Greatest iPhone in 2023: Which Apple Telephone Ought to You Purchase?

We’re rapidly approaching Apple’s fall iPhone occasion. The “wonderlust” presentation is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 12, on the firm’s HQ in Cupertino, California — and we anticipate Apple to unveil the iPhone 15. However till CEO Tim Prepare dinner steps onstage at Apple Park’s Steve Jobs Theater, we now have to attend to know for certain what the brand new iPhones will likely be like. So if you happen to’re seeking to purchase a brand new iPhone, my normal recommendation can be to not. Wait and see what Apple broadcasts and the reductions that older iPhone fashions will probably get.
At present, Apple sells eight iPhone fashions launched between 2020 and 2023. There is no such factor as a real “greatest” iPhone, however relying in your wants, funds and preferences, some fashions will likely be higher for you than others. Costs begin at $429 for the 2022 iPhone SE and prime out at $1,599 for the iPhone 14 Professional Max with a whopping 1TB of storage. In case you’re in search of the greatest iPhone offers, we now have you coated there, too. 

This story is a part of Focal Level iPhone 2023, CNET’s assortment of reports, suggestions and recommendation round Apple’s hottest product.

Navigating Apple’s iPhone spectrum could make your head spin, whether or not you are contemplating colours (the iPhone 14 is available in six), or options just like the iPhone 14 Professional’s Dynamic Island, which animates system alerts and background actions resembling taking part in music. Fortunately, I’ve examined all eight variations of the iPhone and may help you navigate via all of the noise.

What’s the greatest iPhone proper now?

The best possible iPhone is the $999 iPhone 14 Professional. It has all of Apple’s latest options, together with an A16 Bionic chip, upgraded important digicam, the Dynamic Island, in addition to instruments like Automotive Crash Detection and SOS through Satellite tv for pc. Not everybody seeking to purchase a cellphone from Apple wants the 14 Professional, however if you would like one of the best get the iPhone 14 Professional. Need one thing larger? Get the iPhone 14 Professional Max, which is the common 14 Professional in a much bigger physique.

Greatest iPhones of 2023

iPhone 14 stands on a blue surface with a red background

James Martin/CNET

After I reviewed the iPhone 14, I mentioned it was primarily the iPhone 13 Professional’s processor and important digicam contained in the physique of an iPhone 13. Little doubt, some will likely be disenchanted that the iPhone 14 is not radically completely different from earlier fashions. However that is a part of its allure. Familiarity has been one of many keys to Apple’s success with the iPhone. And because the saying goes, “if it ain’t broke, do not repair it.”

back of the iPhone 14 Pro on a yellow background

Stephen Shankland/CNET

From the again, the $999 iPhone 14 Professional seems an identical to final 12 months’s 13 Professional. However do not let that sameness idiot you. It is the 14 Professional’s display screen the place there’s one thing completely different and great occurring. The show notch, that outlined earlier Face ID iPhone fashions, has morphed right into a pill-shaped display screen cutout that may present system alerts and background actions like once you obtain a name or play music. Apple calls this performance the Dynamic Island. I do know, it is not one of the best identify, nevertheless it’s really among the finest options.


Patrick Holland/CNET

The $729 iPhone 13 remains to be a superb cellphone. The truth is, if you happen to’re tempted by the iPhone 14 and wish to avoid wasting cash, seize a 13. They’ve primarily the identical physique, similar display screen and similar A15 Bionic processor. Though technically, the iPhone 14’s processor does have an additional GPU core.


James Martin/CNET

The $929 iPhone 14 Plus is both an enormous iPhone 14 or a scaled-back iPhone 14 Professional Max, relying in your perspective. Ever for the reason that iPhone XS Max launched in 2018, there was just one possibility for many who love massive screens: Pay prime greenback and get a Max mannequin with further options you may not essentially want (like a telephoto digicam or a excessive refresh charge show). I do know many CNET readers, mates and colleagues who’ve shelled out $1,100 or extra for an iPhone 12 Professional Max or 13 Professional Max as a result of it was the one technique to get a cellphone within the measurement they wished. However that modifications now.

iPhone 13 Mini

Sarah Tew/CNET

Who mentioned small telephones do not exist in 2022? The $629 iPhone 13 Mini is sensible as a result of it has the whole lot the iPhone 13 has — it is simply smaller. It has the identical square-edged seems, help for 5G and the identical cameras. The 13 Mini’s defining function is its 5.4-inch OLED display screen that helps Dolby HDR. If that sounds too small, think about that Plus fashions, just like the iPhone 8 Plus, had a 5.5-inch display screen inside a a lot bigger physique. The 13 Mini’s secret is that it lacks these large brow and chin bezels that outlined the iPhone for its first decade.

iPhone 14 Pro

James Martin/CNET

The $1,099 iPhone 14 Professional Max is only a massive model of the iPhone 14 Professional. It has the identical A16 Bionic processor, the identical cameras and the identical options. However it does differ in two massive methods from the 14 Professional: It has a much bigger 6.7-inch high-refresh charge display screen and a much bigger battery. The truth is, in our checks, the iPhone 14 Professional Max had the longest battery lifetime of any cellphone on this checklist.


Sarah Tew/CNET

The $629 iPhone 12 and its flat-sided design marked the start of the present era of Apple telephones. Of the whole lot on this checklist, it is the oldest but additionally one of many least expensive, particularly if you wish to snag an iPhone with a up to date look and Face ID.

iPhone SE 2022

Kevin Heinz/CNET

At $429, you would possibly suppose the one enchantment of the iPhone SE (2022) is its value. And admittedly that could be a massive issue. On the surface, the iPhone SE has the identical physique because the iPhone 8, which makes it the one iPhone on this checklist that also has Contact ID. On the within, the SE has the identical A15 processor because the iPhone 13, 13 Mini, 14 and 14 Plus which takes the 2017 digicam {hardware} and offers it an injection of Apple’s computational pictures magic.

Beneath are the assorted fashions, their launch date, the variety of rear cameras they’ve, their processor and their present checklist value, which for some telephones features a $30 activation charge that is waived if you happen to activate your iPhone on a service on the time of buy.

Present iPhones, in contrast

Mannequin US beginning value Display measurement No. of rear cameras CPU Launch date
iPhone SE $429 4.7 inches 1 A15 Bionic March 2022
iPhone 12 $599 6.1 inches 2 A14 Bionic October 2020
iPhone 13 Mini $599 5.4 inches 2 A15 Bionic September 2021
iPhone 13 $699 6.1 inches 2 A15 Bionic September 2021
iPhone 14 $799 6.1 inches 2 A15 Bionic September 2022
iPhone 14 Plus $899 6.7 inches 2 A15 Bionic October 2022
iPhone 14 Professional $999 6.1 inches 3 A16 Bionic September 2022
iPhone 14 Professional Max $1,099 6.7 inches 3 A16 Bionic September 2022

How we check iPhone fashions

A man holding an iPhone 14 Pro outdoors on a remote hillside

Emergency SOS is likely to be probably the most vital options to come back out on any cellphone this 12 months.

Kevin Heinz/CNET

I check each iPhone in real-world situations specializing in its options, design, efficiency, cameras, battery life and total worth. I doc our findings in an preliminary overview that’s periodically up to date when there are new iOS updates or to match in opposition to new telephones from rivals like Samsung, Google and OnePlus.


Images is a significant focus for the iPhone, so we take photos and movies of varied topics in a wide range of settings and lighting situations. We check out any new digicam modes, resembling Motion mode that debuted with the iPhone 14 line.

Battery life

Battery testing is carried out in a wide range of methods. We assess how lengthy the iPhone lasts throughout a typical day of use, and notice the way it performs throughout extra centered classes of video calls, media streaming and gaming. I additionally conduct a video playback check, which is not all the time included within the preliminary overview and added later in an replace.

Efficiency measuring

We use benchmarking apps to measure the efficiency, alongside our personal anecdotal experiences utilizing the cellphone for our overview. Of specific notice are how graphics and animations look. Are they easy? Or do they lag or stutter? We additionally have a look at how rapidly the cellphone switches between horizontal and vertical orientations and how briskly the digicam app opens and is able to take a photograph.

We carry out processor-heavy duties like modifying images and movies, exporting movies and taking part in video games. We consider whether or not a more recent model of the iPhone consists of sufficient options to make it price upgrading from older fashions.

Learn Extra: How CNET checks telephones

Key phrases


An eSIM takes the entire vital details about your cellphone account — together with its quantity, wi-fi service and subscription — and shops it in software program as a substitute of on a bodily SIM card.

With the iPhone 14, Apple eliminated the bodily SIM card tray and embraced embedded SIM playing cards. This implies you cannot simply pluck your SIM card out of your present cellphone and put it into a brand new one. However this should not have an effect on your expertise since all the main US carriers and various smaller operators work with eSIM.

Apple has lengthy supported eSIM, courting again to 2018’s iPhone XS, XS Max and XR. When establishing a brand new iPhone 14, the gadget will information you thru transferring your present supplier over to the brand new cellphone. A listing of supported wi-fi networks can be found on Apple’s website.

iOS 16

Apple’s iOS 16 is the most recent model of Apple’s iPhone software program. It is on the iPhone 14 by default and can be obtainable as an replace for the iPhone 8 and later. iOS 16 consists of new options resembling customizable lock screens, an replace to the Messages app that enables for unsending and modifying iMessage texts and new photograph modifying instruments.

iPhone FAQs

How dependable is an iPhone?

Apple has been making iPhones for 16 years. The present lineup was launched in September 2022 and all have a mud and water resistance score of IP68, which implies they’ll survive being submerged underneath 6 meters of water (about 20 ft) for half-hour. The screens are coated in Apple’s Ceramic Protect which is a glass-ceramic materials created by Corning, in collaboration with Apple, and consists of nano ceramic crystals embedded within the glass matrix. It is extremely clear, and in keeping with Corning, the robust construction shaped by the crystals means it is much less more likely to break.

How lengthy does an iPhone final?

One technique to measure how lengthy an iPhone will final is to have a look at the software program and safety help Apple gives for older fashions. iOS 16 can run on Apple telephones as previous as 2017’s iPhone X, iPhone 8 and eight Professional. That is practically 6 years of software program help. Examine that to Samsung, who gives 5 years of Android software program help for upgrades. However software program is simply half the equation. The opposite half is {hardware} and sturdiness. Happily, each iPhone Apple sells has an IP score for mud and water resistance. Newer fashions just like the iPhone 12, 13 and 14 collection even have Ceramic Protect, a glass/ceramic hybrid, that covers the show and may be very sturdy.