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Best iPhone: How to pick the perfect iPhone for you

So you know you want an iPhone—but which one? Our iPhone buying guide has all the answers.

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This guide was most recently updated on October 12, 2018.

Picking out an iPhone used to be easier—just get the newest one with all the storage you can afford. We still recommend plenty of storage, but the choice of which iPhone to get it on isn’t quite so cut-and-dry. Do you want the phone with the best camera, the one with the lowest starting price, or maybe size is a big factor in your decision?

There’s another major factor that will influence what iPhone you should buy: Apple’s latest iPhone release included three (!!!) new models to choose from: The iPhone XS and XS Max, and the iPhone XR. We haven't included the iPhone XR in here, since we're waiting to get our hands on it. We will update this article once we have done our iPhone XR review.

If you’re ready to buy an iPhone, we’re here to help. Presented here is a guide of every iPhone currently sold by Apple, and how to decide which is the best for you.

iPhone XS and XS Max: Best overall, best camera

Yes, it’s the most expensive iPhone ever made, starting at a whopping $999 (64GB) for the 5.8-inch iPhone XS and stretching up to $1,449 (512GB) for the 6.5-inch iPhone XS Max

But it’s also the best. Clearly the best. You want the best display? Apple’s new OLED display is sharper, more colorful, more accurate, and brighter than anything we’ve ever seen. 

You want the best camera? The iPhone XS takes the leading camera of the iPhone X and improves it with a new Smart HDR feature, which leads to better colors, clarity and low-light photos.

Speed? Battery life? The iPhone XS’s A12 Bionic processor is ridiculously fast. The battery life is great; it lasts longer than the iPhone X.

With its 5.8-inch display, the iPhone XS is the direct descendant of the iPhone X. But now there’s a new iPhone XS Max model, which has the same processor and features as the XS, but with a 6.5-inch display. The XS Max is about the same size as the iPhone 8 Plus, but the whole front is a display—no home button and smaller bezels. It’s impressive.

iPhone 8: Best 4.7-inch phone

The iPhone 8 might look a lot like the iPhone 7 (which Apple still sells), and you might wonder why it’s worth spending $150 more ($599) than the older phone ($449). There are substantial improvements in the iPhone 8 that make it worth the extra cost.

First, you get double the storage. Let’s face, it, you’re going to run out of space with that 32GB iPhone 7, so the real cost of entry is the 128GB model at $549. The 64GB base model of the iPhone 8 is much more usable, so you probably don’t have to fork over a bunch of extra cash to jump up to the 256GB model.

The iPhone 8 includes Apple’s A11 Bionic chip, which is way faster than the A10 in the iPhone 7. It’s going to make a big difference as Apple continues to push its machine learning, augmented reality, and AI efforts. Plus, it just makes all your apps and games run way faster.

You also get True Tone display, which adjusts the white point of the screen to match the ambient light. Once you see it in action, it’s hard to go back.

The camera may appear to have similar specs (12 megapixels, f/1.8 lens) but it’s actually much improved. White balance and skin tones are dramatically better, low-light shots are less noisy, and the frame rate on slow-motion and 4K video recording has doubled.

Oh, and you also get wireless charging support, fast charging with USB-C, and longer battery life. 

iPhone 7 Plus: Best bargain for big hands

When a new iPhone comes out, Apple keeps the older generations on sale at a substantial discount. That means, right now you can get a 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus with 32GB of storage for $669, or 128GB of storage for $669. That’s a $100 discount off of the previous price, $200 off the original.

The iPhone 7 Plus has lots of other things going for it. The A10 processor, a dual rear camera, and IP67 water resistance. With the iPhone 7 Plus, Apple also introduced the wide color gamut display.

iPhone 7: Best value

The best bargain on the iPhone market is the iPhone 7. You get a 4.7-inch screen, the same size as the iPhone 8. You sacrifice a little bit of speed, but you save $150.

The iPhone 7 has the A10 Fusion chip. The 1960 mAh battery in the iPhone 7 has more than enough life to last all day. The 12-megapixel camera supports Live Photos and 4K video, so you aren’t losing out there. 

And hey, the price is great! Apple only sells two configurations now: 32GB for $449, and 128GB for $549.