It may not be the only choice, but for millions of people when buying a smartphone, the iPhone is the obvious choice.

Android smartphones may resemble iPhone hardware and software at times but Apple has a hold on the smartphone market in the west and it doesn't look like letting up any time soon.

With the unveiling of Apple's latest iPhones - the iPhone XS and iPhone XR - back in September 2018, there are now seven different iPhones that Apple sells. That's unusual, and means we have racked our brains to rank the iPhones from best to worst.

This of course is the subject of much passionate debate here at Macworld.

The debate over which iPhone is truly best could rage for days, and for many diehard fans it's the most recent iPhone with the best specs. But many people simply don't need - or can't afford - the most expensive iPhone.

We've ranked the lineup to represent the best iPhones for most people. We took into consideration age, size, price on contract or handset only, performance and more to decide which should sit atop the charts.

Note:  Apple is very likely to update its range of iPhones in September 2019 at which point it may well reduce the price of the current offering.  So if you are happy to wait until September 2019 to get a better deal, or to find out what Apple has in store, it might be worth doing.

iPhone comparison 2019

1. iPhone XR

Apple iPhone XR
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OK, it's not cheap per se, but the iPhone XR is the best iPhone for most people right now. At £749 /$749 it's more affordable than the XS and XS Max and you really don't lose that much by going for it.

It has an LCD instead of an OLED, which is 6.1in - larger than the XS and smaller than the XS Max. It's also got only one rear camera. Otherwise it has practically the same specs, including the powerful A12 Bionic processor.

It also has the best battery life on an iPhone ever and comes in six colours. Sold?

Read our iPhone XR review

2. iPhone XS

Apple iPhone XS
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The iPhone XS is the most fully featured and powerful iPhone ever. It's got outstanding performance, a great OLED display and a new gold colour to draw you in.

The dual cameras are very good, offering portrait mode and 2x zoom while Face ID is here to stay - there's no home button here. But when so much of the front of the phone is screen we don't mind.

It's very expensive but so are most iPhones. It has replaced the original iPhone X that launched in 2017 but sells for the same £999 / $999.

Read our iPhone XS review

3. iPhone XS Max

Apple iPhone XS Max
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Starting at £1,099 / $1,099 the iPhone XS Max is the most expensive and largest iPhone ever. Its 6.3in tall display is one of the only main differences between it and the regular XS - that and the larger battery.

Otherwise this is the same phone as the XS. You might want the Max if you want a large screen for photo and video viewing or if you simply want the biggest iPhone money can buy.

Read our iPhone XS Max review

4. iPhone 8 Plus

Apple iPhone 8 Plus
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We feel better about the iPhone 8 Plus now than we did when it launched. At £699 or $699, it is now more affordable and if you want a home button and a big screen it's your best bet.

You get a premium build, wireless charging and an improved display over the iPhone 7 series that adds True Tone for better colour management.

The dual cameras are technically better than those on the iPhone 7 Plus, but the Portrait Lighting mode is not much to write home about and unless you're a pro photographer then you might find it an unnecessary inclusion.

Read our iPhone 8 Plus review

5. iPhone 8

Apple iPhone 8
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The iPhone 8 is a good deal now at £599 / $599. It has wireless charging, a True Tone display and improved battery life to the same design as the iPhone 7 - except the 8 has a glass back.

The A11 Bionic chip is also still very powerful. So if you need to do some truly heavy lifting in gaming, video or music production, the iPhone 8 is still capable for hundreds less than the iPhone XS.

If you want to spend less you can check out the iPhone 7, which is very similar in function but less powerful than the 8.

Read our iPhone 8 review

6. iPhone 7

Apple iPhone 7
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Now almost three years old but still available from Apple, the iPhone 7 is a good pick if you want the latest iOS software for the least money.

The 4.7in Retina display, decent speakers, battery life and access to the peerless iOS App Store are backed up by its relative affordability, starting at £449 or $449.

It is waterproof and at 4.7in it is also the joint smallest iPhone you can buy from Apple now alongside the iPhone 8.

Read our iPhone 7 review

7. iPhone 7 Plus

Apple iPhone 7 Plus
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The iPhone 7 Plus is still a decent phone, but with the larger screens and smaller footprint of the iPhone XS it's a less attractive form factor now, and not as powerful as the 8 Plus.

Now that it has gone down in price, starting at £569 /$569, it's the cheapest way to get a larger screen iPhone at the moment.

The metal finish is beautiful, but unfortunately you can't get the jet black or red versions any more.

The dual cameras allow the 7 Plus to have Portrait Mode, a setting that attractively blurs the background on shots of a focused subject. It's the cheapest iPhone to have this feature. 

Read our iPhone 7 Plus review