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29 September 2021

Which Apple iPhone should I buy?

Apple iPhones are world famous. But are they worth the high cost, and which model is the best choice for you?
Alice Williams
Iphone 7

If you want your next smartphone to be an Apple iPhone, there are a few options to choose from. Keep reading to find out about the key differences, as well as the best iPhones we've tested, to help you make the right decision.

Apple is one of the most popular smartphone manufacturers in the UK, alongside Android brands like Samsung, Motorola and Huawei. It retains a unique standing among mobile phone brands, though many question whether Apple remains a cutting-edge company, and if it adopts more of a 'style-over-substance' approach.

iPhones frequently push the envelope, though, bringing new features and ideas into the smartphone world. Its products aren't cheap, so it's important to consider whether you need the latest and most expensive iPhone, or if an older device at a cut price will still tick all the boxes.

Below we reveal how each iPhone fared in our tough tests. Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive ratings and verdicts below. If you're not yet a member, try Which? to get instant access.

See which iPhones appear in our roundup of the best mobile phones, and check for discounts in our guide to the best mobile phone deals.

Video: iPhone 11 vs iPhone 12

Take a look at the key differences between the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 series in our video.

Best iPhone to buy

  • 80%

    The iPhone 11 Pro is a pretty big step up from its cheaper alternative, the iPhone 11, and is the cheapest model in the range to have Apple's new triple-rear-camera setup. But what does it offer those who aren't photo fanatics? We sent the Apple iPhone 11 Pro to our lab to find out.

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  • 78%

    There doesn't seem to be a great deal of difference with this new iPhone compared to its predecessor, the iPhone X. But considering that the controversial, notch-wielding iPhone X was ultimately well-received, can the iPhone XS build on its strengths and justify its place in Apple's line up? Read our full review to find out.

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  • 75%

    The iPhone XR is Apple's late addition to its 2018 smartphone range, which has taken centre stage at a welcome lower price. Apple claims the top-of-the-range camera and screen are more than enough to help it stand out, but can this cheaper handset top the success of the iPhone XS and XS Max? We've fully tested it, so read our review to find out.

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  • 73%

    Is it worth upgrading to the expensive Apple iPhone 8, or will you be just as happy with an older iPhone - or an Android alternative? That's the big question on lots of people's lips, and we have the answer. Before taking the plunge and spending your money on the iPhone 8, read our full expert review to find out how long its battery lasts, whether it takes good photos, how fast it is and more.

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Pricing, recommendations and test scores correct as of July 2020.

How much do Apple iPhones cost?

Apple iPhones are typically very expensive, with no particularly budget-friendly options when buying brand new.

Top of the pile is the £999 iPhone X (64GB). It has an attractive almost-all-screen display and a few fancy features, such as facial recognition and two rear-facing cameras. But spending this much money on a mobile phone might prove too hard a pill to swallow.

The two other most recent iPhones are also very expensive. The iPhone 8 (64GB) costs around £699 to buy outright, while you'll spend £799 for the larger iPhone 8 Plus (64GB).

If you're not committed to always having the very latest tech, it can pay to wait until the model you want has been succeeded. Prices of older iPhones typically drop when there's a new kid on the block, even if not by much. For instance, the iPhone 7 (32GB) can be found for around £500 to buy outright, £100 cheaper than its launch price.

If you want an iPhone but want to spend as little as possible, consider the iPhone 7. Its 4.7-inch screen could also make it a good option if you're not a fan of large-screen phones. You can currently buy it outright for £299, and it has the same rear camera as the iPhone 8

Want to save more money? Take a look at our guide to the best mobile phone deals right now.

What to look for when choosing an Apple iPhone

There are a few things to think about when deciding which iPhone to opt for. Here’s our shortlist of what to consider:

  • Size – If you want an iPhone that you can easily use with one hand, the iPhone SE is a good bet. The 4.7-inch displays of the iPhone 6s, 7 and 8 aren't especially large for smartphones these days, but you may still need two hands. The Plus models have expansive 5.5-inch screens, while the X's display is an even larger 5.8 inches - unless you have particularly large hands, you'll need two hands for comfortable use.
  • Storage space – The iPhone 8, 8 Plus and X have two different storage options - 64GB and a monstrous 256GB. The older iPhone 7, 7 Plus and SE have 32GB and 128GB options. If you want the larger storage option, these usually cost £100-£150 more. If you're happy to delete old photos or apps you don't use much, a smaller option should be fine. Bear in mind that iPhones don't have micro-SD card slots, so you can't boost space with a separate micro-SD card.
  • Speed – When Apple launches a new phone, it often features the brand's latest chipset, promising the fastest speeds. However, previous processors may well be up to the job of playing the latest games, or running the latest apps with ease. To find out more about iPhone speed, you'll need to read our iPhone reviews.
  • Cameras – The latest iPhones have the highest-spec cameras. For instance, both the iPhone 8 and 7 have a 12Mp rear camera, but Apple says it has made improvements to the latest model for clearer photos. All iPhones from the 6s onwards can shoot high-quality 4K resolution videos, too.

Do any iPhones make our favourites list? Find out in our top five best smartphones guide.