What is the best iPhone? We’ve compared all of the handsets sold in the Apple Store in 2022
With the arrival of iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro, Apple had a spring-clean of its phone lineup – dropping a few models and cutting prices of some older models. As such, picking the best iPhone for your needs can be a little complicated. But we’ve got you covered with our definitive ranking of every iPhone that Apple currently sells.
In the last few weeks, Apple has slashed the cost of the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Mini. At the same time, it discontinued iPhone 12 Mini and iPhone 11 from its stores. Meanwhile, the brand-new iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro have just arrived on store shelves worldwide, with the new 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Plus set to follow early next month.
It’s worth noting that all of the phones featured in this guide can be updated to iOS 16 – the latest version of the mobile software that boasts a redesigned Lock Screen with widgets, the ability to edit sent iMessages, and clever new ways to manage your notifications.
That means, no matter which model you choose from our best iPhone guide, you won’t be missing any of the latest software tricks or crucial security updates from Apple.
Best iPhone: No matter which phone you pick from the current lineup, it will run iOS 16
We’ve ranked every iPhone available in 2022 based on a number of factors, including the performance, cameras, as well as price. If you’ve got your heart set on the latest and greatest phone from Apple, we’ve rounded up the best iPhone 14 Pro deals with the latest promotions from the biggest UK mobile networks. And if you’re looking for the ultimate bargain, we’ve got the best iPhone 12 deals in full too.
Without further ado, here is our definitive ranking of the best iPhone you can buy in 2022…
iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max top our best iPhone ranking
1. iPhone 14 Pro
The Ultimate iPhone, Packed With The Best Apple Has To Offer
The all-new iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max clinch the gold medal in our definitive ranking. And it only takes one glance at the list of new features squeezed into these handsets to understand why.
It really feels like Apple has ticked off every item on our Wish List with its latest pair of premium phones …aside from maybe a price drop.
iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro boast an always-on display that lets you glance at the gorgeous redesigned Lock Screen introduced in iOS 16 without tapping on the glass dozens of times each day, a new interactive notch at the top of the screen – called the Dynamic Island – that magically changes depending on what’s running in the background, and a more powerful A16 processor that takes performance to a whole new level.
iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max debut a new 48-megapixel main camera, which produces better photos in low-light and offers 2x lossless zoom. Apple combines ultra-fine details from multiple pixels to create a crystal clear 12-megapixel photo that remains small enough to quickly share to social media, AirDrop, or back up to the cloud without eating all of your monthly 5G data allowance. An updated ProRAW mode lets you capture the full 48-megapixel image from the supersized sensor.
With the iPhone 14 Pro lineup, Apple has ticked off every item on our Wish List
On the front, Apple has equipped the selfie camera with autofocus for the first time, which should improve photos and video calls.
Apple’s iPhone Pro lineup remains the only way to get your hands on a ProMotion 120Hz high refresh-rate display, which makes scrolling and system animations look silky-smooth. The lossless 3x telephoto camera and mammoth 1TB of internal storage (perfect for those who plan to use their iPhone for 4K HDR video projects) are also exclusive to the Pro range.
And the cherry on top of all of this cutting-edge technology? That stunning new Deep Purple colour. Highly recommended.
iPhone 12 – one of the oldest phones still available in the Apple Store – scores silver medal
2. iPhone 12
The Best Value You Can Get From Any iPhone Today
iPhone 12 was a stupendous upgrade when it landed on shelves back in October 2020. But what’s even more impressive is that – two years later – this remarkable phone is still competitive compared to its successors. In fact, much of what we praised in our iPhone 14 review can be traced back to the iPhone 12, including the stylish modern flat-edged industrial design, the tough scratch resistant Ceramic Shield screen, speedy 5G downloads, and gorgeous edge-to-edge OLED touchscreen.
Of course, Apple has made improvements to the successors that followed the iPhone 12. But for our money, most of these additions are negated by Apple’s generous price cuts now available on the iPhone 12 series
Of course, Apple has made incremental improvements to the phones in the two years since the release of the iPhone 12. As such, you’ll miss out on some new additions to the camera, like the Hollywood-esque Cinematic mode and improved low-light performance. But for our money, these new additions are negated by Apple’s generous price cuts to the iPhone 12. Coupled with some brilliant freebies and deals from the biggest UK mobile networks, the iPhone 12 is a stellar choice for those who don’t want to spend a small fortune.
iPhone 12 boasts an IP68 rating, which means it can be submerged in 20ft (6 metres) of water for half an hour without the need to leave your phone in a bag of rice overnight. It also packs the U1 ultra-wide chipsets, which can be used to pinpoint a lost pair of AirPods or AirTag. iPhone 12 also supports MagSafe, which uses magnets hidden inside the case to snap a number of accessories securely to the rear case, including wireless chargers, protective cases, wallets, and car amounts, to name just a few. Opting for the iPhone 12 over its successor doesn’t mean you’ll miss out on fast charging either.
Our only nitpick with the iPhone 12 is the measly 64GB of built-in (and crucially, non-expandable) storage included with the entry-level model. Anyone who plans to film 4K Ultra HD footage or download Netflix boxsets to watch offline during their morning commute will need to pay a little extra to upgrade to the 128GB storage.
It’s worth noting that iPhone 12 was also the first model to arrive without a plug or wired earbuds in the box to reduce e-waste. These accessories aren’t inside the box with the newer iPhone 13 or iPhone 14 either, but those upgrading from an older handset or Android will need to invest.
iPhone 13 arrives with improved battery life, a faster processor, and new colours
3. iPhone 13
More Storage, A Choice Of Screen Size, And A New Lower Price Point
If you prefer a smaller phone, you’ll need to look to the iPhone 13 series. With the announcement of the iPhone 14, Apple dashed any hopes of a follow-up to the iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 13 mini. Instead, the Californian company has gone in the opposite direction with the launch of the iPhone 14 Plus, which brings the expansive 6.7-inch previously exclusive to the Pro lineup to the more affordable iPhone range.
The iPhone 12 mini is now discontinued, so unless you manage to find one of a handful of remaining units at the back of the shelf in your local electronics store, the iPhone 13 mini is the only option. But that’s no bad thing as the iPhone 13 mini is a stellar phone – and a real rarity as it doesn’t compromise on any flagship features simply because it has a smaller 5.4-inch screen size. It still packs the same camera – with Cinematic mode, enhanced low-light performance, Portrait mode, and Ultra-wide photos all present and correct.
It also supports speedy 5G downloads, water resistant to a maximum depth of 6-metres up to 30 minutes, edge-to-edge OLED display, Face ID facial recognition, contactless payments, MagSafe support, and the same generation A15 Bionic chipset tucked inside the newer iPhone 14 and 14 Plus. Apple also upgraded the battery life on both iPhone 13 mini and iPhone 13 by a few hours, so you won’t need to carry an external battery pack even on days with plenty of photos, web browsing, music streaming, and calls.
And it’s not just the diddy iPhone 13 mini that remains a good choice – the regular iPhone 13, which has a larger 6.1-inch display size, is still a superb option.
Unlike the iPhone 12, Apple increased the storage bundled with all models in the iPhone 13 range to 128GB. That should be enough for most people, with only those planning to film hours of footage or download dozens of movies and boxsets to binge offline needing to upgrade to the pricier 256GB or 512GB options.
As always, we still have a few reservations about iPhone 13, including the lack of the gorgeous 120Hz ProMotion technology, or a telephoto lens for those times when you want to zoom in without losing picture quality – both of these are reserved for the Pro lineup. However, those handsets arrive with a much higher price tag and, for our money, less fun colour options.
iPhone 14 was announced in September 2022 and packs some life-saving new tricks
4. iPhone 14
Cutting-Edge Features …That You Should Hopefully Never Get To Use
With the iPhone 14, Apple hasn’t made too many changes to its winning formula. From the outside, aside from some gorgeous new colour options, there’s almost nothing to distinguish the iPhone 14 from its predecessor. However, there is some clever new technology squeezed under the bonnet of this new phone.
Apple has added a slew of new sensors into the iPhone 14 that, coupled with some AI processing, enable the phone to detect if you’ve been involved in a car crash. If you’re unconscious or cannot reach your iPhone 14 to dismiss the countdown on-screen, the phone will call emergency services and send your GPS location data. It’s impressive stuff. Apple has also equipped the iPhone 14 with the ability to send emergency text messages via satellite when you’re outside of range of any mobile signal or Wi-Fi networks. This functionality is reserved for North American users for now, but fingers crossed, it’ll be coming to Europe and the rest of the world very soon. It’s no exaggeration to say that either of these features have the potential to be life-saving.
But aside from these cutting-edge additions – that, with any luck, you’ll never have to use – there’s very little else to shout about in the iPhone 14.
The OLED display remains stuck at 60Hz, which doesn’t offer the same silky smooth scrolling found on 120Hz high refresh-rate screens. It also lacks any of the blockbuster upgrades found on the iPhone 14 Pro, which arrives with a redesigned notch that boosts multi-tasking, a 48-megapixel camera, a new A16 Bionic chip, a telephoto lens for lossless 3x zoom in your photos, and an always-on screen.
Under the bonnet, Apple has stuck with the same A15 Bionic chipset that debuted in the iPhone 13 Pro last year. But despite the smaller list of improvements for the iPhone 14, it’s still more expensive than ever, with prices starting from a pretty hefty £849 for the standard 128GB model – that price rises to over £1,170 for anyone wanting the 512GB version. Ouch.
Don’t get us wrong, this is still a great smartphone with oodles of power, a gorgeous design, improved front-facing camera, MagSafe and fast-charging. But you can save some cash and get (almost) all of these same features in the iPhone 13 and iPhone 12, which is why both of these phones rank higher in our best iPhone guide.
The third-generation iPhone SE, the most affordable phone, rounds out our best iPhone guide
5. iPhone SE
Most Affordable iPhone You Can Buy, With Some Impressive Power Under The Bonnet
Despite being the most affordable phone that Apple sells, iPhone SE is no slouch. That’s because it’s powered by the same A15 Bionic chipset you’ll find inside the iPhone 13, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPhone 14, and iPhone 14 Plus. As such, you can expect iOS updates and security patches for years to come (something that’s not guaranteed when buying an Android phone at this price point).
But while the inside packs one of the latest-and-greatest processors Apple has ever created, the outside sticks with one of the longest-running hardware designs ever seen in the Apple Store. When the original iPhone SE arrived in March 2016, it combined a two-year-old case design with the latest processor. That was a winning formula.
Unfortunately, this time around, those who opt for the affordable iPhone SE (2022) will find themselves with a five-year-old case and the latest processor. By the time iPhone SE owners start thinking about upgrading in a few years’ time, it could well be an eight-year-old design. That’s positively ancient in the smartphone world.
iOS is still the most dependable, user-friendly mobile operating system around and the A15 Bionic means you can be assured that you’ll enjoy free operating system upgrades for years to come, which is rarely guaranteed at this price point. Not to mention, the build quality of the iPhone SE (2022) remains superb. However, it’s just a shame Apple make the outside of its third-generation iPhone SE as impressive as chipset tucked inside.
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