Apple’s iPhones consistently rank at the top of sales charts for new releases. Given they created the smartphone market with the release of the original iPhone, this shouldn’t be a surprise.

But since the initial release, Apple has released an additional 29 iPhone models… And they keep around 7 models in productions at all times.

So how do you know which one to buy?

For most people... we think the iPhone SE (2020) is the best new iPhone to buy.

However, depending on how you plan to use it -- and how much you’re willing to spend on a phone -- there might be better options available.

In this guide, we’re going to compare the various iPhone models available today and discuss the options and features that matter to help you find an ideal match for your budget and needs.

Let’s dive in…

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for 2020


The Current Apple iPhone Line-Up

Apple currently has 6 iPhone models for sale. Three options are from the latest generation while four are past models that are still available new.

The latest models include:

Past models still available for sale include:

The iPhone XR, iPhone 11, iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max all use the newest design with minimal bezels, a notch at the top, and no home button or fingerprint scanner. Instead, they use Face ID authentication.

The iPhone SE (2020) features a more traditional design with a home button and fingerprint scanner below the display and bezels at the top and bottom of the display.


All of them have a similar shape and the high build quality and materials for which the iPhone series is known.

On the performance front, every iPhone model offers plenty of power. On the performance front, every iPhone model offers plenty of power. All four of the latest iPhone 12 models use Apple's most powerful A14 bionic processor. The iPhone 11 and SE (2020) feature the A13 Bionic processor. While the iPhone XR uses the older A12 processor, it's still faster than most Android phones on the market.

They also all support multiple storage capacities, feature cameras more than capable of capturing outstanding pictures, and beautiful displays perfect for watching videos or playing games.

If you want the latest and greatest screen technology, you'll want one of the iPhone 12 options with their OLED panels. But the other screens on the remaining models are still some of the best on the market.

We think for many the iPhone SE (2020) is the best option for most buyers.

The top of Apple’s line-up, the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max, are beautiful phones and feature the latest Apple tech. But they come with a price tag to match and we’d argue that the phone is likely overkill for most buyers.

However, if you have the budget for it, it is one of the most powerful phones ever released and its camera stands up to the best the market has to offer.

Want a deeper comparison of iPhone models?

The table below will help to compare specs between models and see how they stack up.


Current iPhone Models Compared (iPhone 12 mini, 12, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max)


iPhone 12 mini

iPhone 12

iPhone 12 Pro

iPhone 12 Pro Max

Price Starting at $979 Starting at $1129Starting at $1399 Starting at $1549
Screen Size 5.4 inch OLED 6.1 inch OLED6.1 inch OLED 6.7-inch OLED
Screen Clarity 476 pixels-per-inch 460 pixels-per-inch460 pixels-per-inch
458 pixels-per-inch
Storage 64GB, 128GB, 256GB 64GB, 256GB, 512GB 64GB, 256GB, 512GB
64GB, 128GB, 256GB
Processor A14 Bionic Chip with next-generation Neural Engine
A14 Bionic Chip with next-generation Neural Engine
A14 Bionic Chip with next-generation Neural Engine
A14 Bionic Chip with next-generation Neural Engine
RAM Undisclosed Undisclosed
Undisclosed
Undisclosed
Cameras
12MP dual-lens rear camera with wide-angle/ultra-wide-angle lenses

12MP front-facing TrueDepth Camera
12MP dual-lens rear camera with wide-angle/ultra-wide-angle lenses

12MP front-facing TrueDepth Camera
12MP triple-lens rear camera with wide-angle/ultra wide-angle/telephoto lenses and 2x optical zoom

12MP front-facing TrueDepth Camera
12MP triple-lens rear camera with wide-angle/ultra wide-angle/telephoto lenses and 2.5x optical zoom

12MP front-facing TrueDepth Camera
Video Recording HDR video recording with Dolby Vision up to 30FPS

4K video recording at 24 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps

1080p HD video recording at 30 fps or 60 fps

720p HD video recording at 30fps

Slo-mo video support for 1080p at 120 fps or 240 fps

Optical image stabilization for video
HDR video recording with Dolby Vision up to 30FPS

4K video recording at 24 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps

1080p HD video recording at 30 fps or 60 fps

720p HD video recording at 30fps

Slo-mo video support for 1080p at 120 fps or 240 fps

Optical image stabilization for video
HDR video recording with Dolby Vision up to 30FPS

4K video recording at 24 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps

1080p HD video recording at 30 fps or 60 fps

720p HD video recording at 30fps

Slo-mo video support for 1080p at 120 fps or 240 fps

Optical image stabilization for video

Apple ProRAW
HDR video recording with Dolby Vision up to 30FPS

4K video recording at 24 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps

1080p HD video recording at 30 fps or 60 fps

720p HD video recording at 30fps

Slo-mo video support for 1080p at 120 fps or 240 fps

Optical image stabilization for video

Apple ProRAW
Battery Life (Up to) 15 hours video playback, 10 hours video playback (streamed), and 50 hours audio playback 17 hours video playback, 11 hours video playback (streaming), 65 hours audio playback17 hours video playback, 11 hours video playback (streaming), 65 hours audio playback
20 hours video playback, 12 hours video playback (streaming), 80 hours audio playback
Weight 4.76 ounces (135 grams) 5.78 ounces (164 grams)6.66 ounces (189 grams)8.03 ounces (228 grams)
Water Resistance Water-resistant to a depth of 6 meters for up to 30 minutes
Water-resistant to a depth of 6 meters for up to 30 minutes
Water-resistant to a depth of 6 meters for up to 30 minutes
Water-resistant to a depth of 6 meter for up to 30 minutes
Dimensions 13.2 x 6.4 x .7 cm (5.18 x 2.53 x 0.29 in)
14.7 x 7.2 x 0.7 cm (5.78 x 2.82 x 0.29 in)
14.7 x 7.2 x 0.7 cm (5.78 x 2.82 x 0.29 in) 16.1 x 7.8 x 0.7 cm (6.33 x 3.07 x 0.29 in)
Security Face ID
Face ID
Face IDFace ID
Connector Lightning
Lightning
LightningLightning
View Full Comparison


Older iPhone Models Compared (iPhone SE (2020), iPhone 11, iPhone XR)


iPhone SE (2020)

iPhone 11 

iPhone XR

Price Starting at $599 Starting at $849Starting at $699
Screen Size 4.7 inch LCD 6.1 inches6.1 inches
Screen Clarity 326 pixels-per-inch 326 pixels-per-inch326 pixels-per-inch
Storage 64GB, 128GB, 256GB 64GB, 128GB, 256GB 64GB, 128GB
Processor A13 Bionic Chip with third-generation Neural Engine
A13 Bionic Chip with third-generation Neural Engine
A12 Bionic Chip with second-generation Neural Engine
RAM 4GB 4GB 4GB
Cameras
12MP wide-angle rear camera

7MP front-facing  TrueDepth camera
12MP dual-lens wide-angle/ultra wide-angle camera

12MP front-facing TrueDepth Camera
12MP wide-angle rear camera

7MP front-facing  TrueDepth camera
Video Recording 4K video recording at 24 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps

1080p HD video recording at 30 fps or 60 fps

720p HD video recording at 30fps

Slo-mo video support for 1080p at 120 fps or 240 fps
4K video recording at 24 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps

1080p HD video recording at 30 fps or 60 fps

720p HD video recording at 30fps

Slo-mo video support for 1080p at 120 fps or 240 fps
4K video recording at 24 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps

1080p HD video recording at 30 fps or 60 fps

720p HD video recording at 30fps

Slo-mo video support for 1080p at 120 fps or 240 fps
Battery Life (Up to) 13 hours video playback, 8 hours video playback (streamed), and 40 hours audio playback 17 hours video playback, 10 hours video playback (streaming), 65 hours audio playback16 hours video playback, 15 hours video playback (streaming), 65 hours audio playback
Weight 5.22 ounces (148 grams) 6.84 ounces (194 grams)6.84 ounces (194 grams)
Water Resistance Water-resistant to a depth of 1 meters for up to 30 minutes
Water-resistant to a depth of 2 meters for up to 30 minutes
Water-resistant to a depth of 1 meters for up to 30 minutes
Dimensions 13.8 x 6.7 x 0.7 cm (5.45 x 2.65 x 0.3 in)
15.1 x 7.6 x 0.8 cm (5.94 x 2.98 x 0.33 in)
15.1 x 7.6 x 0.8 cm (5.94 x 2.98 x 0.33 in) 
Security Touch ID
Face ID
Face ID
Connector Lightning
Lightning
Lightning
View Full Comparison


Factors to Consider When Choosing an iPhone

With knowledge of the options available, it’s time to determine which model best fits your specific needs. Here are some of the factors we consider most important when choosing.

Price

While the iPhone 12 Pro Max might set the bar in terms of performance for the smartphone market, it also features one of the biggest price tags ever seen on a mobile phone.

So, unless a budget isn’t an issue for you, the price will be one of the first things to consider when narrowing your choices.

Keep in mind that if you choose to finance your phone, it might make a higher model more affordable upfront, you’ll make payments on it every month on top of the fees for service. In some cases, carriers or retailers also add interest or financing fees. This means you might pay more overall for your phone than simply buying it outright.

Also, financing doesn’t include insurance in most cases. So, you’ll probably want to add some form of coverage while you’re paying off your phone.

If you don’t have insurance and break your phone while paying for it, you’ll still be responsible for the remaining balance. This can make it harder to afford a replacement.

Storage

Unlike many Android phones, you cannot expand the storage on iPhones. So, it’s important to consider how much storage you’ll need to avoid having to uninstall apps down the road or rely on cloud storage to keep files you need easily accessible.

Fortunately, iPhones start at 64GB of storage. So even with the baseline versions, you’ll have a nice allotment of space.

But if you like to keep movies or music on your phone for offline enjoyment, play a lot of graphics-intensive games, want to record video often, or are planning to use your phone for work, you might want to consider upgrading to a version with more storage.

Security

With the release of the iPhone X, Apple removed the fingerprint scanner from their phones.

If you’re not comfortable with the concept of facial recognition, you can still buy an iPhone SE (2020) to use the classic fingerprint scanning method of unlocking your phone.

Just keep in mind that as Apple continues to update and release iPhone models in the future, you’ll eventually have no choice but to transition to a Face ID phone.

If you prefer the convenience of Face ID, you’ll find it on the iPhone XR, iPhone 11, and all of the iPhone 12 models.

Displays

The iPhone X also saw the introduction of one of the most debated phone design features of 2018 -- the infamous screen notch. This is present on every model except the iPhone SE (2020).

Notch aside, there another benefit the iPhone 12's displays -- they’re the next batch of Apple phones to use an OLED panel. This means you’ll get better contrast and colour than on the other models.

Still, the LCD panels on the rest of the models offer plenty of sharpness, great colour balance, and enough brightness to use outdoors with ease. So whichever way you go, you’ll enjoy some of the best phone screens on the market.

Size

All the phones in this list are much larger than the original iPhone. But there is enough variation in size to help you find a phone that you’re comfortable carrying around and using.

The iPhone SE (2020) is the smallest phone in the lineup while the iPhone 12 Pro Max is the largest.

We think that for many, the iPhone 12 mini is a good middle-ground with dimensions of 13.2 x 6.4 x .7 cm (5.18 x 2.53 x 0.29 in).

Cameras

Apple’s iPhones consistently place near the top of rankings for both photography and video recording.

With each generation, they’ve improved upon the already-excellent cameras of the previous generation. So, in most cases, if you want an estimate of how the cameras compare, simply look at the age of the device.

In the existing line-up, the iPhone SE (2020) and iPhone XR are single-camera phones -- though Apple uses software to make many of the dual-lens features -- such as portrait mode -- available on the XR as well.

The iPhone 12 offers an actual dual-lens design with improved front-facing camera quality and improved software processing to improve image quality.

The iPhone 12 Pro and 12 Pro Max include Apple's first triple-camera design, adding a telephoto lens to the wide and ultra-wide lenses of the iPhone 12 to provide optical zoom capabilities and better portrait mode capabilities. 

We’d say that in terms of value and features, the iPhone 12 is one of the best picks for photography in the latest line up. While the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max offer greater zoom flexibility, it comes at quite a substantial price increase.

Performance

Normally you’d think that performance would be pretty important. However, all the iPhone models currently available for sale new from Apple offer an enjoyable experience, can play games with little worry, and will pop between apps quickly.

While, yes, the iPhone 12 series are the fastest phones ever produced, their only competition is the iPhone SE (2020). Even they keep up with many of 2020's high-end Android releases with no problem.

Regardless of the phone you pick, you can count on impressive performance. If you’re looking for a phone to own for a few years though, you might want to consider the iPhone 12 or iPhone SE (2020) for a bit of future-proofing.


So Which iPhone Should I Buy?

Picking the ideal option for your needs will depend on your budget and how you plan to use your new tablet.

If you're not sure where to start, consider these picks.

Apple iPhone SE (2020)

Best Overall iPhone, Best Budget-Friendly iPhone, Best iPhone for Teens


Pros: Pocket-friendly, great performance, affordable pricing, multiple colour options
Cons: No OLED panel, no storage expansion options, no headphone jack

The Apple iPhone SE (2020) offers a huge portion of the iPhone 11 Pro experience at a fraction of the price. The compromises Apple made are smart, so you still get a premium experience.

The phone’s display looks great, the processor can keep up with the latest games or multitasking with ease, and the camera takes shots that rival any recently released high-end phone.

It uses the classic design with the Touch ID sensor below the display. So you won't quite get the modern appearance of the iPhone 11 series. However, reviewers loved the compact size. Built quality, as usual, also received high marks.

Many reviewers argue that the higher end of Apple's phone lineup is actually more phone than the average person will ever use. So why pay more than you need to?

The SE (2020) is still ahead of most Android phones in nearly every spec and benchmark. It’s cheaper than most top-tier phones on offer in 2020 by a substantial margin.

Bottom line...
The iPhone SE (2020) offers everything you need and just enough extra to age gracefully. While it’s not the top-tier option from Apple’s lineup, it’s the one that offers the best value for the money. It’s the best iPhone for most people.

LATEST PRICE FULL REVIEW


Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max

Best iPhone for Media Lovers, Gamers, Enthusiasts


Pros: Large OLED display, nearly bezel-free, triple-lens camera, unmatched performance, plenty of storage options, fast charger included, Apple ProRAW, LiDAR sensor, optical image stabilization
Cons: Price, no headphone jack

The iPhone 12 Pro Max tops the charts in nearly every way a mobile phone can. It has the most powerful processor available, Apple’s new OLED display, and a camera that can capture images that rival the best phone cameras available.

Of course, all of this comes at a price. But if you want a phone that will make your favourite movies or tv shows pop, can play the latest games at the highest settings, or simply want the best that Apple offers, the iPhone 12 Pro Max delivers.

Bottom Line...
The iPhone 11 Pro Max blows any other 2020 smartphone away on virtually every front. If you don’t mind the price tag, it’s the ultimate phone experience.


LATEST PRICE FULL REVIEW


Apple iPhone 12 Pro

Best iPhone for Photography and Video


Pros: Optical zoom, triple-lens camera, slow-motion video recording, 60 FPS 4K video recording, OLED display, fast charger included, Apple ProRAW support, LiDAR sensor
Cons: No storage expansion options, no headphone jack

The iPhone 12 Pro is the most affordable option to get your hands on Apple's latest triple-camera setup.

HDR, low-light shots, autofocus, and image stabilization have all seen improvements and the third 12MP lens adds optical zoom and improved quality for Apple's popular special shooting modes -- including Night Mode, portrait mode, and studio modes.

A future update will also unlock Apple's ProRAW feature, an improvement on existing RAW modes.

Apple's latest camera makes it easy to point and shoot with little worry about how the shot will turn out.

Reviewers were also pleased with the software processing, noting that it enhances shots well without making them look fake or overly processed.

On the video front, you’ll find a wealth of options from 4K video at 60 FPS to super slow motion and respectable shot stabilization.

Bottom line...
The iPhone 12 Pro can go toe-to-toe with the best smartphone cameras on the charts. It’s also an ideal size for pulling out of your pocket for quick snapshots and the OLED screen makes it easier to check details and colour in pictures and video before sending them off to family, friends, or your Instagram audience.

LATEST PRICE FULL REVIEW


Common Questions

If you’ve never used an iPhone, you might have questions about how they work and which iPhones will meet your needs.

Let’s look at a few of the most common iPhone questions we’ve seen.



















Final Thoughts

As the smartphone that started it all, Apple’s iPhones continue to be a popular choice.

The consistent interface, sleek styling, and great build quality ensure a familiar, reliable experience no matter which model you choose.

However, as iPhone prices continue to climb, knowing what you need in a phone -- and what the various iPhone models have to offer -- is essential to finding the best value.

If you’re looking for a good all-around iPhone with the latest features, the iPhone SE (2020) is hard to beat.

While the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max are the pinnacles of Apple’s lineup, we’d argue that the price isn’t worth it for most buyers. The average person simply doesn’t need that much power in a phone.


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