iPhones ranked from best to worst

drewjonn

macrumors regular
Original poster
Feb 15, 2016
139
30
Of course, can't simply compare the 3S and the 6, the newer one would be better in term of performance and features.

Here, I know there will be some more tads who don't get what I mean, for the time when it was released, which made the real change? and basically releases which didn't prove you enough appeal to purchase. The 5C and 6S were times when I didn't feel getting a new iPhone at all. I don't own all iPhones ever released so I can't tell but I liked my 5 the most tbh.

I am not comparing each iPhone with their previous or their successor(s).

- iPhone 1st gen.
- 3G
- 3GS
- 4
- 4S
- 5
- 5S
- 5C
- 6
- 6S
- SE
- 7

I'm not ranking them btw
 
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andyp350

macrumors 6502a
Aug 14, 2011
807
459
To be honest I'd just rank them in order they were released (with the iPhone 5C and SE being exceptions).

Each release has introduced new features and performance upgrades that I've always felt have all improved greatly on an already amazing device.

My list, from worst to best.

- 1st Gen
- 3G
- 3GS
- 4
- 4S
- 5C
- 5
- 5S
- 6
- 6 Plus
- SE
- 6S
- 6S Plus
- 7
- 7 Plus
 
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CEmajr

macrumors 601
Dec 18, 2012
4,377
1,139
Charlotte, NC
For the time of release
- iPhone 4
- iPhone 5
- iPhone 2G (1st Gen)
- iPhone 4S
- iPhone 5S
- iPhone 6/6+
- iPhone 6S/6S+
- iPhone 7/7+
- iPhone 3G
- iPhone 3GS
- iPhone SE
- iPhone 5C
 
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LoveToMacRumors

macrumors 68020
Feb 15, 2015
2,407
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Canada
For the time of release
- iPhone 4
- iPhone 5
- iPhone 2G (1st Gen)
- iPhone 4S
- iPhone 5S
- iPhone 6/6+
- iPhone 6S/6S+
- iPhone 7/7+
- iPhone 3G
- iPhone 3GS
- iPhone SE
- iPhone 5C
I strongly agree with you, the iPhone 4 series were probably the best. I started myself with the 4S, then got the iPhone 5. However, I would put the iPhone 7 series more down in the list because it was sincerely a disappointment.

The reason we already know is because iPhone 8 series is going top of the list again with its band new innovation.
 

keysofanxiety

macrumors G3
Nov 23, 2011
9,536
25,262
5S is my personal favourite - still rocking mine. 4 was utterly mindblowing when it was released.

6S is incredible. 7's even better with the water resistance and ludicrously powerful hardware.
 

simonmet

macrumors 68030
Sep 9, 2012
2,542
3,445
Sydney
iPhone 6s
iPhone 7
iPhone 6/iPhone 5se (tie)
iPhone 5s
iPhone 5
iPhone 4s
iPhone 4
iPhone 5c
iPhone 3G
iPhone

Am I missing anything?
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
66,783
33,741
Boston
I won't rate all the phones, but I will say my favorite phone was the 5c, and next to that, is the SE.

My least favorite phone was the iphone 6 plus. While initially, I thought I wanted a larger phone and I could easily justify the need, in actual usage, it was my least favorite phone
 

Talkingtoaster

macrumors regular
Aug 19, 2014
193
120
UK
From a personal perspective and obviously not a tech one (would be the 7), mine is the 3GS simply cause its my first iphone. For years I was a PC guy and hated on Apple. Then I got this phone and thats it, been Apple ever since. Thanks Steve
 

cdmoore74

macrumors 68020
Jun 24, 2010
2,413
711
Because I was with Android for so many years I can't rank each one but I've used a iPhone SE, iPhone 6S and iPhone 7 Plus.

iPhone SE
iPhone 7 Plus
iPhone 6S


When using my 7 Plus for a week straight and then falling back to the SE I get giggity inside. I've always loved the iPhone 5 body but never used it because of my allegiance to Android. Don't get me wrong, the iPhone 7 Plus is a beast but I got to respect a phone that is super fast, can be used one handed, best battery life of any mobile I've used, decent rear camera and a display that is still crisp by today's standards. And best of all I was able to snag $400 in Target giftcards which is like cash to me.
The funny part is that when the SE came out I showed no respect for it because I had the 6S. But after giving my daughter my 6S and coming across that deal at Target I quickly changed my mind.
 

yegon

macrumors 68030
Oct 20, 2007
2,844
969
Of the ones I've owned, worst to best....

3G
6 Plus
5
4
5S
6S Plus
7 Plus

I'll forgive the 3G as it was early days, but it was pretty lousy in hindsight. Should have stayed at iOS3, as a texting, emailing and single tab browsing device it was highly functional. iOS4 was the death knell (although I'm told it was better in later point updates).

4 was the biggest and greatest update ever. Relatively.

Probably should have skipped the 5, LTE was nice though.

6 Plus was the large iPhone I'd always wanted - dabbled with the Note 1, loved the screen, didn't mind Android so much, hated TouchWiz, came back to the 5 - but the 6 Plus was singularly the crashiest, laggiest, most unstable iPhone I've ever had*. Pretty shameful given it was the 8th generation, all down to Apple cheaping out on RAM.

6S Plus was/is great.

The 7 Plus has only been in my hand for about 10 days, but I really appreciate the better speakers (for podcasts around the house), the camera, the screen is better than I expected over the 6S Plus, and 256gb storage. I like locally stored music, lots of time spent away from wifi and in poor signal areas, so the 7 Plus is the first time I've been able to replicate my trusty iPod Classic AND have tonnes of space for other stuff.

*Yes yes, your 6 Plus may be/was great. I genuinely believe you and am happy for you! It was a turd for *me* and in my personal experience.
 
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rayricepudding

macrumors member
Sep 26, 2012
93
19
Rated based on time of release, and with explanation (if we're simply rating them from best to worst, we obviously would just rank them based on recency - it's technology, folks). I'm ignoring the S/C/SE variants, as none of their improvements have been as sizable as those coming with the first generational iteration. That said, it should be noted that the 5S brought iOS 7, but that was also fully available on prior generations

-iPhone 4: Debut of the retina display, beautiful design, looked and felt the most like a premium product (I bet it's Jony Ive's favorite model too)
-iPhone 3G: Brought the App Store and 3G Data Speeds, in my opinion it had the best tactile feel
-iPhone 6: Beautiful thin and curved design, first variant with size options, great camera
-iPhone 5: First one with LTE, available on multiple carriers, slightly larger display
-iPhone: Obviously the one that started it all, but without the app store at launch was a far cry from what the 3G would become
-iPhone 7: I have a 7 Plus and love it so far, but I've also loved the 3G, 4, 5 and 6 as well. The 7 just isn't a generational improvement like the other "generational" iPhones. I will say that the Jet Black brings back that "premium" feel I got from the 4. Too bad I didn't feel like waiting for it and opted for the matte black.

The one I was most impressed with at Launch was the 4. That design was really the prettiest of the bunch and felt the most like a premium product at the time (not that every iPhone hasn't been premium - they all have). I'm optimistic that next year's iPhone will bring a return to that feeling!
 
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bufffilm

Suspended
May 3, 2011
4,227
2,536
It would be better to just poll what your favorite iPhone is.

Who really cares about ranking all of them...
 

ijen0311

macrumors 65816
Jul 4, 2009
1,108
33
I find this interesting; I remember when Gizmodo released the early iPhone 4 prototype and people were outraged with how hideous and ugly and stupid it was. Now I often see it ranked as one of the best.
 

yegon

macrumors 68030
Oct 20, 2007
2,844
969
I'm ignoring the S/C/SE variants, as none of their improvements have been as sizable as those coming with the first generational iteration.
I think the opposite tbh, I find the innards of the S* versions ultimately far bigger improvements after the skin deep joy of a new form factor wears off.

Say this every year, but if next years is a massive redesign to the exterior I might skip it. New chassis usually means same ram, same/worse battery life, reasonable CPU boost, mediocre GPU boost (if new res), and a a few (overblown, usually minor, but still real) non-S model problems. OLED and less bezels will be nice, but at what cost?

*Personally, I consider the 7 a 6SS for all intents and purposes. Happy 7 Plus owner.
 

alisalem

macrumors member
Apr 12, 2013
81
46
Mississauga, ON
Best to worst:

- iPhone 4 (Dat Retina Display!)
- iPhone 5s (Space Gray to be exact)
- iPhone 6s (Plus) (For keeping up with the 7. It even outperforms it in most tests.)
- Original iPhone
- iPhone 5
- iPhone 6
- iPhone SE
- iPhone 4S
- iPhone 3GS
- iPhone 7 (Plus) (Several issues on a supposedly refined phone that shares the same design as its predecessors.)
- iPhone 5C (A phone that lacked purpose.)
- iPhone 6 Plus (1GB of Ram.. Seriously Apple?? Performance is terrible starting iOS 9.)
- iPhone 3G (3G was nice, but the phone lacked power. I still remember how slow iOS 4 ran.)
 
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sdwaltz

macrumors 6502a
Apr 29, 2015
744
996
Indiana
This is fun. Best to worst - keep in mind this is "at the time":

Original iPhone
iPhone 3Gs
iPhone 7/7+
iPhone 6
iPhone 4 (still ugly, but holy functionality)
iPhone SE
iPhone 5s
iPhone 5 (ugliest phone Apple has ever made)
iPhone 3G
iPhone 4s
iPhone 5C (although I love the design, they were pawning off year-old tech as a brand new phone)
 

rayricepudding

macrumors member
Sep 26, 2012
93
19
I think the opposite tbh, I find the innards of the S* versions ultimately far bigger improvements after the skin deep joy of a new form factor wears off.

Say this every year, but if next years is a massive redesign to the exterior I might skip it. New chassis usually means same ram, same/worse battery life, reasonable CPU boost, mediocre GPU boost (if new res), and a a few (overblown, usually minor, but still real) non-S model problems. OLED and less bezels will be nice, but at what cost?

*Personally, I consider the 7 a 6SS for all intents and purposes. Happy 7 Plus owner.
Actually, you're flat out wrong. Every single iPhone iteration has bumped up CPU speed, and the changes from the S to the generational variants are almost always more substantial. And to your point about ram, the 6S is the only S variant that had a ram increase. the 4S had the same amount of ram as the 4 and the 5s as the 5. The 7 plus has more than the 6S Plus as well. Also, battery life increases have always been more significant from S to whole number, even the 7.

In the S variants we usually just get refinement. If you want the BEST version of that particular form factor, then sure, the S is better. But you'll notice a bigger difference in performance from an S to a whole number variant than the other way around.

See for yourself: http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/iphone/index-iphone-specs.html
 

andyp350

macrumors 6502a
Aug 14, 2011
807
459
From a personal perspective and obviously not a tech one (would be the 7), mine is the 3GS simply cause its my first iphone. For years I was a PC guy and hated on Apple. Then I got this phone and thats it, been Apple ever since. Thanks Steve
Exact same store here. Getting an iPhone 3GS introduced me to the world of Apple and I've never looked back.
 

Daniel L

macrumors 6502
Sep 15, 2009
419
104
Of the ones I've owned, worst to best....

3G
6 Plus
5
4
5S
6S Plus
7 Plus

I'll forgive the 3G as it was early days, but it was pretty lousy in hindsight. Should have stayed at iOS3, as a texting, emailing and single tab browsing device it was highly functional. iOS4 was the death knell (although I'm told it was better in later point updates).

4 was the biggest and greatest update ever. Relatively.

Probably should have skipped the 5, LTE was nice though.

6 Plus was the large iPhone I'd always wanted - dabbled with the Note 1, loved the screen, didn't mind Android so much, hated TouchWiz, came back to the 5 - but the 6 Plus was singularly the crashiest, laggiest, most unstable iPhone I've ever had*. Pretty shameful given it was the 8th generation, all down to Apple cheaping out on RAM.

6S Plus was/is great.

The 7 Plus has only been in my hand for about 10 days, but I really appreciate the better speakers (for podcasts around the house), the camera, the screen is better than I expected over the 6S Plus, and 256gb storage. I like locally stored music, lots of time spent away from wifi and in poor signal areas, so the 7 Plus is the first time I've been able to replicate my trusty iPod Classic AND have tonnes of space for other stuff.

*Yes yes, your 6 Plus may be/was great. I genuinely believe you and am happy for you! It was a turd for *me* and in my personal experience.

Couldn't have summed it up better than this, except I particularly enjoyed the 5. 6+ was the first new iPhone I picked up and immediately wanted to upgrade.
 
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