Compare the best iPhones in Australia
Our expert team has spent years reviewing Apple iPhones to help you find the best option.
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The best iPhones in Australia
- Best overall iPhone: iPhone 12
- Best runner-up iPhone: iPhone 12 Pro
- Best big-screen iPhone: iPhone 12 Pro Max
- Best compact iPhone: iPhone 12 Mini
- Best value iPhone: iPhone 11
- Best budget iPhone: iPhone SE 2020
- Best iPhone 12 for photography: iPhone 12 Pro Max
How did we pick this list?
Finder's team checked out every iPhone released by Apple in the last four years to pick the top devices in several categories. We looked into each model's key features and considered customer reviews before deciding on a category winner.
Best overall iPhone: iPhone 12
Why we chose it
One of five iPhones released in 2020, the iPhone 12 doesn't stand out from the pack. The 6.1-inch phone falls squarely in the middle of Apple's product line, but that's what makes the iPhone 12 the best overall iPhone: It's a phone that does just about everything you'd need it to, without any significant compromises or a ludicrous price tag.
Apple's newest smartphone packs in its A14 Bionic processor, a noticeably faster chip than its predecessor. It's so speedy you'll struggle to find any task that proves a challenge for the A14. It crushes its competitors, like the Galaxy S21, in performance benchmarks. It's not the only technological upgrade to the iPhone 12, though. The new device is Apple's first to include 5G support, so you'll be able to take advantage of the technology as it's rolled out across the country.
The iPhone 12 brought back elements of Apple designs that have long since faded into memory, with the rectangular shape of the device feeling quite reminiscent of the boxier iPhone 4. It's a step away from the more rounded designs manufacturers have been leaning towards over the last few years, but the iPhone 12 still looks and feels like a modern iPhone. The notch is still there and that rounded bezel that wraps around the screen is back too. Another thing that hasn't changed is the Lightning port, which is still the phone's only port despite MacBooks and iPads shifting to USB-C.
In our iPhone 12 review, the phone earned a Finder score of 4 thanks to its fantastic value compared to the rest of Apple's mobile device line-up. Customers also rated the latest iPhone highly, with the device garnering a 4.6 out of 5 rating on Google from more than 6,000 reviews. Users loved the phone's camera and its overall design. Some still weren't so pleased with the price of the iPhone 12, which at $1,349, is still very high.
Best runner-up iPhone: iPhone 12 Pro
Why we chose it
With "Pro" in the name, you'd expect a top-tier experience from the iPhone 12 Pro. Luckily, it's got all of the features that make the iPhone 12 fantastic and then builds on them. That comes at a significant price increase, though, making the iPhone 12 Pro the best runner-up iPhone.
Taking the iPhone 12 Pro out of the box reveals an almost identical phone to the standard iPhone 12, with just one visual hint giving away that this version is truly the best of the best: a slightly modified camera bump. While the iPhone 12 Pro keeps the standard wide and ultra-wide shooters found on the iPhone 12, the Pro adds a telephoto lens which allows for extended optical and digital zoom, as well as a LiDAR Scanner for super-fast autofocus. There are other bonuses, too, like Apple ProRAW support and Dolby Vision HDR recording at up to 60fps.
Like the rest of the iPhone 12 line-up, the iPhone 12 Pro boasts IP68 water resistance, allowing it to be fully submerged in 6-metre deep water for up to 30 minutes. While you still shouldn't take the phone for a swim every day, it gives you plenty of peace of mind that it'll handle a bit of rain or a drop in the pool. It's also got Apple's new Ceramic Shield for enhanced drop resistance.
The battery life on the iPhone 12 Pro isn't terrible, but it's not going to blow anyone away. Our iPhone 12 Pro review found that the device would power through some days without a problem and would struggle to make it through the day on others.
The iPhone 12 Pro is a step up from the iPhone 12, but that doesn't make it the best overall. It's certainly not the best for the average user, who might never even touch the "Pro" features like 60fps Dolby Vision recording or Apple ProRAW in the first place. Don't get us wrong: this is a phenomenal phone. You just have to ask yourself if that $350 price premium is worth it for you.
The iPhone 12 Pro boasts a 4.6 out of 5 rating on Google from more than 5,000 reviews. Customers were super happy with the phone's fantastic camera and the greatly-improved OLED screen compared to previous generations but questioned whether it's worth the extra cash over the middle-of-the-road iPhone 12.
Best big-screen iPhone: iPhone 12 Pro Max
Why we chose it
Plenty of people like to have heaps of screen real estate to comfortably do everything on their phone, whether that's work, play or watching TV. Apple knows this. With a massive 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR display, 5G connectivity and enhanced drop protection, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is the best big-screen iPhone money can buy.
There's only one reason you'd want to spend the extra $150 on the iPhone 12 Pro Max instead of the slightly smaller iPhone 12 Pro, and that's for the massive 6.7-inch display. Apple has upped its game when it comes to the screens on the iPhone 12, using a crisp and vibrant OLED panel that's miles ahead of the last-generation iPhone 11's display in essentially every way. Given the gigantic leap Apple has taken in screen tech, it's perfectly reasonable to want to enjoy an extra 0.6 inches of screen real estate over the standard models. There's also slightly better optical zoom on the iPhone 12 Pro Max, hitting 2.5x zoom instead of the 2x found on the regular iPhone 12 Pro.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max is a tank in every sense. It's durable, thanks to its solid stainless steel frame and Ceramic Shield screen. It's also seriously hefty. It's a whole 39 grams heavier than the iPhone 12 Pro and has an extra 64 grams in weight compared to the iPhone 12. That might make the phone a little uncomfortable under prolonged use and might make carrying it a pain.
With all that tech and the huge screen, you'd expect the iPhone 12 Pro Max to come with a high price tag, and it does. The phone starts at $1,849 and goes all the way up to $2,369 for the 512GB model. You can read our iPhone 12 Pro Max review to see if it's really worth all of that hard-earned cash.
Boasting a 4.7 out of 5 rating on Google from more than 8,000 reviews, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is the highest-rated iPhone featured in this round-up. Users praised the phone's design and were chuffed with its camera. Customers were less pleased with how heavy the device is, though.
Best compact iPhone: iPhone 12 Mini
Why we chose it
iPhones have been increasing in size over the last few years, leaving some nostalgic for the days of the 4.7-inch screens. Luckily, the new iPhone 12 Mini packs a ton of power and features into a thin, light and portable form factor, making it the best compact iPhone you can get your hands on.
The iPhone 12 Mini comes in a much cuter form-factor than its larger siblings, with the phone sporting a display that's 0.7 inches smaller than the standard model. Still, it's almost identical on the inside. The iPhone 12 Mini boasts Apple's industry-leading A14 Bionic processor, making the relatively tiny device a powerhouse capable of taking on almost anything you could throw at it. The device's smaller size makes it super easy to hold. At just 135 grams it's a breeze to carry around throughout the day.
If you're expecting phenomenal battery life from the iPhone 12 Mini, you might be disappointed. In our iPhone 12 Mini review, we found that while you could squeeze a full day's worth of life out of the 2,227mAh battery, typical usage would leave the phone running dangerously low on juice by the evening.
Even though you're giving up 0.7 inches of screen real estate compared to the standard model, the iPhone 12 Mini is still as pricey as you'd expect a premium Apple product to be. With a starting price of $1,199, it's just $150 less than the iPhone 12. Pricing isn't entirely unreasonable, given the iPhone 12 Mini still includes the same high-performance hardware found on the larger models, but it's not particularly good value either.
The iPhone 12 Mini is well-liked by customers, with the phone earning a 4.5 out of 5 rating from more than 2,600 reviews on Google. Users commended the phone's performance, which is top-notch thanks to the A14 Bionic chip on board, and were impressed with the new OLED panel Apple switched to for its latest devices. Unfortunately, some users who upgraded from older iPhones missed Touch ID and others weren't pleased with its battery life.
Best value iPhone: iPhone 11
Why we chose it
With performance hardware that still leaves other phones in the dust and a stellar, premium design that holds up to this day, the iPhone 11 is the best value-for-money iPhone on the market.
The iPhone 11 holds up surprisingly well to this day, thanks in large part to Apple's timeless designs and the super quick A13 Bionic processor, which can still absolutely dominate in everyday tasks, gaming and more. The iPhone 11 is such a capable device that there's almost no reason you'd need to or want to drop thousands of dollars upgrading to the latest and greatest model if you own one.
There's nothing revolutionary about the design of the iPhone 11. It looks familiar and you'd be forgiven for mistaking it for any of the other recently released iPhones – but that's not a bad thing. Visually, the most significant differentiating factor on the iPhone 11 is the camera bump, which is bigger and houses two cameras instead of the single shooter found on the iPhone XR. Those cameras, by the way, are fantastic. Unless you're a pro who probably wouldn't be looking at this phone anyway, you'll be able to take plenty of great-looking and ultra-sharable photos.
The iPhone 11 is a last-generation device, so it doesn't have quite as many features as you'd expect on a brand-new release. Under the hood, the main thing missing is 5G support. Aussie telcos are slowly rolling out 5G technology as I type, so it might not make much of a difference to you for the next few years anyway. If you happen to care about getting the absolute fastest download speeds, you might want to skip this one. The other kicker? The Liquid Retina display is nice, but it's not even in the same league as the iPhone 12's OLED panel. Content connoisseurs might want to splurge and spend the extra cash on the iPhone 12 for the nicer panel.
The iPhone 11 earned a 4.6 out of 5 rating from more than 32,000 reviews on Google, with users praising the phone's battery life and its cameras. Customers weren't so pleased with the lack of included accessories in the box or the lack of features that are now commonplace on Android phones, such as high refresh rate screens.
Best budget iPhone: iPhone SE 2020
Why we chose it
Buying an iPhone has never been a cheap endeavour, but Apple has been trying to make more affordable options available over the last few years. The entry-level iPhone SE boasts remarkably quick hardware and has a super compact design, making it the best budget iPhone you can buy.
From the outside, the iPhone SE 2020 is just a rebadged iPhone 8. Taking a look under the hood, Apple has swapped out the ageing A11 Bionic for the newer and much faster A13 Bionic processor. That makes the budget-friendly iPhone very comparable in terms of raw performance to other recent models. There are also minor improvements to the camera technology used and the device's networking has improved, but apart from that, it's the same phone. That makes the 4.7-inch device super portable and familiar, but it also means its design is incredibly outdated, particularly in a world where chunky bezels are a thing of the past.
The iPhone SE 2020's battery life is seriously disappointing. In our review, we found that the iPhone's battery life lags behind many of its budget-oriented Android competitors and has a hard time making its way through the whole day. If strong battery life is a must, the iPhone SE 2020 might not be for you.
Despite some shortcomings, the iPhone SE 2020 is highly regarded by customers. The phone earned a 4.5 out of 5 rating from more than 13,700 reviews on Google, with buyers praising the device for its powerful processor and the inclusion of the much-loved Touch ID biometric scanner. Users decried the lack of a 3.5mm headphone jack and were less than impressed with the phone's battery life and ancient bezels.
Best iPhone for photography: iPhone 12 Pro Max
Why we chose it
The iPhone 12 Pro Max takes the crown for the best iPhone for photography thanks to its top-of-the-line camera module and slightly better photo performance over its smaller sibling, the iPhone 12 Pro. It's also the best big-screen iPhone, which you can read about earlier in this round-up.
There are small technical differences between the cameras found on the iPhone 12 Pro and the iPhone 12 Pro Max. The iPhone 12 Pro Max has 2.5x optical zoom and 12x digital zoom, compared to the slightly smaller 2x optical and 10x digital zoom on the iPhone 12 Pro. The iPhone 12 Pro Max also has a larger sensor than its smaller sibling, which gives it an edge in low-light situations.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max has a few other tricks up its sleeve when it comes to its camera, such as Dolby Vision recording for crisp HDR recording, as well as support for Apple's ProRAW image format. Dolby Vision recording is also present on the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini, but only at 30 frames per second (compared to 60 frames per second on the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max).
In real terms, there isn't a huge difference between the camera quality of the iPhone 12 Pro and the iPhone 12 Pro Max, yet you'll be paying a pretty penny for the extra screen size. Unless you desperately need the best of the best and can handle the extra size and heft of the iPhone 12 Pro Max, you might be better off with an iPhone 12 Pro.
As we mentioned before, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is the highest-rated iPhone on this list. It's got a 4.7 out of 5 rating from more than 8,000 reviews on Google, with customers mentioning how noticeable the camera improvements are over previous generations. People did complain about how bulky and heavy the device is, though.
What to consider when choosing an iPhone
Let's face it: iPhones are expensive. That's particularly true on the high end, where you can expect to pay almost $2,000 for the largest and most feature-filled models, and even more, if you want to up the storage beyond 128GB. Grabbing an older iPhone, such as the iPhone 11 or iPhone XR, could be a great option for anyone on a budget, especially since Apple is notorious for its fantastic post-launch update support.
iPhones are often some of the speediest devices on the market, thanks to Apple's expertise in chip design and fantastic optimisation within iOS. All four variants of the iPhone 12 come with Apple's new A14 Bionic chip, which is one of the fastest you can find in a smartphone. If you need specifics for each device, we thoroughly test phone performance through benchmarks, which you can find in our reviews.
For quite some time, iPhone buyers had a choice between a standard iPhone and a plus model. With the latest iPhone 12 launch, Apple served up three different screen sizes for you to choose between. The standard size is 6.1 inches, but you can go up or down in size if that's more your style. If you're a big fan of extra screen real estate, you're going to want the iPhone 12 Pro Max for its gorgeous 6.7-inch screen. If you prefer smaller phones, the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 Mini would be your best choice.
iPhones don't have the best reputation for having great battery life, but that doesn't mean they're poor performers. While iPhones often look as if they have much worse battery performance on paper, stellar optimisation within iOS often means iPhones can hold their ground against Android devices with far bulkier batteries. If you're looking at a second-hand phone, the battery life will often be significantly worse than it was fresh out of the box.
When it comes to camera quality and features on Apple devices, the two top dogs are the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. There isn't much differentiating the two devices, with them both touting ultra-wide, wide and telephoto lenses. The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini share the same two-camera array, which is also fantastic. iPhones have long been known for top-notch camera quality and are generally considered to be among the best on the market.
Until the iPhone 12 hit the market, no iPhone user had access to the blazing-fast speeds that come with 5G. But that has all changed. Unlike some companies, Apple included 5G as standard on all of its iPhone 12 models. That means you can make use of the speedy new tech as it rolls out across the country regardless of whether you're using an iPhone 12 Mini or the iPhone 12 Pro Max. If you're looking to buy an iPhone 11, iPhone SE 2020 or any older iPhone, you'll be stuck on 4G.
Storage on the iPhone typically starts at 64GB, which isn't all that much when we're storing catalogues of downloaded shows, movies and music on our devices all at once. The iPhone 12 Pro has the most storage available, with up to 512GB, but that amount of space costs an eye-watering amount. Once you buy an iPhone, you're stuck with that amount of storage until you upgrade. There are ways around a lack of storage, like backing up photos to the cloud, but that can be an ordeal itself.
Apple was late to bring wireless charging to the iPhone, but now it's here, it's available on all of the iPhones still sold by Apple. The iPhone 12 also supports wireless charging via the reimagined MagSafe magnetic interface, which is the first phone to support the new tech. If you're buying a much older iPhone, make sure to check whether wireless charging is supported.
Some people might remember the old MagSafe chargers found on MacBooks before their switch to USB-C, but this is entirely different. The new tech embeds magnets underneath the back panel of the iPhone 12, allowing for fast wireless charging, and for accessories to be securely attached. The new version of MagSafe is only available on the new iPhone 12 family of devices for now, but we can assume it will continue to be a part of new iPhone launches for years to come.
Additional things to consider
- Included accessories. We're all used to unboxing a new phone and digging out included earphones and charging cables, but Apple has switched things up recently. The company removed the included power adapter and EarPods from iPhone boxes, a move that will lower its carbon emissions. Every iPhone available directly from Apple comes with a USB-C-to-Lightning cable in the box, but that's it.
- Water resistance. All of the iPhone 12 variants have the same IP68 water resistance rating, which allows the phone to be 6 metres underwater for up to 30 minutes. The story isn't as clear with older iPhones, as Apple says the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro are water-resistant to different levels. The iPhone SE has the weakest overall water resistance. If you want to know more about water resistance on phones, you can see our full guide to waterproof phones.
- Security. Apple relies on its biometric security features to buy stuff in the App Store and iTunes, to pay with Apple Pay, to sign in to certain apps and of course, to unlock your phone. Not every iPhone has the same type of security. The 2020 iPhone SE uses Touch ID, but every other phone Apple sells has ditched it in favour of Face ID.
- Ports. Apple has something of a reputation for getting rid of as many ports as it can from its devices. Every single iPhone the company still sells today has just one Lightning port. It's a charger, a data transfer port, a headphone jack and everything else all in one. If you were expecting at least one model to have a 3.5mm headphone jack, you're out of luck.
Best products chosen
- We looked into every iPhone since the iPhone X to figure out the best models for different purposes.
- We determined the best iPhones based on key product information and the reviews written by our in-house experts. We also checked out countless reviews left by customers online.
- The products on this list are chosen by our editorial team and are not selected based on commercial relationships.
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Vodafone has some great deals if you're looking for an affordable way to own a new iPhone, with no excess data charges involved.Read more…
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