iPhone 5s and 5c at a glance
Designed with a minimalist aesthetic, the polycarbonate iPhone 5c and aluminum-and-glass iPhone 5s eschew a button-heavy design in favor of simple controls and a slim figure. Here’s a quick rundown of all the features on the device’s exterior. (We use an iPhone 5c in the image below, but mention any 5s-specific features in the description.)
Press the On/Off button to turn the device’s screen on or off. You can still take calls, play music, and receive notifications with it off, but the screen stays blank until you wake it by pressing this button or the Home button. To turn the device off, hold the On/Off button down until the screen dims and the red ‘slide to power off’ slider appears. Slide your finger across the switch, and the iPhone powers down. (To turn your device back on, press and hold this button again until the Apple logo appears.)
You can also decline or silence calls, alerts, and alarms with the On/Off button; press it once to silence an incoming alert or call; and press it twice in succession to send the caller to voicemail.
Front-facing FaceTime HD camera
This 1.2-megapixel camera can shoot 1280 by 960 pixel stills and 720p HD video (1280 by 720 pixels), and has a backside illumination sensor for clearer low-light photography. This camera is designed primarily for using FaceTime and snapping quick self-portraits.
With no headphones plugged in, this is where you place your ear to listen to incoming calls. Depending on your region, the iPhone 5s and 5c may use wideband audio during telephone calls, which increases the vocal frequencies and provides better-sounding conversations.
Both the iPhone 5c and the 5s sport a 4-inch–diagonal Multi-Touch display; the device’s touch sensors are integrated directly into the display, reducing sunlight glare and keeping the iPhone’s figure slim. Its 1136-by-640-pixel Retina display packs 326 pixels per inch into the space allotted. The display is made from optical-quality glass, which makes it highly scratch resistant. It also has an oil-resistant oleophobic coating that makes it easy to wipe off smudges.
Home button (Touch ID sensor on 5s)
The only physical button on the face of the iPhone, the Home button provides a variety of shortcuts for accessing apps and iOS features. On the iPhone 5s, your Home button is also the location of the Touch ID sensor, which lets you use your fingerprint to unlock your device and bypass your iCloud password for purchasing apps and media.
SINGLE-PRESS A single-press of the Home button can have several results, depending on what you’re using the iPhone for at the time: If the phone is in sleep mode, pressing the Home button wakes the iPhone; if you’re in an app, it returns you to the home screen; if you’re on a subsequent home screen page, it returns you to the first page; and if you’re on the first home screen page, it brings you into the iPhone’s Spotlight search mode.
SINGLE-PRESS AND HOLD If you press and hold the Home button for at least two seconds, that activates Siri.
DOUBLE-PRESS When the phone is locked or in sleep mode, a double-press of the Home button wakes your device and brings up both the iPod controls and a shortcut for the Camera app. In active use, it brings up the multitasking bar, showcasing your active apps.
Headphone Jack and Microphone
The iPhone 5c and 5s both have a standard 3.5mm audio jack on the bottom of their casings. Apple includes a set of white EarPods that allow you to listen to audio and speak on a call, but you can also use any pair of third-party headphones instead.
One of the iPhone’s three microphones is located on the bottom left of the device. (The other two, which are designed to filter out noise, are located near the top, on the front and back.) Unless you’re using an external microphone, you’ll use this mic when making calls, recording voice memos, talking to Siri, and more.
The iPhone uses Apple’s Lightning dock connector to connect to your computer and other accessories. Unlike Apple’s older 30-pin connector, it’s reversible, so you can plug it into your phone in either direction. It won’t work with older 30-pin third-party accessories without an adapter.
On the bottom right of the new iPhone is a small speaker that’s responsible for projecting speakerphone calls, music, movies, game noises, and any other miscellaneous noise. Because your device has just one speaker, it plays all audio in mono (on a single channel).
Back Camera and LED Flash
On the back of the iPhone is the second of two cameras, as well as an LED flash.
The iPhone 5c sports an 8-megapixel CMOS backside illumination sensor, which snaps pictures at a 3264-by-2448-pixel resolution. (In real-world terms, that would translate to a high-quality 8-by-10-inch glossy print.) An attached hybrid IR filter provides better color accuracy, while the f/2.4 aperture offers improved low-light performance. The iPhone 5 camera sports a sapphire lens cover for sharper images. The iPhone’s back camera also captures 1080p high-definition video at up to 30 frames per second, with real-time video image stabilization and temporal noise reduction.
The iPhone 5s’s camera has improved internals, including an 8-megapixel sensor with larger individual pixels (for clearer low-light photographs), an f/2.2 aperture, and a TrueTone dual-LED flash for warmer pictures when using a flash. The back camera also records 1080p high-definition video at up to 30 frames per second and 720p video at up to 120 frames per second, with real-time video image stabilization and a 3x digital zoom option.
The Ring/Silent switch—found on the left side of the device—does pretty much what you’d suspect: Flick it backward to silence the phone, forward to activate the ringer. When you switch to Silent mode, you reveal a small orange stripe on the switch, and your device vibrates. Silent mode silences only rings and alerts, however; you can still play music and game sounds through the speaker.
Volume Up and Volume Down Buttons
Directly below the Ring/Silent switch is a pair of volume buttons. Press the plus button (+) to increase volume and the minus button (–) to decrease volume. (In the Camera app, the plus button also functions as a physical camera shutter button.) In the Settings app, you can choose whether these buttons affect only noises from an app, or whether they control systemwide sounds as well.
SIM Card Slot
The iPhone can operate on multiple cellular bands, thanks to its dynamically switching on-board radio: various bands of the LTE cellular data standard, HSPA+, DC-HSDPA, GPRS, EDGE, CDMA-EvDO, and HSPA. Major U.S. partners for the iPhone 5c and 5s include AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon.
When you purchase a new iPhone, you can do so in one of two ways: with a cellular carrier contract or contract-free. The first option lets you receive a significant discount on the phone, but you have to use your iPhone solely with that carrier for two to three years, depending on your carrier and region. Contract-free phones allow you to use any carrier’s pay-as-you-go plan but are several hundred dollars more expensive up front. Either way, you’ll need a carrier to talk on your iPhone and use cellular data.
Your iPhone needs a nano-SIM card to connect to a cellular provider. Without it, you won’t be able to access call networks or cellular Internet, only Wi-Fi. If you sign up for a contract when you purchase your device, this SIM card comes preinstalled; if you don’t have a contract, however, you need to pick up a nano-SIM from a supported cellular carrier. You can see Apple’s full list of supported spectrum bands on Apple’s iPhone webpage.
If you have a contract-free phone and need to install a nano-SIM—or you need to access your current nano-SIM card—you can remove it by sticking one end of a paper clip into the hole next to the SIM card slot.
Your device comes equipped with a set of EarPods; these are earbuds with a microphone and remote built onto the right-side cable that can control volume, change tracks, and answer and end calls. You can use these controls to perform a variety of actions with the right combination of taps.
SINGLE-CLICK Clicking the center button of the remote once while listening to music or watching a video pauses playback; if you’re receiving a call, a single-click answers it, and another single-click hangs up when you’re finished.
SINGLE-CLICK AND HOLD When you’re receiving an incoming call, a single-click and hold declines the call and sends it directly to voicemail; while you’re on a call, you can do this to switch to a secondary call. Otherwise, holding down on the remote activates Siri.
DOUBLE-CLICK Squeeze twice, and your song skips to the next track.
TRIPLE-CLICK Squeeze three times to skip back to the previous track.