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The best iPhone to buy in 2022

You’re spoiled for choice if you’re about to buy a new iPhone, as Apple’s iPhone 13 range is incredibly varied, with four different models to choose from currently, not to mention the new iPhone SE (2022). Which one is right for you? Our top pick is the iPhone 13 Pro, which is also currently at the top of our overall list of the best smartphones. This fact alone should give you a good idea of how highly we’ve rated Apple’s latest Pro phone.

Once you’re ready to pick up your new iPhone, take a good look at our list of iPhone deals to see if you can save some money, and also check all our latest smartphone deals, too.

Want to see what Android has to offer? Here are the best Android phones you can buy for comparison.

Apple iPhone 13 Pro

Best overall choice

Why you should buy this: The iPhone 13 Pro contains the newest Apple chip and the best camera system, but it’s still reasonably priced.

Who it’s for: Anyone who wants the best Apple phone currently available.

With each passing generation, the iPhone provides more advancements. The iPhone 13 offers Apple’s A15 Bionic chip, with a 5-core GPU in the Pro model for up to 50% faster graphics. In layman’s terms, that means the iPhone 13 Pro is an exceptionally powerful beast indeed, and it’ll run anything you throw at it — and run it smoothly. Speaking of smoothness, the iPhone 13 Pro also has a new feature called ProMotion that allows for an adaptive refresh rate of up to 120Hz. That means the screen can refresh twice as fast as it used to, making your use feel silky smooth. The 6.1-inch screen has a high screen resolution, so it looks clean and crisp.

In addition to being faster and more powerful, the iPhone 13 Pro also has exemplary battery life. In our review, it showed it had the capability to stretch to two days, eradicating battery anxiety. The iPhone 13 Pro’s design isn’t all that different when compared to the previous model in the series, though it has some subtle differences. The camera bump is larger and the notch is smaller, and the phone also comes in a Sierra Blue color option in addition to graphite, gold, and silver.

One of the standout features of the iPhone 12 Pro was the camera system, which took exceptional low-light photos. The iPhone 13 Pro improves on this already-phenomenal camera system, with even better low-light capabilities, better apertures, and new features to produce more professional-looking shots.

Overall, the iPhone 13 Pro takes things up a level in several areas — performance, photos, battery, and features. You’re getting a better phone all around, making the iPhone 13 Pro the iPhone to buy.

Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max

Best with a big screen

Why you should buy this: It provides more screen real estate thanks to the larger display.

Who it’s for: Anyone who wants a large screen and an exceptional battery life.

The iPhone 13 Pro Max is similar to the 13 Pro in many ways. The design is the same, it has the same three camera lenses on the back, and the internal specs are also the same. The main differences are that the screen size is larger (6.7 inches), the battery is larger, and the price is higher.

If having a bigger battery and a larger screen size are important to you, the iPhone 13 Pro Max might be the way to go. However, keep in mind that the difference in screen size might feel quite a bit different in your hands if you’re used to a smaller screen. That extra half-inch can make the phone feel unnatural if you’re used to a 6.1-inch screen. But, if you’re already used to the 6.7-inch size and you want that extra battery time, the iPhone 13 Pro Max is one of the best large phones available.

Apple iPhone 13

Best value

Why you should buy this: The iPhone 13 has the latest and greatest technology Apple has to offer, all in a package that’s relatively affordable and manageable in one hand.

Who it’s for: Those who want the latest Apple phone, but don’t care as much about camera extras or add-ons.

Although it’s technically the base model in the series, there’s nothing basic about the iPhone 13. The iPhone 13 is a powerhouse, with the same A15 Bionic chip as the iPhone 13 Pro, so it’s just as stupidly powerful. However, while the iPhone 13 has the same sized display as the Pro model, it lacks ProMotion technology, so it won’t feel as smooth. Aside from that, though, it’s an extremely similar experience where specs are concerned.

The camera system on the iPhone 13 is not as sophisticated as that of the iPhone 13 Pro, though. But while the dual camera system on the iPhone 13 might not be as advanced as the camera system on the Pro, it still takes phenomenal photos, and you’re unlikely to come away disappointed with the shots it takes.

Apple iPhone 13 Mini

Best for small screen lovers

Why you should buy this: It can fit in your pocket, but it’s more powerful than many modern flagship phones.

Who it’s for: Those who want a capable yet small phone that can fit in one hand.

If you’re looking for advanced iPhone 13 technology, but you want a smaller screen size, you might want to look at the iPhone 13 Mini. The 5.4-inch display makes the phone small enough to hold in a single hand, while the screen is still large enough to view from a distance. The Mini version of the iPhone 13 comes in all of the same color options as the regular version, and with a 2340 x 1080 resolution, the Mini actually has a crisper screen than the regular iPhone 13.

The iPhone 13 Mini is a phone for those who want the latest and greatest iPhone but don’t value screen real estate, camera advancements, or feature upgrades so much that they are willing to pay more.

Apple iPhone SE (2022)

If you’re really on a budget

Why you should buy this: If the iPhone 13 is financially out of reach, the iPhone SE (2022) is the cheapest way to buy a brand new iPhone from Apple.

Who it’s for: You want an iPhone, but you need to save some money.

Apple’s iPhone SE (2022) starts at $429, making it the cheapest brand new iPhone you can buy at the moment. Yes, it has its limitations, but for the money, it’s a great little smartphone. True, the iPhone 8 design is dated and chunky, but you get the same tough glass used on the iPhone 13 (minus Ceramic Shield). It’s also compact enough for one-handed use and a great choice for those who prefer a smaller phone.

Under the hood you get Apple’s brand-new A15 bionic chip, the same found in the iPhone 13 lineup, plus 4GB of RAM and 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB of onboard storage, plus a bigger battery than its predecessor, so you should be good to go all day without recharging.

The 4.7-inch Liquid Retina Display boasts 1334 x 750 resolution (around 326 pixels per inch) and a 60Hz refresh rate, ensuring everything looks crisp, with True Tone technology, haptic touch, and wide color support. Yes, it’s a small screen, but it’s still impressive. You also get a single-lens 12MP camera on the rear and a 7MP selfie camera, both performing well, provided lighting conditions are good, though there’s no Night mode. You also don’t get Face ID, though the Touch ID fingerprint sensor is very reliable.

Finally, the latest iPhone SE packs 5G, making it an excellent future-proof choice. Only sub-6GHz (and C-Band) 5G are supported for now, but this is still a big upgrade over 4G in terms of speed, provided you live in an area where 5G is available.

For those who play a lot of the latest, demanding games or watch a lot of videos, the new iPhone SE (2022) might not be the right choice. It might also not be right for you if you take most of your photos after dark or in poor lighting, due to the lack of Night mode. Otherwise, if you want a powerful processor, plenty of onboard storage, and a stunning display, without breaking the bank, there’s no cheaper way to get these things than with the iPhone SE (2022).

Apple iPhone XS

Buy it used or refurbished

Why you should buy this: The XS may be a couple of generations old, but it still feels pretty new — and can be had at a steep discount.

Who it’s for: Anyone who wants a cheap full-size iPhone for a family member, or someone who wants to get started with an Apple phone without spending much.

The iPhone XS launched at the end of 2018, which means it’s in a sweet spot of being old enough to be deeply discounted but still new enough to run the latest iOS software and feel like a modern phone. It has a 5.8-inch OLED screen with Face ID face unlocking, and the phone is new enough to still receive Apple’s software updates for a couple more years as well. On the back is a dual-lens camera, taking 12MP images along with 2x optical zoom shots.

It’s not as advanced as the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro’s cameras, and it doesn’t have the high performance of those phones overall. Apple’s A12 Bionic processor is no slouch, it has a battery that will last all day, and it supports wireless charging.

But here’s the great part: So many people bought the XS new and have now upgraded in the subsequent years that there is an incredible number available on the refurbished market. When it was new, the iPhone X started at $1,000, so how much can you get one for today?

If you search online stores like Amazon’s refurbished store and Walmart, the iPhone XS can often be picked up for $270 or less, which represents very good value. Local retail stores specializing in refurbished phones may also have good deals, as could eBay.

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