The top iPhones to purchase in 2023

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The Apple iPhone 15 has been released, leading to the annual internal debate: should I upgrade? It’s a difficult question to answer, and a lot depends on the age and condition of your current phone and how you use it. However, generally speaking, it’s easier than ever to keep using your phone for five or more years before its age really starts to show.

If you’re still using an iPhone 11 or XR — which are great choices, by the way, well done — and you’re perfectly happy with its performance, then you can probably get another year or so out of your investment. This is especially true if dwindling battery performance is your main concern — battery replacement is much cheaper than buying a new phone.

There’s another consideration this time around: USB-C. It replaces the Lightning port that Apple has included on its phones for the past decade, so you may need to find solutions for any proprietary Lightning accessories you’ve been using. That will be a hassle for some, but in the long run, the switch to USB-C comes with significant advantages. You’ll be able to use the same charger as your MacBook or share a power cable with your friend who has an Android phone. Most USB-C accessories also work with the iPhone 15 — suddenly, the SD card reader you use with your laptop can plug right into your phone. It’s a beautiful thing.

All this is to say, if you are ready to upgrade, then this is as good a time as any. While the iPhone 14 series offered only a few new features — mostly reserved for the Pro models — this yearNo matter whether you’re considering a pricier Pro or a standard iPhone 15, the iPhone 15 series comes at a similar cost to the 14 at its launch. The iPhone 15 and 15 Plus are priced at $799 and $899, with the 15 Pro starting at $999. However, this time around, Apple has done away with the $1,099 Pro Max with 128GB of storage, so the lowest price of entry is now $1,199 for the 256GB Pro Max.

While many people may offset the cost with carrier promotions or spread payments over two or three years, purchasing any of these phones still constitutes a significant investment. If now is the time to upgrade, we’re here to help you make the right choice for your investment.

### The Best iPhone for Most People



The base model of Apple’s iPhone 15 features an A16 chip, a 6.1-inch screen, a USB-C port, and a 48-megapixel main camera, with storage configurations starting at 128GB.

Screen: 6.1-inch 2556 x 1179 OLED, 60Hz refresh rate / Processor: A16 Bionic Cameras: 48-megapixel f/1.6 main with sensor-shift IS, 12-megapixel ultrawide, 12-megapixel selfie / Battery: not advertised / Charging: 27W wired, 15W wireless MagSafe, 7.5W Qi / Weather-resistance rating: IP68

The iPhone 15 is a bit of a remix. It picks up some new bits from the previous generation’s Pro models, like the Dynamic Island and an A16 Bionic sensor, and adds some flavor of its own with a new high-res image sensor and that much-touted USB-C port. It’s not entirely new, but it’s a solid step up from the iPhone 14 — in short, exactly the kind of update we’ve come to expect from the non-Pro iPhone series.

The 15 doesn’t get everything that the 14 Pro introduced. The always-on display that keeps your dimmed lock screen, well, always on is still reserved for the 15 Pro and Pro Max. The 48-megapixel sensor on the 15 and 15 Plus is new but is physically smaller than the one used by the Pro phones. And the iPhone 15 is still stuck with a standard 60Hz screen in a year when most midrange Android phones come with at least 90Hz displays.

The iPhone 15 lacks a telephoto lens, but a 2x crop mode with the new high-res main camera sensor is the next best thing.
Photo by Dan Seifert / The Verge


The iPhone 15 offers compelling features for those upgrading from earlier models. The new camera’s 2x crop zoom is great for portraits, and the Dynamic Island conveniently displays important information at the top of the screen when needed. While the transition to USB-C may initially be inconvenient, it represents a positive change in the long run.

The iPhone 15 may not be the most groundbreaking phone of 2023, but it offers a sensible combination of updates for its price. While the Pro models may be more suitable for those seeking the latest technology, the iPhone 15 is a reliable choice for everyday use, photography, and long-term performance.

Read our full Apple iPhone 15 review.

Best high-end iPhone

Side profile of the iPhone 15 ProSide profile of the iPhone 15 Pro

Apple’s iPhone 15 Plus is the larger version of the standard iPhone 15, featuring a 6.7-inch screen and a larger battery. It shares many similarities with the base model and also starts at 128GB of storage.

Screen: 6.7-inch Super Retina OLED / Processor: A16 Bionic Cameras: 48-megapixel f/1.6 main with sensor-shift IS, 12-megapixel ultrawide, 12-megapixel selfie / Battery: Not advertised / Charging: 27W wired, 15W wireless MagSafe, 7.5W wireless Qi / Weather-resistance rating: IP68

The iPhone 15 and 15 Plus are only slightly different in terms of specifications, with the 15 Plus priced $100 higher. However, these differences have a significant impact.

The 15 Plus boasts a larger 6.7-inch screen and a bigger battery, providing up to 20 hours of video streaming compared to 16 hours on the standard 15. In practical terms, this means the 15 Plus can last well over a day under heavy use, with many users easily achieving two full days on a single charge. This performance surpasses that of the similarly sized 15 Pro Max, which includes more power-hungry features like a ProMotion display, establishing the 15 Plus as the best iPhone in terms of battery performance across all price points.

The 15 Plus’ larger size allows for a bigger battery.
Photo by Dan Seifert / The Verge


For those who prefer a larger display, the bigger screen of the iPhone 15 Plus will be attractive. If you predominantly watch shows and movies on your phone, or if you prefer a larger text size, then the bigger screen could be a feature worth the additional cost.

Priced just $100 more, the iPhone 15 Pro offers several nice upgrades such as the Action Button, a high-refresh-rate screen, and a dedicated telephoto camera. However, the 15 Pro cannot match the Plus’ battery performance, and for those who prioritize a bigger screen over other upgrades, the 15 Plus is the better choice.

Read our full Apple iPhone 15 Plus review.

Best cheap iPhone

The 2022 iPhone SE is expected to be supported with iOS updates for more than five years, ensuring it remains functional for an extended period of time. However, its 4.7-inch screen may feel insufficient as apps and web content continue to be optimized for larger displays.

The third-gen iPhone SE, launched in 2022, is positioned as an affordable option with notable upgrades such as wireless charging, a flagship processor, and an IP67 rating for water and dust resistance, all available at a starting price of $429. Despite these features, the small display remains a limitation, stemming from an outdated design. Considering the trade-offs, spending an extra $170 for the iPhone 13, priced at $599, is recommended for a superior user experience. Nonetheless, the iPhone SE offers compelling value for its cost.

It’s important to note that the iPhone SE’s 4.7-inch screen, reminiscent of older iPhone models, can feel cramped, and its use of dated LCD technology may impact the user experience. Additionally, the retention of a home button and fingerprint scanner instead of Face ID is a matter of personal preference, with the iPhone SE being the last iPhone model to offer this feature.

In conclusion, while the iPhone SE boasts great value, its outdated design and limited screen size are factors to consider. If you specifically seek a device with a home button, the iPhone SE could be your final opportunity to acquire such a device.

The iPhone SE has its drawbacks, such as the absence of a night mode in the camera system and the limited 64GB storage on the base model. For those accustomed to larger phone screens, the 4.7-inch LCD may be the most difficult aspect to adjust to. Rumors of an iPhone SE with a 6.1-inch OLED screen expected in 2024 suggest a worthwhile upgrade for those willing to wait. However, for individuals comfortable with a smaller screen, the iPhone SE remains an attractive option.”

Read our full Apple iPhone SE (2022) review.

What about the iPhone 13 and 14?

With the arrival of the iPhone 15 series, the 14 Pro models and the 13 Mini were discontinued. However, Apple still offers the iPhone 13, 14, and 14 Plus as new devices, now at discounted prices, starting at $599, $699, and $799, respectively.

For those looking to save money when paying out of pocket, opting for one of these previous-generation models is a viable choice. The iPhone 13 is expected to receive three to four more iOS updates from this point, making it a reasonable choice for those planning to upgrade in the next three years.

Another option worth considering is buying the iPhone 14 Plus at its newly discounted rate. With equivalent battery life to the 15 Plus and a large screen, it presents a compelling choice. However, given its $800 price tag, it may be more sensible to invest in the 15 Plus and its USB-C capabilities along with the Dynamic Island feature.

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