iPhone Comparison Guide

iPhone Comparison Guide

Ever since the original iPhone launched in 2007, Apple has improved each successive generation through a combination of innovation and iteration. This process of continual refinement has extended into the iPhone 12, which ushers in a slew of upgrades such as 5G wireless connectivity, the A14 Bionic chip, improved cameras, updated displays, and more.

Unfortunately, these premium features come with a premium price tag. And with the iPhone 12 Pro Max starting at about $1099, many of us have turned to the secondhand market in order to get a better deal on our iPhone upgrades. Looking back at the last few generations, there are plenty of great iPhone models to suit everyone’s needs and budgets. But with so many options to choose from, how do you find the right iPhone for you? Keep reading to find out!

Table of Contents:

iPhone size comparison

The first thing to consider when choosing your next iPhone is size. After all, what good is a phone that’s too small to read or too big to comfortably fit in your pocket? Luckily, Apple makes it easy to find an appropriately sized iPhone.

Even though there are quite a few iPhone models to choose from, they can all be lumped into three basic size categories: small, medium, and large. And since every generation has models in each size category, you’ll have no trouble finding a phone that fits your needs.

Physical dimensions and screen sizes for the last four generations of iPhone:

iPhone 12 Pro Max6.7-inch OLED160.8 x 78.1 x 7.4 mmStarting at $1099 (MSRP)
iPhone 12 Pro6.1-inch OLED146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4 mmStarting at $999 (MSRP)
iPhone 126.1-inch OLED146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4 mmStarting at $799 (MSRP)
iPhone 12 mini5.4-inch OLED131.5 x 64.2 x 7.4mmStarting at $699 (MSRP)
iPhone 11 Pro Max6.5-inch OLED158 x 77.8 x 8.1 mmStarting at $715
iPhone 11 Pro5.8-inch OLED144 x 71.4 x 8.1 mmStarting at $700
iPhone 116.1-inch LCD150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3 mmStarting at $530
iPhone SE (2020)4.7-inch LCD138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3 mmStarting at $295
iPhone XS Max6.5-inch OLED157.5 x 77.4 x 7.7 mmStarting at $465
iPhone XS5.8-inch OLED143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7 mmStarting at $371
iPhone XR6.1-inch LCD150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3 mmStarting at $335
iPhone X5.8-inch OLED143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7 mmStarting at $345
iPhone 8 Plus5.5-inch LCD158.4 x 78.1 x 7.5 mmStarting at $283
iPhone 84.7-inch LCD138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3 mmStarting at $210
iPhone 7 Plus5.5-inch LCD158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3 mmStarting at $190
iPhone 74.7-inch LCD138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mmStarting at $105

As you can see, iPhones are available in a wide range of sizes. But don’t be fooled by screen sizes — newer iPhones with all-screen front faces ditch the bezels and home button, in favor of a gesture-driven UI and Face ID authentication. As a result, they cram larger displays into smaller bodies, making them ideal for those looking for highly pocketable iPhones that are still great for media consumption and reading long webpages.

Best small iPhones

Best cheap and small iPhones

Best medium-size iPhones

Best large iPhones

iPhone camera comparison

The next thing most people look at when selecting a phone is the camera. Our phones travel everywhere we go — and as we all know, the best camera is the one you have with you. So if you’re a shutterbug looking for the best iPhone camera experience, which iPhone do you choose?

To answer this question, we recently took a closer look at iPhone cameras and how they compare. We found that although camera hardware has improved a bit over the past few generations and some iPhones offer additional lenses for added flexibility, most of the advancements actually come from software techniques collectively known as computational photography.

Camera(s)Portrait ModeSmart HDRDeep FusionPrice
iPhone 12 Pro MaxWide: 12MP f/1.6, 26mm
Tele: 12MP f/2.2, 65mm
Ultrawide: 12MP f/2.4, 13mm
iPhone 12 ProWide: 12MP f/1.6, 26mm
Tele: 12MP f/2.0, 52mm
Ultrawide: 12MP f/2.4, 13mm
iPhone 12Wide: 12MP f/1.6, 26mm
Ultrawide: 12MP f/2.4, 13mm
iPhone 12 miniWide: 12MP f/1.6, 26mm
Ultrawide: 12MP f/2.4, 13mm
iPhone 11 Pro MaxWide: 12MP f/1.8, 26mm
Tele: 12MP f/2.0, 52mm
Ultrawide: 12MP, f/2.4, 13mm
iPhone 11 ProWide: 12MP f/1.8, 26mm
Tele: 12MP f/2.0, 52mm
Ultrawide: 12MP, f/2.4, 13mm
iPhone 11Wide: 12MP f/1.8, 26mm
Ultrawide: 12MP f/2.4, 13mm
iPhone SE (2020)Wide: 12MP f/1.8, 26mm$295+
iPhone XS MaxWide: 12MP f/1.8, 28mm
Tele: 12MP f/2.4, 52mm
iPhone XSWide: 12MP f/1.8, 28mm
Tele: 12MP f/2.4, 52mm
iPhone XRWide: 12MP f/1.8, 26mm$335+
iPhone XWide: 12MP f/1.8, 28mm
Tele: 12MP f/2.4, 52mm
iPhone 8 PlusWide: 12MP f/1.8, 28mm
Tele: 12MP f/2.8, 57mm
iPhone 8Wide: 12MP f/1.8, 28mm$210+
iPhone 7 PlusWide: 12MP f/1.8, 28mm
Tele: 12MP f/2.8, 56mm
iPhone 7Wide: 12MP f/1.8, 28mm$105+

iPhones with Portrait Mode

Portrait Mode is a software feature that delivers better portraits by simulating the natural background blur (bokeh) you’d get from a much larger camera and lens combo. What this means to you is better portrait photography with powerful subject isolation and a more professional overall look.

Luckily, almost all iPhones released in the past four generations support Portrait Mode, with the only exceptions being the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8. However, their plus-sized counterparts offer Portrait Mode, as do all newer iPhones. So if you want to take high-quality portraits of friends and family, you don’t have to look very far.

iPhones with Smart HDR

Smart HDR is another software feature that changes how iPhones capture images in extremely harsh lighting conditions. By combining multiple shots taken in rapid succession, Smart HDR creates a single image with higher dynamic range and greater detail in shadows and highlights.

Smart HDR makes it possible to snap photos outdoors without worrying about blown-out highlights or missing shadow detail. Instead, you simply concentrate on composing the perfect shot and Smart HDR does the rest.

iPhones with Deep Fusion

Deep Fusion is the final piece of the puzzle when it comes to Apple’s computational photography. Enabled by the powerful neural engine inside Apple’s A13 Bionic and A14 Bionic chips, Deep Fusion performs pixel-by-pixel image processing to dramatically enhance detail, colors, and overall image quality. In fact, this same technology is what allows the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 lineup to capture images in nearly complete darkness using the new Night Mode feature.

iPhone display comparison

Next up is the display. Over the years, Apple has released iPhones with various different screen sizes, resolutions, and display technologies. Because of this, certain iPhone displays are better suited to specific tasks than others.

If you’re a heavy mobile gamer or if you constantly consume video content, you’ll want a large screen based on OLED technology. A large screen improves your immersion and overall multimedia experience, and an OLED panel means you get better contrast and a more vibrant image. But if you mainly use your phone to check email, post on social media, and browse the web, a smaller iPhone screen will serve you just fine.

Display SizeResolutionPixel DensityPanel TypePrice
iPhone 12 Pro Max6.7 inches1284 x 2778458 ppiOLED$1099+
iPhone 12 Pro6.1 inches1170 x 2532460 ppiOLED$999+
iPhone 126.1 inches1170 x 2532460 ppiOLED$799+
iPhone 12 mini5.4 inches1080 x 2340476 ppiOLED$699+
iPhone 11 Pro Max6.5 inches1242 x 2688458 ppiOLED$715+
iPhone 11 Pro5.8 inches1125 x 2436458 ppiOLED$700+
iPhone 116.1 inches828 x 1792326 ppiLCD$530+
iPhone SE (2020)4.7 inches750 x 1334326 ppiLCD$295+
iPhone XS Max6.5 inches1242 x 2688458 ppiOLED$465+
iPhone XS5.8 inches1125 x 2436458 ppiOLED$371+
iPhone XR6.1 inches828 x 1792326 ppiLCD$335+
iPhone X5.8 inches1125 x 2436458 ppiOLED$345+
iPhone 8 Plus5.5 inches1080 x 1920401 ppiLCD$283+
iPhone 84.7 inches750 x 1334326 ppiLCD$210+
iPhone 7 Plus5.5 inches1080 x 1920401 ppiLCD$190+
iPhone 74.7 inches750 x 1334326 ppiLCD$105+

iPhones with large screens: 6” and up

iPhones with mid-sized screens: 5” to 6”

iPhones with small screens: 5” and below

iPhone processor comparison

A great camera or display means nothing if your phone struggles to run basic apps or browse the web. Luckily, the past four iPhone generations are more than powerful enough to handle everyday tasks like checking email, posting on social media, and light web browsing. But what if you want to do more with your iPhone?

If you want to run more intensive apps and games, you should look for an A11 Bionic chip or better. This means your best options are the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, or newer. If you’re planning on multitasking with several apps open at the same time, you also need at least 3GB of RAM.

What if gaming on the go is more up your alley? Mobile gamers looking for great graphics and smooth frame rates should pick up an iPhone with an A12 Bionic chip or newer. And for the absolute highest visual fidelity, you’ll want a phone with an A13 Bionic chip such as the iPhone SE (2020), iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, or iPhone Pro Max. Independent testing shows that the A13 Bionic is as much as 70% faster in 3D games than the previous generation A12. The A14 Bionic chip with next-generation Neural Engine takes things further by being about 20% faster than the A13 in real-world usage.

ProcessorRAMBasic UsePower Users3D GamesPrice
iPhone 12 Pro MaxA14 Bionic6GB$1099+
iPhone 12 ProA14 Bionic6GB$999+
iPhone 12A14 Bionic4GB$799+
iPhone 12 miniA14 Bionic4GB$699+
iPhone 11 Pro MaxA13 Bionic4GB$715+
iPhone 11 ProA13 Bionic4GB$700+
iPhone 11A13 Bionic4GB$530+
iPhone SE (2020)A13 Bionic4GB$295+
iPhone XS MaxA12 Bionic4GB$465+
iPhone XSA12 Bionic4GB$371+
iPhone XRA12 Bionic3GB$335+
iPhone XA11 Bionic3GB$345+
iPhone 8 PlusA11 Bionic3GB$283+
iPhone 8A11 Bionic2GB$210+
iPhone 7 PlusA10 Fusion3GB$190+
iPhone 7A10 Fusion2GB$105+

iPhone battery comparison

Rounding out the list, we have battery life. In general, iPhones offer relatively good battery life, but there are certainly a few models that stand out from the rest of the pack. Thanks to recent advancements in processor technology, the very latest iPhones deliver the best battery life overall — we’re talking as much as 20 hours of video playback on the iPhone 11 Pro Max. But you don’t need a flagship iPhone to get great battery runtimes.

The iPhone 11 and iPhone XR both offer fantastic battery life at a fraction of the cost, and all iPhones since the iPhone 8 offer wireless charging and fast charge support. On the other hand, Apple’s latest generation of iPhones seems to have taken a slight hit in the battery department, with across-the-board decreases to raw capacity and preliminary reports indicating decreased real-world endurance.

CapacityVideoMusicTalkWireless ChargingFast ChargePrice
iPhone 12 Pro Max3687 mAh20 hours80 hours$1099+
iPhone 12 Pro2815 mAh17 hours65 hours$999+
iPhone 122815 mAh17 hours65 hours$799+
iPhone 12 mini2227 mAh15 hours50 hours$699+
iPhone 11 Pro Max3969 mAh20 hours80 hours20 hours$715+
iPhone 11 Pro3046 mAh18 hours65 hours18 hours$700+
iPhone 113110 mAh17 hours65 hours17 hours$530+
iPhone SE (2020)1821 mAh13 hours40 hours14 hours$295+
iPhone XS Max3174 mAh15 hours65 hours25 hours$465+
iPhone XS2658 mAh14 hours60 hours20 hours$371+
iPhone XR2942 mAh16 hours65 hours25 hours$335+
iPhone X2716 mAh13 hours60 hours21 hours$345+
iPhone 8 Plus2691 mAh14 hours60 hours21 hours$283+
iPhone 81821 mAh13 hours40 hours14 hours$210+
iPhone 7 Plus2900 mAh14 hours60 hours21 hours$190+
iPhone 71960 mAh13 hours40 hours14 hours$105+

Find the best iPhone for you

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Visit our Unlocked iPhone Carrier Compatibility Guide to learn more about which iPhones are compatible with your carrier. Make sure to also check out our Best Used iPhones Roundup. And once you’re ready to make the leap, click the button below to save on a gently used iPhone today.