Which iPhone Is Right for You? (2022)

From the iPhone 14 Pro Max to the iPhone SE, we'll go over all the models Apple currently offers.

Has your trusty old iPhone finally bit the dust? Or are you finally making the switch from Android? Whatever your situation, if you're in the market for a new iPhone, you're probably a little overwhelmed by the choices. From the new iPhone 14 line to the third-generation iPhone SE, we're here to help cut through the noise and find the right iPhone for you.

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In this guide, we'll be going over all the iPhones available from Apple, from the new iPhone 14 Pro Max to the third-generation iPhone SE. We'll cover price and specs like size and display, camera details, and more, but before we dive in, we'll also go over a glossary of terms to help you understand what it means when an iPhone has "LiDAR" or an "XDR display." Let's jump in.

Terms to Help You Pick the Best iPhone

LiDAR: LiDAR stands for "Light Detection and Ranging." This technology uses light from a laser to detect objects and determine how far away they are. LiDAR can do a lot, but for most iPhone users, the primary benefits of an iPhone with LiDAR are that it will help take better photos in low light and at night, and it will improve augmented reality (AR) experiences, as LiDAR will help your iPhone get a more accurate picture of its immediate surroundings.

MagSafe: MagSafe technology has been around since 2006, but until recently, it was mostly known as the technology used in older Mac laptop chargers. You remember the chargers that magnetically attach to MacBooks, right? Well, MagSafe is back, and now it's in iPhones! Starting with iPhone 12 models, MagSafe's magnetic properties are built right into iPhones and enable MagSafe-compatible wireless charging and other MagSafe-compatible accessories, like card holders and cases.

Retina: Retina is Apple's proprietary term to describe its displays with higher pixel density. Because the pixels in Retina displays are smaller, the overall appearance becomes sharper, smoother, and well, less pixelated. Can't see the individual pixels no matter how close you get to your iPhone's screen? Thank your Retina display. Terms like Liquid Retina and Super Retina also proprietary marketing terms. The most important thing for you to know about the difference between Liquid Retina and Super Retina is that Liquid Retina screens use Liquid Crystal Display (LCD), while Super Retina screens use organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays. Super Retina XDR displays will see improved brightness, contrast, and color compared to Liquid Retina displays.

Wide, Ultra Wide, & Telephoto cameras: If you're confused about what the different cameras do on iPhone models with more than one rear-facing camera, here's what you need to know: The Wide camera is the one that you will use most often. It will take your standard pictures, no zoom involved. The Ultra Wide lets you zoom out to capture more of the scene in front of you with your camera, while the Telephoto lens lets you do the opposite and zoom in, capturing closer shots in greater detail.

Which Model Is Right for Me?

To learn more about iPhone features and how to use them, sign up for our Tip of the Day newsletter. Now that you know some key terms, let's dive into the iPhone lineup. There are currently eight available models on the Apple store. Let's walk through the pros and cons of each to find the best iPhone to suit your needs. Something to consider when purchasing an iPhone: a more expensive model often has a higher resale value. For example, you can still trade in last year's iPhone 13 for $800 and put that towards a new iPhone model. This can make a significant difference in your budget and purchasing decisions! 

iPhone 14 Pro Max

  • Price: from $1,099
  • Size & Display: 6.7" Super Retina XDR display
  • Camera: 48 MP Main, Ultra Wide, Telephoto
  • Chip: A16 Bionic
  • Capacity options: 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB
  • Colors: Deep Purple, Gold, Silver, Space Black

This is it: The ultimate iPhone. The iPhone 14 Pro Max. It offers the longest battery life (up to 29 hours of video playback) and has the latest A16 Bionic chip. Shockingly, the iPhone 14 Pro has also done away with the long-hated notch at the top of the display and replaced it with what Apple is calling "Dynamic Island." The Dynamic Island customizes the display at the top of the screen to show various notifications or display the status of background activities, like Maps directions or your Music playlist. Basically, it allows a way for you to conveniently see notifications and alerts without interrupting what you're doing in another app. It's also a convenient way for Apple to disguise the still-present notch. The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max also have a new Always-On display. Made possible by efficient low-energy features, you no longer have to raise or tap your phone to wake your phone. Instead, the time, widgets, and Live Activities will always be displayed and available at a glance. The most compelling upgrades to the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max are to the camera though: the increase in the level of image detail is impressive thanks to the 48 MP lens, and you'll be able to take clearer, brighter, more colorful photos and videos in any lighting condition. If you want the best iPhone Apple has to offer and money is no object, this is the phone for you. If you love iPhone photography and cinematography, you'll definitely want to invest in one of the new iPhone 14 models!

iPhone 14 Pro

  • Price: from $999
  • Size & Display: 6.1" Super Retina XDR display
  • Camera: 48 MP Main, Ultra Wide, Telephoto
  • Chip: A16 Bionic
  • Capacity options: 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB
  • Colors: Deep Purple, Gold, Silver, Space Black

The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max also come with the Crash Detection and new Emergency SOS via Satellite features that are also available on the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus models. Similar to the iPhone 14 Pro, it also has the same Dynamic Island replacing the outdated notch for more convenient notification alerts and status updates. The iPhone camera has become increasingly complex, and without going into the technical details, if you're after the best smartphone photography has to offer, you'll want to purchase the iPhone Pro or Pro Max model. With a new Photonic Engine, the Pro and Pro Max models offer an unprecedented level of detail. It also captures more colors and detailed textures than any other iPhone. An added bonus? The iPhone 14 Pro comes with the latest A16 Bionic chip, giving this model an impressive battery life of up to 23 hours of video playback. 

iPhone 14

  • Price: from $799
  • Size & Display: 6.1" Super Retina XDR display
  • Camera: 12 MP Main, Ultra Wide
  • Chip: A15 Bionic
  • Capacity options: 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB
  • Colors: Blue, Purple, Midnight, Starlight, (PRODUCT)RED 

The iPhone 14 saw some powerful camera upgrades that allow it to capture even more texture and detail, as well as take better low-light photos and clearer action shots. The battery life is longer than previous models, and Apple added a new Crash Detection feature (sending your location and connecting you to emergency services in the event of a car wreck). Apple also added an industry-first safety feature: Emergency SOS via satellite. The added hardware components allow you to connect to a satellite with your iPhone (rather than through an expensive device) and relay a summary of your situation to emergency services. The added safety features and far-increased camera capabilities make a compelling argument to purchase the new iPhone 14 over the older iPhone 13.

iPhone 14 Plus

  • Price: from $899
  • Size & Display: 6.7" Super Retina XDR display
  • Camera: 12 MP Main, Ultra Wide
  • Chip: A15 Bionic
  • Capacity options: 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB
  • Colors: Blue, Purple, Midnight, Starlight, (PRODUCT)RED 

This model is exactly the same as the previous iPhone 14 base model, except that it comes with the coveted 6.7-inch display size instead of the standard 6.1-inch display. Previously, the larger iPhone displays were only available with the most expensive Pro and Pro Max models. So if you're after the larger iPhone screen, but don't want the advanced camera features or the $1,000+ price tag of the Pro and Pro Max models, this iPhone is for you.

iPhone 13

  • Price: from $699
  • Size & Display: 6.1" Super Retina XDR display
  • Camera: Ultra Wide, Wide
  • Chip: A15 Bionic
  • Storage Capacity: 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB
  • Colors: Starlight, midnight, blue, pink, (PRODUCT)RED 

If you're looking for a medium-priced option with a regular-sized screen, I'd recommend going with the iPhone 13. The iPhone 13 has twice the storage capacity of the iPhone 12, with the faster processing speeds and longer battery life (up to 19 hours of video playback) made possible by the A15 chip. Because of this, I recommended spending the extra $100 to buy the iPhone 13 instead of the iPhone 12. 

iPhone 13 mini

  • Price: from $599
  • Size & Display: 5.4" Super Retina XDR display
  • Camera: Ultra Wide, Wide
  • Chip: A15 Bionic
  • Storage Capacity: 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB
  • Colors: Starlight, Midnight, Blue, Pink, (PRODUCT)RED

With the small size relished by many dedicated iPhone users, the iPhone 13 mini packs a punch for the price. With up to 512 GB storage capacity (nearly double its predecessor, the iPhone 12 mini), the iPhone 3 mini has the A15 Bionic chip, making for faster processing speeds. What sets it apart from the iPhone SE? The iPhone SE has a Home button, making the display only 4.7", while the iPhone 13 mini does not have the Home button, giving it a larger screen. The iPhone 13 mini also has more storage capacity and a more powerful chip, making a compelling argument for upgrading to this model. 

iPhone SE (3rd Generation)

  • Price: from $429
  • Size & Display: 4.7" Retina HD display
  • Camera: 12 MP Wide
  • Chip: A15 Bionic
  • Capacity options: 64 gigabytes, 128 GB, 256 GB
  • Color options: Midnight, Starlight, and (PRODUCT)RED

The third-generation iPhone SE is a great entry-level iPhone and may particularly appeal to those who long for the day of smaller phones and those who miss the Home button. The display size is significantly smaller than the current iPhone versions, so if you spend a fair amount of time browsing on your iPhone, I'd recommend making the price jump to the slightly larger iPhone 13 mini. However, if you're only planning to use your iPhone for basic daily tasks, the iPhone SE is still a great (and very pocket-friendly option). 

iPhone 12

  • Price: from $599
  • Size & Display: 6.1" Super Retina XDR display
  • Camera: Ultra Wide, Wide
  • Chip: A14 Bionic
  • Capacity options: 64 GB, 128 GB, 256 GB
  • Color options: Black, White, Purple, Blue, Green, (PRODUCT)RED

It's not hard to see why the iPhone 12 has been so popular: with the 6.1" Super Retina XDR display, it also has an earlier version of Apple's Bionic chip. This means it has faster processing speeds and longer battery life than previous iPhone models. If you love the standard 6.1" inch screen size and are looking for a medium-priced option, the iPhone 12 is a decent choice. However, with only a $100 price difference between the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 base models, I'd recommend paying a little extra and upgrading to the more recent (and more powerful) iPhone 13. 

Does reading about the latest-and-greatest iPhones make you curious about older models? You can read about the evolution of the iPhone, from the very first release in 2007!

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Author Details

Elisabeth Garry's picture

Author Details

Elisabeth Garry

Elisabeth Garry is an Associate Editor for iPhone Life. Formerly of Gartner and Software Advice, she has four years’ experience writing about technology for everyday users. As a former college writing instructor, she is passionate about effective, accessible communication, which is perhaps why she loves helping people make the best use of the strongest communication tools they have available: their iPhones. She has a degree in Russian Literature and Language from Reed College.

When she’s not writing for iPhone Life, she’s probably either reading (19th-century Russian literature or fantasy novels), writing fiction, or spending time with her adorable dog, Moosh.