Which is the best iPhone to buy - should I buy an iPhone SE, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus? Or should I wait for the follow-up to the iPhone SE in spring (or even the iPhone 8 next year!), or buy an older iPhone second-hand? When is the best time to buy an iPhone?

What's the best iPhone available? Or more specifically, which iPhone is best for you? Should you buy one of Apple's new iPhones - the iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus - or would an older model, such as the iPhone SEiPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus, be a better (and cheaper) option? Should you go second-hand and pick up an older unit such as the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, or even the iPhone 5s? Or perhaps it's worth waiting a few months for Apple's update to the iPhone SE, expected in March, or even the iPhone 8, expected next September.

In this article we examine all the options for prospective iPhone buyers: the five models of iPhone currently available, the differences between them in terms of specs, design, features and price, and the model that's right for each category of buyer. We also look at older models of iPhone; advising owners of these iPhones what their best upgrade path is, and addressing the question of whether you should buy one of these older iPhones second-hand. Finally we talk about storage capacities and colour options.

Whatever you need to know about choosing your next iPhone, we've got the answer here.

UPDATE, 8 September 2016: The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus were announced last night! (You can read all the announcements as they happened on our iPhone 7 liveblog.) While adding the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus to the range, Apple has dropped the prices (and increased the storage allocations) of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, while the iPhone SE has actually gone up in price for reasons that may have to do with Brexit. This guide has been comprehensively updated to reflect these changes.

Read next: How to sell an iPhone

Best iPhone buying guide: Full range, autumn/winter 2016

Best iPhone buying guide 2016: Overview

With the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus having been announced on 7 September 2016, but the iPhone SE, iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus still available - not to mention the many older iPhones that can still be tracked down and bought second-hand - you may be wondering which iPhone to buy.

iPhone 7 generation

Should you buy the 4.7-inch iPhone 7? Or might the even bigger 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus be more suited to your needs? The 7 Plus has a bigger and sharper screen than the 7, better battery life and twin-lens cameras at the back; but it costs £120 more than the equivalent iPhone 7 at each storage tier. The 7 starts at £599 and the 7 Plus starts at £719 and stretches all the way up to a whopping £919 for the 256GB model.

iPhone 6s and SE generation

Those are both very expensive phones, however. If you're on a budget you should be looking at older models. The 6s Plus costs the same as the iPhone 7, while the iPhone 6s starts at a relatively affordable £499. But for a real budget option plump for the iPhone SE, which starts at £379 - about two-fifths the price of the top-specced 7 Plus model. (Oddly enough the iPhone SE has just gone up in price, which is unheard of when a newer phone comes out. This appears to be related to the decreasing value of the pound following the Brexit referendum.)

Should you upgrade?

You might have an iPhone 5siPhone 5c, iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus and be wondering whether it's worth updating to the iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus, now that the prices of those phones have dropped, or if you should jump all the way to the newest models. The iPhone 7 costs £100 more than the equivalent-capacity iPhone 6s so it's debatable whether you should go the whole hog and update to the newer model, but the improved cameras, redesigned Home button, stereo speakers and waterproofing justify the extra cash in our humble opinion.

Apple recently introduced a scheme called the iPhone Upgrade Program, where you make an upfront payment of £49 followed by regular monthly payments of between £33 and £50. You then get a new iPhone each time one is introduced. You should be cautious about the value this offers but in some circumstances it may be the right approach for you. Read more here: What is the iPhone Upgrade Program, and how to get a brand-new iPhone every year for half price

Second-hand options

If you're really strapped for cash, that doesn't mean that you can't own an iPhone; there are various places you can get a second-hand handset, especially now that people are upgrading to the new models. You may be able to get a good deal on one of the older handsets if someone is looking to sell their current iPhone.

We'll evaluate all the iPhone handsets here in this article so you know what you are getting for your cash, including whether they will run the latest iPhone software. All the iPhones going back to the iPhone 5 will have access to the new features in iOS 10, but the newer your handset, the more free iOS updates you can look forward to in the future - the iPhone 5 may miss out on iOS 11, for instance.

Whatever the practical benefits of the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, you will have to weigh up whether those new features, and the pleasure of owning one of the very latest iPhones, are worth the extra expense.

You may have never owned an iPhone and be wondering whether to buy an iPhone or an Android or Windows smartphone. We will look at how the Apple iPhones compare to competitor phones from the likes of Samsung and Nokia. We will also look at how owning other Apple products, such as a Mac or an iPad, might enhance your iPhone experience if you purchase one.

Choosing the best iPhone for your needs depends on how you'll use the phone, which functions you'll want to use most often, and how much you are prepared to pay - although the price is relative as you may find a good deal on a network contract that allows you to spread payments in such a way as to allow you to afford the phone of your dreams. 

To help you decide which iPhone to buy, we've summarised the main differences between the various iPhones in the section below, but it's not quite as simple as weighing up the specs. Every Apple fan is different, and every Apple fan has different priorities. Perhaps you need as many gigabytes as you can get (bear in mind that the true storage capacity of an iOS device is less than the advertised capacity), maybe you are a keen iPhone photographer looking for the best iPhone camera, or perhaps you like to play games on your iPhone and need to make sure that the model you choose is up to the task. We aim to help you buy the best iPhone for you.

You can read our current iPhone reviews here:

And we've written a series of comparison reviews, which set various combinations of iPhone against one another, head to head:

Lastly, if you're weighing up Apple's various iPhones against the rival offering on the market, here are some comparison reviews of iPhones and the leading Android and Windows smartphones:

For a broader analysis of the current iPhone range and our recommendations of which models are best for various situations or types of customer, read on.

Best iPhone buying guide 2016: The full iPhone range

First things first. If you already own an iPhone, which iPhone do you have? This is an important question. If you already own an iPhone it is likely to influence your decision of which iPhone to purchase next. And if you have never owned an iPhone, your needs may be influenced by the Android or Windows smartphone that you have been using.

Here's the full range of iPhone models you may be considering.

iPhone 7 Plus

Available to pre-order direct from Apple from 9 September
Also available from Carphone Warehouse | EE | Mobile Phones DirectMobiles.co.uk | O2Tesco Mobile | ThreeVirgin | Vodafone

The new top-of-the range iPhone. Has all the improvements in the iPhone 7, plus a bigger battery - Apple says it has the best battery life of any iPhone ever, and will last on average one hour more than the iPhone 66 Plus - and a twin-lens camera on the rear, enabling optical zoom and after-shot refocusing. It's extremely expensive, however.

Prices: £719 (32GB) | £819 (128GB) | £919 (256GB)

Read more: iPhone 7 Plus review

iPhone 7 Plus

iPhone 7

Available to pre-order direct from Apple from 9 September
Also available from Carphone WarehouseEEO2Tesco MobileThreeVirginVodafone

The smaller, cheaper and generally less exciting of the two new iPhones unveiled at Apple's 7 September press event, the iPhone 7 is nevertheless pretty exciting and unashamedly expensive.

There's no headphone port this time around, but Apple sweetens the pill by bundling both Lightning EarPods and a Lightning-to-phono adaptor in the box, and announcing that a new wireless set of headphones, called AirPods, are on their way soon.

The camera has an improved sensor from the last generation and should be a lot stronger in low light conditions, aided by a 'flicker sensor' that compensates for artifical lightning. The Home button is now a solid-state haptic unit that simulates downward clicks rather than actually doing them, and is apparently customisable for a range of feedback and notification functions.

The iPhone 7, like the 7 Plus, is rated IP67 water-resistant, certified dustproof and able to withstand immersion in up to a metre of water for 30 minutes.

Prices: £599 (32GB), £699 (128GB), £799 (256GB) 

Read more: iPhone 7 review

Best iPhone buying guide: iPhone 7

iPhone 6s Plus

Available SIM-free from Apple: View here.
Available on contract from Carphone Warehouse: View here.

This 5.5-inch smartphone, launched in autumn 2015, offers many of the same features as its smaller sibling, the iPhone 6s (which we'll look at next), including a super-fast processor and a new pressure-sensitive screen. Compared to its predecessor the 6 Plus, the 6s Plus is fractionally wider and thicker, and a little heavier too - 20g heavier, in fact. The reason it's slightly thicker and heavier is to accommodate the components needed to power the new 3D Touch screen, a benefit that more than makes up for the fractionally heavier phone.

Previous iPhones were made of 6000-series aluminium alloy, whereas the 6s Plus is made of the stronger (and lighter, and costlier) 7000 series. This should mean that there will be no repeat of the Bendgate fiasco of last year - an issue that appeared to affect some iPhone 6 Plus models.

As we said above, 3D Touch is a new feature that will open up many new features to iPhone 6s and 6s Plus owners. We wonder how steep a learning curve it will be to adopt this new way of manipulating the phone - many Apple Watch users have struggled to grasp the Touch interface of that device.

Like the iPhone 6s, the iPhone 6s Plus gains a better 12Mp camera with improved pixels, and a 5Mp camera on the front for taking selfies. There's also the Retina flash for front facing shots. And like the iPhone 6s you can pretend you're Harry Potter and take Live Photos that show a three-second animation when you press them.

Best iPhone buying guide 2016: iPhone 6s Plus

Who is the iPhone 6s Plus best for? The iPhone 6s Plus is for people who want the biggest possible iPhone screen but would prefer to pay a little less than Apple is asking for the iPhone 7 Plus. When the iPhone 6s Plus launched in 2014 it was particularly popular with women, perhaps because the phone could be carried around in a bag (while guys usually only have pockets for such things). Alternatively it may be the popularity of social networks like Facebook that lead some women to pick the bigger screen for an even more engrossing experience when using the device.

Similarly gamers opted for the iPhone 6 Plus in 2014, thanks to the bigger screen, but also the higher specs of that model - in particular the Plus series offers better battery life, which may be a benefit to gamers as well as those who like to watch video on the device - another reason why the iPhone 6s Plus may be chosen over the 6s. Finally, the iPhone 6s Plus, like it's predecessor, offers some camera features not offered by the 6s, namely optical image stabilisation. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus have now overtaken the iPhone 6s Plus's specs, however, so if you're after the fastest possible device you'll need to pay more for the latest generation.

As with the iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 7 Plus, if you have small or even medium-sized hands, you won't be able to reach the entire screen with a single thumb the way you could on a 4- or even (if your hands aren't particularly small) the 4.7-inch screen. You generally have to treat the 6s Plus as a two-handed device, like an iPad mini, but Apple has also added a clever interface feature called Reachability that pulls the screen downwards when you double-tap the Home button.

Features offered by the iPhone 6s Plus that aren't in the iPhone 6 Plus:

  • Retina HD display with 3D Touch
  • Taptic Engine
  • A9 processor
  • M9 motion coprocessor
  • CDMA EV-DO Rev. A (iPhone 6 Plus = CDMA EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B (CDMA models only)
  • 4G LTE Advanced3 (iPhone 6 Plus = 4G LTE)
  • 11a/b/g/n/ac WiFi with MIMO (iPhone 6 Plus no MIMO)
  • Second-generation fingerprint sensor
  • 12-megapixel iSight camera with 1.22µ pixels
  • Live Photos
  • Optical image stabilization
  • Improved local tone mapping
  • Improved noise reduction
  • Tap to focus with Focus Pixels
  • Panorama (up to 63 megapixels) (was 43MP)
  • 4K video recording (3840x2160) at 30 fps
  • Optical image stabilisation for video (not on the iPhone 6s)
  • Slo-mo video support for 1080p at 120 fps and 720p at 240 fps
  • Time-lapse video with stabilization
  • Take 8MP still photos while recording 4K video
  • Playback zoom
  • 5-megapixel FaceTime Camera
  • Retina Flash

Prices: £599 (32GB) | £699 (128GB)

Read more: iPhone 6s Plus review

iPhone 6s

Available SIM-free from Apple: View here.
Available on contract from Carphone Warehouse: View here.

The design of the iPhone 6s is essentially the same as the iPhone 6, but there are a few slight changes as well as a brand-new colour option. One significant difference is that the iPhone 6s is made with a more durable Series 7000 Aluminium like the metal used for the Apple Watch in a bid to prevent a repeat of last year's Bendgate debacle. The iPhone 6s is also available in a new Rose Gold colour option, adding to the Gold, Silver and Slate Grey we've seen previously.

Read next: iPhone 6s vs Samsung Galaxy S7

The iPhone 6s is slightly thicker than its predecessor, but by such a tiny amount (two-tenths of a millimetre, to be exact) you'll never notice. It's also 14g heavier.

Apple didn't up the resolution of the iPhone 6s's screen, but this time it offers 3D Touch to introduce a huge range of new features. 3D Touch is a mixture of display tech, hardware and software that works ab bit like Force Touch on the Apple Watch and the new MacBook Trackpad. In addition to tapping, you can 'Peek' and 'Pop' by pressing lightly or pressing harder, using this feature you can preview a new message in Mail, for example. Plus, on the home screen, you'll be able to press on icons to go straight to a particular part of that application, perhaps to take a quick selfie.

There's also a new A9 processor paired with an M9 motion co-processor, plus Apple is said to have upped the RAM to 2GB.

Perhaps one of the biggest updates is to the camera. Apple has introduced a 12Mp camera to the rear and a 5Mp camera to the front as well as improved the pixels. Rather than focusing on packing in loads of new pixels, Apple has instead focused on improving the technology behind it to produce top-quality images. 

The company has also turned the display into a true-tone flash for the front camera, so expect better selfies. In terms of video you can now shoot in 4K, while the front-facing camera can record up to 1080p HD. One final camera feature is the new Live Photos, which let you take snaps that have some movement in them, a little like the magical photos in Harry Potter.

Best iPhone buying guide 2016: iPhone 6s

Who is the iPhone 6s best for? If you are a keen iPhone photographer we think that the new camera features alone are likely to sell this phone to you. However, the iPhone 6 Plus offers the same new features (and the iPhone 7 handsets have even better cameras), so your decision may be based on price and, more significantly, the size and weight of the iPhone 6s. The iPhone 6s is 19.9mm shorter than the 6s Plus and weighs 49g less. It's also comparatively affordable, compared to the phones we've discussed above.

Features offered by the iPhone 6s that aren't in the iPhone 6:

  • Retina HD display with 3D Touch
  • Taptic Engine
  • A9 processor
  • M9 motion coprocessor
  • CDMA EV-DO Rev. A (iPhone 6 = CDMA EV-DO Rev. A and Rev. B (CDMA models only)
  • 4G LTE Advanced3 (iPhone 6 = 4G LTE)
  • 11a/b/g/n/ac WiFi with MIMO (iPhone 6 no MIMO)
  • Second-generation fingerprint sensor
  • 12-megapixel iSight camera with 1.22µ pixels
  • Live Photos
  • Optical image stabilization
  • Improved local tone mapping
  • Improved noise reduction
  • Tap to focus with Focus Pixels
  • Panorama (up to 63 megapixels) (was 43MP)
  • 4K video recording (3840x2160) at 30 fps
  • Slo-mo video support for 1080p at 120 fps and 720p at 240 fps
  • Time-lapse video with stabilization
  • Take 8MP still photos while recording 4K video
  • Playback zoom
  • 5-megapixel FaceTime Camera
  • Retina Flash

Prices: £499 (32GB) | £599 (128GB)

Read more: iPhone 6s review

iPhone SE

Available SIM-free from Apple: View here.
Available on contract from Carphone Warehouse: View here.

The 4in iPhone SE is the latest addition to the iPhone line-up, and in terms of height and breadth it's also the smallest (at 123.8mm x 58.6mm). It's also the thickest (at 7.6mm), although the small form factor of the phone means this isn't very noticeable. The iPhone SE sports the same design as the now discontinued iPhone 5s, a design that many say was before its time. The resolution is rather low (640x1136), but thanks to the small display it equates to around 326 pixels per inch.

Inside, the iPhone SE is much like an iPhone 6s with the 64bit A9 chipset with 2GB of RAM, although much like the 6 and 6 Plus, is only available in two storage options (16 or 64GB of storage). It's a huge jump from the internals of the now unavailable iPhone 5s, bringing the 4in smartphone in line with Apple's flagship line in terms of performance.

The iPhone SE features a rear-facing 12Mp camera and while many assume this is the same as what's featured in the iPhone 6s, it's not. There are slight differences in the technology inside the camera that make the 6s perform better, but the iPhone SE camera is still a great all-round option for potential buyers. The rear camera is impressive, but the front-facing camera lets the smartphone down, sporting a rather disappointing 1.2Mp camera. Like the iPhone 6s, the SE also includes support for Live Photos, Apple's GIF-esque photo mode.

The iPhone SE is a great option for those looking for a relatively small smartphone that's easy to use one-handed, and is the ideal option for those who've been waiting to upgrade their iPhone 5s. It's also pretty cheap (16GB costs £359, while 64GB is just £439) when compared to the iPhone 6s, making it a rather appealing option.

Best iPhone buying guide 2016: iPhone SE

Who is the iPhone SE best for? If you have small hands or small pockets, or otherwise prefer Apple's older and smaller smartphones, the iPhone SE is the answer to your prayers.

It's as small and portable as the iPhone 5s (which is no longer available from Apple) but techwise it's midway between the 6 and 6s - nearer in most key respects, indeed, to the 6s. It's also the cheapest iPhone currently available by a clear £120. If you can live with the compromise of the smaller screen - and particularly if you can live with a smaller storage allocation, since it's the only iPhone left to offer a 16GB option - then this is an excellent, highly affordable all-rounder. For gamers, photo editors and others who want more screen space (or 128GB or 256GB of storage, which the SE doesn't get) it's not the right option.

Prices: £379 (16GB) | £429 (64GB)

Read our iPhone SE review, or listen to our podcast team talking about its launch:

New iPhone SE: podcast discussion

iPhone 6 Plus (currently not on sale from Apple)

The iPhone 6 Plus was Apple's first phablet-style phone. Phablet is basically the name used for phones that are so big that they are like small tablets. The iPhone 6 Plus has a 5.5-inch screen so it's not a lot smaller than the iPad mini. In addition to the bigger, better screen the Plus offers a better camera than the iPhone 6. Read our iPhone 6 Plus review for more information.

Best iPhone buying guide 2016: iPhone 6 Plus

Who is the iPhone 6 Plus best for? Those who want a 'phablet' experience - one which is midway between a phone and a small tablet. Big fans of gaming and movies, both of which look great on the 6 Plus's big screen. Some business users may find that the big screen is good for productivity apps.

If you've got an iPhone 6 Plus... It's still a decent iPhone but at two years old it's going to start showing its age. Upgrading to the iPhone 6s Plus or iPhone 7 Plus will give you access to a better camera and a much faster processor, so gamers will want to upgrade. There are also new features that you're missing out on, such as Force Touch, Live Photos, faster second-gen Touch ID, stereo audio and more.

Of course, you may have found the device a bit too big; if that is the case then you might choose to upgrade to the smaller iPhone 6s or 7. Alternatively you might prefer to hang out for another year and upgrade when Apple launches the iPhone 8 in 2017.

iPhone 6 (currently not on sale from Apple)

The iPhone 6 has a bigger screen than the iPhone 5s: 4.7 inches (measured diagonally, corner to corner) compared to the 4 inch iPhone 5s. It's also thinner and lighter than the iPhone 6s and iPhone 7.

Like the iPhone 6 Plus it features the A8 processor and an NFC chip for Apple Pay payments. Read our iPhone 6 review and our iPhone 6 vs iPhone 6 Plus comparison review.

Best iPhone buying guide 2016: iPhone 6

Who is the iPhone 6 best for? Similar to the Plus models this is likely to be a popular with those who would like a bigger screen (for games and films in particular) but want a more portable device. The iPhone 6 is easier to slip into a pocket (and easier to use one-handed) than the iPhone 6 Plus. It's also a bit more affordable (£80 less for each capacity offered).

If you've got an iPhone 6... Again, this device is two years old and now would be a decent time to make the upgrade. (Although there are rumours that the iPhone 8 next year, which will coincide with the iPhone's 10th birthday, will be the biggest update yet...) If you're a very keen iPhone photographer the various new camera features (which add up to a major improvement across the two newer generations) may well see the 6s or 7 to you.

iPhone 5s (currently not on sale from Apple)

This is the iPhone Apple introduced in September 2013. It was discontinued when Apple launched the SE, which is a good job because the SE outclasses it in every respect. Still, if you can find the 5s second-hand at a good price, it may remain a strong budget option. You can buy it here from £249 from Carphone Warehouse.

The 5s has a Touch ID button allowing fingerprint scanning for security, rather than the older-style home button with a square in the middle. However Touch ID on the iPhone 5s cannot be used for Apple Pay as the phone lacks the NFC chip. Read our iPhone 5s review. and our iPhone 5s vs iPhone 6 comparison review.

If you've got an iPhone 5s... The main question is this: should you upgrade to the iPhone SE, or upgrade your screen size?

The bigger screen on the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus (or the 6 and 6 Plus) may be a big temptation for iPhone 5s owners, or it might put those who prefer the 4in screen off. If you are happy to opt for a bigger screen, the big question will be whether to go for the iPhone 6s, with its 4.7in screen, or the iPhone 6s Plus with its 5.5in screen.

If you really don't want a bigger screen then plump for the SE, which is faster and better specced throughout, but physically near-identical to the 5s. And offered at a good price, for that matter.

You may consider updating from the iPhone 5s to the year-old iPhone 6 or 6 Plus. Here is how those phones compare (to see the extra features that you could get if you opted for the newer models see above - those will be in addition to these new features):

Features offered by the iPhone 6 Plus that aren't in the iPhone 5s:

  • Retina HD display
  • 5.5-inch display (compared to 4-inch)
  • 1920-by-1080 pixel resolution at 401ppi (compared to 1136-by-640-pixel resolution at 326 ppi)
  • 1300:1 contrast ratio (compared to 800:1 contrast ratio)
  • Dual-domain pixels for wider viewing angles
  • Display Zoom
  • Reachability
  • A8 & M8 chips (compared to A7 & M7)
  • Autofocus with Focus Pixels
  • Optical image stabilization
  • Improved face detection
  • Panorama, up to 43 megapixels
  • 1080p HD video recording, 30 fps or 60 fps (was 30 fps)
  • Slo-mo video, 120 fps or 240 fps (was 120 fps)
  • Cinematic video stabilization
  • Continuous autofocus video
  • Improved face detection on both cameras
  • ƒ/2.2 aperture for FaceTime camera (compared to ƒ/2.4 aperture)
  • Auto HDR for photos and videos on FaceTime camera (previously Auto HDR only)
  • Burst mode on FaceTime camera
  • Pay with your iPhone using Touch ID in stores and in apps
  • 802.11ac Wi-Fi
  • NFC
  • FaceTime over cellular uses H.264/H.265
  • Voice over LTE (VoLTE)3
  • Up to 24 hours talk time on 3G (was 10)
  • Up to 16 days/384 hours standby time (was 10 days, 250 hours)
  • Up to 12 hours internet on 3G, up to 12 hours on LTE, and up to 11 hours on Wi-Fi (was 8 , 10 and 11)
  • Up to 14 hours video playback (was 10)
  • Up to 80 hours audio playback (was 40)
  • Barometer

Features offered by the iPhone 6 that aren't in the iPhone 5s:

  • Retina HD display
  • 4.7-inch display (compared to 4-inch)
  • 1334-by-750 pixel resolution at 326ppi (compared to 1136-by-640-pixel resolution at 326 ppi)
  • 1400:1 contrast ratio (compared to 800:1 contrast ratio)
  • Dual-domain pixels for wider viewing angles
  • Display Zoom
  • Reachability
  • A8 & M8 chips (compared to A7 & M7)
  • Autofocus with Focus Pixels
  • Improved face detection
  • Panorama, up to 43 megapixels
  • 1080p HD video recording, 30 fps or 60 fps (was 30 fps)
  • Slo-mo video, 120 fps or 240 fps (was 120 fps)
  • Cinematic video stabilization
  • Continuous autofocus video
  • Improved face detection on both cameras
  • ƒ/2.2 aperture for FaceTime camera (compared to ƒ/2.4 aperture)
  • Auto HDR for photos and videos on FaceTime camera (previously Auto HDR only)
  • Burst mode on FaceTime camera
  • Pay with your iPhone using Touch ID in stores and in apps
  • 802.11ac Wi-Fi
  • NFC
  • FaceTime over cellular uses H.264/H.265
  • Voice over LTE (VoLTE)3
  • Up to 14 hours talk time on 3G (was 10)
  • Up to 10 hours internet on 3G, up to 10 hours on LTE, and up to 11 hours on Wi-Fi (was 8 , 10 and 11)
  • Up to 11 hours video playback (was 10)
  • Up to 50 hours audio playback (was 40)
  • Barometer

iPhone 5c (currently not on sale - but likely available second-hand)

The iPhone 5c is no longer being sold by Apple, although you may be able to pick one up on eBay or similar. It features a polycarbonate (plastic) shell that comes in six bright colours. Apple released the iPhone 5c alongside the iPhone 5s in September 2013. On the inside it's pretty similar to the iPhone 5, although the camera is better. It uses a Nano-SIM. Read our comparison review of the iPhone 5s versus the iPhone 5c. Read our iPhone 5c review.

If you've got an iPhone 5c... You may be wondering if you should upgrade to the iPhone 6s or iPhone 6.

If you currently own a iPhone 5c you would see a huge boost if you updated to the iPhone 6 or 6s, because the processors are faster in those models - indeed, the iPhone 5s also has a faster processor. There are a lot of new features offered by the newer phones, but there are also various features that the iPhone 5s has that the iPhone 5c doesn't, like the Touch ID fingerprint scanner and a better camera with better photography features, so you may consider updating to that phone. Apple has dropped the price of the iPhone 5s compared to last year, so you could find it is more affordable now than it was. 

Last year the iPhone 5s cost £459 for the 16GB and £499 for the 32GB. Now the 16GB iPhone 5s costs £379 while the 32GB model costs £419. That's £80 less for the 32GB version and £120 less for the 16GB model (we're glad that Apple isn't offering a 8GB version, as it did with the iPHoen 5c, because we don't think 8GB is adequate storage - but the 16GB is also very minimal storage and will not suit everyone so the 32GB model might be a better choice.

Features offered by the iPhone 6 that aren't in the iPhone 5c (note that even more new features are offered by the 6s, see above for more information).

  • Retina HD display
  • 4.7-inch display (compared to 4-inch)
  • 1334-by-750 pixel resolution at 326ppi (compared to 1136-by-640-pixel resolution at 326 ppi)
  • 1400:1 contrast ratio (compared to 800:1 contrast ratio)
  • Dual-domain pixels for wider viewing angles
  • Display Zoom
  • Reachability
  • A8 & M8 chips (compared to A6)
  • Autofocus with Focus Pixels
  • Improved face detection
  • Panorama, up to 43 megapixels
  • 1080p HD video recording, 30 fps or 60 fps (was 30 fps)
  • True Tone Flash (LED flash)
  • Slo-mo video at 120 fps or 240 fps (5c didn't have slow-mo video)
  • Cinematic video stabilization
  • Continuous autofocus video
  • Improved face detection on both cameras
  • ƒ/2.2 aperture for FaceTime camera (compared to ƒ/2.4 aperture)
  • Auto image stabilization
  • Auto HDR for photos on both cameras (was just HDR)
  • Auto HDR for video on FaceTime camera
  • Burst mode
  • Burst mode on FaceTime camera
  • Pay with your iPhone using Touch ID in stores and in apps
  • 802.11ac Wi-Fi
  • NFC
  • FaceTime over cellular uses H.264/H.265
  • Voice over LTE (VoLTE)3
  • Up to 14 hours talk time on 3G (was 10)
  • Up to 10 hours internet on 3G, up to 10 hours on LTE, and up to 11 hours on Wi-Fi (was 8 , 10 and 10)
  • Up to 11 hours video playback (was 10)
  • Up to 50 hours audio playback (was 40)
  • Barometer

Features offered by the iPhone 5s that aren't in the iPhone 5c

  • A7 & M7 chips (compared to A6)
  • True Tone Flash (LED flash)
  • Slo-mo video at 120 fps
  • Auto HDR for photos on FaceTime camera
  • Burst mode

iPhone 5 (currently not on sale - but likely available second-hand)

The iPhone 5 was launched in September 2012 and was the first Apple iPhone with a 4in screen. It was available in 'Slate' or 'Silver'. The iPhone 5s looks similar to the iPhone 5, but the clearest difference between the two iPhones is the home button which has a white square logo in the centre on the older iPhone. It uses a Nano-SIM. Read our iPhone 5 vs iPhone 5S comparison review our iPhone 5 review, and our iPhone 5c v iPhone 5 comparison review.

Read next: Complete guide to buying an older, second-hand or refurbished iPhone

If you've got an iPhone 5... With a device that's now over three years old, you're probably thinking about upgrading. But if you decide to trade in your iPhone 5 for another iOS device, should you upgrade to the iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6 or iPhone 5s?

For a start, if you're still using an iPhone 5 you may be missing out on 4G, as that model only supports 4G on a few of the UK networks. If you are with one of the networks that isn't supported for 4G, O2, Vodafone, for example, faster mobile broadband on the go is a great reason to upgrade. Find out if your network is supported here.

Since you may have had this phone for three years now it is likely you are coming to the end of your contract, which means it's an excellent time to upgrade.

You don't have to pay a huge amount to upgrade from the iPhone 5 to the iPhone 5s, the iPhone 5s is now Apple's cheapest iPhone costing £379 up front (and probably available for free on contracts). This is a higher entry level price than last year's iPhone 5c, but that phone only offered 8GB storage.

If you prefer the smaller screen size of the iPhone 5s it might be better to update from the 5 to the 5s, but you could go the whole hog and get the iPhone 6s or 6s Plus, or perhaps the slightly cheaper iPhone 6 or 6 Plus will suit you.

iPhone 4s (currently not on sale)

Apple was still offering the iPhone 4s for sale until 2014, but it dropped out of availability when the iPhone 6 series made their debut. There are still a fair few Apple fans on this relatively elderly device.

The iPhone 4s has a smaller screen than even the iPhone 5 (it's just 3.5 inches, compared to the 4-inch screens on the iPhone 5, 5c and 5s, and of course the still-bigger screens on the iPhone 6 series) but has a similar metallic shell. It uses a Micro-SIM and was launched in October 2011. Read our iPhone 4s review and our iPhone 5c vs iPhone 4s review.

If you've got an iPhone 4s... should you update to one of the newer iPhones?

Upgrading from the iPhone 4s is a bit of a no-brainer. It's a 3.5-inch phone for starters, so you're working with less screen than most other smartphone owners: whether you upgrade to the iPhone 5c or 5s for a 4-inch screen, or the new iPhones with their 4.7-inch or 5.5-inch screens, you'll quickly get used to the extra screen space. The iPhone 5 was 18 percent thinner and 20 percent lighter than the 4S, the iPhone 5s even lighter still. The new iPhones are even thinner, although since they have bigger screens you may notice the extra bulk.

For some the huge leap from a 3.5in iPhone to a 4.7in (or even 5.5in) model may be too great. Those people might prefer to opt for the cheaper iPhone 5s.

The only other reason that you may not wish to upgrade from the iPhone 4s is if you own speakers and other iPhone accessories that use the older iPhone port. With the iPhone 5 Apple introduced the smaller Lightning dock, which means your existing accessories will need an adaptor, which costs £25.

However, we find these days that many of the stereo systems use AirPlay rather than plugging in directly, and we don't really miss our old iPhone accessories.

In terms of iOS 9, bear in mind that the iPhone 4s misses out on some of the showier improvements.

iPhone 4 (currently not on sale)

The iPhone 4 looks very similar to the iPhone 4s, and like that model it uses a Micro-SIM. The key difference is the number of megapixels offered by the camera: 5Mp in the iPhone 4 compared to 8Mp in the iPhone 4s. It launched in June 2010. Read our iPhone 4 review.

Best iPhone buying guide 2016: iPhone 4

If you've got an iPhone 4... If you're still using an iPhone 4 then now is a good time to upgrade. Whichever of the four currently available iPhones you choose will add a bigger screen, thinner chassis and 4G capabilities. The iPhone 4 is well behind both 4S and 5 in its photographic fidelity and has no Siri voice assistant. It's also about a quarter as fast as the iPhone 5 so imagine how much faster the new iPhone 6 will be.

In terms of iOS 9, the iPhone 4 is not supported so you will be left behind in terms of new features and other improvements that will come with the new operating system - including features in OS X that make your Mac, iPhone and iPad work together.

iPhone 3Gs (currently not on sale)

The iPhone 3Gs was the last of Apple's plastic iPhones for several years (the company eventually returned to plastic shells for the iPhone 5c). It had a 3Mp rear-facing camera but no front-facing camera for FaceTime. Like the 3G, this model came in black or white. It launched in June 2009. Read our iPhone 3GS UK review.

Best iPhone buying guide 2016: iPhone 3GS

If you've got an iPhone 3GS (or an earlier iPhone model)... A lot of people are still happily using an iPhone 3GS. Perhaps they adopted one when a family member updated their iPhone. They have missed out on iOS 7 and more recently missed out again on iOS 8, so for the sake of new software features alone it may be time to update.

There's no need to jump right up to the iPhone 6s in this case, of course. The cheaper iPhone 5s may well suit you, or even the iPhone 5c - you could probably pick one up for a good price on eBay or similar.

Whatever you update to, you will enjoy a Retina display, a marvel of touchscreen technology with pixels so closely packed they can fool the human eye, and a far cry from the 3GS.

iPhone 3G (currently not on sale)

The iPhone 3G had a 2MP camera and no front-facing camera. This model came in black or white. It launched in July 2008. Read our iPhone 3G review.

Original iPhone (currently not on sale)

Launched in June 2007, the original iPhone had a 2Mp camera. The first iPhone was only available in a black plastic finish. Read our iPhone (first-generation) review.

Best iPhone buying guide 2016: How much should you spend on an iPhone?

We tend to recommend that consumers spend as much money as they can upfront when buying an iPhone. There are a few reasons why. Firstly, if you don't get enough GB at the start then you may feel crippled later - there's no way to add more memory at a later date and no SD card slot like you will find on some Android phones. We address the question of how many GB of storage you need further down in this article.

Remember when you look at the price of the iPhone as offered by Apple that this is the price if you buy the iPhone outright. You don't have to fork out a lot upfront if you sign up for a contract with one of the UK networks. Of course this means that you will have a higher monthly bill than you would if you were only paying for the minutes and data, but for most people who don't have thousands in their rainy day account, this may be the best choice.

We think the best idea is to find a happy medium. Look for a good network contract that means you won't be paying a hell of a lot over time. Always multiply the monthly bill by 24 if it's a two-year contract or 12 if it's a one-year contract and add the upfront cost to see what kind of a deal you're signing up for. It may look like a good deal, but it is all relative.

The phones that Apple sells currently are priced as follows on Apple's website, although as we keep saying, these are unlocked, non-contract prices, so you can spread payments over two years if you want to sign up with a network.

  • iPhone 7: £599 (32GB), £699 (128GB), £799 (256GB)
  • iPhone 7 Plus: £719 (32GB), £819 (128GB), £919 (256GB)
  • iPhone 6s: £499 (32GB) | £599 (128GB)
  • iPhone 6s Plus: £599 (32GB) | £699 (128GB)
  • iPhone SE: £379 (16GB) | £429 (64GB)

You can read more about the contract pricing of the iPhones here: iPhone 7 deals and iPhone 6s Plus UK pricing and iPhone 6s UK pricing.

iPhone buying guide: What is the best screen size for an iPhone?

There are three different screen sizes of iPhone available currently: 4-inch, 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch. That's a far cry from Apple's insistence that it wouldn't make an iPhone with a bigger screen because of "tradeoffs in screen quality", and because it is less comfortable and ergonomic to use a bigger screen. (Apple had previously emphasised the fact that the 4in screen is ideal because you can use it one-handed.)

The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are the same size as 2015's iPhone 6s and 6s Plus respectively, and bigger than the 4-inch screen on 2016's iPhone SE.

Apple says it has made sure that the larger iPhones are still comfortable to use despite the bigger surface area, thanks to software that helps compensate: for example, a feature called Reachability. Reachability is activated by a double-touch on the Home button and it shrinks the user interface towards the bottom of the phone and closer to your thumb. This makes it easier to tap objects near the top of the screen while using one hand, although we never found ourselves using it very often on our iPhone 6.

iOS 8 was designed to take advantage of the larger screens so, for example, the keyboard on the Plus has extra keys, including dedicated virtual buttons for cut, copy and paste. And, also on the Plus, apps like Messaging, Email, and Calendar use a split mode to show you more information. iOS 9 and iOS 10 have even more features that take advantage of the larger screen space.

The best screen size is likely to be a very personal thing. Perhaps you have small hands and the 5.5in iPhone 7 Plus or iPhone 6s Plus would dwarf them. Perhaps you tend to use your iPhone most while commuting to and from work and having to use it one-handed means that even with Apple's Reachability features it would be uncomfortable to use a big screened iPhone. Or maybe you have been waiting for the bigger screen since you saw your Android-wielding friends with theirs and feel that at last you can enjoy the benefits of a bigger screen.

There are various apps that will benefit from the bigger screen. Maybe you primarily use your iPhone for reading articles or watching movies - the bigger screen will be ideal. If you often find yourself tapping out work-related documents and emails on your iPhone the extra space - and particularly the extra keys for the keyboard will be handy. On the other hand, if you already own an iPad you may not need a bigger iPhone too.

iPhone buying guide: Which iPhone has the best display?

As we mentioned earlier, the iPhone 7 Plus, like the iPhone 6s Plus before it, has a 1920 x 1080-pixel 5.5-inch LED-backlit display offering a pixel density - that's a measure of its sharpness - of 401 pixels per inch (ppi).

The iPhone 7 and iPhone 6s, on the other hand, offer a 1334 x 750-pixel LED-backlit display. Despite the fact that the display measures 4.7-inch, it works out to 326ppi, which is actually the same as the iPhone 5 and 5s.

Apple calls the screens on the bigger iPhones 'Retina HD', even though only the Plus offers a greater number of pixels per inch. In fact it offers two million pixels in total - that's nearly a million more pixels than the iPhone 7 and 6s.

It's the contrast ratio that provides the biggest difference: the iPhone 5s had an 800:1 ratio and the iPhone SE offers the same. The iPhone 7 and 6s, meanwhile, have a 1400:1 ratio, and the larger 6s Plus and 7 Plus offer 1300:1. This means the Plus models offer 88% more viewing area and three times the pixels on iPhone 5s.

It sounds impressive, but remember, while the Plus models pack a million more pixels into the display, but there comes a point where we can't actually distinguish any difference - these displays are referred to as Retina Displays because there are only so many pixels your eye can see.

The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus ahve 25 percent brighter screens than their predecessors, according to their marketing team, although we haven't had a chance to test this properly yet, and a wider colour gamut.

iPhone 7 screen:

  • Retina HD display
  • 4.7-inch display
  • 1334x750-pixel resolution at 326 ppi
  • 1400:1 contrast ratio (typical)
  • 625 cd/m2 max brightness (typical)
  • Wide colour display (P3)
  • Dual-domain pixels for wider viewing angles

iPhone 7 Plus screen:

  • Retina HD display
  • 5.5-inch display 
  • 1920x1080-pixel resolution at 401 ppi
  • 1300:1 contrast ratio (typical)
  • 625 cd/m2 max brightness (typical)
  • Wide colour display (P3)
  • Dual-domain pixels for wider viewing angles

iPhone 6s screen:

  • Retina HD display
  • 4.7-inch display
  • 1334x750-pixel resolution at 326 ppi
  • 1400:1 contrast ratio (typical)
  • 500 cd/m2 max brightness (typical)
  • Full sRGB standard
  • Dual-domain pixels for wider viewing angles

iPhone 6s Plus screen:

  • Retina HD display
  • 5.5-inch display 
  • 1920x1080-pixel resolution at 401 ppi
  • 1300:1 contrast ratio (typical)
  • 500 cd/m2 max brightness (typical)
  • Full sRGB standard
  • Dual-domain pixels for wider viewing angles

iPhone SE screen:

  • Retina display
  • 4-inch display
  • 1136-by-640 pixel resolution at 326ppi
  • 800:1 contrast ratio
  • 500 cd/m2 max brightness (typical)
  • Full sRGB standard

iPhone buying guide: What storage capacity to go for - how many GBs?

With the launch of the iPhone 7, Apple has bumped up its storage tiers - instead of starting at 16GB, the new phones (and now the previous generation) start at 32GB. The exceptio is the iPhone SE, which is still available with a paltry 16GB. (In the past Apple has also been known to offer an 8GB version of the cheapest iPhone of all, but that was phased out some time ago - but we think that even 16GB is too little space for most users. Read about why it's not a good idea to buy the 16GB version: The problem with Apple's 16GB iPhones and iPads.)

Here are the storage options for the current line-up:

  • The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus are available with 32GB, 128GB and 256GB.
  • The iPhone 6s and 6s Plus are available with 32GB and 128GB.
  • The iPhone SE is available with 16GB or 64GB.

How do you decide how many gigabytes are necessary? Apps are getting larger, and photos and videos are addictive to shoot and gobble up and ever-increasing amount of gigabytes. For that reason, as we mention above, we would always recommend going for as many GB as you can afford.

If you've already got an iPhone, check how much space all your apps and data are eating up by looking at Settings > General > Usage.

You don't have to transfer every app to your new iPhone, though. We went from a 64GB to a 16GB without too much stress because we culled our apps. You can always download an app again at a later date, Apple knows that you already bought it so you can download it again for free.

Then again, maintaining 16GB of space requires a lot of housekeeping, so if you take a lot of photos, or download video from iTunes or iPlayer, expect to fill up the space available quickly.

In the past we'd have recommended opting for 32GB over 16GB - we used to think that 64GB was overkill - but for some even 64GB may still not be enough, and they are the people who will be pleased with the option of a 128GB iPhone.

In 2014-2015 the entry-level phone was an 8GB iPhone 5c but we felt that was too small - if you are thinking of purchasing a second hand iPhone 5c we'd recommend looking for one with at least 16GB or 32GB (although these handsets would be a few years old) as we think that it would be very difficult to manage with just 8GB given that iOS would take up a significant part of that space. We think that 8GB isn't really enough storage for the average iPhone user so we'd advise against the 8GB iPhone 5c for that reason.

iPhone buying guide: Which iPhone is lightest?

The larger screen obviously means a larger size and a bit more weight, so if you are looking for a lighter phone the 5.5-inch iPhone 6s Plus may not be the one for you. Similarly, if you have small hands you may find that the iPhone 6s Plus is too large to be held comfortably in your hand. The same goes for the iPhone 7 Plus - but that model is very slightly lighter than the older model.

Even the iPhone 6s and 7, though thinner than the iPhone SE, weigh more than that model. But that's hardly surprising given the fact that there is a greater surface area.

The weight and dimensions of the full range of iPhones currently on sale from Apple is as follows:

  • iPhone 7 Plus: 158.2 mm x 77.9 mm x 7.3 mm | 188 grams
  • iPhone 7: 138.3 mm x 67.1 mm x 7.1 mm | 138 grams
  • iPhone 6s Plus: 158.2 mm x 77.9 mm x 7.3 mm | 192 grams
  • iPhone 6s: 138.3 mm x 67.1 mm x 7.1 mm | 143 grams
  • iPhone SE: 123.8 mm x 58.6 mm x 7.6 mm | 113 grams

If portability is the key, and if you already own a tablet or use a traditional computer for everyday tasks you may not need a bigger-screen iPhone. Even if you could use a bigger screen you may not need the iPhone 6s Plus - the iPhone 6 screen is still 38 percent larger than the 4in iPhone 5s.

iPhone buying guide: iPhone colour choices

The launch of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus included the unveiling of two new colour finishes: (matt) black, and (gloss) Jet Black. These replace Space Grey for the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, which are thus available in silver, gold, Rose Gold, black and Jet Black. Bear in mind that Jet Black is not available with the cheapest 32GB storage option.

Best iPhone buying guide: Colour options

The older iPhones don't get black and Jet Black. The iPhone SE, iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s are all available in four colour finishes: silver, gold, Rose Gold and Space Grey. There are no restrictions on the storage tiers and prices for these various colour options.

Of course the colour choice may be redundant if you choose to put your iPhone in a case as many do, in order to protect them.

We have a round up of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus cases here: Best cases for iPhone

iPhone buying guide: Which iPhone is best for software?

At time of writing (9 Sept 2016) the current version of iOS is iOS 9, but iOS 10 will be with us soon: it's released to the general public on 13 September.

iOS 9 is compatible with the iPhone 4s and later; iOS 10 is compatible with the iPhone 5 and later. If you've got a device that's newer than that, you get access to the many new features in these free OS updates. Indeed, if you buy a new iPhone from the 13th onward, it'll come with iOS 10 pre-installed. If you want to know about the new features in iOS 10, read our iOS 10 review.

So right now, you can buy any of the current iPhone range - and a couple of generations older than this, second-hand - and they'll be able to run iOS 10 quite happily. But a factor you should bear in mind is that the newer the phone, the more iOS updates it'll be able to run in the future. The iPhone 5 may miss out on iOS 11. The iPhone 5s may miss out on iOS 12. And so on. This is what we call future-proofing: the newest phones have more years of top-level operation, and free software updates and new features, ahead of them.

This doesn't just apply to iOS, either. When browsing the App Store, you'll often see apps that only run on iPhones of a certain generation and beyond; so buying a newer model guarantees that you'll be able to play the latest apps and games for longer.

One last thing: Apple seems to have got better about this, but it's always slightly risky to install a new version of iOS if your iDevice only just qualifies to run it - the iPhone 4, for instance, was the oldest iPhone certified as iOS 7-ready, but struggled with it horribly and slowed down noticeably. So don't push it. (However: read about why Apple isn't making your iPhone slower on purpose. Also how to speed up a slow iPhone.)

iPhone buying guide: Which iPhone is best for photography?

None of today's cameraphones can replace a digital SLR for top-level photography, but iPhones are getting seriously good in this area.

After the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus offered what was felt at the time to be the biggest iPhone camera upgrade in a long time, including 12Mp shooting, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus followed up with arguably even bigger leaps forward: a larger aperture (f/1.8, up from f/2.2), a faster camera, optical image stabilisation across both models (it was only available on the iPhone 6s Plus, not the iPhone 6s), an updated flash that includes a 'flicker sensor' to compensate for the quality of artificial light, and a twin-lens camera on the Plus model that enables optical zoom and post-shot refocusing.

In other words, for serious photographic chops, the iPhone 7 Plus is the only choice, but you're paying top dollar for its capabilities.

Read next: iPhone photography tips

Best iPhone buying guide: Camera

Camera features offered by the iPhone 7 Plus:

  • 12-megapixel iSight camera (twin lens: wide angle and telephoto)
  • Wide-angle: f/1.8 aperture; telephoto: f/2.8 aperture
  • Optical zoom at 2x; digital zoom up to 10x
  • Live Photos
  • Wide colour capture for photos and Live Photos
  • Optical image stabilization
  • Six-element lens
  • Noise reduction
  • Body and face detection
  • Quad-LED True Tone flash
  • Tap to focus with Focus Pixels
  • Panorama (up to 63 megapixels)
  • 4K video recording (3840x2160) at 30 fps
  • Optical image stabilisation for video
  • Slo-mo video support for 1080p at 120 fps and 720p at 240 fps
  • Time-lapse video with stabilization
  • Take 8MP still photos while recording 4K video
  • Playback zoom
  • 7-megapixel FaceTime Camera
  • Retina Flash

Camera features offered by the iPhone 7:

  • 12-megapixel iSight camera
  • f/1.8 aperture
  • Digital zoom up to 5x
  • Live Photos
  • Wide colour capture for photos and Live Photos
  • Optical image stabilization
  • Six-element lens
  • Noise reduction
  • Body and face detection
  • Quad-LED True Tone flash
  • Tap to focus with Focus Pixels
  • Panorama (up to 63 megapixels)
  • 4K video recording (3840x2160) at 30 fps
  • Optical image stabilisation for video
  • Slo-mo video support for 1080p at 120 fps and 720p at 240 fps
  • Time-lapse video with stabilization
  • Take 8MP still photos while recording 4K video
  • Playback zoom
  • 7-megapixel FaceTime Camera
  • Retina Flash

Camera features offered by the iPhone 6s Plus:

  • 12-megapixel iSight camera
  • f/2.2 aperture
  • Digital zoom up to 5x
  • Live Photos
  • Optical image stabilization
  • Five-element lens
  • Noise reduction
  • Face detection
  • True Tone flash
  • Tap to focus with Focus Pixels
  • Panorama (up to 63 megapixels)
  • 4K video recording (3840x2160) at 30 fps
  • Optical image stabilisation for video
  • Slo-mo video support for 1080p at 120 fps and 720p at 240 fps
  • Time-lapse video with stabilization
  • Take 8MP still photos while recording 4K video
  • Playback zoom
  • 5-megapixel FaceTime Camera
  • Retina Flash

Camera features offered by the iPhone 6s:

  • 12-megapixel iSight camera
  • f/2.2 aperture
  • Digital zoom up to 5x
  • Live Photos
  • Five-element lens
  • Noise reduction
  • Face detection
  • True Tone flash
  • Tap to focus with Focus Pixels
  • Panorama (up to 63 megapixels)
  • 4K video recording (3840x2160) at 30 fps
  • Slo-mo video support for 1080p at 120 fps and 720p at 240 fps
  • Time-lapse video with stabilization
  • Take 8MP still photos while recording 4K video
  • Playback zoom
  • 5-megapixel FaceTime Camera
  • Retina Flash

Camera features offered by the iPhone SE:

  • 12-megapixel iSight camera
  • f/2.2 aperture
  • Digital zoom up to 5x
  • Live Photos
  • Five-element lens
  • Noise reduction
  • Face detection
  • True Tone flash
  • Tap to focus with Focus Pixels
  • Panorama (up to 63 megapixels)
  • 4K video recording (3840x2160) at 30 fps
  • Slo-mo video support for 1080p at 120 fps and 720p at 240 fps
  • Time-lapse video with stabilization
  • Take 8MP still photos while recording 4K video
  • Playback zoom
  • 5-megapixel FaceTime Camera
  • Retina Flash

iPhone buying guide: Which iPhone is best for battery life?

Apple says that improvements in the battery setup mean the iPhone 7 Plus should last for an average of 1 hour more than the iPhone 6s Plus, while the iPhone 7 ought to be good for around 2 hours more than the iPhone 6s. But you'll notice that a few of the battery figures for the iPhone 7 generation handset are actually lower than those for the iPhone 6s models.

Read next: How to improve iPhone battery life

iPhone 7 Plus battery life

  • Up to 21 hours talk time on 3G
  • Up to 16 days standby
  • Up to 13 hours internet on 3G, up to 13 hours on 4G LTE, and up to 15 hours on Wi-Fi
  • Up to 14 hours video playback
  • Up to 60 hours audio playback

iPhone 7 battery life

  • Up to 14 hours talk time on 3G
  • Up to 10 days standby
  • Up to 12 hours internet on 3G, up to 12 hours on LTE, and up to 14 hours on Wi-Fi
  • Up to 13 hours video playback
  • Up to 40 hours audio playback

iPhone 6s Plus battery life

  • Up to 24 hours talk time on 3G
  • Up to 16 days standby
  • Up to 12 hours internet on 3G, up to 12 hours on LTE, and up to 12 hours on Wi-Fi
  • Up to 14 hours video playback
  • Up to 80 hours audio playback

iPhone 6s battery life

  • Up to 14 hours talk time on 3G
  • Up to 10 days standby
  • Up to 10 hours internet on 3G, up to 10 hours on LTE, and up to 11 hours on Wi-Fi
  • Up to 11 hours video playback
  • Up to 50 hours audio playback

iPhone SE battery life

  • Up to 14 hours talk time on 3G
  • Up to 12 hours internet on 3G, up to 13 hours on 4G LTE, and up to 13 hours on Wi-Fi
  • Up to 10 days standby
  • Up to 13 hours video playback
  • Up to 50 hours audio playback

iPhone buying guide: Which iPhone is best for games?

This one depends on what kind of games you like. If processor-intensive graphical feasts like Infinity Blade are your thing - and if you intend to keep playing the latest games in the future - then the faster A10 processor (in the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus) will be a great investment, although the A9 processor with 64-bit support in the iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus and iPhone SE is no slouch.

The App Store contains games that will run only on relatively new iOS hardware. If you love to play the newest, best-of-breed games, you may well miss out on those titles - or at least their full feature-set and performance abilities - unless you upgrade to Apple's top-of-the-line phones.

Our experience suggests that at least 32GB of storage is advisable for heavy gamers, although you can get by with less if you're willing to focus on a few games at a time, and uninstall them once you're finished. 

Read more in our best iPhone and iPad games feature.