Black or white: Which iPhone 4S color should you choose?

Black or white: Which iPhone 4S color should you choose?

You'd think after deciding to get an iPhone 4S, figuring out your carrier, and choosing which storage capacity you wanted, you'd be done, right? Well no, you still have a choice of colors -- white or black. Given everything else, this might not seem like such a hard choice, but it's one of the questions we're getting asked the most often, so let's give it the once over...

The white and black iPhone 4S are identical in terms of which carriers they work on, which storage capacities they come in, and nearly every physical detail other than color (the white one has some slight cosmetic differences to let the light sensor work, see pictures of the iPhone 4 below by way of example).

There remain, however, some some things to consider.

Is white more distracting?

TV sets usually come in black for a reason -- when you're watching a show or a movie, or playing a game, you want the TV set to disappear, so you can enjoy what you're doing without noticing a big colored rim around it.

The same goes for iPhone 4S. Some people find having a white faceplate very distracting when they're watching videos or gaming, and others just don't like the contrast between the white border and the black screen when the device is off. It's very "panda".

Others aren't bothered by a white border at all and really like the two-tone look of the iPhone when its off.

I've had both a black and a white iPhone 4 and have never been distracted nor irked by either one. If white catches your eye a little too much, however, you might want to stick with black.

Will white discolor?

Rumor has it Apple delayed the launch of the white iPhone 4 in order to improve the UV protection and prevent discoloration. That's just a rumor, however. While the white iPhone 4 has only been on the market about half as long as the black iPhone 4, there haven't been any widespread accounts of discoloration and my own white iPhone 4 looks as white now as it did the day I bought it.

It will probably take another year to convince everyone that white holds its color fine, but if it's something that concerns you a lot, you might want to stick with black.

Will white fit in my case?

The white iPhone 4 was 0.2mm thicker than the black iPhone 4, which is well within Apple's official accessory tolerances given to case makers. However, not all case makers followed those tolerances so there were some cases that were a little tight on the white iPhone 4.

We'll have to wait to measure the white iPhone 4S, but even if it shares that same, tiny, 0.2mm difference, case makers have had months to plan for that and learn to follow the tolerances appropriately.

However, if you insist on using the skinny hipster jean equivalent of an iPhone case, and you're really worried about it, you might want to stick with black.

Does white look better?

Some people just love the look of a white phone, whether it's iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, or whatever. They often get shipped later or come in more limited quantities so there's an air of exclusivity about them.

Whatever.

At the end of the day, you need to buy what you like. White tends to stand out more and can be more obvious with brightly colored cases. Is that something that appeals to you?

If you want to be subdued and not so wicked obvious about your phone, you might want to stick with black.

So which color should you get?

At the end of the day, the only real answer is get the color you like better. Everything else is manufactured anxiety at this point. Just close your eyes, picture your iPhone in your hand, and carefully look at what color you're picturing.

Then buy that.

Any questions?

If you need extra help or want extra opinions deciding whether you should get the black or white iPhone 4S, jump right into our iPhone 4S Forums and ask away!

Have something to say about this story? Share your comments below! Need help with something else? Submit your question!

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Black or white: Which iPhone 4S color should you choose?

192 Comments

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Wow. Some people might be offended by that! I'm not offended,though because I'm as white as white can be! I'm not albino or anything! SOme of my closest friends are colored!

I like the black personal; I just don’t like the white just seems too sterile looking to me. I know it is all about personal preference and I hope everyone gets just what they want.

I just ordered my iPhone 4S in white. Which case/bumper looks best with a white iPhone? I also remember reading a article about a metal hinged bumper with a latch by the power button but I can't seem to find it, anyone know where I can find it?

Element case offers the Vapor which assembles with 4 tiny Allen head screws and the case is aluminum. Not sure of a metal case that is hinged.

Guys guys guy, white is like adding decals and flame stickers to your car, it boost performance by at least 5%, typically 10-15%. They're the best upgrades one can put on a car, and it easily makes the white iPhone the default choice.

I got a white 4s, but thats only cause I never had a white phone before a feel so many people I know have the black iPhones. But really, I could care less, Is Apple said they were sold out of white, I would happily take black.
Also, on a roll with the pics today.

Sorry to be a grammar nazi but you meant to say "I couldn't care less", not "I could care less". The former means you don't care/indifferent about the choice, the later means you really do care about which color you get.
Otherwise, congrats on the phone, I'm thinking of buying a white one unlocked and selling it next year for an iPhone 5 from a carrier.

I've had both, and if you get an invisible shield on white it turns grey :/ for those who care

Have always had white, but got tired of waitIng for the white iPhone 4 and got black. Have to say I like it, but I do miss my white! I liked white better though when it was only on the back plate.

I always understood the white iPhone (3GS) to show scratches less than the black. My white iPhone 3GS looks ok and it takes a really close look to see the scratches. Black shows more but that's on plastic - don't know if glass is the same.

What's that MJ? "It don't matter if you're black or white"? That may be true if you're feminine but I have a penis and like women so I'll stick with the black iPhone, but I'm not going anywhere near this less-than-truly-upgraded iPhone with my eligible upgrade, I'll wait for a legitimate upgrade, again in black!

White Iphone = gay? Damn! Why didn't they tell me?!?! Now I've got a phone that says, "Hey, I'm a homo." Way close minded dude...

I guess there's no such thing as a "tongue-in-cheek" comment anymore. Everyone's so P.C. and literal all the time. Black is generally considered more masculine than white but obviously there's no gender or sexual orientation associated with such neutral colors, lighten up people!

Obviously, he has issues with his sexuality and really wants a white Iphone.
It is okay Travis, owning a white Iphone does not mean you are Gay, go for it!

In such a thorough review, it's shocking that you did not specifically point out that the front facing button is white. I'd love a white iphone but to me, it's just a deal breaker that the button is white; I mean COME ON.

I went with the black 32GB 4S. I am not that fond of the white version. My mother got a white 4 a few months back and the white didn't really pop...it seemed a little bit dull to me.
Truth be told, I would have much preferred a brushed aluminum case (like the pre-announcement rumors talked about). It would have matched my Mac much better.
I just received my case and screen protectors for my new 4S...now I just need the 4S. It's going to be a long week. My 3GS is ready to be demoted to a test only device.

iPhone 4!! Its cheaper and alsmot as good as the 4s. the 5 mgp and 8 mgp does not make the change, i will always use a camera to take photos aswell as videos. SIRI does live the life exactly like FaceTime: Nobody uses it! And finally the speed, iPhone 4 is fast, and i dont see why faster speed will make it better in games. Obviously iPhone games aren't quite good, so? IPHONE 4!!!

When I was picking the Color of my iP4, I had tough decision because I couldn't decide at all. I ended up getting the white because I liked the look of it with most cases I was getting like blues and reds. My biggest gripe about the white one is the stupid proximity sensor. I really bugs me and I wish apple would've just kept the silver lining because it ruins the appearance. I don't regret the decision because once the next iteration of iPhone comes out I plan on getting it so at least I've had a chance with white. Btw, I really want an iPhone with an aluminum back like the 1g!

Im getting mu ophine in 3 weeks and they are shipping to my house. What if im not home when they ship it. There will be two ophine 4s white and black, will they just leavenit there or take it back to fedex location?

This is why the screen size has not changed. So Apple could finally get the white version perfected and out to the masses lol.

I went with the white iPhone, based solely on the resale value. I plan on upgrading when the new(est) device shows up next spring. I think white will sell better, since the majority of people tend to buy black. That's my take, and hopefully, it will work for me, when the 5 does show up.

At Sprint, this will be my last annual upgrade. I'll have to live with this phone for 20 months. I couldn't do that with Android. The buggy, laggy, Gingerbread on EVO is so annoying, it's beginning to affect my sanity. Grape Koolaid please.

I know what you mean, I have Droid x and when gingerbread starting rolling out it messed up everything, including my life... thank Apple for Siri...

if you notice, the white iphone has 3 new emails while the black one has only 1 leading me to believe that the white iphone will get you more enlargement and viagra junkmail.

Good point, but it'll only be a matter of time before your friends realize you have Siri built in your iPhone :)

I ordered the black 32g 4S. After stalking the Apple store and pondering for days I finally came to my decision. The white just doesn't do it for me. For one, I hate looking at the little extra sensor at the front of the phone. And the article got it right--the contrast with the white is horrible. It really does take away from the screen.

This is just a stupid topic. As all the comments show, it's a personal preference, since there's no functional difference. Sure, TVs aren't white, but computer monitors were light beige for years. So which color should you get? Whichever you darn well like better. BFD.

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If you like it, please share it!!! :)

I want the white one. Once you go WHITE, you never go back. LOL!!!! Besides, I'm putting it in a case anyway (which will likely be black) so who's going to know what it is until Siri starts talking to me. :-)

Is there any way to take this out of scribd and make it avaialble for a straight-up download? As it is now it seems that I have to pay $5 for a scribd subscription in order to download or print it.

Black is more masculine, mature and business like. White is more feminine and toy-like. I can see my little sister with a white iphone. I feel like my dad or I would look silly. Whatever floats your boat though..

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Im getting white solely so I do not get it confused with the wife's black iPhone 4 (my old one).
And as the style is the same perhaps the difference will give the illusion that my new iPhone is not just the same phone I have had almost two years now!

The white iPhone is NOT going to get dirty easier than the black, because the white color is UNDER the glass. I have owned both colors, and found that the white actually looks cleaner because it's more resistant to smudges and fingerprints.
That being said, I'm still getting the black 4S, becuase there are a couple of major issues I had with the white iPhone 4.
Firstly, the screen. The whole front bezel of the white iPhone 4S is white, which leaves the screen contrasted in black when its off. This itself is not a problem. The problem is, when the screen is displaying a whitish or light-colored image, there is a thin black border visible between the screen and the white bezel, so you're essentialy looking at a white box inside a white box with a thin black gap between. This is VERY annoying and distracting to me, and also creates the effect of the screen being smaller than the black model's, because the image and the bezel do not smoothly flow together. This is obviously not a problem on the black model as the bezel itself is black.
Secondly, the camera flash. This is perhaps less of a problem and more of a personal annoyance, but I'm still going to mention it here. When you take a picture with the white model, try covering the flash with your finger. A ring of light will still glow through around your finger. This means that some of the light from the flash is escaping and being diffused though the white paint/glass. As a result, pictures taken in the dark don't look the same as ones taken with the black model, and I'm still not convinced that a small amount of the light isn't bleeding back into the sensor.
All said, it's still your choice, and If you really want the white one, and can live with the above issues, go for it!

Thanks for letting me know that! You just made my decision easier. I was so wondering if black was the best color for me. I have always liked darker phones! Now I know I made the right choice choosing the black one! Thanks again!

i got the white one at frist and i like it for a short times then i exchanged to the back coz it so annoying likes you said....Go for the back one !!

BUT the WHITE color does not matter! OMG my hardest decision is deciding which color! I've been trying to decide for a week now but I STILL can't decide. The rumor that the white color is more distracting is not a problem with me, but what I've heard mostly is that black is better. I have a black iPhone 4 but I want to get something different.
My question is when you upgrade your iPhone, can you change the color?

I bought a black iPhone 4, and although I originally wanted the black iPhone 4S (way before I ever thought it was going to be released) I changed my mind and got the white iPhone 4S. It's pretty cool the see 3 iPhone 4's and 2 iPhone 4S's in the house. :)

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I'm going to stick with black! I think the picture taking and videos will be much clearer on black face and screen than white. I believe pictures will be much more vivid and clear, especially at night. That's probably the main reason TV's are black. Better picture.

Don't be ashamed .. lol i did the same.. and even paying 980!!! for the 64 GB iphone 4S when already had iphone 4 32GB lol love our apple products.. RIP Steve.

White is always a good option as it doesn't get as hot in the sun, if you spent a lot of time outside. The black case really gets hot and this cant be good for the battery and insides of the phone. The white always stays cool as it reflects the heat.

I have a white MacBook (shame they get discontinued), so I kind of want my other iDevice to contrast with it. Plus, EVERYONE I see with an iPhone, seem to have it in white. Almost as if it was originally manufactured in white and black is the secondary color.

I have a white MacBook (shame they get discontinued), so I kind of want my other iDevice to contrast with it. Plus, EVERYONE I see with an iPhone, seem to have it in white. Almost as if it was originally manufactured in white and black is the secondary color.

choose one randomly, if you want to change ask SIRI- siri, change the color of my iPhone to red or blonde or whatever you want.

I hate the proximity sensor on the white model, so I guess I'll go with that one. I wouldn't notice the bezel thing as I wouldn't have used the black model and I would be rest assured the screen is fixed at 3.5 inches on both models.

OMG, IPHONE 4S WHITE is Nice! They should not be telling us that black is better than white! IT ISN'T ABOUT THE COMPARISON! ITS ABOUT we like it or not! So what if in actual fact black is better? black and white iphones have their own Bad and good"s" SO STOP SAYING WHITE SUCK HERE AND THERE! THE TRUTH IS
WHEATHER WE LIKE IT OR NOT! WE ARE CHOOSING THE COLOUR WE NO NEED PEOPLE TO TELL US WHICH ONE IS BETTER!

ITS ALL A MATTER OF THE PRRSON THAT'S PAYING THE BILL AND GETTING THE PHONES CHOICE!!
GOD AND PS THE WHITE ROCKS!
I THINK IT'S MORE CHIC AND NOT AS BORING AS THE BLACK ONE MY MOM HAS!

You can go to many websites and find that people are saying white is better than black, but If you don't like what people are saying here YOU CAN LEAVE. Btw "wheather" is not a word its either "whether" or "weather" and in your case it would be "whether".

I have choice issues for a reason other than just colour. 4S will be released here in South Africa next week, If I had a choice I would take the white without a doubt
However, with the iPhone4, the camera of the white is said to have been different and performed different too especially when the flash was used, something to do with it reflecting off the white:
http://www.pcworld.com/article/228815/whiteiphone4vsblackiphone4dotheyhavedifferent_cameras.html
So if the camera of white is inferior in the 4S as well, I would rather go with the black. I havent seen any confirmation of this in the 4S though, can anyone confirm this?

Honestly thank you for the detailed description of the white 4s in relates to the camera and flash at night time. The black is a classic and more versatile. I am having a hard time committing myself to getting my 4s 64g iPhone in white because I am due for an upgrade and I would hate to spend 399 on a phone that I won't like. Fact of the matter is after all said and done I will buy a black 4s just because that is my comfort zone and let's face it the black is so sleek and classy not to mention it will be versatile.

I just got the white iphone 4GS and I love it!!
I have never had a better phone and the color isn't the least bit distracting to me! I highly suggest this product(:

We did a good deal of testing in our IT shop since our company went with Iphones vice blackberry. The blackphones due to the absorption rates with heat and ambient temperatures has a much better reception up-rate. We experienced faster "computing" times and screen refresh is significantly better for y:I rates. So we went for the black ones as corporate policy since they are obviously superior. If you'd like I can publish the results and our directives if other IT shops want to co-opt our findings. Cheers

This article definitely helped me with my decision. Black it is! (not at all a fan of the 'panda' sight nor the distracting white frame around the screen.
Also, I don't like the milky color on hi-tech devices (silver would have been a totally different story!)
Thanks for the article!

i have bought black iphone 4s 16 GB its greatly working and its better than white.......................also in white colour the mark of apple does not seems clear in bright light so black is my choice.........!!!!!!!........ <3 <3 <3

bij de iphone 4/4s is de rand van de beeld zwart maar ik denk dat ik toch maar een iphone 4s wit ga nemen

I'd definitely go with the black 4S. White is cool and unique and all, but black is just classic. Seriously, a glossy black finish goes good with everything and will NEVER go out of style!

I got my 4S in black even though I REALLY wanted white.
Sucks that white was out of stock that time.
But I'm kinda loving my black! It looks sleek and really professional. I'm a girl and it really looks awesome eventho they say girls should have white haha :)
And I had a white 3GS so this is a good change :D

I think the black one because it's classic. The white looks like a toy, and will go out of style. The black is more pretty. The white is too bright as causes more attention. You will prob get tired of it after a while. Black is always better and goes with more things. Although the white is cool, the black is always better. I happen to have a black 4s and I love it!

I'm nowhere near an Apple fan but I have a coworker with the white one and a number with black ones. The white is so in your face and looks much bigger than it is, and the screen looks dimmer to me on a white background. Considering the tiny screen that doesn't do the phone any justice at all. Yes, white is different, but it also makes it look like a plastic toy. Oh, and Siri is an idiot :) Had some fun time with "her" at a corporate party.

I would personally get the white one because it makes me look like I'm "richer". But, you can get whatever color you want, and you could get a colored case to go on it!

every single last one of you are ignorant and stupid you should be focusing on what color iphone you black or white instead your saying negro and rude comments shut up and find out which color you want move on and grow up im black and proud and look better thann half of you's . >.< Foolish ignorant childish children !

stay hungry, stay foolish - that's what steve jobs said.
Iphone is the harley of phones - even colour matters to those who love love them

Well think of this.... black is on tv's for a reason, but white is painted in public facilities for a calm appeal... im going with the white

White match with any color the Black Iphone is fine but, it look like any other phone. Like the Mac it's white and special.

I like white phones because most of the places I lose my phone are black/dark grey/navy. When I have a black phone, I set it down and it takes ages to find it again.

In my opinion, Black is too plain and bland yet this has been the classic iPhone color ever since.
White, on the other hand, is very bold and unique + it's very eye catching.
So I suppose it comes to a point of whether you're the type who prefers to blend in with the norm, or stand out and be bold.

Just say black not negro just black it sounds wrong when u say negro!!! PLZ JUST SAY BLACK NOT NEGRO!!

ok.... I'm getting an iPhone4s and was GOING to get white....but then I saw all of these comments.... would the AT&T store let me play around with them and check ten out score I bought one? and if ur going 2 post a rude comment please don't :-) FYI apple is awesome :-)

I'm buyin the White iPhone 4s 32gb AT&T and black looks like crap go for white the color of apple!

Iphone 4s Black is the signature where as white is unique On public demand. Its always ur personal choice.
Just bought the iphone 4s white, And m lovin it :)

Shown by facts ( percentages, of phones bought by males and females and by general colour preferation by males and females :)

I am soooo excited to get my Iphone 4s!!! I'm getting it in a few days... Although I'm very confused about which colour to get! Black or white??? I have a white Blackberry and it gets dirty soooo easily! That's why I'm a bit reluctant to get a white one! What do you guys think???

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THE WHITE ONE DOES NOT GET DIRTY... THE WHITE ONE IS BETTER, BECAUSE EVEN IF THE BLACK ONE IS DARKER IT GET DIRTY FASTER, SO THE WHITE ONE IT IS :)

i dont have an iphone, only a 4th generation ipod T~T and you know it makes me want an iphone so badly

hi guys, m vinoth, i am soo confused about the color of iphone 4S which i gotta buy in 3,4days,i always love black, & moreover black is my favourite color til date since my childhood, after taking a deep look at the iphone 4S white i am confused about choosing the color either white or black, any ideas friends.................................. Pls help me choose it

white is the BEAST ! At first I hated white since it made the screen look small, but after using it like ur BFF you'll fall for it! I now hate as much as I loved the black iPhone! True story!

Espeniola pple r racist with their word choices
-__- but any who, white is the BEAST ! At first I hated white since it made the screen look small, but after using it like ur BFF you'll fall for it! I now hate as much as I loved the black iPhone! True story!

why would u want an white IPhone thats can get dirty so quit an the black IPhone that takes good pics better than the white.......

personally i would go with black but just decis=de on what color button u like better buy thast iphone and cover itwith a case plus if u want the best of noth buy a white get a blck case buy a black get a white case.

yeah the white is a special order, i ordered an iphone 4s 16gb in white and it takes like 3 days extra to get here yet i had to have it ive been wanting it for a long time lol it looks sharper then black

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