Best iPhone 2023: Jump Menu
00. The list in brief ↴
01. Best premium & camera: iPhone 15 Pro Max
02. Best for most people: iPhone 14 Plus
03. Best budget: iPhone SE (2022)
04. Best premium: iPhone 14 Pro Max
05. Best smaller premium: iPhone 14 Pro
06. Best smallest option: iPhone 13 Mini
07. Best entry-level: iPhone 14
08. Best cost-effective option: iPhone 13
09. Best older-gen bargain: iPhone 12
10. How we test the best iPhones
If you're looking for the best iPhone in 2023 and want no other brand in your pocket (no best Android phones to be seen here!) then you've come to the right place – as this is where all up-to-date iPhone models are compared, tested and ranked.
In this guide, we're focusing on the best iPhones currently sold by Apple. You can still pick up older models of course – such as the iPhone 13 Pro – on the second-hand and refurb markets (which is ideal for those on a budget or headed back to school), so that's something else to bear in mind.
Remember, however, that T3 has a number of phone guides, so if you don't need an iPhone specifically then you could be better served elsewhere. For example, in our best compact phones feature we list devices that are ideal for people will small hands, while in our best gaming phones, best Samsung phones, and best cheap phones we cover many other angles to consider.
A major part of my job at T3 is testing the best phones, including Apple's long-established iPhone line. From the top-end flagships to the older-generation models, there's an option for everyone – and I've been following the iPhone line-up since day one, so know the range inside out, including the best bargains.
That's followed by the best Black Friday sales in the lead up to Friday 24 November. Myself and the T3 team will be keeping an eye out for any iPhone offers during these shopping bonanzas.
T3's Top 3 iPhones
Best premium and camera
The ultimate iPhone is the Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max. If you're after a slice of everything that Apple has to offer with unbeatable cameras then look no further: it's got the best processor, the latest features, and at 6.7-inches in scale it's large and in charge.
Best for most people
Best for most people
The best iPhone for most people is the Apple iPhone 14 Plus. With its 6.7-inch screen it's larger than the entry-level model and a more suitable scale for most people's wants. It doesn't have the same level camera benefits of the Pro or Pro Max models though.
The best budget iPhone is the Apple iPhone SE (2022). Want cheap? This is as cheap as they come. Sure, it looks a little dated, but with the latest software on board, if you don't want a physically massive or pricey iPhone then it's a great Apple option.
The best iPhones we recommend in 2023
Why you can trust T3 Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
Best premium and camera
The iPhone 15 Pro Max is the 2023 flagship and, as said in T3's review, it earns its stripes by pushing the boundaries of what is possible from a smartphone. Thanks to a new titanium enclosure, it's lighter and stronger than ever, it boasts an even greater camera array with a zoom like no other iPhone, and it brings in USB-C charging to the series for the first time. If you want the very best then this is the phone to buy, but it is expensive.
The earlier iPhone 14 Pro Max is still a great option if you're seeking a marginally more affordable buy, but you'll forego the titanium finish and the cameras aren't quite as advanced. Oh, and there's no Action button either, which is Apple's new feature for 2023's top-tier handsets.
Best for most people
The 'Plus' model was new in 2022, ousting the standard iPhone 14 from a higher-ranking spot in our list because we prefer the Plus's bigger screen. At 6.7-inches this is better for most people – and the bigger size means better battery longevity too. We're yet to test the iPhone 15 Plus, which updates the series with a faster processor and Dynamic Island in the display.
Sure, not everyone will want a bigger iPhone, but there are other options out there: you can go cheap with the iPhone SE, or small yet premium with the iPhone 13 Mini (that model's done and dusted now, so won't appear in the more recent range). So there are still options.
That said, in the current market, we find the Plus to be a really great balance. If you don't want the additional zoom camera, as you might never use them much, then the Plus saves you the cash compared to the higher-end iPhone 14 Pro Max. And that, for many, will make it an ideally positioned and more financially suitable option.
As part of its March 2022 event, Apple announced a brand new iPhone SE – the third generation of the affordable handset. It's the cheapest iPhone in the Apple range, even though its starting price is a little bit higher than its predecessor. There was no replacement in 2023 and the price has only gotten better!
This model looks pretty much identical to the old one, and Touch ID is still used instead of Face ID. There are improvements over the previous iPhone SE though: better battery life, a faster processor, and the addition of 5G. Those features might make the upgrade worth it for you.
The iPhone SE 3 is likely to appeal most to people looking to buy a new iPhone on a smaller budget, while getting hold of all that latest apps and iOS software goodies. With a 4.7-inch screen, it's also going to be a tempting proposition for those who want a smaller iPhone, and who don't want to pay for the iPhone 13 Mini.
As we said in our review: "The iPhone 14 Pro Max is the ultimate iPhone and boasts three killer features: the new 48MP camera is truly impressive, the always-on display is really useful and the Dynamic Island is not only a feat of hardware and software collaboration but actually adds to the user experience.
These features can cost the battery life a bit, however, which is why we think the Pro Max, with its 6.7-inch screen is the option to pick over the 6.1-inch Pro model. Being a 2022 model the price is also better than the top dog iPhone 15 Pro Max, although that newer model brings a super titanium finish and more advanced cameras.
Best smaller premium
The iPhone 14 Pro sits below the Pro Max, as it's a bit smaller, at 6.1-inches, instead of the maximum-in-the-range 6.7-inches. That means the Pro is almost identical in stature to the standard iPhone 14 – but with less advanced cameras than the iPhone 15 Pro Max.
We're yet to review the Pro handset here at T3, but will be getting to grips with its iPhone 15 Pro replacement, and anticipate it will be the best option for many buyers who don't want a 6.7-inch device. That said, as per the Pro Max, the new addition of an always-on display is likely to cost the battery life a little, so you may want to go with the larger Max handset for better longevity overall.
Best smallest option
If you want a small-ish iPhone but don't want to skimp on the specs (i.e. not buy the SE), here's your answer. The iPhone 13 Mini has a screen size of just 5.4 inches, making the handset as a whole very compact. It's also the last in a generation, as there was no iPhone 14 Mini to replace it!
In terms of the rear camera, what you get on the Mini is the same as what you get on the iPhone 13: a dual-lens affair that lacks the LiDAR, the optical zoom and the Apple ProRAW support of the Pro models. Still, if you can live without those features then you can save yourself some money, because this is the cheapest of the iPhone 13 variants.
The 'entry-level' iPhone is, well, anything but entry as there's plenty of power here! Sure, it's familiar to any iPhone users as generation-to-generation it's not especially different. But that means it's small and reliable, thanks to its 6.1-inch screen and stellar battery life. The newer iPhone 15 adds Dynamic Island to the screen and USB-C charging, so may be your preferred choice.
As said in our review: "Upgrades over the iPhone 14's predecessor – while certainly welcome – aren't major. That said, with shiny new iOS 16 software, a reliable and familiar build, and pretty much everything in its right place, this smaller-screen iPhone is still a mighty attractive prospect".
Best cost-effective option
Now the iPhone 14 and iPhone 15 series are here, we think that the standard iPhone 13 is competitively priced by comparison - and there's not a huge amount of difference between this older handset and the newer-generation model.
Sure, you miss out on some of the advanced camera tricks of the Pro models, such as Dynamic Island, but there's a lot here to like, including that bright and sharp 6.1 inch display. We like the range of colours too, with five of them to choose from.
Best older-gen bargain
The standard iPhone 12 is very similar in a lot of ways to the 13, 14 and 15 series, except older and cheaper. You can run the latest iOS software on it, so other than older internals you're not missing out on a huge range of newer features really.
Considering that you still get plenty of screen space from that 6.1-inch panel and super-fast internals for your money, we think the standard iPhone 12 makes a very decent case for being the best-value Apple handset - if you can find one to buy anyway!
How we test
There's a lot to consider when reviewing one of today's best phones, which includes iPhones! Much of it is comparing models in the range, judging these for suitability for different users, and comparing old models new as value propositions.
We judge iPhones from a build quality and fit and finish point of view, of course, given the different materials used. Then we judge hardware and what difference that makes in day-to-day use.
We assess specific feature highlights per handset, plus the camera system's offering. We always use iPhones as if they're our own handsets, to gain a good judgement of these systems, battery life and software.
Only then do we award a score to a phone, with 5 stars being the highest rank any product can get. And a lot of iPhones hit this lofty height given just how renowned and capable they are!