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Updated October 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
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.Read more 
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We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for Best iPhones

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. 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.

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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. Newer generations of iPhones come in four different varieties: the iPhone, the iPhone Mini, the iPhone Pro, and the iPhone Pro Max.

iPhone

Standard iPhones are for most users. They have a solid set of features that work well for what the majority of people need.

iPhone Mini

The features of iPhone Minis are very similar to standard iPhones, but they're physically smaller. They work well for young people or users with small hands, and they also fit well into smaller pockets and purses.

Expert TIp
Apple iPhones don’t always include headphones, or a headphone jack, for that matter. If you plan on using your iPhone with headphones, you’ll need to get a set of Bluetooth headphones or true wireless earbuds.
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iPhone Pro

Users who rely on a fast phone and increased storage capacity for work will want to choose the iPhone Pro.

iPhone Pro Max

These take the specs to the next level with a larger screen and even more power.

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, 512 GB, or 1 TB.

Camera

All newer iPhone models have both a front camera and a rear camera, both with 12 megapixels of resolution. The number of rear-facing cameras will vary depending on the model with higher-end iPhones having up to three.

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. Some generations of iPhone's come in unique colors. (e.g., iPhone 11 comes in midnight green, iPhone 12 comes in dark blue, etc.) However, most users choose to protect their phones with a case, and many cases leave only the screen visible, which covers up this color.

Expert TIp
Apple’s iOS includes “Control Center,” a menu you can access by dragging down from the upper right corner of the screen. From the Control Center, you can do everything from quickly adjusting the volume to adjusting your screen brightness. You can even customize what functionality appears in your Control Center.
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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. 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.

Inexpensive

You can find iPhones that are three or more generations old for less than $300, but they will almost certainly be refurbished.

Mid-range

On the low end of the $400 and $900 range, you'll see iPhones that are one or two generations old. As you move closer to $900, you'll find basic, current-generation iPhone and iPhone Minis with the lowest storage-capacity offerings.

Expensive

When you get into the $1,000 to $1,600 range, you find high-end models, like the iPhone Pro and the iPhone Pro Max, with the highest storage capacities.

Expert TIp
If you’re an Apple Music subscriber, you can use your iPhone to enjoy music in Lossless Sound. Update your music quality settings in the Settings app and enjoy music as it was meant to be heard!
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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 your phone 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 six-digit passcode. These log-ins are more secure than a four-digit passcode.
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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. 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.

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