Which Apple iPhone Should I Get in 2020?

If you’ve got an iPhone that you’re proud of, keep it. Don’t upgrade simply because Apple has released new phones. But if your current phone is running too slow or is damaged, or if you’re simply ready for an upgrade, you should choose between the iPhone 11 and the iPhone SE (2nd generation). Both are great phones that will last you for years. If you value longer battery life, a bigger screen, or better camera performance, accompany the iPhone 11 pro. Otherwise, the iPhone SE delivers an equivalent power and overall experience because the iPhone 11 for several hundred dollars less, and during a smaller size that some people will prefer.


A full-featured iPhone at an affordable price

$750
The iPhone 11 has the fastest iPhone processor, long battery life, a large edge-to-edge screen, and a fantastic two-lens camera that can use Night Mode for better low-light photos.

The iPhone 11 is as fast as the other iPhone, and it should be plenty snappy for daily tasks for a minimum of the subsequent four years. Its battery can get virtually anyone through a full day without having to recharge, even with its large, 6.1-inch display. The iPhone 11’s two rear cameras—one standard wide-angle, one ultra-wide—are truly excellent and offer better low-light performance than previous iPhone cameras because of Night Mode.


The cheapest way to get a great iPhone experience

$400
The iPhone SE has the same processor as the iPhone 11 and a camera that’s almost as good, but it costs nearly half the price. Its low price, smaller size, and Touch ID fingerprint reader make it an easy upgrade for people with older iPhones, but its battery doesn’t last as long.

The iPhone SE (2nd generation) is that the ideal choice if you would like a smaller phone, prefer a fingerprint reader to Face ID, or just don’t want to pay the maximum amount for a new smartphone as you would for a decent laptop. The iPhone SE is significantly cheaper than the iPhone 11, but in many situations, it’ll feel even as fast and its camera is going to be about nearly as good. It lacks the iPhone 11’s second, ultra-wide lens and Night Mode camera setting, so capturing good photos in dark environments is harder. If you use your phone heavily, the smaller battery may not last all day. However, whereas cheap Android phones often stop getting software updates soon after purchase, iOS generally supports even the smallest amount of expensive iPhones, just like the SE, for several years.


For more serious smartphone photography enthusiasts

$1150
This phone offers everything the iPhone 11 has plus a third rear camera, a sharper OLED screen, improved battery life, better waterproofing, and a matte finish—but at a higher price. It’s slightly smaller than the iPhone 11 but bigger than the SE.

If you want an even nicer phone

$1250
This iPhone offers the same features as the iPhone 11 Pro, in addition to a larger screen and the best battery life of any iPhone.

The iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max are upgraded from the iPhone 11, but we don’t think their extras are well worth the price premium for many people. (We’ll refer to the two phones collectively as the iPhone 11 Pro; the size difference is a personal preference, but they’re functionally the same.) With the 11 Pro, you get the 3rd camera, with telephoto capabilities, also as a higher-resolution OLED display, better battery life, a better degree of waterproofing, a chrome steel frame rather than aluminum, and a matte textured finish on the rear glass. But everything else is the same as on the 11, so you should consider the 11 Pro only if you’re especially serious about taking photos with your phone, or if you don’t mind paying more for features that are nice but not necessary. Unlike with the iPhone 11, with the iPhone 11 Pro, there isn’t a 128 GB storage tier, and it costs $150 to go from the base model’s 64 GB to 256 GB.


The Research


iPhone 11: A great all-around package

iPhone 11: A great all-around package
Photo: Michael Murtaugh

If you’ve got an iPhone that you’re proud of, keep it. Don’t upgrade simply because Apple has released new phones.

But if your current phone is running too slow or is damaged, or if you’re simply ready for an upgrade, you should choose between the iPhone 11 and the iPhone SE (2nd generation). Both are great phones that will last you for years. If you value longer battery life, a bigger screen, or better camera performance, accompany the iPhone 11. Otherwise, the iPhone SE delivers an equivalent power and overall experience because the iPhone 11 for several hundred dollars less, and during a smaller size that some people will prefer.


Our pick
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Apple iPhone 11 128 GB

A full-featured iPhone at an affordable price

$750
The iPhone 11 has the fastest iPhone processor, long battery life, a large edge-to-edge screen, and a fantastic two-lens camera that can use Night Mode for better low-light photos.

The iPhone 11 may be a great phone for nearly anyone. It’s as fast as any iPhone, and it has all-day battery life, excellent cameras including Night Mode for low-light photos, and a large screen. It offers most of the same features as the more expensive iPhone 11 Pro models but at a significantly lower price, and compared with the more affordable iPhone SE, it offers a longer-lasting battery, a bigger screen, and a far better camera system. The downsides as compared with the more premium iPhone—no zoom lens, an LCD screen instead of an OLED, an aluminum body rather than steel—don’t affect how the phone works.

One of our favorite features of the iPhone 11 is simple: its battery life. We’ve been able to easily get through a full day of use with about 30 percent battery remaining at worst. For someone who doesn’t want to or can’t top off during the day, that can mean the difference between being able to use the phone into the evening or worrying about the phone going dead. The iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max both last a little longer but cost much more, while the iPhone SE gets a few hours less and may need topping off throughout the day.

Physical-size comparison of iPhones

Screen sizeHeightWidthThicknessWeight
iPhone SE4.7″5.45″2.65″0.29″5.22 ounces
iPhone 11 Pro5.8″5.67″2.81″0.32″6.63 ounces
iPhone 116.1″5.94″2.98″0.33″6.84 ounces
iPhone 11 Pro Max6.5″6.22″3.06″0.32″7.97 ounces
The iPhone 11 is larger than the iPhone 11 Pro or SE and may be hard to use one-handed for anyone with smaller hands.

The iPhone 11 is noticeably larger than the iPhone SE, but it’s still sufficiently small that, if you’ve got medium-size hands, you ought to be ready to text with one hand without straining to succeed in the opposite side of the screen. But if you already had trouble holding the iPhone 6–era design or fitting it into small pockets, the iPhone 11 makes things a touch worse. One difference you’re likely to note between the iPhone 11 and therefore the 11 Pro is that the thickness of the bezel, or the black border round the display; it’s much wider on the iPhone 11, but the screen goes from the highest edge to rock bottom edge, which we like better to the iPhone SE’s letterboxed display.

If you’re aware of a pre–iPhone X display, the iPhone 11’s screen will seem bright and crisp by comparison, but the simplest screen is out there only on the 11 Pro. The iPhone 11 and iPhone SE both use LCD screen technology instead of OLED, the screen technology found on the iPhone 11 Pro series. OLED provides better contrast and blacker blacks than LCD because pixels on an OLED display emit their own backlight, which may completely close up in displaying blacks. On an LCD, one-panel lights all of the pixels directly, no matter the color each individual pixel is displaying (even black).

If you’re watching a movie, for instance, you’ll probably notice that the iPhone 11’s notch isn’t as hidden because the black borders around the image still emit a little amount of glow—we noticed this effect while utilizing iOS 13’s Dark Mode, too. In our experience, the utmost brightness was a touch but on the iPhone 11 Pro, and that we found it a touch more yellow, while the iPhone 11 Pro’s screen had a bluish tint. But ultimately, the iPhone 11 features a good display, and you’ll find imperfections as long as you’re watching it and really trying to find them.

iPhone 11 camera result
The iPhone 11’s ultra-wide lens allows you to capture much more in a photo than a standard lens does. Photo: Nick Guy

The iPhone 11 (like the iPhone 11 Pro) features a 12-megapixel wide-angle optical lens and a 12-megapixel ultra-wide lens, the latter of which allows you to capture more of a scene than the quality fisheye lens. Photos we took with 2018’s iPhone XR were already great, and because of improved processing, people who we took on the iPhone 11 looked even better. And whereas the iPhone XR’s background-blurring Portrait Mode operated only on people, the iPhone 11 can use it on any object. The iPhone SE’s mode remains relegated to people only.

Our favorite camera feature on the iPhone 11—and a reason to significantly consider it over the iPhone SE—is Night Mode. It allows you to take legitimately good photos at night or in other dark settings, through a combination of longer exposure time and software processing. The result is that shots that would have previously been unusable now look good or even great. PCWorld’s Michael Simon compared the dark-shooting modes of the iPhone 11, the Google Pixel 3 XL, the Samsung Galaxy S10+, and the OnePlus 6T: “In no uncertain terms, Apple’s Night Mode makes [the Pixel’s] Night Sight look amateurish,” he concludes. The iPhone “didn’t always win, but it had been the foremost consistent.” The iPhone 11 lacks the extra zoom lens found on the iPhone 11 Pro, though, so you can’t optically zoom.

iphone 11 camera backside
The iPhone 11 has a wide-angle lens and an ultra-wide-angle one, but since it has no telephoto, it can’t optically zoom. Photo: Michael Murtaugh

Most people should get 128 GB of storage; by paying $50 more for that than you’d for the 64 GB base model, you’ll double your space for storing. On the iPhone 11 Pro, you’ve got to pay $150 more to travel from 64 GB to 256 GB, which is overkill for many people. That 128 GB level may be a real sweet spot.

The iPhone 11 is rated at an equivalent IP68 level because the iPhone 11 Pro, but it’s rated to survive for a half-hour under only 2 meters of water, not the 4 meters the iPhone 11 Pro can undergo. Unless you’re hanging out by the deep end of a swimming bath or taking your phone surfing, this difference doesn’t matter for many people, which rating is best than the iPhone SE’s 1-meter, IP67 rating.


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If you like smaller phones: iPhone SE (2nd generation)

Apple iPhone SE (2nd generation) 64 GB
Photo: Andrew Cunningham
Also great
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Apple iPhone SE (2nd generation) 64 GB

The cheapest way to get a great iPhone experience

$400
The iPhone SE has the same processor as the iPhone 11 and a camera that’s almost as good, but it costs nearly half the price. Its low price, smaller size, and Touch ID fingerprint reader make it an easy upgrade for people with older iPhones, but its battery doesn’t last as long.

The iPhone SE (2nd generation) is quite just an excellent cheap phone; it’s an excellent phone in its title, and anyone buying a replacement iPhone should consider it. Even though it’s smaller than the other phones in Apple’s lineup, it uses the same processor as more expensive phones. That means it’s as fast as any other iPhone you can buy today and it still takes great photos, all while costing $300 less than the base-model iPhone 11. If you generally like smaller devices, prefer employing a fingerprint to unlock rather than using Face ID, or just don’t want to pay the premium for a bigger iPhone, the SE is a great option.

Despite its lower cost , the iPhone SE should last you for years. Because it uses an equivalent A13 Bionic processor because the iPhone-11 and 11 Pro, it had been even as fast as those models when running apps and playing games in our testing; we didn’t notice any slowdowns or hiccups. And Apple has shown a commitment to extending the life of its handsets through software updates for two or three years longer than equivalent Android phones like Google’s Pixel series or Samsung’s Galaxy series. For example, 2015’s iPhone 6s can still run 2019’s iOS 13. We expect a similar lifespan for the iPhone SE.

Other than the price, it’s the size that’s likely to be the iPhone SE’s most appealing feature. The 4.7-inch screen is small enough for most people to be able to reach from the bottom-left corner to the top right with their thumb without adjusting their grip. With the smaller screen comes a smaller body, too: Measuring ½ inch shorter and ¾ inch more precarious than the iPhone 11, the iPhone SE fits comfortably in smaller hands and feels downright tiny in large hands (although it’s not as small because the original, 4-inch iPhone SE from 2016). Most phone makers, including Apple, keep making their flagship models larger, so it’s a relief to see a great phone in this size. Unfortunately, like all the newest iPhones, it lacks a headphone jack. more precarious

In a lot of situations, photos crazy the iPhone SE are remarkably good. Overall, we found that we slightly preferred the iPhone 11’s photos to those taken on the iPhone SE, but only we compared them with a critical eye, side by side. The iPhone SE has only one camera lens; it’s comparable (but almost identical) to the fisheye lens on the iPhone 11, and it supports the background-blurring Portrait Mode (for people only) because of the A13 Bionic chip. Since the iPhone SE lacks Night Mode, nevertheless, its performance falls far short in taking low-light photos when it gets dark. If you’re taking tons of images in the dark or in dark environments, you’ll be far happier with the iPhone 11. While the front-facing camera features a lower megapixel count and can’t record 4K video, we found its photos to be like the iPhone 11’s. and therefore the iPhone SE is that the only iPhone without Face ID which will take Portrait Mode selfies, a welcome addition.

Rather than extending the Face ID system for unlocking, as on the this models, the iPhone SE gives you a pressure-sensitive capacitive Home button and Touch ID fingerprint sensor to unlock your screen, confirm purchases, and authenticate you for various apps. Each method has its advantages and drawbacks . for instance, although Touch ID is fast, it can fail if your finger isn’t properly placed or if it’s wet. Face ID is usually more reliable, and it works so naturally that the majority of the time you don’t even got to believe it. But Face ID are often inconvenient if your phone is during a position where it’s awkward to put your face ahead of it (for example, if it’s flat on a desk or during a stand or car mount) or if you’re wearing a mask. One thing we definitely prefer Touch ID for, however, is Apple Pay: It’s more convenient to double-press—and hold your finger on—the Home button than it’s to boost your phone to your face to pay.

The iPhone SE is rated for IP67 water resistance, but the IP68 rating on the iPhone 11. That means the iPhone SE is tested to withstand being under a meter of water for 30 minutes, compared with 2 meters for the iPhone 11 and 4 meters for the Pro. Regardless, it should be impervious to splashing and incidental water damage, and it should be able to survive a drop in the pool, the tub, or—let’s face it—the toilet. Note, however, that you shouldn’t charge a phone until it’s completely dry.

The 64 GB of storage on the iPhone SE is plenty for many people, especially for those on a budget. You can double that storage space to 128 GB for only $50 more, though, which still saves you $250 compared with the base-model.


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If you want a nicer phone: iPhone 11 Pro or 11 Pro Max

iPhone 11 Pro or 11 Pro Max review
Photo: Michael Murtaugh
Upgrade pick
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Apple iPhone 11 Pro 256 GB

For more serious smartphone photography enthusiasts

$1150
This phone offers everything the iPhone 11 has plus a third rear camera, a sharper OLED screen, improved battery life, better waterproofing, and a matte finish—but at a higher price. It’s slightly smaller than the iPhone 11 but bigger than the SE.
Upgrade pick
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Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max 256 GB

If you want an even nicer phone

$1250
This iPhone offers the same features as the iPhone 11 Pro, in addition to a larger screen and the best battery life of any iPhone.

The iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max are the simplest phones Apple has ever made. they need some features that the iPhone 11 lacks, including a telephoto optical lens plus an OLED screen with higher resolution and better contrast. Overall, they only look and feel nicer, offering a chrome steel frame and a matte texture on the rear. But those benefits don’t justify a $300-plus price premium over the iPhone 11. Consider one among these models as long as you’re serious about smartphone photography, you would like a phone that’s smaller (the Pro) or larger (the Pro Max) than the 6.1-inch iPhone 11, otherwise, you actually need that OLED screen.

iPhone 11 Pro or 11 Pro Max camera result
The ultra-wide lens on the iPhone 11 and the iPhone 11 Pro lets you see much more of a scene. Photo: Michael Murtaugh

There’s little or no the iPhone 11 Pro can do this the base iPhone can’t, and most of the differences come right down to the extra zoom lens. With it you’ll shoot at 2x optical zoom instead of having to believe digital zoom, which is basically just cropping (the 11 Pro can digitally zoom up to 10x, compared with 5x on the iPhone 11). you’ll also take Portrait Mode photos at 1x or 2x zoom, while the iPhone 11 shoots at 1x only. But although Portrait Mode (Apple’s background-blurring photo effect) on the iPhone XR worked only on people, on the iPhone 11 it also can work with pets, objects, or anything, a bit like on the 11 Pro. And that’s really it: You’re not getting a far better camera from the 11 Pro, just another camera.

The 5.8-inch OLED screen on the iPhone 11 Pro and therefore the 6.5-inch display on the iPhone 11 Pro Max are sharper than the iPhone 11’s screen. And you’ll prefer them while watching movies or using Night Mode, because the blacks are blacker and blend in better with the bezels (which are smaller on the professional models, too). But unless you’re comparing the 2 phones side by side, there’s an honest chance you wouldn’t even notice a difference.

Both the iPhone 11 Pro and therefore the iPhone 11 Pro Max promise better battery life than their direct predecessors, because of both physically larger batteries and better software. It’s difficult to quantify exactly what percentage hours you’ll get on a charge, but we’ve found that we will easily get through each day of taking note of podcasts, sending texts, swiping through Twitter, and doing other general tasks. Also of note, the iPhone 11 Pro can withstand being under 4 meters of water, compared with the iPhone 11’s 2-meter rating.

The other advantage of the Pro and Pro Max: the dimensions options. If you favor a phone that’s smaller than the regular iPhone 11 but wants features that you simply can’t get within the iPhone SE, like Face ID and therefore the edge-to-edge screen, the iPhone 11 Pro delivers. On the opposite hand, if you would like an enormous display that’s bordering a tablet size, accompany the iPhone 11 Pro Max. the sole differences between the professional models are the physical size of the body and therefore the battery life.


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When should you upgrade if you have an older iPhone?

Our general philosophy about upgrading is that if you’re proud of what you’ve got, you don’t need the newest and greatest. Last year’s iPhone or the one before that (or even the one before that) will likely still serve you well; new phones offer incremental upgrades, but they’re not revolutionary products that change the experience. While Apple still issues security updates to older devices, iOS 13 and every one of its new features and enhancements dropped support for the iPhone 5s, 6, and 6 Plus but still support every phone from 2015 on, which suggests that even four years later, older phones are becoming new features.

If you’ve got an older phone that’s starting to feel slower, you’ll want to see the battery’s health. A battery with depleted capacity can hamper your phone thanks to power-conservation features. If the iOS Battery Health screen shows the status “Performance management applied” or “Battery health degraded,” consider having Apple replace the battery (which can cost up to $69 out of warranty) instead of investing during a new phone.


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What if you’re switching from Android?

If you’re an Android owner and you’re brooding about giving iOS a try, confine mind that compared with Android, recent versions of iOS don’t require you to sacrifice as many customization features as within the past. Few Android phones can match the iPhone’s overall hardware-software integration, and none can match its software support—the iPhone 6s, released in 2015, is supported in 2019’s iOS 13. No Android phone from 2015 can run Android 10, and even Google’s Pixel phones are bound to get security updates for less than three years from launch, and OS updates for 2 .

iPhone vs Android: Which Is Better for You?

iPhone vs Android, When purchasing a phone, we usually recommend sticking with the same platform your current phone …

Apple features a free Android app, Move to iOS, that helps people with a tool running Android 4.0 or later to maneuver their contacts, message history, camera photos, and videos, Web bookmarks, mail accounts, and calendars to a replacement iPhone during the iPhone setup phase. (The app creates a personal Wi-Fi network, secured with a singular 10-digit code, between the 2 devices.) The app isn’t, of course, a reason to modify from Android to iOS, except for anyone who is doing so, it appears to be a pleasant option that creates the method easier.

For more information, see our post on the differences between Android and iOS.


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The competition

You can still buy 2018’s iPhone XR, but we don’t think you ought to. It’s only $100 but the base-model iPhone, which, over the lifetime of a phone, isn’t that much. The camera features on the iPhone, including the secondary lens and Night Mode, are sufficient to justify that price difference. If you would like to spend less, get the iPhone SE.

Some phone carriers or retail stores should have old iPhones available; for instance, at this writing Best Buy is selling the 32 GB iPhone 7 for $350. The iPhone SE features a far better camera and processor than an iPhone 7 or iPhone 8, and it’ll get new iOS updates for a couple of years longer. In light of that, we don’t think you ought to accompany one among those older models.


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