Best iPhones

Updated August 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

28 Models Considered
10 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
597 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best iPhones

Last Updated August 2019

Smartphones have become a modern necessity. One of the most popular smartphones is Apple’s iPhone. In the U.S., roughly 45% of all smartphone owners own iPhones. Some people enjoy having the latest iPhone, regardless of expense. Others are happy to keep using the same iPhone for years.

If you like the idea of owning an iPhone, but you don’t want to overspend for features you may not use, you can purchase older versions of unlocked iPhones and take them to your cellular service provider to have them activated. Or if you like the idea of owning the latest iPhone, unlocked versions of these phones can be purchased, too.

There are a number of factors to consider when shopping for an iPhone, including storage capacity, screen size, battery life, and even color. This buying guide outlines everything you need to know to select the right iPhone for your smartphone needs. For the fastest shopping, browse our five favorite iPhones in the matrix above.

The 3D Touch feature senses the amount of pressure you’re applying to the iPhone’s screen, resulting in different commands.

Key considerations

When searching for the right iPhone, the most important thing to consider is which model is best for you. You can save quite a bit of money by buying an older iPhone model. Or you can pick up a new model if you don’t mind paying a premium price.

iPhone 6

The iPhone 6 generation includes the 6 and 6S. Both phones have a 4.7-inch screen. The 6S is more durably constructed to resist damage from drops, though. The iPhone SE, with a 4-inch screen, is also in this generation of iPhones.

iPhone 7

The iPhone 7 generation consists of the 7 and 7 Plus. The iPhone 7 has a 4.7-inch screen, while the iPhone 7 Plus has a full HD screen, measuring 5.5 inches.

iPhone 8

Like the iPhone 7, the iPhone 8 generation consists of the 8 and 8 Plus. These models also have screen sizes of 4.7 and 5.5 inches. The iPhone 8 generation’s improvements over the iPhone 7 generation are a longer battery life, a faster processor, and more storage.

Excellent camera and large screen

Even though newer iPhones exist, the iPhone 8 Plus remains a trusted model with strong performance. The 12-megapixel camera in this model is super sharp. You can record 4K video, too. The iPhone 8’s screen is larger than average, which makes it ideal for streaming video.

iPhone X

The iPhone X offers a high-quality, 5.8-inch OLED screen with greater than HD resolution, which is a significant advantage over past iPhones. It also offers up to 256 GB of storage. It has the same processor and dual rear camera of the iPhone 8 Plus.

iPhone XS

Two iPhone models are in this generation: the iPhone XS and the XS Max. The XS has a 5.8-inch screen, while the XS Max has a 6.5-inch screen. Both phones feature OLED displays with greater than HD resolution. Maximum storage capacity is 512 GB with the XS generation.

iPhone XR

The iPhone XR features a 6.1-inch screen, but it doesn’t quite have full HD resolution. It has a slightly faster processor than what’s found in the iPhone 8 generation. The XR also comes in unique colors versus other iPhones, including red, coral, and yellow.

EXPERT TIP

The iPhone screen should automatically rotate its orientation as you turn the smartphone. If you want to lock the rotation, you can use a command in the Control Center.


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Features

Screen size

Some people prefer a larger screen, especially if they use their iPhone for watching movies or streaming TV. However, a larger screen equals a larger unit, which makes it more difficult to carry your phone in a pocket.

Storage capacity

The built-in storage capacity of an iPhone plays a big role in its price. iPhone models are offered with two or three storage options. Older iPhone models are offered with either 32 GB or 128 GB of storage. With newer iPhones, you can choose between 64 GB, 256 GB, or 512 GB.

Camera

All newer iPhone models have both a front camera and a rear camera. The rear camera has 12 megapixels of resolution, and the front camera has 7 megapixels. The advanced models in each iPhone generation offer dual rear cameras. A dual camera setup offers better angles and better image quality than a single camera design.

Battery life

All iPhone models have a strong battery life when new. But maximum battery life naturally shortens as the smartphone ages. You can expect between nine and 11 hours of battery life with a new iPhone.

Color

For iPhone fans, the range of colors available is a big draw. Gold, silver, and space gray are common across all models. However, some iPhones also come in black, white, and rose gold.

EXPERT TIP

AirDrop allows for file sharing wirelessly between two iPhones or between an iPhone and other Apple devices.


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iPhone prices

The cost of an iPhone varies quite a bit, depending on the age of the technology and the smartphone’s memory capacity. The prices here are for unlocked iPhones from general retailers. You may find a significantly different price when purchasing through a cellular provider as part of a service plan.

You can find iPhone 4, 4S, 5, 5S, 5C, and SE models for $75 to $200, although these older models will almost certainly be refurbished iPhones. For iPhone 6, 6S, and 7 models, you’ll pay $200 to $400. Some of these phones are still available new. The iPhone 8 costs $400 to $600. Newer iPhones, such as the X, XS, and XR, have a $600 to $1,500 price tag.

As a general rule, iPhones with more memory cost more than those with less memory within the same model line. Some colors carry a higher price than others as well.

EXPERT TIP

You can use your iPhone and Apple Pay Cash to send money to other people through the Messages app.


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Tips

An iPhone is an expensive and important piece of equipment, and you’ll want to keep it in top working condition. Cleaning it regularly and protecting it from drops is key. Here are a few other tips to protect your iPhone.

  • Clean the screen of your iPhone with water. Never use solvents or cleaning solutions to wipe down the screen on an iPhone. Instead, use clean water and a lint-free, scratch-resistant cloth. Dip the cloth into the water to avoid using too much water.
  • Add a case to protect against drops. There are a plethora of iPhone cases on the market for every model. Some cases have thick corner guards that provide maximum protection if dropped.
  • Screen protectors are important, too. A glass screen protector provides the highest level of protection for an iPhone’s screen. Plastic screen protectors can protect the screen, but they smudge more easily than glass.
  • Protect against thieves by using a six-digit passcode or Face ID. Should someone grab your iPhone, you can protect the data by enabling Face ID or a six-digit passcode. These log-ins are more secure than a four-digit passcode.

 

A low-priced iPhone

No iPhone is cheap, but you can save quite a bit of money when you choose an older model, such as the iPhone SE. This iPhone is extremely thin and lightweight, making it easy to carry. However, with only 32 GB of storage, you may fill it up quickly with photos and music.

Other products we considered

The iPhones in our matrix are all high-quality smartphones that can save you some money over the latest models. But if you’re looking for a newer iPhone, the iPhone XS delivers a 5.8-inch screen and the latest technology for maximum speed and performance. It also has 256 GB of memory. To save a bit more money, you can purchase an unlocked Apple iPhone X. It also has a 5.8-inch screen with 256 GB of memory. The unlocked iPhone 8 provides even more savings, while still offering a good level of processing power and speed. It has a 4.7-inch screen and 256 GB of memory.

Photos shot with an iPhone automatically store geotagging data, but you can turn off this feature if desired.

FAQ

Q. Can I only purchase an iPhone made by Apple?
A.
Only Apple manufactures iPhones. This is different from other types of smartphones, such as those running Android. Numerous manufacturers make smartphones that work with the Android operating system. But Apple does not license iOS, the iPhone’s operating system, to other smartphone manufacturers.

Q. How can I turn on Do Not Disturb on my iPhone while I’m driving?
A.
Open the Settings app on the iPhone screen. Scroll down until you see Do Not Disturb and turn on this feature. You then can select exactly how and when to employ this feature by changing other commands farther down the page. One of the settings automatically turns on Do Not Disturb when the iPhone determines that you’re driving.

Q. Can I downgrade to an older version of iOS?
A.
Some older iPhones may not run adequately when attempting to use the latest version of iOS. If you want to return to an older iOS version, you usually can. Just download the older iOS version you want to restore and reinstall it. This doesn’t work for every version of iOS, though.

Q. Will Face ID still unlock my iPhone when I’m wearing glasses?
A.
Face ID doesn’t rely on superficial parts of your appearance to determine whether it should unlock the phone. Instead, it scans the face with infrared light, taking measurements. Changes like hair length, facial hair, jewelry, makeup, or headwear will not affect Face ID’s measurements.

The team that worked on this review
  • Enid
    Enid
    Editor
  • Katherine
    Katherine
    Editor
  • Kyle
    Kyle
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Taji
    Taji
    Writer

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