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Which iPhone should you buy in 2020?

Which iPhone should I buy in 2020?
(Image credit: Apple)

The iconic Apple iPhone has been with us for some 13 years now and with Apple currently selling a total of six different models, answering the question - “Which iPhone should I buy?” has never been trickier. So if you want to find out what the iPhone is good at and get some advice on which one might suit you best, read on. If you want some more info on both iPhone and Android handsets, take a look at our round-up of the best smartphones 2020.

Five reasons an iPhone could be best for you

While the range of Apple iPhones might be confusing, the full spectrum of smartphones on offer is truly mind boggling. Android phones offer a variety of sexy hardware, cool cameras and versatile software options but the iPhone still prevails as a benchmark of smartphone excellence. Here are five reasons why:

1. The iPhone is the easiest smartphone to use

We asked Robert Jones, Technology and Gaming Editor at our sister site, T3.com, for his opinion on the iPhone’s inherent usability and he told us: "Apple's iOS operating system remains the benchmark for a quality end user mobile experience. iPhones are so easy to use that everyone from a child to an OAP can master them in minutes."

It’s true that the simple functionality of iOS has remained largely the same since its launch back in 2007; pick it up, turn it on and tap an app to open it. Compare this with Android phones where the OS is often reskinned and customized from manufacturer to manufacturer and the iPhone’s unchanging, intuitive nature becomes a huge plus for new and veteran users alike.

When enhancements have been added; Siri, Control Center and Files for example, they’ve brought iOS up to speed with the competition without sacrificing the iPhone’s ease-of-use. 

2. The iPhone gets the best apps first

Despite the number of apps on the Google Play Store pushing the three million mark, developers still often give apps their first run on iOS. Examples of this include games such as Fortnite, Super Mario Run and HQ Trivia, along with the ubiquitous messaging app Snapchat. 

Some of these took up to three months to reach Android after their debut on the App Store and the iPhone is still on top when it comes to getting the latest releases first. "When developers build new apps they do so for iOS first, as more people use an iPhone than any other handset," claims Robert. "iPhone users not only get apps first, they get the best versions, too".

What's more, many of these apps run across the best smartwatches too - like Apple Watch 4 - allowing you to fully sync your tech.

3. iPhones come with (almost) zero bloatware

iPhones offer a clean experience out of the box, without any preloaded software from carriers. While there might be a few apps you don’t want or use, this is far less than you’ll find from other manufacturers and, if your iPhone is running iOS12, you can even disable the built-in apps that you don’t need. Buy an Android smartphone and you’ll doubtless find it includes myriad pre-installed apps from the OEM or carrier. What’s worse, many of these double up on the functionality offered by native Google apps while not matching them for performance. What’s even worse than that is they’re often near-impossible to uninstall and end up being useless crap taking up space on your phone. 

It’s something Robert from T3 feels strongly about."Why can't Android phone makers grasp that people don't like bloatware clogging up their handset?! Apple iPhones show the way, only ever coming with essential apps pre-installed."

4. iPhones have excellent security features

Whether it's via the unrivalled face-scanning tech, which is a market-leader among smartphones, or the way Apple treats your data, iPhones are the best you can get. All data stored on your iPhone is encrypted, meaning that - in the event of data loss or a breach - you can rest assured you're as safe as possible. This isn't something Android phones offer as standard. What's more, the face recognition software and fingerprint scanners on iPhones are cutting edge, and can't be fooled by photos, look-a-likes, or any other method of circumventing the locks. Apple is so confident in its security, this has been the subject of a recent, large-scale advertising campaign. 

5. Apple offers the best support and help

Should something go wrong with your new iPhone further down the line there’s a range of options you can take. Visit the Genius Bar at an Apple Store if there’s one near you, if not you can get advice via live chat or browse through the huge database of help articles on the Apple Website. Whichever option you choose, you’ll have direct and speedy access to a qualified professional offering trustworthy advice.

What's more you'll find iPhones offered by all the best cell phone providers, which will offer additional assistance with your phone, if needed.

Our top three picks from the current iPhone range

Made the decision that an iPhone is right for you but don’t know which one to choose? We’re here to help with a quick round-up of our favourite iPhones from the current range. You can see how they compare to the latest Android phones in our guide to the best smartphones.

iPhone 11 Pro

(Image credit: Amazon)

1. iPhone 11 Pro: Best overall

Looking for the best iPhone that Apple has to offer? You just found it

Average price: $999 | Operating System: iOS | Screen size: 5.8" | Storage: 64GB, 256GB or 512GB | 5G ready: No | Headphone jack: No | Charging type: Lightning by USB-C

Looks wonderful
Fantastic camera
Great for watching movies on
Doesn’t come with Airpods
Battery life is not the best

The iPhone 11 Pro is a premium product that comes with a premium price tag but those brave enough to splash the cash certainly won’t be disappointed.

It features an exceptional camera with three rear-facing lenses and a night mode, guaranteeing quality photos even in low light. The screen and sound quality are superior in comparison to the standard iPhone 11, making it our preferred option for watching movies. While battery life isn’t the best, the iPhone 11 Pro does support wireless charging and fast charging via a USB-C cable so it’s easy to keep it topped up.

The premium features are reflected in the design which retains the iconic iPhone styling. Textured matte glass covers the front of the handset and turning it over reveals a stainless steel finish that’s available in a variety of colour options. 

If you’re looking for the best iPhone Apple currently has to offer, your search ends with the iPhone Pro 11.

iPhone 11

(Image credit: Apple)

2. iPhone 11: Best all-rounder

It might not be the best but it’s a lot better than most

Average price: $699 | Operating System: iOS | Screen size: 6.1" | Storage: 64GB, 128GB or 256GB | 5G ready: No | Headphone jack: No | Charging type: Lightning by USB-C

Good camera
Superior battery life to 11 Pro
LCD display
Lacks a headphone jack

Don’t quite have the big bucks needed to bag an iPhone 11 Pro? Don’t worry, the iPhone 11 will serve up almost everything offered by its more expensive sibling at a much more manageable price point.

For starters it looks fantastic and comes in a huge range of colours. There’s two 12-megapixel lenses on the back, one for taking ultrawide shots, and some neat photographic tricks on offer to improve picture quality. These include night mode for low light shooting and Deep Fusion mode which blends multiple shots into one image.

The lower price point does mean a few shortfalls in spec however, the 6.1-inch screen is LCD not OLED and it’s not quite HD so images won’t compare favourably to its pricier peers. That said you can currently pick up an iPhone 11 for $699, which is streets ahead when it comes to value for money.

iPhone 8

(Image credit: Apple)

3. iPhone 8: Best budget iPhone

Getting old but it’s still got gold

Average price: $449 | Operating System: iOS | Screen size: 4.7" | Storage: 64GB or 128GB | 5G ready: No | Headphone jack: No | Charging type: Lightning by USB-C

Camera quality is great for the price
Impressive battery life
Awesome value for money
Looks a bit dated
No portrait mode or facial ID

The iPhone 8 might be getting long in the tooth but it’s not short on great smartphone features, especially when you consider it can be found these days for well under $500. 

It’s available in any color you like so long as that’s black, gold or silver and it’s got the classic (maybe even ‘retro’) iPhone look, featuring bezels around the screen and the satisfyingly stout home button situated below. The 12-megapixel main camera is probably the best smartphone camera available at this price point and will record video in 4K resolution, so it’s perfect for making family movies.

For this money, you’re not going to find an edge-to-edge screen or facial ID, but the battery life is excellent with some users reporting a single charge lasting for up 26 hours which is impressive by any standard. 

The iPhone 8 might live in the shadow of the newer, better-specced iPhones but it still packs a punch and offers great features for the price.