Retina XDR displays, 5G connectivity, and dual cameras with 12MP ultra-wide and wide-angle lenses. While the iPhone Mini's battery life is rated at 17 hours of video playback, it's lower than the iPhone 13's 19 hours.

Obviously, the Mini is smaller, with a 5.4-inch display and a resolution of 2340 x 1080 pixels. It's thin and light, which many consumers prefer over bulkier phones.

Bottom line : Users who don't mind shorter battery life and prioritize portability and affordability will love the iPhone 13 Mini.

Apple discontinued the iPhone 13 Mini in September 2023 when the iPhone 15 was launched.

what we like
  • Supports 5G connectivity.

  • Use a physical SIM card or eSIM.

  • Battery life has improved over the previous generation.

  • Affordable and powerful.

what we don't like
  • Small screen.

  • The refresh rate is not fast.

  • The image is darker in low light conditions.

Who's going to want it : Apple's third-generation iPhone SE is an excellent choice for those who want an iPhone at an affordable price (starting at $429).

Notable specs : The iPhone SE has a 4.7-inch display and includes a Home button like previous versions, while improving battery life and supporting 5G connectivity. iPhone SE is powered by the same A15 Bionic chip as the flagship iPhone 13 series, powering the small device without slowing down tasks like multitasking, editing images, and opening apps.

Bottom line : For a 5G iPhone on a budget, the iPhone Mini is hard to beat, delivering the features and capabilities of a more expensive phone in a compact size.

what we like
  • Updated design compared to older models.

  • The advantage of the new iPhone is that it is more affordable.

  • The camera is significantly improved compared to the iPhone 11.

what we don't like
  • Battery life isn't too great.

  • The screen is only 60Hz.

  • Does not come with charger.

Who's going to want it : When the iPhone 12 and 12 Mini launched in 2020, they were Apple's flagship devices, bringing a radical design to the iPhone lineup. Today, they remain an excellent choice for those who want a mid-range iPhone at an affordable price.

Notable specs : The iPhone 12 has a 6.1-inch screen with a 2532 x 1170 resolution, while the 12 Mini has a 5.4-inch screen with a 2430 x 1080 resolution. The iPhone 12 succeeds 2019's iPhone 11, while the 12 Mini marks the smallest iPhone yet. Both devices feature an A14 chip, HDR support, vibrant colors, tactile touch, and True Tone, which adjusts the color of the display based on ambient light.

Bottom line : The iPhone 12 offers many of the benefits of the newer iPhone 13 series at a more affordable price.

Apple discontinued the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max shortly after launching the iPhone 13 series.

what we like
  • Supports Face ID and NFC.

  • It's affordable while being feature-packed and powerful.

  • Battery life is on par with the iPhone 12.

what we don't do
  • Looks dated.

  • No 5G connection.

Who would want it : If you don't mind your iPhone looking and using a little dated, don't need 5G connectivity, and aren't too concerned about durability, the iPhone 11 could be a good, affordable option.

Noteworthy specs : iPhone 11 debuts an edge-to-edge OLED HDR screen (5.8 inches), a triple-camera system, and enhanced IP68 water resistance. Additionally, it launched the next-generation Face ID recognition system for unlocking iPhones and confirming Apple Pay transactions. It also uses the A13 Bionic chip and supports NFC (Near Field Communication).

Bottom line : Take a look at what the iPhone 12 and 13 series have to offer, and decide what you can live without. If the 11 fits your needs and budget, it's worth it.

Apple discontinued the iPhone 11 after the release of the iPhone 14 series.

what we like
  • Has many features of iPhone 11.

  • The camera has been improved upon from earlier versions.

  • Battery life is longer than its predecessor.

what we don't like
  • The maximum storage capacity is 256 GB.

  • The waterproof function is less effective.

Apple doesn't currently offer the iPhone XR. However, you may be able to find it refurbished or through a third-party reseller.

iPhone XR has the following features:

  • Screen : 6.1-inch edge-to-edge LCD.
  • Battery life : Its battery life is several hours longer than its predecessor, the XS.
  • camera . The camera is improved over previous versions.
  • Most important iPhone 11 features: iPhone XR offers Face ID, wireless charging options, and other iPhone 11 features.

With the arrival of the iPhone 13 series, the iPhone XR will withdraw from the official iPhone product line in 2021.

what we like
  • The Retina display looks great.

  • Many features are the same as XR.

what we don't like
  • No Face ID.

  • The screen is not OLED or edge-to-edge, and it doesn't support HDR.

Apple does not currently offer the iPhone 8 Plus. You may be able to find a refurbished product or find it through a third-party reseller.

iPhone 8 Plus has the following features:

  • Many iPhone XR features : iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone XR share many of the same features.
  • Touch ID : Apple's second-generation fingerprint scanning technology is built into the 8 Series. It doesn't have Face ID.

what we like
  • Has many of the features of the 8 Plus.

  • The screen size is good.

what we don't like
  • Doesn't bring any cutting-edge features.

  • The screen is three-quarters of an inch smaller than the 8 Plus.

Apple doesn't offer the iPhone 8 yet. You may be able to find a refurbished product or find it through a third-party reseller.

iPhone 8 has the following features:

  • Features are nearly identical to the 8 Plus : the two phones are identical in terms of storage options, processor, wireless charging, 3D Touch, Touch ID, NFC and Apple Pay support, and Apple Watch compatibility.
  • The screen is nice : The iPhone 8 has a 4.7-inch screen. While it's not as big as the 8 Plus and much smaller than the XR or 11 Pro, it's a good size for many users.

Apple discontinued the iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone 8 in April 2020.

The general rule when buying technology is to buy the best equipment you can afford. This is certainly true when deciding which iPhone to buy.

If you can afford the iPhone 13 series, these devices will offer the best performance and features and retain their value longer than older devices. If you're more price-conscious, the latest older iPhone models offer great features at a lower price.

For a quick comparison of features and prices across all current models, check out this chart.

Scroll right at the bottom of the table as needed to see more phones.

iPhone 15 Pro Max 256GB/ 512GB/1TB iPhone 15 Pro 128GB/ 256GB/ 512GB/1TB iPhone 15 Plus 128GB/ 256GB/ 512GB iPhone 15 128GB/ 256GB/ 512GB iPhone 14 Plus 128GB/ 256GB/ 512GB iPhone 14 128GB/ 256GB/ 512GB iPhone 13 128GB/256GB/512GB iPhone SE third generation 64MB/128MB/256MB
Screen size (inches) 6.7 inches 6.1 inches 6.7 inches 6.1 inches 6.7 inches 6.1 inches 6.1 inches 4.7 inches
solve 2796x1290 pixels 2556x1179 pixels 2796x1290 pixels 2556x1179 pixels 2778x1284 pixels 2532x1170 pixels 2532 x 1170 pixels 1,334 x 750 pixels
full screen Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
OLED screen Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
HDR screen Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
tactile touch Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
processor A17 Pro chip A17 Pro chip A16 bionic chip A16 bionic chip A15 bionic chip A15 bionic chip A15 bionic chip A15 bionic chip
5G support Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
carrier AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon
Dual SIM card support eSIM only eSIM only eSIM only eSIM only eSIM only eSIM only Yes Yes
Global Positioning System Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
maximum. operating system iOS 17 OS 17 OS 17 iOS 17 iOS 17 iOS 17 iOS 17 iOS 17
Camera (megapixels) 48MP main camera, 12MP ultra-wide angle, 12MP 2x telephoto, 12MP 5x telephoto 48MP main camera, 12MP ultra-wide angle, 12MP 2x telephoto, 12MP 3x telephoto 12MP main camera, 12MP ultra-wide angle, 12MP 2x telephoto, 12MP TrueDepth 12MP main camera, 12MP ultra-wide angle, 12MP 2x telephoto, 12MP TrueDepth 12MP main camera, 12MP ultra-wide-angle camera, 12MP true depth camera 12MP main camera, 12MP ultra-wide-angle camera, 12MP true depth camera 2 cameras with 12-megapixel wide-angle and ultra-wide-angle lenses 1 12-megapixel camera
wide angle and telephoto Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
super wide angle Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Record video Cinema mode up to 4K HDR (30 fps), 4K recording up to 4K (60 fps) Cinema mode up to 4K HDR (30 fps), 4K recording up to 4K (60 fps) Cinema mode up to 4K HDR (30 fps), 4K recording up to 4K (60 fps) Cinema mode up to 4K HDR (30 fps), 4K recording up to 4K (60 fps) Cinema mode up to 4K HDR (30 fps), 4K recording up to 4K (60 fps) Cinema mode up to 4K HDR (30 fps), 4K recording up to 4K (60 fps) Cinema mode 1080p, 30 fps, Dolby Vision HDR video recording up to 4K, 60 fps 4K video recording up to 60 fps
On-site photos Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
portrait mode Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Video conversation Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Touch ID Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
face recognition Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
near field communication Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Xili Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Waterproof and dustproof Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
weight 7.81 ounces 6.6 ounces 7.09 ounces 6.02 ounces 7.16 oz. 6.07 ounces 6.14 ounces 5.09 ounces
size 6.29x3.02 inches 5.77x2.78 inches 6.33 x 3.06 inches 5.81 x 2.82 inches 6.33 x 3.07 inches 5.78 x 2.82 inches 5.78 x 2.82 inches 5.45 x 2.65 inches
Wireless charging Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Battery life in hours Up to 29 hours of video playback Up to 23 hours of video playback Up to 26 hours of video playback Up to 20 hours of video playback Up to 26 hours of video playback Up to 20 hours of video playback Up to 19 hours of video playback Up to 15 hours of video playback
color Black titanium, white titanium, blue titanium, natural titanium Black titanium, white titanium, blue titanium, natural titanium Black, blue, green, yellow, pink Black, blue, green, yellow, pink midnight, starlight, blue, purple, yellow, red midnight, starlight, blue, purple, yellow, red green, pink, blue, midnight, starlight, red midnight, starlight, red
starting price $1199 $999 $899 $799 $899 $799 $829 $479
FAQ
  • There are several excellent free music apps for iPhone. Some of the best include Spotify, Pandora, and iHeartRadio.

  • The best color is a matter of opinion. However, Pacific Blue seems to be the most popular iPhone. Silver and graphite colors are also favorites among iPhone users.

  • There are several excellent GPS apps for iPhone available, and the one that's best for you depends on the features you need. For example, Google Maps is very accurate and easy to use. Apple Maps is part of the iOS operating system and is immediately available to iPhone users.