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Best iPhone 2020: which Apple phone is the best?

Best iPhone 2020
(Image credit: Apple)

The best iPhone for you depends on your tastes, needs and budget. Do you want to upgrade to the most expensive model every year or do you want to get the most you can for your money and settle into a few years with the same iPhone?

Apple knows people have different buying habits and so it currently sells four different lines of iPhone: iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11, iPhone SE and iPhone XR. Each can run the latest iOS 13 and all will be updated with the new iOS 14 and likely several versions to come after that, one of the big advantages of getting an iPhone rather than an Android device.

The iPhone 12 range is hotly anticipated but we’re still not sure if it’ll drop as usual in September or if the coronavirus pandemic will mean it is delayed. For now, your choice depends on whether you want a home button or want to use Face ID, the number of camera, the screen size and - probably most importantly - the price.

Below we’ve ranked all the iPhones Apple sells plus models that are still available from other retailers. At the moment we think the iPhone 11 is the best iPhone for most people, but you might not be most people. Take a look at our buying advice and standalone reviews to see which iPhone will suit your pocket. 

Short of time? Watch our "which iPhone is right for you?" video explainer below:

Best iPhone: which one should you buy today?

iPhone 11

(Image credit: Apple)

1. iPhone 11

The best Apple iPhone bang for your buck

Weight: 194g | Dimensions: 150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3mm | OS: iOS 13 | Screen size: 6.1-inch | Resolution: 828 x 1792 | CPU: A13 Bionic | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64/128/256GB | Battery: Unknown | Rear camera: 12MP+12MP | Front camera: 12MP

Great value
Fast speeds at a discount
Ultrawide lens is far better than telephoto
Still an LCD screen
Glass back attracts fingerprints

The iPhone 11 isn't the highest-spec Apple phone, but it supersedes the iPhone XR 'budget flagship' in better ways to become the standout phone of its generation in terms of sheer value. 

True, it misses out on a telephoto lens, but like we found with the Samsung Galaxy S10e, a coupling of main and ultrawide lenses serve most photo needs. While it doesn't get an OLED display, its LCD screen at least allows the phone to keep its best-in-generation battery life crown. And it even gets a bit more RAM - up to 4GB from its predecessor's 3GB.

Add in iOS 13 and all the new tweaks coming in the iPhone 11 series and this phone is a lean, mean, photo-taking machine - and all for $699, the cheapest an iPhone has debuted since the iPhone 8.

Read our in-depth iPhone 11 review

iPhone 11 Pro

(Image credit: Apple)

2. iPhone 11 Pro

Nearly the best, but a bit too pricey

Weight: 188g | Dimensions: 144 x 71.4 x 8.1mm | OS: iOS 13 | Screen size: 5.8-inch | Resolution: 1125 x 2436 | CPU: A13 Bionic | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64/256/512GB | Battery: 3,046mAh | Rear camera: 12MP+12MP+12MP | Front camera: 12MP

Camera a real step forward
Sizeable battery upgrade
Similar to iPhone XS visually
Few non-camera upgrades

The iPhone 11 Pro is a more advanced smartphone than the base iPhone 11, but it isn't the best iPhone just because its price is a big step up too.

Sure, the smaller screen is one-hand-friendly, the screen quality is a bonus, and it's Apple's most affordable handset with three rear cameras, so it's a decent phone all in all – that's why it's at our second spot on the list of our best iPhones!

But money is a concern for most people when they're looking for a new smartphone, and the big price step up may be questionable for most people when you put the stats side-by-side with the iPhone 11.

Read our full iPhone 11 Pro review

iPhone 11 Pro Max

(Image credit: Apple)

3. iPhone 11 Pro Max

Big phone, best phone, top price

Weight: 226g | Dimensions: 158 x 77.8 x 8.1mm | OS: iOS 13 | Screen size: 6.5-inch | Resolution: 1242 x 2688 | CPU: A13 Bionic | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64/256/512GB | Battery: Unknown | Rear camera: 12MP+12MP+12MP | Front camera: 12MP

Three rear cameras
Fastest, best iPhone out there
Even more battery
Expensive
Mostly unchanged

The iPhone 11 Pro Max is not only a confusing shift in naming convention - it's the biggest, fastest, baddest iPhone out there. It's also the most expensive at $1,099 starting price, which only goes up if you expand storage.

Not much has changed from the iPhone XS Max, aside from the upgraded camera suite - but then again, adding an ultrawide lens is a big upgrade. The photo software has been upgraded, too, and switching between zoom levels is far smoother here than in other phones.

The battery level has been improved a staggering 4 hours over the iPhone XS Max, according to Apple. And if you can get beyond the truly weird-looking triple-lens rear camera block, this is truly the most powerful iPhone out there.

Read our in-depth iPhone 11 Pro Max review

iPhone SE

(Image credit: Apple)

4. iPhone SE

The choice for those who want a cheaper iPhone

Weight: 148g | Dimensions: 138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3mm | OS: iOS 13 | Screen size: 4.7-inch | Resolution: 750 x 1334 | CPU: A13 Bionic | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 64/128/256GB | Battery: 1,821mAh | Rear camera: 12MP | Front camera: 7MP

Cheapest ever iPhone
Lightweight frame
Battery life could be better
Old screen technology

Unveiled in April 2020, the new iPhone SE may look like an older iPhone but it comes with a lot of benefits over the rest of the range. The chief reason you may want to buy this is it's the cheapest iPhone you can buy from Apple right now.

It comes with the same design as the iPhone 8, but this has upgraded internals such as an A13 Bionic chipset that is the same we've seen powering the three phones you'll find above in this list.

It also comes with a Touch ID fingerprint scanner, which is something we haven't seen on recent iPhones. The camera is good on this phone, but won't compete with the very top iPhones and it has an average battery life too.

Overall, if you're looking for a cheaper alternative to the devices you've read about above you'll love the iPhone SE.

Read our in-depth iPhone SE review

(Image credit: Future)

5. iPhone XS

Another option for those looking for something compact

Weight: 174g | Dimensions: 143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7mm | OS: iOS 12 | Screen size: 5.8-inch | Resolution: 1125 x 2436 | CPU: A12 Bionic | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64/256/512GB | Battery: 2,659mAh | Rear camera: 12MP+12MP | Front camera: 7MP

Smart HDR helps the camera
Faster operation in one hand vs Max
Battery life not world-beating
Still very expensive

Believe it or not, the iPhone XS was once Apple's best 'small' phone. It has a 5.8-inch screen, so it's more one-hand-friendly than a lot of the larger phones on this list, but it still packs a punch in terms of spec.

The iPhone XS may be a little older now, but it has a Smart HDR-capable 12MP camera, enhanced TrueDepth front-facing camera, and a fast A12 Bionic chipset, exactly like the larger iPhone XS Max.

In fact, this all-screen phone is pretty much the iPhone XS Max in a smaller form factor. It does have a smaller battery than the Max and obviously a smaller screen, but you will still capture the same great photos and videos on this device and play the same games. 

Plus, it's cheaper that is used to be when it was the latest and greatest iPhone.

Read our in-depth iPhone XS review

(Image credit: Apple)

6. iPhone XS Max

The iPhone XS Max is still a big, speedy phone

Weight: 208g | Dimensions: 157.5 x 77.4 x 7.7mm | OS: iOS 12 | Screen size: 6.5-inch | Resolution: 1242 x 2688 | CPU: A12 Bionic | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64/256/512GB | Battery: 3,179mAh | Rear camera: 12MP+12MP | Front camera: 7MP

Great big screen for games and movies
Camera is strong for an iPhone
Price: most expensive iPhone ever
Size can make it tricky to handle

This was once the very best iPhone if your hands and wallets were large enough. It has an expansive 6.5-inch OLED screen with HDR10 support to make colors pop. It's the perfect phone if you want a giant screen, but it has now been replaced by the iPhone 11 Pro Max we've mentioned above.

Behind that huge screen is a dual-lens 12MP camera. Apple outfitted it with Smart HDR and increased the sensor size to capture larger pixels. Don't let that static 12MP number fool you. The iPhone XS Max (like the XS) has depth-sensing capabilities for adjustable bokeh (background blur) during and after a shot.

The TrueDepth camera returns with faster Face ID recognition, and your 7MP selfies get better depth control and Smart HDR, too. This is now cheaper than at launch too, so it may be a good option if you want lots of spec but don't want to get the absolute latest iPhone.

Read our in-depth iPhone XS Max review

(Image credit: Future)

7. iPhone XR

The best iPhone for those looking for great battery life

Weight: 194g | Dimensions: 150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3mm | OS: iOS 12 | Screen size: 6.1-inch | Resolution: 1792 x 828 | CPU: A12 Bionic | RAM: 4GB | Storage: 64/128256GB | Battery: 2,942mAh | Rear camera: 12MP+12MP | Front camera: 7MP

Great battery life for an iPhone
Lower price tag and fun colors
Some apps still not fully optimized
Lower-res screen

The iPhone XR is a great upgrade for the average consumer who doesn't want to pay for the most expensive iPhone money (a lot of money) can buy. This was Apple's 'cheap' iPhone until the iPhone SE 2020 came along. 

It stands out with a variety of iPhone XR colors: Blue, White, Black, Yellow, Coral, Red. This contrasts heavily with the rather muted colors of the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. Yet it shares the same internal specs: Apple's A12 Bionic chipset and a 12MP dual-lens camera with a single lens on back. 

You don't get the dual-lens camera like you do on a higher-tier iPhone, so you miss out on telephoto shots. But Smart HDR is the real perk to taking great photos, and that's here.

It's cheaper, it's more colorful and it has a big 6.1-inch screen. That's enough for most people, especially those who aren't insistent on an impressive OLED screen.

Read our in-depth iPhone XR review

(Image credit: Apple)

8. iPhone X

The iPhone that changed the range

Weight: 174g | Dimensions: 143.6 x 70.9 x 7.7mm | OS: iOS 11 | Screen size: 5.8-inch | Resolution: 1125 x 2436 | CPU: A11 Bionic | RAM: 3GB | Storage: 64/256GB | Battery: 2,716mAh | Rear camera: 12MP+12MP | Front camera: 7MP

Brilliant screen
Powerful innards
Smart TrueDepth camera
Incredibly expensive

The iPhone X is as impressive as it is expensive, but if you really want a great modern iPhone without buying a newer device, this is the one to get today. 

It has a large all-screen display, except for a notch cutout at the top that houses a new TrueDepth Camera. This takes selfies to another level and can also map your face to an iPhone X-exclusive Animoji. If you don't know what that is by now you probably won't care.

The iPhone X is Apple's 10th anniversary smartphone and has just about everything iPhone users have been asking for, from a more forward-leaning design to faster specs and new features. You'll just have to get used to Face ID instead of reaching for that non-existent fingerprint sensor.

Read our in-depth iPhone X review