What is the best iPhone for you? Ranking the best iPhones from Apple
Whether you’re looking to upgrade an outdated iPhone or dipping your toe into the iOS waters for the very first time, this guide is for you. We’ve tested every device Apple has to offer and compiled our recommendations in this list. Read on to discover which iPhone is our favourite and which is best for you.
Apple’s current mobile lineup ranges from the small and affordable iPhone SE 2 to the flashy (and expensive) iPhone 11 Pro Max. We expect to see the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro launch very soon, so if you’re looking for the latest and greatest Apple has to offer, you might want to hold off on this one. We’ll add the iPhone 12 series to this list as soon as we determine where it lands in our ranking, so be sure to check back after the phone launches if you are thinking of opting for one of Apple’s 2020 models.
We’ve interdependently tested and ranked every iPhone on the market and broken down the pros and cons of each to determine who they are best suited for and whether they’re worth your hard earned cash. Keep reading to find out which iPhone is right for you.
Related: Which iPhones will get iOS 14?
We’ve kicked off this guide by summarising the best options based on what you’re looking for in a phone. Scroll down further to find a longer overview of each handset, along with pros, cons and a link to our full, comprehensive reviews.
- Best iPhone for most people: iPhone 11
- Best iPhone for camera: iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max
- Best iPhone for compactness: iPhone SE 2
- Best value iPhone: iPhone XR
- Still a powerful performer: iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max
- Best for TouchID fans: iPhone 8 Plus
Related: iOS 14 features
1. iPhone 11
Best overall iPhone for most people
- Great camera
- Really strong battery life
- Nice colour options
- Surprisingly great value
- A screen resolution bump would have been nice
- No fast charger in the box
The iPhone 11 entered the scene in 2019 as a clear successor to the iPhone XR, bringing the same wide appeal with a well-deserved new title. The phone immediately established itself as the best choice for most users, offering great, flagship specs at a friendlier price than the Pro and Pro Max models.
There are plenty of similarities between the iPhone 11 and iPhone XR. The 11 retains the look of the XR, with that glass back and plenty of colourways available, however it’s now more water-resistant than before. The screen is nice and bright, though a bump in resolution would have been appreciated.
A big upgrade for the iPhone 11 is the new camera. There are two on the back, both packing 12-megapixels, with one taking your standard shots and the other expanding that out into ultrawide shots. The results are stunning and the 2x telephoto lens is the only real thing missing when you compare this to the pricier Pro model.
Battery life and performance are both excellent, too. You should easily get through the day without reaching for the Lightning cable and there’s wireless charging available too.
2. iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max
Best iPhone for camera
- Great camera
- Long battery life, especially on the Plus model
- Stunning displays
- Finally a fast charger in the box
- 64GB still the base storage
- Incredibly pricey
Sitting atop the iPhone 11 range, the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max are the phones to choose if you want the best of what Apple has to offer. These two phones have ace screens, three rear cameras and the Max model has the best battery life we’ve seen on an iPhone in years.
Apple hasn’t played too much with the design formula, instead deciding to focus more on the internals. The new A13 Bionic chipset inside the phone is an absolute powerhouse, while the HDR screen can get incredibly bright.
There’s even an 18w fast charger in the box that’ll juice these phones up a lot quicker than the poor 5w charger previously offered.
Not all is rosy, though. The price is very high and it can even higher when you realise 64GB just isn’t enough storage.
3. iPhone SE 2
Best for portability
- Compact size
- Sharp screen
- Great camera
If you want a small iPhone with a great camera, top performance and a price tag that’s surprisingly appealing then the new iPhone SE 2 is a great pick.
If you’ve seen the iPhone 8, then you’ve seen the new iPhone SE. It comes in black, white or red; packs those chunky bezels surrounding the 4.7-inch (there’s no Plus version here) display and replaces Face ID from the new iPhones with Touch ID. Thankfully the fingerprint authentication is fast and reliable.
Improvements over the iPhone 8 include a superior 12-megapixel camera with fantastic video recording and even though low-light perform isn’t great the snaps you’ll get in good lighting more than make up for that.
You’ll also find Qi charging at the usual iPhone standard of 7.5w and the ability to fast charge at 18w – that is if you shell out a little bit more for the faster plug. An IP67 rating for water and dust resistance is here too.
Inside the iPhone SE 2 you’ll find the same A13 Bionic as the iPhone 11 Pro and the same iOS 13 software. It feels just as fast, and should get full iOS updates for years to come.
4. iPhone XS & iPhone XS Max
Still a powerful performer
- Fantastic screen
- Strong performance
- Face ID remains the best at facial recognition
- iOS doesn’t make the most of the Max’s bigger display
- Fast charger not included
2018’s flagship iPhone duo, the iPhone XS and XS Max are no longer sold by Apple. However you’ll still find them on carriers shelves and remain good picks if they’re on discount.
Both sport sharp, colourful Dolby Vision-capable OLED Super Retina screens plus the powerful A12 Bionic chipset and 4GB RAM powering everything on the inside. There’s also a TrueDepth sensor for both fast Face ID unlocking and Animoji. In terms of camera, there’s a superb dual 12-megapixel camera with dual OIS on the back.
The iPhone XS is for those who want the best specs with the same form factor as the iPhone X, while the larger iPhone XS Max swaps out a 5.8-inch display for a huge 6.5-inch panel that’s ideal for enjoying media and gaming on the go.
5. iPhone XR
Best value iPhone
- Great battery life
- XS features for less money
- Fantastic performance
- Very capable camera
- No fast charger included
- Will be too large for some
With the launch of the iPhone 11, the iPhone XR saw its price cut. If you want to get a more affordable iPhone that is still a strong buy with all the performance of the XS then this remains a great choice.
It uses the same potent Apple A12 Bionic processor as the XS, runs the same version of iOS (that’s iOS 13) and sports the same primary 12-megapixel OIS-backed camera. The differences are elsewhere: its 6.1-inch Liquid Retina LCD isn’t quite as arresting as the HDR-capable OLEDs of the XS line but it’s no slouch either. The size also means it reaches a pleasing middle-ground between the other two iPhones that launched in 2019.
The aluminium-framed, glass-backed design supports wireless charging, IP67-certified dust and water resistance and it comes in a host of colours: black, white, blue, coral, yellow and Product:RED (aka, red).
The extended display means Touch ID has gone completely and as the screen’s notch implies, Face ID is now the soup du jour, offering secure facial recognition for unlocking your device, authenticating transactions and when messing around with Animoji and the new Memoji features.
6. iPhone 8 Plus
Now even cheaper
- Great speakers
- Big screen
- Strong battery life
The iPhone 8 Plus isn’t as exciting as the iPhone 11 or even the iPhone XR but it’s still a good pick if you want something familiar.
The A11 Bionic CPU makes this device one of the fastest phones out there, and its 12-megapixel camera takes more saturated and colourful shots than the previous Plus.
The glass rear allows for Qi wireless charging, although a pad doesn’t come in the box. Plus, the display benefits from Apple’s TrueTone tech – adjusting the colour temperature depending on the surrounding lighting. Still worthwhile.
In order to ensure our phone verdicts are authoritative, we make sure every phone we review goes through a rigorous process of testing to help us make a fully informed recommendation. We use a mix of real world and benchmark-led testing, using a number of industry standard tools.
This means that we test everything, from battery life and processor performance during the full range of everyday tasks, right up to call quality and screen calibration.
Most important of all, because phones are more than just a collection of performance specs, we take these phones out and use them as our own over an extended period, living with them to learn their quirks and discover any hidden issues. Find out more about how we test phones.
And if you’re still looking for a phone and have decided the Apple line-up isn’t perhaps right for you, take look at our broader guide to the best mobile phones or our guides to the following: