Which iPhone Is Right for You?

Looking for the best iPhone camera? The most inexpensive iPhone? Something else? Find out which iPhone is best for you.

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. We're here to help cut through the noise and help you find the right iPhone for you.

Related: The Evolution of the iPhone: Every Model from 2007–2020

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In this guide, we'll be going over all the iPhones currently available from Apple, from the iPhone XR to the iPhone 12 Pro Max. 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 Pick the Best iPhone for You

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 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.

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. We'll start with the cheapest phone and go through to the most expensive.

iPhone SE (2nd Generation)

  • Price: from $399
  • Size & Display: 4.7" Retina HD display
  • Camera: Wide
  • Chip: A13 Bionic
  • Capacity options: 64 gigabytes, 128 GB, 256 GB
  • Color options: Black, White, and (Product)RED

The 2nd 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.

iPhone XR

  • Price: from $499
  • Size & Display: 6.1" Liquid Retina HD display
  • Camera: Wide
  • Chip: A12 Bionic
  • Capacity options: 64GB, 128GB
  • Color options: Black, White, Blue, Yellow, Coral, (Product)RED

The iPhone XR is the oldest model iPhone still available directly from Apple. Released in October 2018, it's still going strong. If you want a bigger screen with a better display than the 2nd generation iPhone SE offers, uninterrupted by that pesky Home button, at a reasonable price, the iPhone XR may be for you. Plus, look at all the colors!

iPhone 11

  • Price: from $599
  • Size & Display: 6.1" Liquid Retina HD display
  • Camera: Ultra Wide, Wide
  • Chip: A13 Bionic
  • Capacity options: 64 GB, 128 GB, 256 GB
  • Color options: Black, White, Purple, Yellow, Green, (Product)RED

The iPhone 11 was the first iPhone to introduce a second rear-facing camera with an Ultra Wide lens. Its chip is also an upgrade from the iPhone X series, and it offers a 256GB model, while the iPhone XR caps out at 128GB. Plus it comes in purple!

iPhone 12 Mini

  • Price: from $699
  • Size & Display: 5.4" 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

If you want to get an iPhone 12 mini from Apple, you might want to do it soon. DigiTimes reports that production of iPhone 12 minis could be ending soon due to supply chain problems, and sales of the iPhone 12 mini were reportedly never what Apple hoped for, according to Ars Technica. Still, if you are a fan of smaller phones, the iPhone 12 mini also delivers a top-of-the-line display, Apple's fastest chip, and the same impressive hardware and storage capacity of the iPhone 12, all for $100 less. It, like the entire iPhone 12 series, is compatible with MagSafe wireless chargers and accessories.

iPhone 12

iPhone 12
  • Price: from $799
  • 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

According to Tim Cook (via 9to5 Mac), the iPhone 12 is the best-selling member of the iPhone 12 family. It's not hard to see why: with it's 6.1" Super Retina XDR display, A14 Bionic chip, battery supporting up to 17 hours of video playback, MagSafe compatibility, and more, it's undoubtedly a great iPhone. If you trust your fellow iPhone users, you can't go wrong with the iPhone 12.

iPhone 12 Pro

  • Price: from $999
  • Size & Display: 6.1" Super Retina XDR display
  • Camera: Ultra Wide, Wide, Telephoto
  • Chip: A14 Bionic
  • Capacity options: 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB
  • Color options: Pacific Blue, Gold, Graphite, Silver

Probably the most notable improvement the iPhone 12 Pro makes over the iPhone 12 is the addition of the Telephoto camera and LiDAR. With the iPhone 12 Pro, you can also record video in up to 60 frames per second for even smoother videos. If you're an iPhone photographer or videographer, these camera upgrades alone make the iPhone 12 Pro a great choice if you can't quite commit to the $1000+ pricetage of the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

iPhone 12 Pro Max

  • Price: from $1099
  • Size & Display: 6.7" Super Retina XDR display
  • Camera: Ultra Wide, Wide, Telephoto
  • Chip: A14 Bionic
  • Capacity options: 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB
  • Color options: Pacific Blue, Gold, Graphite, Silver

This is it: The ultimate iPhone. The iPhone 12 Pro Max. It's got everything the iPhone 12 Pro has, plus a bigger screen and a battery that can handle 20 hours of video playback. If you want the best iPhone Apple has to offer, if money is no object, this is the phone for you. Now go forth and record your Dolby Vision HDR videos in 60 frames per second, you beautiful butterfly.

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Author Details

Elisabeth Garry's picture

Author Details

Elisabeth Garry

Elisabeth Garry is a Feature Web Writer 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.