iPhone Buying Guide - How to choose the right iPhone | Finder UK

iPhone Buying Guide

Apple products boast a cult-like following, and the iPhone is one of the tech giant’s most iconic products. Now there are more choices - the iPhone 12 with standard Pro, XR and XS versions. If you need help choosing the right iPhone for your needs, immerse yourself in this handy iPhone buying guide.

The number of people switching to iPhones only continues to grow. This line of smartphones from Apple first appeared in June 2007 and has seen several transformations. In October 2020, Apple unveiled the release of the most recent iPhone models: the iPhone 12 with Pro, XR and XS variations.

The multi-touch screen that the iPhone offers remains among the best in the business. It can connect to a range of networks, allow you to listen to music, watch videos, browse the web, take photos and play games. You also have access to over a million applications that you can find on the App Store.

Since there are certain noticeable differences between different generations of iPhones, you need to determine what you want in a phone before you choose the right model for you.

How to choose the best iPhone

If you’ve decided that you want to buy an iPhone, there are several aspects that need your attention. Some of these include screen size, storage capacity, colour and camera. More importantly, you should narrow down your choices for a suitable mobile operator at the start.

Apple’s most recent releases

The iPhone 11 Pro and the iPhone 11.
With new transformative camera systems, the iPhone 11 Pro and the iPhone 11 are the latest and most advanced offerings from Apple. Users can expect to capture beautiful images in drastically lower light, as well as shoot the highest‑quality video possible on a smartphone. All of this plus A13 chips, Face ID, Night Mode, shatter-resistant glass, improved water resistance and more. Which model you opt for will depend on how much you rely on your phone for high-quality images and video. It goes without saying the iPhone 11 Pro is quite a bit more expensive due to its new three-camera system, with four colour options to choose from: gold, midnight green, space grey or silver. Whereas, the iPhone 11 is a cheaper option, boasting a dual-camera instead. This model can be bought in one of six different colours: yellow, green, red, black, purple or white.

The iPhone XS and the iPhone XR.
The iPhone XS boasts the largest display ever on an iPhone, faster-than-ever Face ID and a breakthrough dual camera system. Both the iPhone XR and the iPhone XS are made from the most durable glass ever in a smartphone, offer wireless charging, and come with a new level of the water and dust resistance first seen in the iPhone 7.
The iPhone XS comes in three colour options, grey, gold and black and three storage options: 64GB, 256GB and 512GB. The iPhone XR comes in seven colour options: coral, blue, gold, silver, black, grey and red and three storage 64GB, 128GB and 256GB.

Previous generations

  • The first three generations of iPhone (1st gen, iPhone 4 and iPhone 5) are now pretty much obsolete. They came with smaller screens, smaller storage space, lower resolution cameras and were eventually too slow to keep up with Apple’s new software advances.
  • The iPhone SE was a very popular iPhone model but was discontinued in 2018. It came with a 4 inch retina display and two storage capacity alternatives: 32GB and 128GB. The iPhone SE offered a 12-megapixel camera and HD front facing FaceTime camera.
  • The iPhone 6S was the first iPhone model to offer an “Plus” option. The iPhone 6S offered a retina HD display of 4.7 inches and the iPhone 6S Plus had a screen size of 5.5 inches. The iPhone 6 offered storage capacities of either 32GB or 128GB. These phones also offered 3D touch capacities alongside the 12-megapixel camera and HD FaceTime camera. The iPhone 6S and 6S Plus were also the first to offer a second-generation improved fingerprint sensor built into the home button. Both the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6S were discontinued in 2018.
  • The oldest currently available generations of the iPhone are the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. Similarly to the iPhone 6 range, the iPhone 7 has a screen size of 4.7 inches while the 7 Plus has a screen size of 5.5 inches. Both have a 12-megapixel camera, HD FaceTime camera, A10 fusion chip, the option of 32GB or 128GB storage, 3D touch capabilities and second generation fingerprint sensors. The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus were the first generation to offer splash and dust resistance.
  • Next comes the iPhone 8 and the iPhone 8 Plus. Again, they come with screen sizes of 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches respectively. The iPhone8 and iPhone 8 Plus also come with a 12-megapixel camera, splash, water and dust resistance, A11 bionic chip, and storage options of 64GB or 256GB, a significant increase on the precious generation. The iPhone 8 generation was also the first to offer a wireless charging option.
  • In 2017, Apple released the iPhone X to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the iPhone series. The iPhone X was the biggest iPhone to date with a 5.8 inch Super Retina HD all-screen OLED display. It has storage options of 64GB or 256GB, wireless charing, 3D touch capabilities, A11 bionic chip and a 12-megapixel camera. The iPhone X is the first iPhone model to offer a TrueDepth front camera and face ID rather than a fingerprint sensor. Upon the release of the iPhone XS in 2018, the iPhone X was discontinued.

Locked or unlocked

Almost every mobile network in the UK gives you the option to buy iPhones through plans that require you to stick with a contract for a given period of time. When you choose this route to buy an iPhone, your phone, in all likelihood, remains locked for the given duration, during which you cannot use it with any other SIM card. If you do not complete the entire tenure of the contract, you could end up with a locked iPhone that you cannot use anymore.

If you choose to buy an unlocked iPhone you can use a SIM card from just about any service provider. This gives you complete freedom in terms of which mobile operator you want to use, and you can also use local SIM cards when travelling overseas.

Voice and data plans

If you buy an unlocked iPhone you can choose from voice and data plans offered by different operators. While you may come by deals that are very similar, you should pay attention to their coverage areas. This is because not all providers have equally good coverage in all areas, so make sure there’s excellent coverage in the areas you live and frequent the most. If most members of your family use a single operator, you can find out if you can benefit by opting for a family plan.

Best iPhones

APPLE iPhone 11 Pro - 64 GB, Space Grey
APPLE iPhone 11 Pro - 64 GB, Space Grey

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Top retailers to shop for iPhones

Current deals and offers


Save up to £84 on selected iPhone 12 and 12 mini

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iPhone cases

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Difference between iPhones

When you’re looking for an iPhone you’ll realise that there are a few differences between models. Screen resolution and size has evolved with the generations, along with camera resolution, storage options, charging capabilities, fingerprint/facial recognition and resistance to dust and water, among other things.

Which iPhone should you get?

Just which iPhone you should get depends on what you require. One of the key things to weigh up is technical specs versus price. Many people would assume that buying the newest iPhone is the best idea, but for some people the iPhone 11 Pro would be out of budget, or simply too big for daily use.

You should also pay attention to the news before buying a new iPhone, buying the newest model right before the launch of a new generation may not be the best idea. Often waiting until a new model is released is the best way to get a deal on an older version.

Another thing to consider is some of the more cutting-edge advances that Apple makes and whether or not these will suit you. Often with new releases, Apple will do something radical, like removing the headphone jack from the iPhone 7, which some people might not be a fan of.

iPhone colour and storage size

Over the years Apple have experimented with various colourful iPhones. The now out-dated iPhone 5C was the first to offer vibrant colours on the back of the phone. Of the models currently available, the iPhone 7 is available in grey, silver, gold and rose gold. The iPhone 7 Plus comes with the added option of black and the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus comes in silver, grey, gold and red. The iPhone XS is currently only available in silver, black and gold, while the new iPhone 11 can be bought in yellow, green, red, black, purple or white, and the iPhone 11 Pro in gold, midnight green, space grey or silver.

In terms of storage size, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus come in either 32GB or 128GB. The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus come in either 64GB or 256GB and the iPhone XS and XR come in 64GB, 256GB and 512GB. If you want to buy the newest model in the iPhone 11 Pro, you’re looking at choosing between storage options of 64GB, 256GB and 512GB. For the iPhone 11 it’s either 64GB, 128GB or 256GB.

Why shop at Finder UK

Shopping at finder enables you to buy an iPhone from the comfort of your own home, as well as compare various leading retailers and look for deals that you might not find otherwise.

finder also gives you the ability to take advantage of discounts by offering promo codes for a number of retailers. As a result, if you plan to buy an iPhone in the near future, it makes sense to find out if you can use a suitable promo code and buy your new phone at a discounted price.

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