Best iPhone : Which Apple Phone Is For You
Our ranking of the best iPhones you can buy right now
All four handsets include more powerful chipsets, better battery life, along with new camera features. The Pro models also have 120Hz displays for the first time on an iPhone. That might not be the biggest upgrade ever but it still means it’s likely to rank high on our list.
It’s still worth considering an older model though despite the allure of the iPhone 13 range. Apple keeps its phones updated for years, so they remain viable for a long time, and if you’re looking to save money then an older iPhone might be a great choice for you.
With Apple’s phones often being expensive, cost is one of the main things to think about when buying. Look not just at what you can afford but also at what you’ll gain by moving to a more powerful model. Do you really need a bigger screen or more cameras? The answer will be different for everyone.
To simplify things, we’ve included a full specs list and overview for all the best iPhones below. At a glance, you can see which is the one for you.
Of course, if youre not set on an Apple phone specifically then there are loads of other options. We’ve got guides to the best smartphones, the best Android phones, the best cheap phones and many more.
Best Entry Level: Apple iPhone Xr
Single-lens camera system
Older A12 chip
When it was first released two years ago, Apple’s iPhone XR quickly became not just the most popular iPhone ever, but the best-selling smartphone on the planet by a pretty big margin, thanks to delivering the same basic specs as Apple’s premium iPhone models at a price tag that was within the reach of many more customers. It was lauded by reviewers as the iPhone most people should buy, and began a journey that’s ultimately led to this year’s iPhone 12, which is even closer to Apple’s much more expensive flagship lineup.
The iPhone XR has become such a hit that Apple is still selling it two years later. While it’s now the oldest iPhone in Apple’s lineup, it’s no slouch thanks to its powerful A12 Bionic CPU, which offers performance that still runs rings around many competing smartphones. While it’s still not the most inexpensive iPhone in Apple’s lineupthat distinction belongs to the newer second-generation iPhone SEit’s actually a great option for those who want to take advantage of newer features like Face ID, the edge-to-edge display, and the front TrueDepth camera at a much lower cost of entry.
Apple’s iPhone 12 continues the tradition of being the ideal iPhone for most folks, especially with the addition of an OLED display and advanced 5G technology, but if you’re looking for something to do serious photography, the iPhone 12 Pro is still the iPhone to buy thanks to its triple-lens camera system.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Which iPhone has the best camera?A: The best iPhone camera at the moment is the one on the back of the iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max. You can pick whichever one you like as the camera systems are the same on each.
Q: Which iPhone has the best battery life?A: Technically, the battery in the iPhone 13 Pro Max is the biggest of all iPhones, so it has some of the best battery life weve seen yet from the line. However, smaller iPhones with weaker specs and less power-hungry displays can also have stellar battery life, so dont always think bigger is better.
Q: When is the best time to buy an iPhone?A: The best time to buy an iPhone is when the newest ones launch, usually in September. Carriers will usually have deals related to the new iPhones, and Apple will simultaneously start discounting older iPhones. However, weve begun to see carriers hold their deals for months following launch.
Q: When will the next iPhone come out?A: The next flagship iPhone will likely be the iPhone 14. We dont expect it until September 2022. However, Apple could launch a new version of the iPhone SE before then, likely sometime in early 2022.
Q: Which iPhone is best for kids?A: If you have a responsible kid and know theyll take care of it, the iPhone 13 Mini would be a great option. However, if that seems too expensive, the iPhone 11 or SE are cheaper options.
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Get The Most Speed And Power You Can Afford
Every year brings faster and more powerful iPhones. If you tend to play a lot of games or even surf a lot of image-heavy web pages, a faster processor is better.
We expect a 15% to 20% jump in overall performance, including web browsing performance, for each new generation of Apple’s A-series chips. There’s not that big a difference between the A13 and the A14 , but there’s a huge difference between either of those and the A9 .
Best Last Generation iPhone For Most People
Processor: Apple A14 | Display Size: 6.1 inches | Storage Options: 64GB/128GB/256GB | Rear Cameras: Two 12MP | Front Camera: 12MP f/2.2 | Colors: Black, White, PRODUCT , Green, Blue | Size: 146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4mm | Weight: 164g | Starting Price: $699
Like the updated 13th generation, the Apple iPhone 12 offers the exact same 6.1-inch display size seen on the iPhone 12 Pro. However, without the added benefit of ProMotion on this previous generation’s Pro version, it’s an even closer competitor to its much more expensive counterpart.
Also like the iPhone 13, the iPhone 12 drops a single camera and LiDAR support as some of its very few concessions.
The iPhone 12 was the most popular choice of its generation for the masses who may not need the higher-end cameras found in the Pro models, and it continues to be a great option for users now wishing to save money by opting for its one year-old, but still excellent internals and specs.
See our full review: iPhone 12 review
The iPhone 12 also starts at a measly 64GB of storage so you will have to pay a bit extra to pick up the 128GB or 256GB models. Thankfully, it is only $50 for the 128GB option that I highly recommend for people who use their phone as their photo or video camera.
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Best Flagship iPhone: iPhone 13 Pro Max
If you want the absolute latest and biggest from Apple, then the iPhone 13 Pro Max is your de-facto choice. While it doesnt look too different from the iPhone 12 Pro Max, there are worthy upgrades once you put the phone to the test. The screen refreshes at twice the speed, for example , the main and ultra-wide camera sensors are larger, and the latter got a faster aperture to boot. What this means is the iPhone 13 Pro Max is noticeably better than the iPhone 12 Pro Max in low-light photography. Where previous-gen iPhones need to resort to night mode, the iPhone 13 Pro Max can just grab the shot straight up.
The iPhone 13 Pro Max also sees an improved telephoto camera that can produce 3x optical zoom shots, and maximum zoom up to 15x. While long zooms , the iPhone 13 Pro Max still falls short of what the top Android phones can do, we think the iPhone 13 Pro Max may have the best 3x zoom lens on the market right now. We also think 3x is a more ideal short zoom length than 2x or 4x .
And because the iPhone 13 Pro Max is huge, Apple managed to throw in a sizable battery too, and the result is the best battery life in a flagship phone weve tested all year. The iPhone 13 Pro Max, even with ProMotion 120Hz refresh rate, can last a full 12-hour day out and come home with like 40-50% battery. This is the first iPhone to not give some of us at XDA battery anxiety in years.
Best Big Premium iPhone
Pros: Supreme battery life, excellent cameras, excellent performance, 120Hz variable refresh rate screen, ceramic shield glass is very scratch resistant
Cons: Pricey, no fast charger included
One of the best things that Apple did with the iPhone 13 Pro series is giving both Pro models the same set of features instead of giving the Pro Max model the full gamut that Apple has to offer .
The iOS interface, apps, games, and video look stunning on the iPhone 13 Pro Max‘s screen, simply by virtue of its large size. It’s the same reason why videos and games look more impressive on a bigger TV. The bigger screen and the incredible battery life make a perfect combo, because streaming video and playing games on phones uses up more battery power.
Other than that, you’re getting the same excellent performance, camera quality, and ultra-premium 120Hz screen as the iPhone 13 Pro. Just note that the iPhone 13 Pro Max is rather heavy for a phone at 240 grams.
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The Biggest Screen The Longest
The iPhone 13 Pro Max has the largest screen of any iPhone, its battery lasts longer, and its cameras are higher quality than those of the iPhone 13 and 13 mini. It may be a little faster for some graphics-heavy tasks, but otherwise it matches the rest of the iPhone 13 family in features and speed.
iPhone 1: Best For Those Who Like Simplicity
The two major Pro aspects of the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max are the triple-lens camera system and 120Hz display. When you take these two aspects away, youre left with the vanilla model, which is the .
The iPhone 13 has just two lenses on the rear: a wide and an ultrawide. It also has a standard 60Hz display refresh rate, which will prevent you from getting that silky smooth feel a 120Hz rate offers.
If you like the iPhone 13 Pro’s size but not its price, this is a good option.
There are a few other trade-offs, such as the inability to shoot ProRAW footage, no Night Mode portraits, and the lack of a 1TB storage option. All in all, though, the iPhone 13 is an excellent option for people who want a terrific iPhone but dont need all the fancy photography features of the Pro models.
Going this route saves you a lot of cash. The vanilla iPhone 13 starts at $799 for the 128GB model. The most youll spend on an iPhone 13 is $1,099, which is for the 512GB variant.
- Fewer features as compared to Pro models
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The Best iPhone To Buy In 202: Which Should You Buy
Youre spoiled for choice if youre about to buy a new iPhone, as Apples iPhone 13 range is incredibly varied, with four different models to choose from currently. Which one is right for you? Our top pick is the iPhone 13 Pro, which is also currently at the top of our overall list of the best smartphones. This fact alone should give you a good idea of how highly weve rated Apples latest Pro phone.
Once youre ready to pick up your new iPhone, take a good look at our list of iPhone deals to see if you can save some money, and also check all our latest smartphone deals, too. Want to see what Android has to offer? Here are the best Android phones you can buy for comparison.
- No USB-C
- Not all third-party apps are optimized for higher refresh screen
Why you should buy this: The iPhone 13 Pro contains the newest Apple chip and the best camera system, but its still reasonably priced.
Who its for: Anyone who wants the best Apple phone currently available.
In addition to being faster and more powerful, the iPhone 13 Pro also has exemplary battery life. In our review, it showed it had the capability to stretch to two days, eradicating battery anxiety. The iPhone 13 Pros design isnt all that different when compared to the previous model in the series, though it has some subtle differences. The camera bump is larger and the notch is smaller, and the phone also comes in a Sierra Blue color option in addition to graphite, gold, and silver.
Best Cheap iPhone In 2021
The iPhone SE is the best iPhone to buy if you’re looking to save a little money, but not compromise on speed or functionality. With most of the features of Apple’s newest flagship onboard, it has a lot to offer both people looking to upgrade an older iPhone and people looking for their first iPhone.
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The Best Used iPhone For Young Professionals
So you have a ton of meetings to go to and things to do, and you need a phone that can keep up with your lifestyle. I would suggest the used & refurbished iPhone X because its sleek, quick, and still cutting edge. So whatever projects youre working on, a refurbished iPhone can get the job done and does something good for the planet at the same time. So simply get your cheap deal at Back Market, no more need to wait for Black Friday deals!
At the time of writing, I found one for under $400, which is pretty ridiculous because this looks and feels like the iPhone 11 Pro which is currently being sold for over $1,000. Also, when this was released in 2017, it retailed for $1,000. Yo, I don’t mean to sound churchy, but is Back Market a gift from heaven?
How To Choose The Best Smartphone For You
- Android or iPhone? Android phones give you more choice in terms of price, size and innovative designs. However, iPhones offer speedier software updates, better games and apps and better security and privacy. See our iPhone vs Android face-off.
- Unlocked or carrier? Most shoppers in the U.S. buy new phones through their wireless carrier. But an unlocked phone gives you the freedom to buy the device without any sort of contract and then bring it to the provider you want to use.
- Screen size: If you’re looking for a big phone, 6 inches and up is a good place to start. The biggest phones are 6.5 to 6.8 inches. If you want something you can easily use with one hand, go with one of the best small phones with a screen under 6 inches.
- Cameras: Don’t pay attention to the megapixel count. Instead, look at camera face-offs between phones to see the photo quality and look for special features like Night Mode to get better quality in low light. Also see our best camera phone roundup.
- Battery life: Generally, phones with larger batteries offer the longest battery life, but that’s not always the case. That’s why we run our own battery test.
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The iPhone Lineup Something For Everyone
I can sit here and talk about each iPhone Apple released in 2020 forever, but what excites me the most about the iPhone is taking a step back and looking at the entire lineup Apple currently sells. That lineup looks like this:
- iPhone SE : $399
- iPhone 12 Pro: $999
- iPhone 12 Pro Max: $1,099
There are seven iPhones currently on sale, and a ton of different price points, features, compromises, and choices to be made if you’re in the market for a new iPhone. From the budget-friendly small but mighty iPhone SE all the way to the mammoth that is the iPhone 12 Pro Max, this lineup has something for everyone. Even though I called the iPhone XR an ugly duckling earlier this month, there’s still a place for it in this incredible lineup, which is why Apple still keeps it around.
This is the most robust, price-competitive, and fully featured iPhone lineup Apple has ever been selling all at once, and I am so here for it.
You want Touch ID and a processor that will be speedy for years to come? Bam! iPhone SE. Really digging Face ID but don’t care about have all the absolutely latest features? Let me introduce you to the iPhone XR. Do you want a small and powerful flagship phone? The iPhone 12 mini is in the house! Do you need the biggest and baddest phone around? The iPhone 12 Pro Max is reporting for duty.
Best iPhone: Which One Should You Buy Today
Reasons to avoid
The iPhone 13 Pro Max is the best and most exciting of Apples iPhone 13 range, with the battery life being an unexpected highlight. This thing can last and last, and while its not quite up there with the very longest-lasting phones, its easily got the best battery life of any iPhone.
Theres also a whole lot of power here, with Apples A15 Bionic chipset providing significantly better performance not just than previous iPhones, but also than any Android phone. That said, we mostly know this thanks to benchmark scores in the real world most users will struggle to truly tap into its potential.
The camera has also seen an upgrade, with low light shots particularly impressing, and the new macro mode opening the iPhone range up to a whole new type of photography.
In practice the hyped Cinematic mode and 120Hz screen didnt impress us as much, and the sooner Apple gets rid of the notch the better, but overall this is a fantastic upgrade for Apples Max model.
Reasons to avoid
The iPhone 13 isnt the biggest yearly iPhone upgrade weve seen, but almost every aspect of it is a little better than the iPhone 12, which makes it a brilliant iPhone overall.
In our review we found that the battery life in particular was improved, with the iPhone 13 making it through every day that we used it without needing a top up before bed.
Read our in-depth iPhone 13 review
Reasons to avoid
Reasons to avoid
Read our in-depth iPhone SE review
Reasons to avoid
Reasons to avoid
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