iPhone Buying Guide

Information verified correct on October 25th, 2016

Apple products boast a cult-like following, and the iPhone is one of the tech giant’s most iconic products. If you need help choosing the right iPhone for your needs, immerse yourself in this handy iPhone buying guide.

Market share and numbers notwithstanding, the number of people switching to iPhones only continues to grow. This line of smartphones from Apple first saw the light of day in June 2007 and have since seen several transformations. In September 2013, Apple released the seventh generation of this phone in the form of the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S.

The multi-touch screen that the iPhone offers remains among one of the best in the business. It can connect to a range of networks, including GSM, GPRS, EDGE, UMTS, EV-DO and 4G. Models including and after the iPhone 3G are capable of capturing videos. You can use your iPhone 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.


The first-generation iPhone sold with three store capacity alternatives: 4GB, 8GB and 16GB. While the second-generation iPhone 3G sold in 8GB and 16GB variants. Both these generations offered 2-megapixel cameras. The 16GB and 32GB iPhone 3GS offered a 3-megapixel camera, and was the first that could capture videos.

The iPhone 4 sold as 16GB and 32GB variants and was the first iPhone to offer two cameras, a 5-megapixel camera at the back and a VGA camera at the front. The iPhone 4S offered an 8-megapixel rear camera and this was the first time buyers could choose a 64GB variant. Until this point, all generations came with a 3.5-inch screens.

The iPhone 5 offers a larger 4-inch screen. With the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C now in the picture, buying an iPhone has become even more challenging. Both these models come with the same large screens, although the iPhone 5S is considerably lighter than the iPhone 5C. Each model is available in different storage capacities

Locked or unlocked

Optus, Telstra and Vodafone give 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 GSM 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

iPhone 5C pink 8GB from Apple

The iPhone 5C is for those who like colour in their life. This phone also sells in green, blue, yellow and white.

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iPhone 5S grey 16GB from Apple

The iPhone 5S is an powerful and very thin phone. It incorporates dual-LED flash and a fingerprint identity sensor.

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Top retailers to shop for iPhones

Apple from Apple

Buying directly from Apple gives you peace of mind, although when you shop on the Apple website you can only buy the latest models.

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Amazon from Amazon

Shopping on Amazon, one the world's leading online shopping portals, gives you the ability to look for new, used, refurbished and even discontinued iPhones.

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Current deals and offers

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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. For example, the first two generations did not allow users to shoot videos, while screen size increased to four inches only with the arrival of the iPhone 5. Screen resolution also evolved with the generations, from 480x320 in the first generation to 1136 x 640 in the sixth and seventh generations.

The camera of the iPhone 5S offers two new functionalities: a burst mode and auto image stabilisation. Storage alternatives vary from model to model, as do colours.

Which iPhone should you get?

Just which iPhone you should get depends on what you require. When it comes to choosing from the newer variants that you can buy directly from Apple, you get to choose between the iPhone 4S, 5S and 5C. The iPhone 5S is the lightest of the three, weighing 112 grams. Meanwhile, the iPhone 5C and iPhone 4S weigh 132 grams and 140 grams respectively.

The iPhone 5S offers a distinctly new feature over earlier models in the form of a biometric fingerprint sensor. It also boasts faster processing power thanks to an A7 processor. The iPhone 5C is similar to the iPhone 5, although it sells in a range of vibrant colours. Both these offer 4-inch screens, as opposed to the 3.5-inch screen used by the iPhone 4S. While the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C use lightning to USB cables, the iPhone 4S uses the older 30-pin to USB cable.

iPhone colour and storage size

The iPhone 5S sells in three variants when it comes to storage capacity: 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. This premium iPhone sells in silver, gold and space grey.

You can buy an iPhone 5C in 8GB, 16GB and 32GB variants. This phone sells in colours that iPhones have never been available with in the past, which include pink, yellow, blue and green. It also sells in white.

The iPhone 4S comes with 8GB of storage space and that’s the only variant Apple currently sells. It sells in two colours: black and white.

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Why shop at finder.com.au?

Shopping at finder.com.au 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.com.au also gives its users 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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Isaiah James Peralta

Isaiah is a Personal Finance Publisher for finder.com.au, when comes to Credit Cards and Travel Money, you're speaking his language. His forefront value is genuine help, and empowering users to make better informed decisions is almost quite simply, second nature.

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