iPhone buying guide: Best iPhone to buy in 2023/2024

Macworld

Deciding which iPhone to buy has always been tricky. Which screen size is best for you, and how much storage do you need? Should you save money by selecting an older model, or should you splash out on the latest iPhone? Which iPhone is the best compromise between specs and value for money?

In this article we talk you through each of the phones currently available from Apple, to help you decide which is best for you. We discuss iPhone prices, specs and features, paying particular attention to the cameras, screens and durability, so you should leave feeling much more confident about which iPhone you should get.

For more help with your choice see our reviews of the latest iPhones (linked below) and our Best iPhone comparison chart where we compare all the new iPhone with the ones still on sale.

iPhone 15 Pro Max review

iPhone 15 Pro review

iPhone 15 Plus review

iPhone 14 review

iPhone 14 Plus review

What iPhones does Apple sell?

Apple introduced four new phones in September 2022, bringing the number of new phones launched in 2022 to five. But there are actually eight iPhones in Apple’s lineup right now. If you are looking to upgrade an old iPhone or move to iPhone from another manufacturer, here’s the low down on what Apple sells.

We’ll start of by looking at how the design of each handset differs, so you can tell which iPhone is which at a glance, before going on to discuss how the iPhones compare in other ways including screens, cameras, safety features, specs and battery life. You can also find out all about the new features in the iPhone 15 series in our guide: Best new iPhone 15 features.

Before we start, a quick-at-a-glance comparison of the iPhones:

1. Apple iPhone 15



The standard iPhone 15 model doesn’t get all the bells and whistles of the Pro models, but it does offer some great new features in comparison to 2022’s iPhone 14. For example, the non-pro iPhones now have the Dynamic Island instead of the notch. The iPhone 15 camera is significantly better than the iPhone 14 camera, now up to 48MP and with Smart HDR 5. You’ll get USB-C instead of Lightning. The processor is the A16 Bionic, as seen in the iPhone 14 Pro.

Read our full

Apple iPhone 15 review

2. Apple iPhone 15 Plus



The iPhone 15 Plus is simply a bigger version of the iPhone 15. It has a 6.7-inch display, like the iPhone 15 Pro Max, but is actually a little larger than the Pro variant. Battery life is better than the iPhone 15 so that could also be a reason to choose it over that handset.

Read our full

Apple iPhone 15 Plus (128GB) review

3. Apple iPhone 15 Pro



Made from hardwearing titanium and lighter than the predecessor, the iPhone 15 Pro features the Action Button that can be customizable so it can quickly perform complex actions. Like all the 2023 iPhones it has a USB-C port, rather than Lightning, but the Pro models benefit from faster file transfer speeds. It features the A17 Pro chip and an improved camera compared to the previous generation.

Read our full

Apple iPhone 15 Pro review

4. Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max



The iPhone 15 Pro Max is similar to the iPhone 15 Pro: both are made from titanium instead of stainless steel and lighter than the previous generation, and both feature the A17 Pro chip. But this generation has more differences: the iPhone 15 Pro Max has a superior camera with a 5x optical zoom on the telephoto camera.

Read our full

Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max review

5. Apple iPhone 14



Introduced in 2022, the iPhone 14 brought new camera features like the Photonic Engine, better low-light photos and the Action mode, which weren’t available on the iPhone 13. The biggest problem with the iPhone 14 is that it’s not that much different to the iPhone 13 in many other ways, with the same generation chip and practically identical appearance.

Read our full

Apple iPhone 14 review

6. Apple iPhone 14 Plus



Introduced in 2022, this iPhone is identical to the iPhone 14 except for one big difference: it’s bigger. If you prefer a larger iPhone, but don’t want to spend a lot of money, this is the iPhone for you.

Read our full

Apple iPhone 14 Plus review

7. Apple iPhone 13



As we said above, there’s not a huge difference between the iPhone 14 and iPhone 13. They both feature the A15 Bionic, but there’s an extra GPU core in the 14, which might matter if you are a keen gamer. If that, and the missing camera features, don’t matter to you then you could certainly save your money and get the 2021 iPhone.

Read our full

Apple iPhone 13 review

8. Apple iPhone SE (2022)



Apple introduced the iPhone SE 3rd generation in spring 2022. It’s the cheapest iPhone you can buy, and, now that the iPhone 13 mini is no longer sold by Apple, this is Apple’s smallest iPhone. Plus if you want or need a Home button – perhaps because the lack of a button could cause accessibility problems, although there is a way to add a software Home button if you need to – this is the only iPhone that has one.

Read our full

Apple iPhone SE (2022) review

How much do iPhones cost?

Brilliant news for 2023: Apple has reduced pricing across most of the range (and across the whole range if you are based in the U.K.) Below you will find pricing for U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia (scroll across to see pricing in your region).

ModelRelease dateStorage optionsU.S. Price U.K. PriceCanada PriceAustralia PriceiPhone 15 Pro MaxSeptember 2023256GB
512GB
1TB$1,199
$1,399
$1,599£1,199
£1,399
£1,599$1,749
$2,049
$2,349$2,199
$2,549
$2,899iPhone 15 ProSeptember 2023128GB
256GB
512GB
1TB$999
$1,099
$1,299
$1,499 £999
£1,099
£1,299
£1,499$1,449
$1,599
$1,899
$2,199$1,849
$2,049
$2,399
$2,749iPhone 15 PlusSeptember 2023128GB
256GB
512GB$899
$999
$1,199£899
£999
£1,199$1,279
$1,429
$1,729$1,649
$1,849
$2,199iPhone 15September 2023128GB
256GB
512GB$799
$899
$1,099£799
£899
£1,099$1,129
$1,279
$1,579$1,499
$1,699
$2,049iPhone 14 PlusSeptember 2022128GB
256GB
512GB$799
$899
$1,099£799
£899
£1,099$1,149
$1,299
$1,599$1,499
$1,699
$2,049iPhone 14September 2022128GB
256GB
512GB$699
$799
$999£699
£799
£999$999
$1,149
$1,449$1,299
$1,499
$1,849iPhone 13September 2021128GB
256GB
512GB$599
$699
$899£599
£699
£899$849
$999
$1,299$1,099
$1,299
$1,649iPhone SE (3rd gen)March 202264GB
128GB
256GB$429
$479
$579£429
£479
£579$579
$649
$789$719
$799
$969iPhone prices September 2023.

You don’t have to pay full price for a new iPhone though. Read our iPhone deals roundup for more advice on getting the lowest possible price from various different resellers. We have also collected the best deals for the iPhone 15-series in the U.K. and the best deals for the iPhone 15-series in the U.S. in separate articles.

Design: How do the iPhones compare?

Apple

Apple repurposed the notch into the Dynamic Island with the arrival of the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max in 2022, and now the Dynamic Island has arrived on the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus, helping to distinguish those models from the iPhone 14 and iPhone 13. The Dynamic Island conceals the TrueDepth camera and other Face ID tech in a black area at the top of the iPhone that can grow to incorporate elements such as low battery alerts, unlocking, Silent mode, privacy indicators and more.

Now that the iPhone 15 has the Dynamic Island like the Pro and Pro Max, the most striking difference between the pro and standard models is seen from the back: the iPhone Pro and Max models have always had three cameras to the standard two cameras on the back. The pro models are also constructed from titanium, which gives them a more metallic sheen, while, the standard phones are aluminium, but available in a larger variety of colors.

The color options are probably the most obvious difference between ranges, although there are standard shades that tend to come up for every generation, although sometimes they get renamed (black as Midnight, for example). The color pallet of the iPhone 15 is more muted than the iPhone 14 pallet. See the differences between the yellow shades below.

Apple

The iPhone 14 looks similar to the iPhone 13. If you are upgrading from an iPhone that’s older than the iPhone 13 then the notch is smaller on both the iPhone 13 and 14. The best way to differentiate between the iPhone 13 and iPhone 14 is the color options: the iPhone 14 offers blue, yellow, purple, Midnight, Starlight and a bright (Product) Red. The iPhone 13 comes in green, pink, blue (darker), Midnight, Starlight and red (darker). A look at the shades of blue on offer seems to indicate that Apple has made the iPhone colors paler with each subsequent phone.

Apple

The iPhone 14 Plus looks like the iPhone 14 but is a bit larger. In fact, the dimensions are similar to the iPhone 14 Pro Max, but you can tell those two phones apart because the 14 Plus has the notch. The iPhone 14 Plus could feasibly be mistaken for an iPhone 13 Pro Max, but for the fact that the Pro and Max models have a more metallic color finish, and Apple no longer sells that model.

When Apple introduces the new Pro and Pro Max models it stops selling the previous generation, so the only way to buy the 14 Pro and Pro Max will be through a third-party reseller, or (eventually) the Apple refurbished store. Color choices are more similar between these handsets.

Apple

The iPhone 15 and 15 Pro and the iPhone 15 Plus and iPhone 15 Pro Max share screen sizes (more on the screens in the next section), but that is where the comparison ends. The screen size might be the same, but the size of the iPhone differs: the Pro and Pro Max models are slightly smaller, though thicker and heavier. The iPhone 15 is also a tiny bit smaller and lighter than the iPhone 14.

Speaking of size, now that Apple has discontinued the iPhone 13 mini the only small iPhone available is the iPhone SE with its 4.7-inch display. This is also the only iPhone with a Home button for Touch ID.

Here’s how the dimensions and colors compare:

iPhoneDimensionsWeightColoursiPhone 15 Pro Max6.29 inches (159.9 mm) x 3.02 inches (76.7 mm) x 0.32 inch (8.25 mm)8.47 ounces (240 grams)Natural Titanium, Blue Titanium, White Titanium, Black TitaniumiPhone 15 Pro5.77 inches (146.6 mm) x 2.78 inches (70.6 mm) x 0.32 inches (8.25 mm)7.27 ounces (206 grams)Natural Titanium, Blue Titanium, White Titanium, Black TitaniumiPhone 15 Plus6.33 inches (160.9 mm) x 3.06 inches (77.8 mm) x 0.31 inch (7.80 mm)7.09 ounces (201 grams)Pink, Yellow, Green, Blue, BlackiPhone 155.81 inches (147.6mm) x 2.82 inches (71.6 mm) x 0.31 inches (7.80 mm)6.02 ounces (171 grams)Pink, Yellow, Green, Blue, BlackiPhone 14 Plus6.33 inches (160.8 mm) x 3.07 inches (78.1 mm) x 0.31 inch (7.80 mm)7.16 ounces (203 grams)Blue, Purple, Midnight, Starlight, RediPhone 14 5.78 inches (146.7 mm) x 2.82 inches (71.5 mm) x 0.31 inch (7.80 mm)6.07 ounces (172 grams)Blue, Purple, Midnight, Starlight, RediPhone 135.78 inches (146.7 mm) x 2.82 inches (71.5 mm) x 0.30 inch (7.65 mm)6.10 ounces (173 grams)Green, Pink, Blue, Midnight, Starlight, RediPhone SE 35.45 inches (138.4 mm) x 2.65 inches (67.3 mm) x 0.29 inch (7.3 mm)5.09 ounces (144 grams)Midnight, Starlight and RedHow Apple’s 2023-2024 iPhone lineup compares.

Screen: How are the iPhone displays different?

The Pro and Pro Max iPhones have the best screens available on an iPhone. Like the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, and the 13 Pro and Pro Max before them, the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max offer ProMotion, which allows for an adaptive refresh rate. The refresh rate goes as high as 120Hz for really smooth scrolling and as low as 1Hz. The low refresh rate arrived on the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max to help with one of the new features of those handsets: the Always-On display. The Always-On display is now available on the 15 Pro and 15 Max.

The Always-On display on the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max (and the 14 Pro and Max) means you can see details without unlocking.

IDG

Thanks to the Always-On screen you will always be able to see elements such as the time and date, notifications and Lock Screen widgets without waking the iPhone. The screen dims to minimize onscreen power usage to preserve battery life and it will turn off should you place it face down or walk away while wearing an Apple Watch.

Aside from the ProMotion capabilities, the iPhone 15 Pro and Max also offer 1,000 nits max brightness and 1,200 nits peak brightness (HDR), but boost to 2,000 nits peak brightness for when you are outdoors in the sunshine. The iPhone 15 and 15 Plus now go to 1,000 nits max brightness (was only 800 nits max brightness for the iPhone 14 and 13) and 1,600 nits peak HDR (up from 1,200 nits on the 14 and 13). There is also a new 2,000 nits peak brightness for the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus that the predecessors didn’t offer. The iPhone SE (3rd-generation) offers just 625 nits max brightness and 1,200 nits peak brightness (HDR). The brighter the iPhone screen the easier it will be to see detail when it’s really sunny.

Both the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus also offer a few more pixels than their predecessors, matching the pixels of the Pro and Pro Max handsets this time round.

The screen size may be the most important factor in your decision. If you want the biggest iPhone screen you can get the good news is that, since the introduction of the iPhone 14 Plus in 2022, Apple no longer requires you to spend all your money on the most expensive iPhone. The iPhone 15 Plus and iPhone 15 Pro Max both have a screen that measures 6.7-inches diagonally. The extra space means you can fit a few extra lines of text on the screen, or comfortably bump up the text size. The larger screens are also preferable if you watch a lot of media on your iPhone. It’s likely that if you have previously owned a Max or Plus handset you will feel like your iPhone screen is cramped if you upgrade to a smaller display.

On the other hand, for many the larger iPhone sizes are far too large. Small-handed people holding the giant iPhones may be afraid that they are going to drop the hefty and expensive device. Apple sells three iPhones with a 6.1-inch screen: the iPhone 15, iPhone 14 and iPhone 13. Even these handsets are considered too large by some though, so there is one even smaller iPhones on offer: the iPhone SE with its 4.7-inch screen. Unfortunately, Apple no longer sells the iPhone 13 mini with its 5.4-inch screen, but you may be able to find a refurbished model or one on sale at an authorized reseller.

iPhoneScreen size & pixelsScreen technologyScreen featuresiPhone 15 Pro Max6.7-inch screen, 2796-by-1290-pixel resolution at 460 ppi2,000,000:1 contrast ratio (typical), 2000 nits peak brightness (outdoor), 1000 nits max brightness, 1600 peak brightness (HDR)Super Retina XDR, OLED, ProMotion, Dynamic Island, Always OniPhone 15 Pro6.1-inch screen, 2556-by-1179-pixel resolution at 460 ppi2,000,000:1 contrast ratio (typical), 2000 nits peak brightness (outdoor), 1000 nits max brightness, 1600 peak brightness (HDR)Super Retina XDR, OLED, ProMotion, Dynamic Island, Always OniPhone 15 Plus6.7-inch screen, 2796-by-1290-pixel resolution at 460 ppi2,000,000:1 contrast ratio (typical), 2000 nits peak brightness (outdoor), 1000 nits max brightness, 1600 nits peak brightness (HDR)Super Retina XDR, OLEDiPhone 156.1-inch screen, 2556-by-1179-pixel resolution at 460 ppi2,000,000:1 contrast ratio (typical), 2000 nits peak brightness (outdoor), 1000 nits max brightness, 1600 nits peak brightness (HDR)Super Retina XDR, OLEDiPhone 14 Plus6.7-inch screen, 2778-by-1284-pixel resolution at 458 ppi2,000,000:1 contrast ratio (typical), 800 nits max brightness, 1200 nits peak brightness (HDR)Super Retina XDR, OLEDiPhone 14 6.1-inch screen, 2532-by-1170-pixel resolution at 460 ppi2,000,000:1 contrast ratio (typical), 800 nits max brightness, 1200 nits peak brightness (HDR)Super Retina XDR, OLEDiPhone 136.1-inch screen, 2532-by-1170-pixel resolution at 460 ppi2,000,000:1 contrast ratio (typical), 800 nits max brightness, 1200 nits peak brightness (HDR)Super Retina XDR, OLEDiPhone SE 34.7-inch screen, 1334-by-750-pixel resolution at 326 ppi1400:1 contrast ratio, 625 nits max brightness (typical)LCD display with IPS technologyThe screen specs for the 2023-2024 iPhones.

Camera: How do the iPhone cameras compare?

Jason Snell / Foundry

For many it’s the capabilities of the cameras that sell the iPhones, so it’s no wonder that every year Apple improves the camera on its iPhones, sometimes improving the tech, sometimes the software. The iPhone 15 and 15 Plus still feature a dual-camera array with wide and ultra-wide lenses, while only the Pro and Pro Max offer the additional telephoto lens. In 2023 the iPhone 15 series gains some technical improvements, with both Pro and non-Pro iPhones getting camera upgrades.

In 2023, the biggest and best camera improvements are reserved for the iPhone 15 Pro Max, which gains a “tetra prism” periscope lens that bounces light four times internally for a longer focal length: 120mm, or a 5x zoom. This is a big increase over the 3x/77mm telephoto camera offered by the iPhone 15 Pro.

The iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max gained a 48MP camera in 2022 and in 2023 it’s the turn of the 15 and 15 Plus to gain a new 48MP main camera. Shooting in 24MP is standard, but the 48MP photos can be taken in ProRAW or HEIF for more compact shots, which is an improvement on 2022. One benefit of being able to shoot in 48MP is that you can zoom and crop and still have enough resolution to get a good quality image.

The iPhone 15 now offers a 2x optical zoom, up from 1x on the iPhone 14. All the new iPhones for 2023 get Smart HDR 5.

There are also new video recording features for the pro models, including ProRes video recording up to 4K at 60 fps, LOG video recording and Academy Colour Encoding.

In 2022 the TrueDepth (FaceTime and Face ID) camera was upgraded on the front of the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus, gaining autofocus and improved low-light performance thanks to the wider aperture. That is a good reason to choose that iPhone over the 13. The front camera of the iPhone 15 is unchanged.

The iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max models, just like the iPhone 14 Pro and Max, are able to shoot Macro photos. This feature isn’t available on the standard models.

All models on sale currently offer Portrait Mode and the Portrait Lighting effects on the rear cameras for images with depth of field. The only camera that doesn’t offer Night Mode is the iPhone SE 3. The iPhone SE 3 also only has one camera on the rear.

iPhoneCamerasVideoPhoto & video featuresiPhone 15 Pro MaxThree rear cameras: 48MP Main (ƒ/1.78 aperture), 12MP Ultra Wide (ƒ/2.2 aperture) and 12MP Telephoto (ƒ/2.8 aperture), second-generation sensor-shift optical image stabilization, 5x, 3x, 2x,0.5x optical zoom, Adaptive True Tone flash
Front camera: TrueDepth front camera, 12 MP (ƒ/1.9 aperture)
Video: ProRes video recording up to 4K at up to 60 fps (with external recording), 4K video recording at 24 fps, 25 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps, 1080p HD video recording at 25 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps, HDR video recording with Dolby Vision up to 4K at 60 fps, Sensor-shift optical image stabilization for videoLOG video recording, Academy Color Encoding System,
Photonic Engine, Night mode portraits, Night mode, Photographic Styles, Macro photos, ProRaw, Smart HDR 5
Cinematic mode, Macro video recording, Action Mode, Audio zoomiPhone 15 ProThree rear cameras: 48MP Main (ƒ/1.78 aperture), 12MP Ultra Wide (ƒ/2.2 aperture) and 12MP Telephoto (ƒ/2.8 aperture), second-generation sensor-shift optical image stabilization, 3x, 2x,0.5x optical zoom, Adaptive True Tone flash, Adaptive True Tone flash
Front camera: TrueDepth front camera, 12 MP (ƒ/1.9 aperture)Video: ProRes video recording up to 4K at up to 60 fps (with external recording), 4K video recording at 24 fps, 25 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps, 1080p HD video recording at 25 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps, HDR video recording with Dolby Vision up to 4K at 60 fps, Sensor-shift optical image stabilization for videoLOG video recording, Academy Color Encoding System, Photonic Engine, Night mode portraits, Night mode, Photographic Styles, Macro photos, ProRaw, Smart HDR 5
Cinematic mode, ProRes video recording up to 4K at 30 fps, Macro video recording, Action Mode, Audio zoomiPhone 15 PlusTwo rear cameras: 12MP Main (ƒ/1.6 aperture), 12MP Ultra Wide (ƒ/2.4 aperture), sensor-shift optical image stabilization, 2x optical zoom out, digital zoom up to 5x, True Tone flash
Front camera: TrueDepth front camera, 12MP (ƒ/1.9 aperture)Video: 4K video recording at 24 fps, 25 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps, 1080p HD video recording at 25 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps, HDR video recording with Dolby Vision up to 4K at 60 fps, Sensor-shift optical image stabilization for videoPhotonic Engine, Action Mode, Night mode, Photographic Styles, Smart HDR 5
Cinematic mode, Audio zoomiPhone 15Two rear cameras: 48MP Main (ƒ/1.6 aperture), 12MP Ultra Wide (ƒ/2.4 aperture), sensor-shift optical image stabilization, 2x optical zoom out, digital zoom up to 5x, True Tone flash
Front camera: TrueDepth front camera, 12MP (ƒ/1.9 aperture)Video: 4K video recording at 24 fps, 25 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps, 1080p HD video recording at 25 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps, HDR video recording with Dolby Vision up to 4K at 60 fps, Sensor-shift optical image stabilization for videoPhotonic Engine, Action Mode, Night mode, Photographic Styles, Smart HDR 5
Cinematic mode, Audio zoomiPhone 14 PlusTwo rear cameras: 12MP Main (ƒ/1.5 aperture), 12MP Ultra Wide (ƒ/2.4 aperture), sensor-shift optical image stabilization, 2x optical zoom out, digital zoom up to 5x, True Tone flash
Front camera: TrueDepth front camera, 12 MP (ƒ/1.9 aperture)Video: 4K video recording at 24 fps, 25 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps, 1080p HD video recording at 25 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps, HDR video recording with Dolby Vision up to 4K at 60 fps, Sensor-shift optical image stabilization for videoPhotonic Engine, Action Mode, Night mode, Photographic Styles, Smart HDR 4
Cinematic mode, Audio zoomiPhone 14Two rear cameras: 12MP Main (ƒ/1.5 aperture), 12MP Ultra Wide (ƒ/2.4 aperture), sensor-shift optical image stabilization, 2x optical zoom out, digital zoom up to 5x, True Tone flash
Front camera: TrueDepth front camera, 12 MP (ƒ/1.9 aperture)Video: 4K video recording at 24 fps, 25 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps, 1080p HD video recording at 25 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps, HDR video recording with Dolby Vision up to 4K at 60 fps, Sensor-shift optical image stabilization for videoPhotonic Engine, Action Mode, Night mode, Photographic Styles, Smart HDR 4
Cinematic mode, Audio zoomiPhone 13Two rear cameras: 12MP Main (ƒ/1.6 aperture), 12MP Ultra Wide (ƒ/2.4 aperture), sensor-shift optical image stabilization, 2x optical zoom out, digital zoom up to 5x, True Tone flash
Front camera: TrueDepth front camera, 12 MP (ƒ/2.2 aperture)
Video: 4K video recording at 24 fps, 25 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps, 1080p HD video recording at 25 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps, HDR video recording with Dolby Vision up to 4K at 60 fps, Sensor-shift optical image stabilization for videoNight mode, Photographic Styles, Smart HDR 4
Cinematic mode, Audio zoomiPhone SE 3One rear camera: 12MP (ƒ/1.8 aperture), optical image stabilization, digital zoom up to 5x, True Tone flash
Front camera: FaceTime HD camera, 7MP (ƒ/2.2 aperture)
Video: 4K video recording at 24 fps, 25 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps, 1080p HD video recording at 25 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps, Optical image stabilization for videoPhotographic Styles, Smart HDR 4The camera features of the 2022-2023 iPhone lineup.

Safety features: Emergency protection

Apple added some safety features to all the iPhone 14 series and these also feature on the iPhone 15 handsets. These features include a Crash Detection feature and Satellite Connectivity for emergency phone calls. The 2022 and 2023 Apple Watches also offer these safety features.

Crash detection uses the gyroscope and accelerometer in the iPhones to recognize if the vehicle you are in has crashed. If the iPhone thinks you’ve been involved in a crash, it will call emergency services and notify your preferred contacts (unless you tell it not to).

All phones offer the ability to send an Emergency SOS, but only the iPhone 14 and 15 series offers the ability to do so via satellite, which would be useful if you were in an area with no signal. You just need to be able to establish a clear view of the sky, and be in a country that supports the feature (many do now). Thanks to the feature your iPhone can alert the emergency services to your location in an emergency, the iPhone will also contact your emergency contact.

Durability: Which iPhone is the toughest?

Another factor in the choice of which iPhone to choose is how durable the model is. How likely are you to damage the iPhone?

As you can see from the section on design (above) the majority of iPhones on sale right now (except for the iPhone SE 3) offer a Ceramic Shield front, which should mean that the glass on the front is less likely to smash if you drop it. Only the Pro and Pro Max are constructed from titanium (previous generations were stainless steel), which is more durable than aluminum, which all other iPhones are encased in.

All iPhones have a glass back (which is necessary for MagSafe charging). This does mean that if you drop your iPhone with no case on then you are pretty much guaranteed to break the glass on the back. So be sure to pop your new iPhone in a case. For our recommendations see our round-up of the Best iPhone cases.

The other way people damage their iPhones is by dropping them in water. Most iPhones are rated as water resistant to a depth of 6 meters for up to 30 minutes (IP68), the iPhone SE 3 only offers water resistance to a depth of 1 meter for up to 30 minutes (IP67). We still wouldn’t recommend getting your iPhone wet though because Apple will know if it’s gotten wet and it could void your warranty should anything go wrong.

Which iPhone would be worse off if you dropped it?

Apple

Specs: Storage and processor options

In the past, when Apple has introduced a new generation of iPhones, each of the new models featured the same processor, or at least a variant of the same processor. That changed in 2022 when the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max both gained the A16 chip, while the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus stayed back a generation, adopting the A15 chip found in the iPhone 13 and iPhone SE 3, albeit with an extra core.

In 2023 iPhones 15 Pro and Pro Max offer the A17 and the iPhones 15 and 15 Plus offer the A16 (so they are, at least, better than their predecessor was).

The A17 in the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max has one extra GPU core compared to the A16 in the iPhone 14 Pro and the iPhone 15, but that’s not the only way it is better. The A17 is the first 3nm chip to appear in a consumer device. Apple claims that the two high-performance CPU cores are “10 percent faster”, the four high-efficiency cores are “faster”, the 6-core GPU offers 20% faster peak performance and better energy efficiency, and the Neural Engine is up to twice as fast. There are new graphics features like mesh shading and hardware ray tracing acceleration, which Apple claims is the fastest in any smartphone and up to four times faster than software ray tracing. Apple has also incorporated a hardware AV1 decoder for the first time. You may be wondering why you need all this in a phone, you probably don’t unless you are a gaming fanatic.

The A16 Bionic was made using a 4nm process and back in 2022 Apple claimed it was the “fastest in any smartphone”, 40 percent faster than the closest competition, 10% faster than the A15 Bionic and 20% more power efficient. So you can expect improvements in the iPhone 15 compared to the iPhones 14, 13 and SE.

Storage is likely to be a factor in your decision too. Only the Pro and Pro Max models offer 1TB onboard storage, but do you need that much storage? Perhaps if you are purchasing one of these models you do need that much storage – if you record, and need to have continual easy access to, large quantities of high-resolution video, this may be a boon. But for most, it will be overkill.

Each iPhone is available in between three and four capacity options. It’s important to consider how much you need before buying because iPhones don’t have a microSD card slot that will allow you to add additional storage at a later date. For the typical iPhone user, 128GB is probably sufficient. Only the iPhone SE offers less than that, with a 64GB option and we strongly recommend you pay a few dollars/pounds extra to buy the 128GB model.

One reason you may not need more storage is if you choose to sync your data to the cloud. If you pay a monthly fee for iCloud storage all your data will be available on any of your devices, and crucially your photos will be stored in the cloud rather than on your device, freeing up many gigabytes of space. iCloud starts at $0.99/£0.99 for 50GB. See How much does iCloud cost for more information, including Australian and Canadian prices.

Before you decide how much storage you need have a look at your current phone’s usage (go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage) and think about how much space you really need. Read How much storage do you need on an iPhone? for more advice.

iPhoneProcessorStorageBattery lifeiPhone 15 Pro MaxA17 Pro chip, 6-core CPU, 6-core GPU256GB
512GB
1TBUp to 29 hours video playback, up to 50% charge in 35 minutes with 20W adapter or higheriPhone 15 ProA17 Pro chip, 6-core CPU, 6-core GPU128GB
256GB
512GB
1TBUp to 23 hours video playback, up to 50% charge in 30 minutes with 20W adapter or higheriPhone 15 PlusA16 Bionic chip, 6-core CPU, 5-core GPU128GB
256GB
512GBUp to 26 hours video playback, up to 50% charge in 35 minutes with 20W adapter or higheriPhone 15A16 Bionic chip, 6-core CPU, 5-core GPU128GB
256GB
512GBUp to 20 hours video playback, up to 50% charge in 30 minutes with 20W adapter or higheriPhone 14 PlusA15 Bionic chip, 6-core CPU, 5-core GPU128GB
256GB
512GBUp to 26 hours video playback, up to 50% charge in 35 minutes with 20W adapter or higheriPhone 14 A15 Bionic chip, 6-core CPU, 5-core GPU128GB
256GB
512GBUp to 20 hours video playback, up to 50% charge in 30 minutes with 20W adapter or higheriPhone 13A15 Bionic chip, 6-core CPU, 4-core GPU128GB
256GB
512GBUp to 19 hours video playback, up to 50% charge in 30 minutes with 20W adapter or higheriPhone SE 3A15 Bionic, 6-core CPU, 4-core GPU64GB
128GB
256GB15 hrs video playback, up to 50% charge in 30 minutes with 20W adapter or higher

Battery life and charging

In 2022 the iPhone 14 series offered some nice battery life boosts. For 2023 battery life is on par with those phones. The iPhone 15 and the iPhone 14 both claim up to 20 hours video playback, compared to 19 hours for the iPhone 13. The iPhone 15 Plus and 14 Plus both offer 26 hours video playback, the iPhone 15 Pro and 14 Pro 23 hours, and the iPhone 15 Pro Max and 14 Pro Max up to 29 hours video playback.

The iPhone 13 offers offers up to 19 hours, while the SE 3 offers just 15 hours of video playback. In typical use though, you can expect to get more than a day of use out of all iPhones, it’s been a few years since it has been necessary to charge your iPhone every night, although you likely will maintain the habit of doing so.

Should you forget to charge your iPhone the important question is how much time would you need to plug it in for to get a reasonable amount of charge? All smaller iPhones offer “Up to 50% charge in 30 minutes with 20W adapter or higher”, while the larger models require 35 minutes to offer the same.

As for how you charge the iPhone, fast charging requires a 20W adapter or higher that plugs into either the USB-C on 2023 iPhones, or the Lightning port on older iPhones. All but the iPhone SE 3 can also be charged wirelessly via MagSafe.

Battery life and charging times can be seen in the table above.

Which iPhone should I buy?

The best iPhone you can buy right now is the iPhone 15 Pro Max, with its additional camera features and longer battery life. However, if you want a smaller, lighter iPhone, the iPhone 15 Pro is still a good choice.

If you don’t have the budget for the iPhone 15 Pro or Pro Max the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus are still great options. If you want a bigger screen then you don’t have to settle for Apple’s most expensive iPhone. If you choose these iPhones you will miss out on the telephoto lens and the graphics capabilities might not be as good, but, for the majority of people, these phones will be more than sufficient.

You could save money and opt instead for an iPhone 14 or 13, which might appeal if you are upgrading from a particularly old iPhone. Our recommendation would be that if saving money is the most important thing the iPhone 13 is a better choice as there isn’t that much to set it apart from the iPhone 14. The choice between an iPhone 13 and iPhone 14 will depend on how much the camera improvements and the extra hour of battery life in the newer iPhone matter. There’s also the safety features, but we don’t think people will be buying new iPhones just because of these features. 

If it’s a large screen you want the iPhone 14 Plus is your only low-cost option. If you want the smallest iPhone then there is now only one to choose from (unless you find a refurbished iPhone 13 mini). The iPhone SE 3 also offers the Home button, which, for some people, is still essential.

Once you have chosen your new iPhone be sure to read our iPhone setup guide.

Buying an iPhone on contract

The two most common ways to buy an iPhone are SIM-free from Apple itself or a third-party reseller (which is where the pricing information throughout this information fits in, because you’ll be paying upfront for the phone, you will own it, and you will then need to pay for a SIM-only contract for minutes, texts and data), or buying an iPhone on contract.

A contract usually starts with an upfront payment that will vary depending on the iPhone model you go for and also how much you’ll be paying each month. That upfront payment is followed by monthly payments, normally for a total of 24 months, after which you own the phone (in most cases). Those monthly payments also cover data, minutes and texts.

The following networks are worth checking for their contract offers:

AT&T

Sprint

T-Mobile

Verizon

UK readers can find iPhone contracts from the following networks:

O2

EE

Vodafone

Three

Tesco Mobile

Sky Mobile

Virgin Mobile

And from the following third-party resellers:

Carphone Warehouse

Mobiles.co.uk

E2save

Mobile Phones Direct

The iPhone Upgrade Program

Apple offers a scheme called the iPhone Upgrade Program, which works with your carrier and starts at $39.50/£42.95 per month. You can then upgrade to the new iPhone each time one is announced, staying on the same or a very similar plan.

You should be cautious about the value this offers, but in some circumstances, it may be the right approach for you.

The scheme works slightly differently in the U.K., where this is for a SIM-free iPhone. You will also need to get a SIM-only contract for your data, minutes and texts.

You do get AppleCare+ included in the Upgrade Program, though, which is a two-year insurance for your iPhone that will cover you for two incidents of accidental damage. You’ll still have to pay an excess fee should you need to use it, but it’ll be much cheaper than having to cough up the full price of a repair.

Second-hand and refurbished iPhones

You’ll have noticed that buying an iPhone doesn’t come cheap. However, if you’re strapped for cash you don’t have to dismiss the idea of buying an iPhone completely. You may be able to get a good deal on one of the older handsets if someone is looking to sell their current handset. Here are or recommendations of the best place to buy a used iPhone.

iPhone

​Macworld Macworld

Deciding which iPhone to buy has always been tricky. Which screen size is best for you, and how much storage do you need? Should you save money by selecting an older model, or should you splash out on the latest iPhone? Which iPhone is the best compromise between specs and value for money?

In this article we talk you through each of the phones currently available from Apple, to help you decide which is best for you. We discuss iPhone prices, specs and features, paying particular attention to the cameras, screens and durability, so you should leave feeling much more confident about which iPhone you should get.

For more help with your choice see our reviews of the latest iPhones (linked below) and our Best iPhone comparison chart where we compare all the new iPhone with the ones still on sale.

iPhone 15 Pro Max review

iPhone 15 Pro review

iPhone 15 Plus review

iPhone 14 review

iPhone 14 Plus review

What iPhones does Apple sell?

Apple introduced four new phones in September 2022, bringing the number of new phones launched in 2022 to five. But there are actually eight iPhones in Apple’s lineup right now. If you are looking to upgrade an old iPhone or move to iPhone from another manufacturer, here’s the low down on what Apple sells.

We’ll start of by looking at how the design of each handset differs, so you can tell which iPhone is which at a glance, before going on to discuss how the iPhones compare in other ways including screens, cameras, safety features, specs and battery life. You can also find out all about the new features in the iPhone 15 series in our guide: Best new iPhone 15 features.

Before we start, a quick-at-a-glance comparison of the iPhones:

1. Apple iPhone 15

The standard iPhone 15 model doesn’t get all the bells and whistles of the Pro models, but it does offer some great new features in comparison to 2022’s iPhone 14. For example, the non-pro iPhones now have the Dynamic Island instead of the notch. The iPhone 15 camera is significantly better than the iPhone 14 camera, now up to 48MP and with Smart HDR 5. You’ll get USB-C instead of Lightning. The processor is the A16 Bionic, as seen in the iPhone 14 Pro.

Read our full

Apple iPhone 15 review

2. Apple iPhone 15 Plus

The iPhone 15 Plus is simply a bigger version of the iPhone 15. It has a 6.7-inch display, like the iPhone 15 Pro Max, but is actually a little larger than the Pro variant. Battery life is better than the iPhone 15 so that could also be a reason to choose it over that handset.

Read our full

Apple iPhone 15 Plus (128GB) review

3. Apple iPhone 15 Pro

Made from hardwearing titanium and lighter than the predecessor, the iPhone 15 Pro features the Action Button that can be customizable so it can quickly perform complex actions. Like all the 2023 iPhones it has a USB-C port, rather than Lightning, but the Pro models benefit from faster file transfer speeds. It features the A17 Pro chip and an improved camera compared to the previous generation.

Read our full

Apple iPhone 15 Pro review

4. Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max

The iPhone 15 Pro Max is similar to the iPhone 15 Pro: both are made from titanium instead of stainless steel and lighter than the previous generation, and both feature the A17 Pro chip. But this generation has more differences: the iPhone 15 Pro Max has a superior camera with a 5x optical zoom on the telephoto camera.

Read our full

Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max review

5. Apple iPhone 14

Introduced in 2022, the iPhone 14 brought new camera features like the Photonic Engine, better low-light photos and the Action mode, which weren’t available on the iPhone 13. The biggest problem with the iPhone 14 is that it’s not that much different to the iPhone 13 in many other ways, with the same generation chip and practically identical appearance.

Read our full

Apple iPhone 14 review

6. Apple iPhone 14 Plus

Introduced in 2022, this iPhone is identical to the iPhone 14 except for one big difference: it’s bigger. If you prefer a larger iPhone, but don’t want to spend a lot of money, this is the iPhone for you.

Read our full

Apple iPhone 14 Plus review

7. Apple iPhone 13

As we said above, there’s not a huge difference between the iPhone 14 and iPhone 13. They both feature the A15 Bionic, but there’s an extra GPU core in the 14, which might matter if you are a keen gamer. If that, and the missing camera features, don’t matter to you then you could certainly save your money and get the 2021 iPhone.

Read our full

Apple iPhone 13 review

8. Apple iPhone SE (2022)

Apple introduced the iPhone SE 3rd generation in spring 2022. It’s the cheapest iPhone you can buy, and, now that the iPhone 13 mini is no longer sold by Apple, this is Apple’s smallest iPhone. Plus if you want or need a Home button – perhaps because the lack of a button could cause accessibility problems, although there is a way to add a software Home button if you need to – this is the only iPhone that has one.

Read our full

Apple iPhone SE (2022) review

How much do iPhones cost?

Brilliant news for 2023: Apple has reduced pricing across most of the range (and across the whole range if you are based in the U.K.) Below you will find pricing for U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia (scroll across to see pricing in your region).

ModelRelease dateStorage optionsU.S. Price U.K. PriceCanada PriceAustralia PriceiPhone 15 Pro MaxSeptember 2023256GB512GB1TB$1,199$1,399$1,599£1,199£1,399£1,599$1,749$2,049$2,349$2,199$2,549$2,899iPhone 15 ProSeptember 2023128GB256GB512GB1TB$999$1,099 $1,299$1,499 £999£1,099£1,299£1,499$1,449$1,599$1,899$2,199$1,849$2,049$2,399$2,749iPhone 15 PlusSeptember 2023128GB256GB512GB$899 $999$1,199£899£999£1,199$1,279$1,429$1,729$1,649$1,849$2,199iPhone 15September 2023128GB256GB512GB$799$899$1,099£799£899£1,099$1,129$1,279$1,579$1,499$1,699$2,049iPhone 14 PlusSeptember 2022128GB256GB512GB$799$899$1,099£799£899£1,099$1,149$1,299$1,599$1,499$1,699$2,049iPhone 14September 2022128GB256GB512GB$699$799$999£699£799£999$999$1,149$1,449$1,299$1,499$1,849iPhone 13September 2021128GB256GB512GB$599$699$899£599£699£899$849$999$1,299$1,099$1,299$1,649iPhone SE (3rd gen)March 202264GB 128GB256GB$429$479$579£429£479£579$579$649$789$719$799$969iPhone prices September 2023.

You don’t have to pay full price for a new iPhone though. Read our iPhone deals roundup for more advice on getting the lowest possible price from various different resellers. We have also collected the best deals for the iPhone 15-series in the U.K. and the best deals for the iPhone 15-series in the U.S. in separate articles.

Design: How do the iPhones compare?

Apple

Apple repurposed the notch into the Dynamic Island with the arrival of the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max in 2022, and now the Dynamic Island has arrived on the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus, helping to distinguish those models from the iPhone 14 and iPhone 13. The Dynamic Island conceals the TrueDepth camera and other Face ID tech in a black area at the top of the iPhone that can grow to incorporate elements such as low battery alerts, unlocking, Silent mode, privacy indicators and more.

Now that the iPhone 15 has the Dynamic Island like the Pro and Pro Max, the most striking difference between the pro and standard models is seen from the back: the iPhone Pro and Max models have always had three cameras to the standard two cameras on the back. The pro models are also constructed from titanium, which gives them a more metallic sheen, while, the standard phones are aluminium, but available in a larger variety of colors.

The color options are probably the most obvious difference between ranges, although there are standard shades that tend to come up for every generation, although sometimes they get renamed (black as Midnight, for example). The color pallet of the iPhone 15 is more muted than the iPhone 14 pallet. See the differences between the yellow shades below.

Apple

The iPhone 14 looks similar to the iPhone 13. If you are upgrading from an iPhone that’s older than the iPhone 13 then the notch is smaller on both the iPhone 13 and 14. The best way to differentiate between the iPhone 13 and iPhone 14 is the color options: the iPhone 14 offers blue, yellow, purple, Midnight, Starlight and a bright (Product) Red. The iPhone 13 comes in green, pink, blue (darker), Midnight, Starlight and red (darker). A look at the shades of blue on offer seems to indicate that Apple has made the iPhone colors paler with each subsequent phone.

Apple

The iPhone 14 Plus looks like the iPhone 14 but is a bit larger. In fact, the dimensions are similar to the iPhone 14 Pro Max, but you can tell those two phones apart because the 14 Plus has the notch. The iPhone 14 Plus could feasibly be mistaken for an iPhone 13 Pro Max, but for the fact that the Pro and Max models have a more metallic color finish, and Apple no longer sells that model.

When Apple introduces the new Pro and Pro Max models it stops selling the previous generation, so the only way to buy the 14 Pro and Pro Max will be through a third-party reseller, or (eventually) the Apple refurbished store. Color choices are more similar between these handsets.

Apple

The iPhone 15 and 15 Pro and the iPhone 15 Plus and iPhone 15 Pro Max share screen sizes (more on the screens in the next section), but that is where the comparison ends. The screen size might be the same, but the size of the iPhone differs: the Pro and Pro Max models are slightly smaller, though thicker and heavier. The iPhone 15 is also a tiny bit smaller and lighter than the iPhone 14.

Speaking of size, now that Apple has discontinued the iPhone 13 mini the only small iPhone available is the iPhone SE with its 4.7-inch display. This is also the only iPhone with a Home button for Touch ID.

Here’s how the dimensions and colors compare:

iPhoneDimensionsWeightColoursiPhone 15 Pro Max6.29 inches (159.9 mm) x 3.02 inches (76.7 mm) x 0.32 inch (8.25 mm)8.47 ounces (240 grams)Natural Titanium, Blue Titanium, White Titanium, Black TitaniumiPhone 15 Pro5.77 inches (146.6 mm) x 2.78 inches (70.6 mm) x 0.32 inches (8.25 mm)7.27 ounces (206 grams)Natural Titanium, Blue Titanium, White Titanium, Black TitaniumiPhone 15 Plus6.33 inches (160.9 mm) x 3.06 inches (77.8 mm) x 0.31 inch (7.80 mm)7.09 ounces (201 grams)Pink, Yellow, Green, Blue, BlackiPhone 155.81 inches (147.6mm) x 2.82 inches (71.6 mm) x 0.31 inches (7.80 mm)6.02 ounces (171 grams)Pink, Yellow, Green, Blue, BlackiPhone 14 Plus6.33 inches (160.8 mm) x 3.07 inches (78.1 mm) x 0.31 inch (7.80 mm)7.16 ounces (203 grams)Blue, Purple, Midnight, Starlight, RediPhone 14 5.78 inches (146.7 mm) x 2.82 inches (71.5 mm) x 0.31 inch (7.80 mm)6.07 ounces (172 grams)Blue, Purple, Midnight, Starlight, RediPhone 135.78 inches (146.7 mm) x 2.82 inches (71.5 mm) x 0.30 inch (7.65 mm)6.10 ounces (173 grams)Green, Pink, Blue, Midnight, Starlight, RediPhone SE 35.45 inches (138.4 mm) x 2.65 inches (67.3 mm) x 0.29 inch (7.3 mm)5.09 ounces (144 grams)Midnight, Starlight and RedHow Apple’s 2023-2024 iPhone lineup compares.

Screen: How are the iPhone displays different?

The Pro and Pro Max iPhones have the best screens available on an iPhone. Like the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, and the 13 Pro and Pro Max before them, the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max offer ProMotion, which allows for an adaptive refresh rate. The refresh rate goes as high as 120Hz for really smooth scrolling and as low as 1Hz. The low refresh rate arrived on the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max to help with one of the new features of those handsets: the Always-On display. The Always-On display is now available on the 15 Pro and 15 Max.

The Always-On display on the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max (and the 14 Pro and Max) means you can see details without unlocking.IDG

Thanks to the Always-On screen you will always be able to see elements such as the time and date, notifications and Lock Screen widgets without waking the iPhone. The screen dims to minimize onscreen power usage to preserve battery life and it will turn off should you place it face down or walk away while wearing an Apple Watch.

Aside from the ProMotion capabilities, the iPhone 15 Pro and Max also offer 1,000 nits max brightness and 1,200 nits peak brightness (HDR), but boost to 2,000 nits peak brightness for when you are outdoors in the sunshine. The iPhone 15 and 15 Plus now go to 1,000 nits max brightness (was only 800 nits max brightness for the iPhone 14 and 13) and 1,600 nits peak HDR (up from 1,200 nits on the 14 and 13). There is also a new 2,000 nits peak brightness for the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus that the predecessors didn’t offer. The iPhone SE (3rd-generation) offers just 625 nits max brightness and 1,200 nits peak brightness (HDR). The brighter the iPhone screen the easier it will be to see detail when it’s really sunny.

Both the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus also offer a few more pixels than their predecessors, matching the pixels of the Pro and Pro Max handsets this time round.

The screen size may be the most important factor in your decision. If you want the biggest iPhone screen you can get the good news is that, since the introduction of the iPhone 14 Plus in 2022, Apple no longer requires you to spend all your money on the most expensive iPhone. The iPhone 15 Plus and iPhone 15 Pro Max both have a screen that measures 6.7-inches diagonally. The extra space means you can fit a few extra lines of text on the screen, or comfortably bump up the text size. The larger screens are also preferable if you watch a lot of media on your iPhone. It’s likely that if you have previously owned a Max or Plus handset you will feel like your iPhone screen is cramped if you upgrade to a smaller display.

On the other hand, for many the larger iPhone sizes are far too large. Small-handed people holding the giant iPhones may be afraid that they are going to drop the hefty and expensive device. Apple sells three iPhones with a 6.1-inch screen: the iPhone 15, iPhone 14 and iPhone 13. Even these handsets are considered too large by some though, so there is one even smaller iPhones on offer: the iPhone SE with its 4.7-inch screen. Unfortunately, Apple no longer sells the iPhone 13 mini with its 5.4-inch screen, but you may be able to find a refurbished model or one on sale at an authorized reseller.

iPhoneScreen size & pixelsScreen technologyScreen featuresiPhone 15 Pro Max6.7-inch screen, 2796-by-1290-pixel resolution at 460 ppi2,000,000:1 contrast ratio (typical), 2000 nits peak brightness (outdoor), 1000 nits max brightness, 1600 peak brightness (HDR)Super Retina XDR, OLED, ProMotion, Dynamic Island, Always OniPhone 15 Pro6.1-inch screen, 2556-by-1179-pixel resolution at 460 ppi2,000,000:1 contrast ratio (typical), 2000 nits peak brightness (outdoor), 1000 nits max brightness, 1600 peak brightness (HDR)Super Retina XDR, OLED, ProMotion, Dynamic Island, Always OniPhone 15 Plus6.7-inch screen, 2796-by-1290-pixel resolution at 460 ppi2,000,000:1 contrast ratio (typical), 2000 nits peak brightness (outdoor), 1000 nits max brightness, 1600 nits peak brightness (HDR)Super Retina XDR, OLEDiPhone 156.1-inch screen, 2556-by-1179-pixel resolution at 460 ppi2,000,000:1 contrast ratio (typical), 2000 nits peak brightness (outdoor), 1000 nits max brightness, 1600 nits peak brightness (HDR)Super Retina XDR, OLEDiPhone 14 Plus6.7-inch screen, 2778-by-1284-pixel resolution at 458 ppi2,000,000:1 contrast ratio (typical), 800 nits max brightness, 1200 nits peak brightness (HDR)Super Retina XDR, OLEDiPhone 14 6.1-inch screen, 2532-by-1170-pixel resolution at 460 ppi2,000,000:1 contrast ratio (typical), 800 nits max brightness, 1200 nits peak brightness (HDR)Super Retina XDR, OLEDiPhone 136.1-inch screen, 2532-by-1170-pixel resolution at 460 ppi2,000,000:1 contrast ratio (typical), 800 nits max brightness, 1200 nits peak brightness (HDR)Super Retina XDR, OLEDiPhone SE 34.7-inch screen, 1334-by-750-pixel resolution at 326 ppi1400:1 contrast ratio, 625 nits max brightness (typical)LCD display with IPS technologyThe screen specs for the 2023-2024 iPhones.

Camera: How do the iPhone cameras compare?

Jason Snell / Foundry

For many it’s the capabilities of the cameras that sell the iPhones, so it’s no wonder that every year Apple improves the camera on its iPhones, sometimes improving the tech, sometimes the software. The iPhone 15 and 15 Plus still feature a dual-camera array with wide and ultra-wide lenses, while only the Pro and Pro Max offer the additional telephoto lens. In 2023 the iPhone 15 series gains some technical improvements, with both Pro and non-Pro iPhones getting camera upgrades.

In 2023, the biggest and best camera improvements are reserved for the iPhone 15 Pro Max, which gains a “tetra prism” periscope lens that bounces light four times internally for a longer focal length: 120mm, or a 5x zoom. This is a big increase over the 3x/77mm telephoto camera offered by the iPhone 15 Pro.

The iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max gained a 48MP camera in 2022 and in 2023 it’s the turn of the 15 and 15 Plus to gain a new 48MP main camera. Shooting in 24MP is standard, but the 48MP photos can be taken in ProRAW or HEIF for more compact shots, which is an improvement on 2022. One benefit of being able to shoot in 48MP is that you can zoom and crop and still have enough resolution to get a good quality image.

The iPhone 15 now offers a 2x optical zoom, up from 1x on the iPhone 14. All the new iPhones for 2023 get Smart HDR 5.

There are also new video recording features for the pro models, including ProRes video recording up to 4K at 60 fps, LOG video recording and Academy Colour Encoding.

In 2022 the TrueDepth (FaceTime and Face ID) camera was upgraded on the front of the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus, gaining autofocus and improved low-light performance thanks to the wider aperture. That is a good reason to choose that iPhone over the 13. The front camera of the iPhone 15 is unchanged.

The iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max models, just like the iPhone 14 Pro and Max, are able to shoot Macro photos. This feature isn’t available on the standard models.

All models on sale currently offer Portrait Mode and the Portrait Lighting effects on the rear cameras for images with depth of field. The only camera that doesn’t offer Night Mode is the iPhone SE 3. The iPhone SE 3 also only has one camera on the rear.

iPhoneCamerasVideoPhoto & video featuresiPhone 15 Pro MaxThree rear cameras: 48MP Main (ƒ/1.78 aperture), 12MP Ultra Wide (ƒ/2.2 aperture) and 12MP Telephoto (ƒ/2.8 aperture), second-generation sensor-shift optical image stabilization, 5x, 3x, 2x,0.5x optical zoom, Adaptive True Tone flashFront camera: TrueDepth front camera, 12 MP (ƒ/1.9 aperture)Video: ProRes video recording up to 4K at up to 60 fps (with external recording), 4K video recording at 24 fps, 25 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps, 1080p HD video recording at 25 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps, HDR video recording with Dolby Vision up to 4K at 60 fps, Sensor-shift optical image stabilization for videoLOG video recording, Academy Color Encoding System, Photonic Engine, Night mode portraits, Night mode, Photographic Styles, Macro photos, ProRaw, Smart HDR 5Cinematic mode, Macro video recording, Action Mode, Audio zoomiPhone 15 ProThree rear cameras: 48MP Main (ƒ/1.78 aperture), 12MP Ultra Wide (ƒ/2.2 aperture) and 12MP Telephoto (ƒ/2.8 aperture), second-generation sensor-shift optical image stabilization, 3x, 2x,0.5x optical zoom, Adaptive True Tone flash, Adaptive True Tone flashFront camera: TrueDepth front camera, 12 MP (ƒ/1.9 aperture)Video: ProRes video recording up to 4K at up to 60 fps (with external recording), 4K video recording at 24 fps, 25 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps, 1080p HD video recording at 25 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps, HDR video recording with Dolby Vision up to 4K at 60 fps, Sensor-shift optical image stabilization for videoLOG video recording, Academy Color Encoding System, Photonic Engine, Night mode portraits, Night mode, Photographic Styles, Macro photos, ProRaw, Smart HDR 5Cinematic mode, ProRes video recording up to 4K at 30 fps, Macro video recording, Action Mode, Audio zoomiPhone 15 PlusTwo rear cameras: 12MP Main (ƒ/1.6 aperture), 12MP Ultra Wide (ƒ/2.4 aperture), sensor-shift optical image stabilization, 2x optical zoom out, digital zoom up to 5x, True Tone flashFront camera: TrueDepth front camera, 12MP (ƒ/1.9 aperture)Video: 4K video recording at 24 fps, 25 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps, 1080p HD video recording at 25 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps, HDR video recording with Dolby Vision up to 4K at 60 fps, Sensor-shift optical image stabilization for videoPhotonic Engine, Action Mode, Night mode, Photographic Styles, Smart HDR 5Cinematic mode, Audio zoomiPhone 15Two rear cameras: 48MP Main (ƒ/1.6 aperture), 12MP Ultra Wide (ƒ/2.4 aperture), sensor-shift optical image stabilization, 2x optical zoom out, digital zoom up to 5x, True Tone flashFront camera: TrueDepth front camera, 12MP (ƒ/1.9 aperture)Video: 4K video recording at 24 fps, 25 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps, 1080p HD video recording at 25 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps, HDR video recording with Dolby Vision up to 4K at 60 fps, Sensor-shift optical image stabilization for videoPhotonic Engine, Action Mode, Night mode, Photographic Styles, Smart HDR 5Cinematic mode, Audio zoomiPhone 14 PlusTwo rear cameras: 12MP Main (ƒ/1.5 aperture), 12MP Ultra Wide (ƒ/2.4 aperture), sensor-shift optical image stabilization, 2x optical zoom out, digital zoom up to 5x, True Tone flashFront camera: TrueDepth front camera, 12 MP (ƒ/1.9 aperture)Video: 4K video recording at 24 fps, 25 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps, 1080p HD video recording at 25 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps, HDR video recording with Dolby Vision up to 4K at 60 fps, Sensor-shift optical image stabilization for videoPhotonic Engine, Action Mode, Night mode, Photographic Styles, Smart HDR 4Cinematic mode, Audio zoomiPhone 14Two rear cameras: 12MP Main (ƒ/1.5 aperture), 12MP Ultra Wide (ƒ/2.4 aperture), sensor-shift optical image stabilization, 2x optical zoom out, digital zoom up to 5x, True Tone flashFront camera: TrueDepth front camera, 12 MP (ƒ/1.9 aperture)Video: 4K video recording at 24 fps, 25 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps, 1080p HD video recording at 25 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps, HDR video recording with Dolby Vision up to 4K at 60 fps, Sensor-shift optical image stabilization for videoPhotonic Engine, Action Mode, Night mode, Photographic Styles, Smart HDR 4Cinematic mode, Audio zoomiPhone 13Two rear cameras: 12MP Main (ƒ/1.6 aperture), 12MP Ultra Wide (ƒ/2.4 aperture), sensor-shift optical image stabilization, 2x optical zoom out, digital zoom up to 5x, True Tone flash Front camera: TrueDepth front camera, 12 MP (ƒ/2.2 aperture)Video: 4K video recording at 24 fps, 25 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps, 1080p HD video recording at 25 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps, HDR video recording with Dolby Vision up to 4K at 60 fps, Sensor-shift optical image stabilization for videoNight mode, Photographic Styles, Smart HDR 4Cinematic mode, Audio zoomiPhone SE 3One rear camera: 12MP (ƒ/1.8 aperture), optical image stabilization, digital zoom up to 5x, True Tone flash Front camera: FaceTime HD camera, 7MP (ƒ/2.2 aperture)Video: 4K video recording at 24 fps, 25 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps, 1080p HD video recording at 25 fps, 30 fps or 60 fps, Optical image stabilization for videoPhotographic Styles, Smart HDR 4The camera features of the 2022-2023 iPhone lineup.

Safety features: Emergency protection

Apple added some safety features to all the iPhone 14 series and these also feature on the iPhone 15 handsets. These features include a Crash Detection feature and Satellite Connectivity for emergency phone calls. The 2022 and 2023 Apple Watches also offer these safety features.

Crash detection uses the gyroscope and accelerometer in the iPhones to recognize if the vehicle you are in has crashed. If the iPhone thinks you’ve been involved in a crash, it will call emergency services and notify your preferred contacts (unless you tell it not to).

All phones offer the ability to send an Emergency SOS, but only the iPhone 14 and 15 series offers the ability to do so via satellite, which would be useful if you were in an area with no signal. You just need to be able to establish a clear view of the sky, and be in a country that supports the feature (many do now). Thanks to the feature your iPhone can alert the emergency services to your location in an emergency, the iPhone will also contact your emergency contact.

Durability: Which iPhone is the toughest?

Another factor in the choice of which iPhone to choose is how durable the model is. How likely are you to damage the iPhone?

As you can see from the section on design (above) the majority of iPhones on sale right now (except for the iPhone SE 3) offer a Ceramic Shield front, which should mean that the glass on the front is less likely to smash if you drop it. Only the Pro and Pro Max are constructed from titanium (previous generations were stainless steel), which is more durable than aluminum, which all other iPhones are encased in.

All iPhones have a glass back (which is necessary for MagSafe charging). This does mean that if you drop your iPhone with no case on then you are pretty much guaranteed to break the glass on the back. So be sure to pop your new iPhone in a case. For our recommendations see our round-up of the Best iPhone cases.

The other way people damage their iPhones is by dropping them in water. Most iPhones are rated as water resistant to a depth of 6 meters for up to 30 minutes (IP68), the iPhone SE 3 only offers water resistance to a depth of 1 meter for up to 30 minutes (IP67). We still wouldn’t recommend getting your iPhone wet though because Apple will know if it’s gotten wet and it could void your warranty should anything go wrong.

Which iPhone would be worse off if you dropped it? Apple

Specs: Storage and processor options

In the past, when Apple has introduced a new generation of iPhones, each of the new models featured the same processor, or at least a variant of the same processor. That changed in 2022 when the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max both gained the A16 chip, while the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus stayed back a generation, adopting the A15 chip found in the iPhone 13 and iPhone SE 3, albeit with an extra core.

In 2023 iPhones 15 Pro and Pro Max offer the A17 and the iPhones 15 and 15 Plus offer the A16 (so they are, at least, better than their predecessor was).

The A17 in the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max has one extra GPU core compared to the A16 in the iPhone 14 Pro and the iPhone 15, but that’s not the only way it is better. The A17 is the first 3nm chip to appear in a consumer device. Apple claims that the two high-performance CPU cores are “10 percent faster”, the four high-efficiency cores are “faster”, the 6-core GPU offers 20% faster peak performance and better energy efficiency, and the Neural Engine is up to twice as fast. There are new graphics features like mesh shading and hardware ray tracing acceleration, which Apple claims is the fastest in any smartphone and up to four times faster than software ray tracing. Apple has also incorporated a hardware AV1 decoder for the first time. You may be wondering why you need all this in a phone, you probably don’t unless you are a gaming fanatic.

The A16 Bionic was made using a 4nm process and back in 2022 Apple claimed it was the “fastest in any smartphone”, 40 percent faster than the closest competition, 10% faster than the A15 Bionic and 20% more power efficient. So you can expect improvements in the iPhone 15 compared to the iPhones 14, 13 and SE.

Storage is likely to be a factor in your decision too. Only the Pro and Pro Max models offer 1TB onboard storage, but do you need that much storage? Perhaps if you are purchasing one of these models you do need that much storage – if you record, and need to have continual easy access to, large quantities of high-resolution video, this may be a boon. But for most, it will be overkill.

Each iPhone is available in between three and four capacity options. It’s important to consider how much you need before buying because iPhones don’t have a microSD card slot that will allow you to add additional storage at a later date. For the typical iPhone user, 128GB is probably sufficient. Only the iPhone SE offers less than that, with a 64GB option and we strongly recommend you pay a few dollars/pounds extra to buy the 128GB model.

One reason you may not need more storage is if you choose to sync your data to the cloud. If you pay a monthly fee for iCloud storage all your data will be available on any of your devices, and crucially your photos will be stored in the cloud rather than on your device, freeing up many gigabytes of space. iCloud starts at $0.99/£0.99 for 50GB. See How much does iCloud cost for more information, including Australian and Canadian prices.

Before you decide how much storage you need have a look at your current phone’s usage (go to Settings > General > iPhone Storage) and think about how much space you really need. Read How much storage do you need on an iPhone? for more advice.

iPhoneProcessorStorageBattery lifeiPhone 15 Pro MaxA17 Pro chip, 6-core CPU, 6-core GPU256GB512GB1TBUp to 29 hours video playback, up to 50% charge in 35 minutes with 20W adapter or higheriPhone 15 ProA17 Pro chip, 6-core CPU, 6-core GPU128GB256GB512GB1TBUp to 23 hours video playback, up to 50% charge in 30 minutes with 20W adapter or higheriPhone 15 PlusA16 Bionic chip, 6-core CPU, 5-core GPU128GB256GB512GBUp to 26 hours video playback, up to 50% charge in 35 minutes with 20W adapter or higheriPhone 15A16 Bionic chip, 6-core CPU, 5-core GPU128GB256GB512GBUp to 20 hours video playback, up to 50% charge in 30 minutes with 20W adapter or higheriPhone 14 PlusA15 Bionic chip, 6-core CPU, 5-core GPU128GB256GB512GBUp to 26 hours video playback, up to 50% charge in 35 minutes with 20W adapter or higheriPhone 14 A15 Bionic chip, 6-core CPU, 5-core GPU128GB256GB512GBUp to 20 hours video playback, up to 50% charge in 30 minutes with 20W adapter or higheriPhone 13A15 Bionic chip, 6-core CPU, 4-core GPU128GB256GB512GBUp to 19 hours video playback, up to 50% charge in 30 minutes with 20W adapter or higheriPhone SE 3A15 Bionic, 6-core CPU, 4-core GPU64GB 128GB256GB15 hrs video playback, up to 50% charge in 30 minutes with 20W adapter or higher

Battery life and charging

In 2022 the iPhone 14 series offered some nice battery life boosts. For 2023 battery life is on par with those phones. The iPhone 15 and the iPhone 14 both claim up to 20 hours video playback, compared to 19 hours for the iPhone 13. The iPhone 15 Plus and 14 Plus both offer 26 hours video playback, the iPhone 15 Pro and 14 Pro 23 hours, and the iPhone 15 Pro Max and 14 Pro Max up to 29 hours video playback.

The iPhone 13 offers offers up to 19 hours, while the SE 3 offers just 15 hours of video playback. In typical use though, you can expect to get more than a day of use out of all iPhones, it’s been a few years since it has been necessary to charge your iPhone every night, although you likely will maintain the habit of doing so.

Should you forget to charge your iPhone the important question is how much time would you need to plug it in for to get a reasonable amount of charge? All smaller iPhones offer “Up to 50% charge in 30 minutes with 20W adapter or higher”, while the larger models require 35 minutes to offer the same.

As for how you charge the iPhone, fast charging requires a 20W adapter or higher that plugs into either the USB-C on 2023 iPhones, or the Lightning port on older iPhones. All but the iPhone SE 3 can also be charged wirelessly via MagSafe.

Battery life and charging times can be seen in the table above.

Which iPhone should I buy?

The best iPhone you can buy right now is the iPhone 15 Pro Max, with its additional camera features and longer battery life. However, if you want a smaller, lighter iPhone, the iPhone 15 Pro is still a good choice.

If you don’t have the budget for the iPhone 15 Pro or Pro Max the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus are still great options. If you want a bigger screen then you don’t have to settle for Apple’s most expensive iPhone. If you choose these iPhones you will miss out on the telephoto lens and the graphics capabilities might not be as good, but, for the majority of people, these phones will be more than sufficient.

You could save money and opt instead for an iPhone 14 or 13, which might appeal if you are upgrading from a particularly old iPhone. Our recommendation would be that if saving money is the most important thing the iPhone 13 is a better choice as there isn’t that much to set it apart from the iPhone 14. The choice between an iPhone 13 and iPhone 14 will depend on how much the camera improvements and the extra hour of battery life in the newer iPhone matter. There’s also the safety features, but we don’t think people will be buying new iPhones just because of these features. 

If it’s a large screen you want the iPhone 14 Plus is your only low-cost option. If you want the smallest iPhone then there is now only one to choose from (unless you find a refurbished iPhone 13 mini). The iPhone SE 3 also offers the Home button, which, for some people, is still essential.

Once you have chosen your new iPhone be sure to read our iPhone setup guide.

Buying an iPhone on contract

The two most common ways to buy an iPhone are SIM-free from Apple itself or a third-party reseller (which is where the pricing information throughout this information fits in, because you’ll be paying upfront for the phone, you will own it, and you will then need to pay for a SIM-only contract for minutes, texts and data), or buying an iPhone on contract.

A contract usually starts with an upfront payment that will vary depending on the iPhone model you go for and also how much you’ll be paying each month. That upfront payment is followed by monthly payments, normally for a total of 24 months, after which you own the phone (in most cases). Those monthly payments also cover data, minutes and texts.

The following networks are worth checking for their contract offers:

AT&T

Sprint

T-Mobile

Verizon

UK readers can find iPhone contracts from the following networks:

O2

EE

Vodafone

Three

Tesco Mobile

Sky Mobile

Virgin Mobile

And from the following third-party resellers:

Carphone Warehouse

Mobiles.co.uk

E2save

Mobile Phones Direct

The iPhone Upgrade Program

Apple offers a scheme called the iPhone Upgrade Program, which works with your carrier and starts at $39.50/£42.95 per month. You can then upgrade to the new iPhone each time one is announced, staying on the same or a very similar plan.

You should be cautious about the value this offers, but in some circumstances, it may be the right approach for you.

The scheme works slightly differently in the U.K., where this is for a SIM-free iPhone. You will also need to get a SIM-only contract for your data, minutes and texts.

You do get AppleCare+ included in the Upgrade Program, though, which is a two-year insurance for your iPhone that will cover you for two incidents of accidental damage. You’ll still have to pay an excess fee should you need to use it, but it’ll be much cheaper than having to cough up the full price of a repair.

Second-hand and refurbished iPhones

You’ll have noticed that buying an iPhone doesn’t come cheap. However, if you’re strapped for cash you don’t have to dismiss the idea of buying an iPhone completely. You may be able to get a good deal on one of the older handsets if someone is looking to sell their current handset. Here are or recommendations of the best place to buy a used iPhone.

iPhone 

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