Ranked: Every iPhone in order of greatness

15) iPhone 7 (2016)

Before its release, rumours abounded that Apple was going to wave goodbye to the humble headphone port on the iPhone 7 - which is exactly what happened. Besides a few heckling headlines, though, did it make much difference? Well, apart from needing a pesky peripheral to use standard jack-equipped 'phones, the rest was business as usual.

Sure, the iPhone 7 saw a raft of upgrades and it's still a fabulous smartphone - but much of that was about building on what had gone before.

The screen was improved, the home button refined and the range of finishes expanded - not to mention the 7's quicker chip and longer battery life - but it's definitely a case of refinement over revolution. We still gave it five stars, mind.

14) iPhone 6s (2015)

The term ‘evolution not revolution’ is thrown around almost as often as the over-used ‘Keep calm and…’ message, but - as with the 7 - it applied well to the iPhone 6s (and its larger 6s Plus brother).

Apple’s 2015 flagship looked almost identical to its predecessors which, granted, was no bad thing, given how sleek and handsome it was. The main changes were hidden beneath the iPhone 6s’ aluminium body, the most notable of which was Apple’s 3D touch display.

The new screen responded to pressure as well as touch, letting users playback Live Photos, resulting in Harry Potter-like moving images. Pressing harder also served up extra menu options, or opened links in a mini window instead of a proper browser. Fancy stuff, but arguably nothing that would force you to upgrade from the iPhone 6.

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13) iPhone 6 Plus (2014)

Steve Jobs might not have approved in his time, but Apple finally entered the phablet market when it revealed the iPhone 6 Plus. With a 5.5in display, it was a massive leap over the iPhones of yesteryear, and even a significant bump over the 4.7in screen of the standard iPhone 6.

But it was huge – even larger than some Android phones with same-sized screens. For some, it was the giant iPhone they'd always dreamed of. For others, it was just too unwieldy to handle. But one thing's for sure: it was Apple's most tech-packed iPhone to date, thanks to that full HD screen and the optical image stabilisation in the camera.

12) iPhone 8 Plus (2017)

The iPhone 7 Plus was the first of Apple's extra-large phones to make the Plus-sized model feel like a must-have, thanks to its dual-camera upgrade. The iPhone 8 Plus continued that trend, certainly, although it didn't have quite the same kind of brand new hook.

Sure, the dual-camera setup was better than ever thanks to Portrait mode improvements and the addition of Portrait Lighting tweaks, plus it was faster than ever and had a slightly better screen. The new glass backing and the wireless charging that came with it were the biggest new perks, but that all seemed a bit muted compared to iPhone X that released soon thereafter.

In short, it was still a brilliant iPhone, but its overall impact was diminished by an even better model released just weeks later.

11) iPhone SE (2016)

A stellar return to a form factor that many feel Apple should never have said goodbye to, the iPhone SE gloriously celebrated the 4in screen.

The combination of a palm-friendly design with up-to-date innards and a very decent - for Apple - price together served to rejuvinate the compact iPhone concept. It looked as pretty as the iPhone 5 ever did and proved - in the face of the 5C - that Apple did know how to develop its brand beyond a 'one big, one small' approach.

Sure, it lacked the 3D Touch that was introduced with the iPhone 6s, while its design barely differed from that of the iPhone 5, but as an affordable option for those looking to balance high specs with pocket space, it was unbeatable. Still is. Well, unless you move across to Android of course.

10) iPhone 7 Plus (2016)

If the iPhone 7 was simply an upgraded iPhone 6s - albeit a rather beautiful one - the iPhone 7 Plus packed the substantive new features to keep us interested, many of which were series firsts.

Two lenses on the 7 Plus - a telephoto and a wide angle - made it a photographer's dream, showing just how far things had come from the original iPhone with its 2MP afterthought. 

Better still, the 5.5in display handled a wide colour gamut, while the four-core A10 Fusion chip inside making sure things always felt instantly responsive. 

There was even a 256GB model for media hoarders. Love phablets or hate them, the iPhone 7 Plus was the pinnacle of big Apple phones. And its successor doesn't even feel as essential, even if it's technically better today.

9) iPhone XR (2018)

When announced, the iPhone XR had more than a whiff of the iPhone 5C about it. Like the 5C, our lowest-ranked iPhone on this list, it's cheaper and more colourful, but also missing some of the higher-end perks of the mainline model – now the iPhone XS. Would it be another misfire?

Nope, not at all. In fact, the iPhone XR is Apple's best "budget" alternative to date, even at a price of £749. By and large, it keeps so much of what makes the iPhone XS such a brilliant experience. The XR boasts incredible speed with the excellent iOS 12, has a strong single main camera, the colour options are wonderful, and the battery life is the best of any iPhone.

Yes, the lower-resolution screen and thicker bezels lose some of that high-end allure, and one camera isn't as versatile as two. But you're still getting a slick, modern iPhone for £250 less than the iPhone XS. It'll bring Apple's edge-to-edge, screen-centric experience to a lot more buyers, and while they'll compromise a little, they shouldn't be disappointed by the XR.

8) iPhone 6 (2014)

Given that the build and user experience were by and large identical between them, the choice between the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus really came down to personal preference. We liked the 4.7in model, which provided a larger screen than past models while still being comfortable in the hand.

It was an excellent device through and through. The biggest knock against the iPhone 6 was that the competition was better than ever: Android phones – like the Moto X and HTC One (M8) – put up a strong fight, and the Samsung Galaxy S6, LG G4, and OnePlus 2 were even more impressive. Apple still sold the iPhone 6 in droves, mind.

Both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus were the first Apple handsets to have NFC powers, which opened up the convenience of Apple Pay at retailers and for dashing around public transport. Sure you could just as easily whip out your wallet, but it doesn't look anywhere near as cool, does it?

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