Best iPhones in 2024: Which iPhone should you buy?

All iPhone 15 models shown together.
(Image credit: Future)

The iPhone 15 Pro Max is the best iPhone you can buy right now, and it figures to hold that position until the iPhone 16 models arrive later this year. So with no new devices likely to come out of Cupertino until the fall, this is a great time to get your hands on a new Apple phone, whether it's the iPhone 15 Pro Max or something else in Apple's lineup.

If you're not sure which model that should be, we can help. Our iPhone 15 vs. iPhone 15 Pro vs. iPhone 15 Pro Max comparison outlines the differences between the phones Apple released last fall. That way, you can decide whether it's best to pay top dollar for the iPhone 15 Pro Max, save some money with the iPhone 15 or get any of the other latest models.

You're not limited to just the iPhone 15 family, by the way. You can also save some money by buying an older iPhone. The iPhone 14 remains part of Apple's lineup as does the iPhone 13, with Apple cutting the price on both phones last fall. And the best iPhone deals can help you save more, even on the iPhone SE — currently the cheapest iPhone Apple sells.

Whether you're a long-time iPhone fan or you're just making the switch from Android to iPhone, we can help you find a phone you'll be happy to use. Here's how we rank the best iPhones currently available.

The quick list

The best iPhone overall

iPhone 15 Pro Max shown in handEditor's Choice

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best iPhone you can buy

Specifications

Screen Size: 6.7-inch OLED (2796 x 1290; 120Hz)
Processor: A17 Pro
Cameras: 48MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 12MP telephoto w/ 5x zoom
RAM/Storage: 8GB/256GB, 512GB, 1TB

Reasons to buy

+
Superb 48MP camera 
+
Very smart Dynamic Island
+
Best-in-class battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Still just 20W charging
-
A bit thicker and heavier than the iPhone 13 Pro Max

Who should get the iPhone 15 Pro Max: Anyone who wants the best iPhone around, regardless of price

Every premium feature Apple packs into its phones is on display with the iPhone 15 Pro Max, and the phone has the price tag to show it. While this is the most expensive iPhone, you also get the super-fast A17 Pro processor, an improved 12MP telephoto camera with 5x zoom, and an eye-catching titanium alloy frame. Plus, the Pro Max offers an expansive 6.7-inch display with a big battery to match. That battery kept the iPhone 15 Pro Max running for more than 14 hours in our test, placing it near the top of the best phone battery life rankings.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max’s hits keep on coming. The new Action button replaces the mute switch and can be programmed for a number of functions — including acting as the mute switch. Its most notable new addition is its improved telephoto camera range, which now extends to 5x zoom, the longest in an iPhone to date. To see how the iPhone 15 Pro Max compares to other best camera phone contenders, check out our 200-photo face-off between this iPhone and the Galaxy S24 Ultra.

We struggle to come up with any serious complaints about the iPhone 15 Pro Max, which is not only the best phone you can buy right now, but the best iPhone Apple’s ever made.

Read our full iPhone 15 Pro Max review.

The best iPhone for most of us

Apple iPhone 15 review.

(Image credit: Future)
The best iPhone for most people

Specifications

Screen size: 6.1-inch OLED (2556 x 1179)
CPU: A16 Bionic
Cameras: 48MP (f/1.6) main, 12MP (f/2.4) ultrawide / 12MP front (f/1.9)
RAM/Storage: 6GB/128GB, 256GB, 512GB

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent 48MP main camera
+
Usable 2x zoom
+
Bright Super Retina XDR Display

Reasons to avoid

-
Display refresh rate stuck at 60Hz
-
No change to its battery recharge speed

Who should get the iPhone 15: Anyone who wants the least expensive model of Apple's latest phone.

The iPhone 15 doesn’t have the flashier features found in its Pro siblings, but it’s still a solid upgrade, particularly if you’re looking to make the move from an older iPhone — we're thinking iPhone 13 or later. 

The notch is gone, and now in its place, the Dynamic Island that it borrows from the iPhone 14 Pro series. The iPhone 15 features an A16 Bionic chipset instead of the newer A17 Pro. But at least the iPhone 15’s version of the A16 features it the extra GPU muscle to boost it over the iPhone 14.

While the 5x telephoto camera in the iPhone 15 Pro Max is grabbing most of the attention, the iPhone 15’s camera improvements are noteworthy — so much so that this model ranks among the top camera phones even without a dedicated telephoto lens, which Apple is able to do with some hardware and software magic. A larger sensor with bigger pixels powers the main camera, improving performance in low light and makes its 2x zoom photos usable. The iPhone 15 also benefits from Apple’s enhanced Photonic Engine, which delivers brighter images. 

Action mode for capturing smoother video continues to be available to iPhone 15 owners, while its new USB-C port allows it to charge all of your other favorite gadgets  — like the AirPods and Apple Watch, And that comes in a device that continues to cost $799, making it one of the more affordable flagships out there.

Read our full iPhone 15 review.

Best battery life in an iPhone

Apple iPhone 15 Plus review.Editor's Choice

(Image credit: Future)
Best iPhone battery life

Specifications

Screen size: 6.7-inch OLED (2796 x 1290)
CPU: A16 Bionic
Cameras: 48MP (f/1.6) main, 12MP (f/2.4) ultrawide / 12MP front (f/1.9)
RAM/Storage: 6GB/128GB, 256GB, 512GB

Reasons to buy

+
Long lasting battery life
+
Excellent camera performance
+
Speedy A16 Bionic performance

Reasons to avoid

-
Dated 60Hz display refresh rate
-
Charges slowly

Who should get the iPhone 15 Plus: Big-screen phone fans on a budget.

The iPhone 15 Plus is the best iPhone for people who prefer a larger display but don't want to pay big bucks for one of the best big phones. For $300 less than the iPhone 15 Pro Max, the iPhone 15 Plus gives you an expansive 6.7-inch OLED screen, whether you want to watch movies and shows on the go or you just want a bigger viewfinder for your photos. And the photos look amazing from the improved cameras on the iPhone 15 Plus, thanks to a bigger main sensor and Apple’s Photonic Engine for better pics in low light.

As much as we like the regular iPhone 15, you’ll want to get the Plus if you want more time between charges. The iPhone 15 Plus lasted more than 14 hours on our web surfing test, giving it the longest battery life we've ever recorded for an iPhone on our test. There’s some things we don’t like about the iPhone 15 Plus — including its dated 60Hz refresh rate and slow charging via its new USB-C port — but overall it’s a great value. And like the iPhone 15, the iPhone 15 Plus is available in a handful of charming color options.

Read our full iPhone 15 Plus review.

The most affordable iPhone Pro

iPhone 15 Pro shown in handEditor's Choice

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Apple’s best features for under $1,000

Specifications

Screen size: 6.1-inch OLED (2556 x 1179; 120Hz)
CPU: A17 Pro
Cameras: 48MP (f/1.78) main, 12MP (f/2.2) ultrawide, 12MP (f/2.8) telephoto with 3x optical zoom, LIDAR / 12MP front (f/1.9)
RAM/Storage: 8GB/128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB

Reasons to buy

+
Lighter due to Titanium design
+
Best performance in a smartphone
+
Incredible cameras

Reasons to avoid

-
Same charging as before

Who should get the iPhone 15 Pro: Anyone who wants the iPhone 15 Pro Max's features, but at a lower price.

You don't necessarily have to pay $1,199 for the best iPhone features. Most everything you find in the iPhone 15 Pro Max is also available in the iPhone 15 Pro, but for $200 less. You'll sacrifice battery life — the battery inside the iPhone 15 Pro is smaller — and the Pro model only offers a 6.1-inch display (though it matches the 144Hz refresh rate of the larger Pro Max).

The A17 Pro chipset is here, as is the improved 48MP main camera. Dynamic Island is borrowed over from its predecessor, but Apple introduces several new changes to make it a refreshing change — like its sturdier titanium alloy frame, programmable Action button, and USB-C port. From cameras to display brightness, to the way it handles demanding apps, the iPhone 15 Pro is a winner, and a way to enjoy the high-end Pro features Apple has added to its lineup without paying Max prices.

Read our full iPhone 15 Pro review.

Best discounted big iPhone

iPhone 14 Plus shown held in hand

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Savings on a big iPhone

Specifications

Screen Size: 6.7-inch OLED (2278 x 1284)
Processor: A15 Bionic
Cameras: 12MP wide (ƒ/1.5), 12MP ultrawide (ƒ/2.4) / 12MP front (ƒ/1.9)
RAM/Storage: 6GB/128GB, 256GB, 512GB

Reasons to buy

+
Good price for a big screen
+
Lasting battery life
+
Lightweight feel

Reasons to avoid

-
Slower charging
-
Lack telephoto camera

Who should get the iPhone 14 Plus: Big-screen phone fans on a budget.

The iPhone 14 Plus is the best iPhone for people who prefer a larger display but don't want to pay big bucks for one of the best big phones. For $200 less than the iPhone 14 Pro Max, the iPhone 14 Plus gives you an expansive 6.7-inch OLED screen, whether you want to watch movies and shows on the go or you just want a bigger viewfinder for your photos. And the photos look amazing from the improved cameras on the iPhone 14 Plus, thanks to a bigger main sensor and Apple’s Photonic Engine for better pics in low light.

As much as we like the regular iPhone 14, you’ll want to get the Plus if you want more time between charges. The iPhone 14 Plus lasted nearly 12 hours on our web surfing test. There’s some things we don’t like about the iPhone 14 Plus — including the 60Hz refresh rate and lack of telephoto lens — but overall it’s a great value. And like the iPhone 14, the iPhone 14 Plus includes a yellow color option go with its black, white, blue, purple and red colors.

Read our full iPhone 14 Plus review.

A good iPhone at a discount

iPhone 14

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
A great iPhone value at a lower price

Specifications

Screen Size: 6.1-inch OLED (2532 x 1170)
CPU: A15 Bionic
Cameras: 12MP wide (ƒ/1.5), 12MP ultrawide (ƒ/2.4) / 12MP front (ƒ/1.9)
RAM/Storage: Unknown/64GB, 128GB, 256GB

Reasons to buy

+
Crisp display
+
Impressive Action mode video
+
Superb cameras

Reasons to avoid

-
No optical zoom
-
Lack of SIM card slot will annoy some

Who should get the iPhone 14: Bargain hunters who are unimpressed with the new features included on the standard iPhone 15.

Even with the iPhone 15 available, the iPhone 14 remains a viable choice for many people, especially now that Apple's older phone costs a lot less. By skipping more recent iPhones, you won't get a slightly improved A16 Bionic chipset in the iPhone 15 or the camera improvements in the new models. But the iPhone 14 is a worthy upgrade from older phones, and now it costs less than before at $699. (Our iPhone 15 vs. iPhone 14 comparison has more on the differences.)

One of the best things about this model is its storage — Apple includes 128GB with the base model after years of forcing people to upgrade from the skimpy 64GB if they wanted a higher capacity. The A15 processor remains a solid processor, though upcoming Android devices are likely to out-muscle it if Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 benchmarks are any indication.

As with any iPhone 14 model, the real story here is the cameras. The iPhone 14 still features two rear lenses, but they have bigger sensors than the iPhone 13's, leading to improved low-light photography. The iPhone 14 also supports Cinematic mode for shifting the focus in videos.

Read our full iPhone 14 review.

The least expensive iPhone

iPhone SE 2022 back of phone against stone

(Image credit: Future)
A fine budget iPhone option

Specifications

Display size: 4.7-inch LCD (1344 x 750)
CPU: A15 Bionic
Cameras: 12MP (f/1.8) rear; 7MP (f/2.2) front
RAM / Storage: 4GB / 64GB, 128GB, 256GB

Reasons to buy

+
Fastest performance for the money
+
Very good photo quality
+
More durable design

Reasons to avoid

-
No Night mode for camera
-
No mmWave 5G support

Who should get the iPhone SE 2022: Anyone who wants the least expensive iPhone

The iPhone SE (2022) is the most budget-friendly option in the current iPhone lineup. Starting at $429 for the 64GB model, the latest SE is a veritable powerhouse that runs laps around anything else at this price point. You will not find something that performs better under $500, even if its lone camera loses some luster when compared against the likes of the Samsung Galaxy A54 and the Google Pixel 7a.

With the same A15 Bionic chipset that’s in the iPhone 13 — but lacking the extra GPU core found in the A15 powering the iPhone 14 — the iPhone SE (2022) can handle any task you set before it, all in an incredibly compact body. However, the 4.7-inch LCD is a bit of a letdown with a low resolution by today’s standards (1344 x 750). The chunky bezels of the classic iPhone design also look incredibly dated.

Perhaps the most egregious omission from the iPhone SE is the lack of Night mode. It’s even sadder because the phone takes great photos in daylight. And it also lacks mmWave 5G, so people hoping to take advantage of Verizon’s Ultra Wideband network will be left out in the cold with the latest iPhone SE.

Read our full iPhone SE (2022) review.

Best iPhone for bargain hunters

iPhone 13

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
A great iPhone value at a lower price

Specifications

Screen Size: 6.1-inch OLED (2532 x 1170)
CPU: A15 Bionic
Cameras: 12MP wide (ƒ/1.6), 12MP ultrawide (ƒ/2.4) / 12MP front (ƒ/2.2)
RAM/Storage: Unknown/64GB, 128GB, 256GB

Reasons to buy

+
Brighter display
+
Great cameras
+
Class-leading performance

Reasons to avoid

-
Lacks 120Hz display
-
Slower charging than rivals

Who should get the iPhone 13: Bargain hunters who are unimpressed with the new features included on the standard iPhone 14.

Even with the iPhone 14 available, the lack of major changes to Apple's $799 phone means the iPhone 13 remains a viable choice for many people, especially now that Apple's older phone costs less. By skipping more recent iPhones, you won't get a slightly improved A15 Bionic chipset in the iPhone 14 or the camera improvements in the new models. But the iPhone 13 is a worthy upgrade from older phones, and now it costs less than before at $699. (Our iPhone 14 vs. iPhone 13 comparison has more on the differences.)

One of the best things about this model is its storage — Apple includes 128GB with the base model after years of forcing people to upgrade from the skimpy 64GB if they wanted a higher capacity. The A15 processor remains a solid processor, though upcoming Android devices are likely to out-muscle it if Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 benchmarks are any indication.

As with any iPhone 13 model, the real story here is the cameras. The iPhone 13 still features two rear lenses, but they have bigger sensors than the iPhone 12's, leading to improved low-light photography. The iPhone 13 also supports Cinematic mode for shifting the focus in videos.

Read our full iPhone 13 review.

How to choose the best iPhone for you

When shopping for an iPhone, take stock of the features and capabilities that matter most to you. If battery life is especially important, seek out a larger iPhone, as they tend to have bigger batteries to match their screen size. What's more, because iOS is known to be generally efficient in terms of energy consumption, even the smaller models tend to last longer than average on a charge.

If you're basing your next iPhone purchase off camera quality, the top-tier Pro variants are easy recommendations, thanks to triple-lens designs that allow you to capture multiple different perspectives, from zoomed-out ultra wide-angle images to shallow depth-of-field portraits. They're also remarkably good in challenging lighting scenarios, like when shooting in a dimly-lit indoor space, or outdoors at night.

All that said, if price is king, and saving the absolute most on your next smartphone purchase is your top priority, you should have no reservations about nabbing either the iPhone SE or an older model with a lower price tag. They may be on the cheaper side of Apple's range, but they're still made of flagship-quality materials, with enough power and performance to sustain years of use. iOS software updates, which are available to every model at the same time, generally provide five years of support, adding to the value of older models.

Apple dropped the iPhone 12 from its lineup last fall; as a result, you no longer have to worry quite as much about storage. The base model of nearly every iPhone starts with 128GB of storage — the exceptions are the iPhone SE (a paltry 64GB) and iPhone 15 Pro Max (a more generous 256GB).

If you buy your iPhone through Apple, you may be able to save money by trading in your current phone. With the iPhone 15 available, Apple offers $180 to $630 off your purchase when you trade-in an iPhone 11 or later. (The more recent your iPhone, the higher the trade-in value, and yes, switchers, Apple will accept Android devices, too.) 

Note that if you buy your iPhone unlocked from Apple, you'll need to tack another $30 onto the base price of the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus. (The iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max start at the same price, whether unlocked or not.)

We track special offers from carriers and retailers to find the best iPhone deals by model:

When Apple releases new iPhones, it cuts the price on the models it keeps around. That's why you're paying less for the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus and iPhone 13 after the iPhone 15's September release.

All of the iPhones mentioned here can run iOS 17, Apple's latest iPhone software that came out just ahead of the iPhone 15 release. Read our iOS 17 review for more on the big features. Highlights include the new StandBy mode as well as the Check In feature that lets you tell people through the Message app that you've arrived safely. 

Expect minor updates to continue into 2024, following the iOS 17.2 release at the end of last year which brought a new Journal app to Apple's phone. January's iOS 17.3 updated added a Stolen Device Protection feature, while iOS 17.4 lets iPhone users in Europe access third-party app stores.

The big change is coming this fall when we anticipate an iOS 18 release that is likely to introduce more AI features to Apple's phone. All of the phones included in our best iPhone rankings are expected to run iOS 18, though some AI features may only work on the iPhone 16 releases coming in the fall. We'll find out more about iOS 18 when Apple previews the software update at WWDC 2024. That event gets underway June 10.

Based on our look at Apple's iPhone plans for 2024, we don't expect to see new iPhones until the fall. That's when we're expecting the new iPhone 16 models which will almost certainly feature an iPhone 16 Pro and possibly even an iPhone 16 Ultra. (It sounds like the iPhone SE 4 is a 2025 release.)

How we test iPhones

As with any smartphone we test at Tom's Guide, we evaluate iPhones for days in real-world use cases. We also benchmark Apple's phones using a gamut of performance-measuring apps that allow us to compare iPhone performance to what Android devices are capable of. In addition to synthetic benchmarks, we also run real-world tests, including a video transcoding test in Adobe Premiere Rush that compares the iPhone's processing speed with other devices.

In our lab, we use a light meter to ascertain display quality data, like brightness and color accuracy to help us evaluate the display of the best iPhones. Our proprietary battery test determines longevity on a charge by endlessly streaming webpages over an LTE network; we then recharge the iPhones to see how quickly they charge in 15-minute intervals.

To compare cameras, we take any iPhone we review out and shoot photos in a variety of settings. We also bring along a comparable smartphone to see how the iPhone's photographic output measures up.

We explore Apple's iOS improvements, test gaming performance and evaluate the phone's speakers — and each of these factors play a part in our final verdict.