iPhone buyers guide

iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C buyers guide

Everything you need to know before choosing your perfect iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c color, capacity, carrier, and more!

There are a lot of decisions involved when it comes to buying or upgrading to a new phone, even a new iPhone 5s or iPhone 5c. Which model? High-end or less-expensive? Which color? There are a lot to choose from this year! Which capacity? Keep it small or go all out? And on which carrier? There's never been more to choose from! Then there's when to buy and where, and host of other small but important things to consider, including, what do you do with your old phone when your hot new one arrives?

Enter iMore's 2014 iPhone buyers guide. If you need help deciding what to buy, we've got your back. And if you've already decided, just bookmark, email, Facebook, or Tweet this so we can help your friends and family and you can get on with enjoying your new iPhone!

2014 iPhone buyers guide podcast

Rene, Peter, and Richard talk everything about Apple's new iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c, including iPhone vs. other phones, iPhone 5s vs. iPhone 5c, color, capacity, carriers, and more! If you'd rather watch or listen before you read, start here!

iPhone spec comparison

Since its introduction in 2007 the iPhone has improved steadily over the years, adding higher density, bigger displays, faster Wi-Fi and cellular networking, better cameras, and new features like Siri and Touch ID. The above chart shows the evolution of the iPhone from the original to the latest iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s, including pricing and capacity at launch. While what you paid for it when you got it might vary, you can check your current model and see how it compares to the ones available now.

iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c: Should you upgrade?

iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c: Should you upgrade?

When a new iPhone is introduced - or this year when two new iPhones are introduced - one of the toughest decisions to make is whether or not to upgrade to the latest and the greatest. If money is no object, it won't matter. If you're due an upgrade on contract, it comes down to whether or not the new features in the iPhone 5c or iPhone 5s are compelling enough to be worth $100 or $200 or more to you. If you're not due an upgrade, or if you don't buy on contract, then that decision escalates to $550, $650, or more. So what are the pros and cons of upgrading to the iPhone 5c or iPhone 5s, and when does the cost get overwhelmed by the value? Let's take a look...

How to sell your old iPhone

How to get the most money for your old iPhone before upgrading to a new iPhone 5s or iPhone 5c

Selling your old iPhone (or any old phone) can help offset some, if not all of the cost, of a new iPhone, especially if you're not yet eligible for an upgrade and have to pay a premium. Odds are you've already decided which capacity and color you'll be getting when the iPhone 5 drops so you have some idea of how much money you need to get out of your current iPhone to cover the purchase.

So if you don't fancy handing it down for free to a family member or using it as a backup phone, we can guide you in the right direction when it comes to selling your old iPhone and getting top dollar for it.

iPhone vs. Android vs. BlackBerry vs. Windows Phone: Which phone should you get?

iPhone vs. Android vs. BlackBerry vs. Windows Phone: Which phone should you get?

While everyone here at iMore certainly believes the iPhone is still the best phone for most people, most of the time, we're lucky that every major platform now has one or more great phones for us to choose from as well. The iPhone may have the best overall user experience, the highest quality apps and games, the widest range of services, the biggest selection of accessories, and the best customer support, but there are also things the iPhone doesn't offer that other phones do, like much larger screens, physical keyboards, high power cameras, greater hardware options, or simply no Apple about them. How do you know which one is for you? Keep reading!

If you're considering any other, specific phones:

What's the difference between iPhones?

What's the difference between iPhones?

While 'iPhone' often sounds like one, iconic thing, Apple has fielded many different models, and an incredible array of variants over the years. This year there's the state-of-the-art iPhone 5s, the pop-art iPhone 5c, and the held-over iPhone 4s. Sure, 5 sounds higher than 4, but what's the real difference between all these models? Does more money really get you more features, does saving up-front cost you in the long run, and how much phone do you really need? If you're looking to get your first iPhone, or looking to get one for family or friends, figuring it all out can be confusing. Here's what you need to know!

iPhone 5s vs. iPhone 5c vs. iPhone 4s: Which iPhone should you get?

iPhone 5s vs. iPhone 5c vs. iPhone 4s: Which iPhone should you get?

Once you know you're getting an iPhone and now, you need to decide which iPhone you want to get. While some might consider the the latest, greatest iPhone 5s a no brainer when it comes to their next purchasing decision, others might think the funner, less expensive iPhone 5c, or even the hold-over iPhone 4s is a much better value. If you're on-contract, you'll be paying a couple thousand dollars over the next couple of years anyway, so a few hundred for up-front may not matter to you. However, if you don't have that couple extra hundred up front, especially if you're going off-contract, up-front cost really will matter. It's important to really run the math on this and see what suits you best. So, premium, popular, or passé, which one should you get?

Gold vs. silver vs. space gray: Which iPhone 5s color should you get?

Gold vs. silver vs. space gray: Which iPhone 5s color should you get?

Color is one of the most visually distinctive - and personal - things about a new iPhone, which makes it one of the most important choices you'll have to make. Originally there was only one color, aluminum and black, but Apple eventually went to black and white, and now they're offering three choices for their high-end iPhone 5s: silver and gold, silver and white, and space gray and black. (The space gray and black replaces last year's slate and black, likely because it's an easier color to anodize). If you're on the fence about which color you should get, here's what you should consider.

Green vs. blue vs. yellow vs. pink vs. white: Which iPhone 5c color should get?

Green vs. blue vs. yellow vs. pink vs. white: Which iPhone 5c color should get?

More than any iPhone in history, the iPhone 5c is all about color and personality. It comes in hard coated polycarbonate - think plastic, but way classier! - in fun, vibrant shades of green, blue, yellow, pink and white. Color is so personal, so distinctive, but more colors mean more to choose from, and can also mean a more difficult choice! If you're having trouble picking your particular spot on the iPhone 5c rainbow, we're here to help!

16GB, 32GB, or 64GB: Which iPhone 5s storage size should you get?

16GB, 32GB, or 64GB: Which iPhone 5s storage size should you get?

One of the biggest decisions you have to make - literally! - when it comes to buying your new iPhone is how much storage capacity you get. The way Apple's pricing works, you get double the storage for every extra $100 your spend, which isn't really as straightforward a deal as it seems. While the iPhone 5c only has 16GB and 32GB options, the iPhone 5s has a 64GB option as well. Get more capacity than you need and you'll waste some money. Get too little and you'll experience no end of frustration. So, it's really important to weigh all the options and figure out the best price/storage ratio. Here's how it works!

Speed vs. reliability vs. value: Which iPhone 5s or iPhone 5c carrier should you get?

Speed vs. reliability vs. value: Which iPhone 5s or iPhone 5c carrier should you get?

AT&T vs. Verizon vs. Sprint vs. T-Mobile in the U.S. Rogers vs. Bell vs. TELUS in Canada. Three vs O2 vs EE vs Vodafone in the U.K. And many more around the world. Then there are various discount carriers, regionals, and MVNOs. It's a mess! How do you know which carrier will give you the fastest data speeds, or the most reliable connections, or simply the best value for your money? It all comes down to where you live, work, or go to school, and what options work best in your specific area. However, there's a lot of broad generalities that can apply. Here are some of the most important, broken down by country!

AppleCare+ vs. insurance vs. nothing: Which iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c protection plan should you get?

AppleCare+ vs. insurance vs. nothing: Which iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c protection plan should you get?

One of the last things you have to decide on when buying a new iPhone 5s or iPhone 5c is whether or not to pony up for the optional AppleCare+ protection plan. It's an additional $99 but it gives you an extra year's warranty as well as a much lower deductible if you damage and need to replace your iPhone. If you're not buying from Apple directly, you might also have the option of getting retailer, carrier, or other third-party insurance. And, of course, you have the option of getting nothing at all. Before deciding which is the best choice for you, here are some factors to consider!

Need more help?

If there's any detail you're still not 100% sure about, or any question you'd still love to get answered before you buy your brand new iPhone 5c or iPhone 5s, we have fantastic information pages that are always kept up-to-the-minute, and amazing community forums filled with experts for you to talk with. Bookmark them and check back often! And once you've decided, let us know in the comments - which iPhone did you get and why?

More coverage

iPhone 5c 8GB goes on sale in more countries across Europe

It looks like Apple's latest model in the iPhone 5c line, the 8GB version, is beginning to go on sale in some additional countries today. We've received a tip that it has just this morning gone on sale in the Czech Republic for the first time, while the folks at 9to5Mac have confirmed it has also gone on sale in The Netherlands, Sweden, Italy, Belgium and Poland.

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Incipio Feather Case for iPhone 5s review

The Incipio Feather Case for iPhone 5s is exactly what the name implies — an iPhone 5s case that's as light and easy as a feather. It has a snug fit and no bezel on the size, but it's quick to put on and take off. It's even got a cute little kickstand, and comes in a multitude of colors! Check out the video above for my hands-on and then let me know what you think!

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A tale of two bigger iPhones

One of the more popular rumors making the rounds right now is that Apple will release not one but two new, bigger iPhones this year. The first would be the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and the second, a 5.5-inch Apple "phablet". These rumors aren't coming from overly sensational, overly outlandish sources, but from mainstream news outlets and some of the more reserved financial analysts. Even so, information gleaned from supply chain sources, many of whom are working on a wide array of products and prototypes from a range of vendors, this far in advance, is likely only slightly more reliable than a roll of the polyhedral dice. But beyond the rumors, what could all this mean?

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Apple launches iPhone trade-in program in Germany

Following on from several other locations around the world, Apple has launched its own iPhone trade-in program in Germany. According to the folks at 9to5Mac German Apple customers are beginning to see the option displayed inside the Apple Store app for the iPhone, but the website hasn't yet been updated at the time of writing to reflect the same.

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What's a 'carrier update' for iPhone or iPad and why do we get them?

If you've had an iPhone or cellular capable iPad for an extended period of time, you've undoubtedly received a notification about a carrier update. Some are mandatory and don't give you an option to say no or remind me later. Others just hang out and bug you occasionally until you actually perform the update. One of the biggest questions we get asked here at iMore by you, our readers, is what exactly is a carrier update and what does it actually contain?

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WWDC 2014 wallpapers for iPhone and iPad

You know the drill. Apple has announced WWDC 2014 and that means there's new artwork to go along with it. This year it's a classic rainbow of app icon shapes whose negative space reveals the distinctive top of the Apple logo. We'll leave it to others to engage in the usual Apple-mancy, to read the artwork Apple leaves and try to determine if it means color displays on iWatch, icon scaling for a big screen iPhone 6, a new palette for iOS 8 or OS X 10.10 Syrah or — my personal choice — just a high-impact look by Apple's typically excellent graphic design team. But what's really important for now, some two months out, is... wallpapers!

Grab the iPad version up top, the iPhone version below, and rock your 6 colors from now until Keynote day!

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Seidio Surface and Ledger case for iPhone reviews

I'm checking out some of the best slim cases for the iPhone 5s and I'm starting off with two great cases from Seidio, and Surface case and the Ledger Flip case.

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ZAGG InvisibleSHIELD Arsenal case for iPhone 5s hands-on

Don't let the slim size and low price fool you, the ZAGG InvisibleSHIELD Arsenal case offers serious impact protection for your iPhone 5s. It's got a soft center and hard outer shell to both absorb energy and defend against damage. Not only that, while you can't go swimming with it, the Arsenal case will prevent rain and splashes from harming your iPhone 5s. There's even an InvisibleShield screen protector included to keep everything as scratch free as possible!

If you've been looking for impact protection without the usual bulk that comes with it, I recommend checking out the ZAGG InvisibleSHIELD Arsenal case for iPhone 5s. If all you want is the screen protector, you can get those too!

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Where could Apple go with the iPhone 6 and Apple A8 chipset?

Last year Apple launched their second generation custom CPU as part of the Apple A7 system-on-a-chip found in the iPhone 5s, iPad Air, and iPad mini Retina. Codenamed "Cyclone" it used the ARMv8 instruction set and was an industry first 64-bit. Thanks to some sleuthing and some new commit logs, Anand Lai Shimpi has presented a ton of technical details on what Apple has accomplished to date. Moreover, he's gone into the iPhone 6 and Apple A8 SoC, and what we might just see this year.

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iPhone 5s vs. HTC One M8: Camera shootout!

The iPhone 5s and the HTC One M8 arguably have two of the best smartphone cameras on the market. Sure the iPhone is 6 months old and the HTC One is brand new, but until Apple releases an iPhone 6, these are devices we have to choose from right now. The HTC One M8 tosses conventional megapixels aside in favor of UltraPixels, which is a fancy way of saying they suck in a lot of light. The iPhone 5s' iSight camera has smaller pixels, but twice as many. Even though both of them look great on paper, how they perform in the real world is what really matters. That's why we're putting the iPhone 5s and HTC One M8 head-to-head, camera-to-camera, in a full-on, in depth, photography shootout. So, which smartphone camera reigns supreme?

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