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

T-Mobile confirms that Wi-Fi calling is coming to iPhones on their network with iOS 8

T-Mobile has confirmed that iPhones on their network will be able to take advantage of the Wi-Fi calling feature that the US carrier has offered since 2007. Among all of the big announcements today about iOS 8 at WWDC 2014, Apple also had their customary slide of "all the rest" of the many other features small-medium-and-arguably-kind-of-large that they didn't have time to mention in the marathon two-hour event. Among them was Wi-Fi calling.

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iPhone will be able to hand off phone calls and text messages to Mac

As a part of today's WWDC announcement, Apple showed a new OS X Yosemite feature which automatically shunts phone calls and text messages from your iPhone to your Mac. This all ties in with a bunch of other useful new AirDrop-related features.

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Bizarre Australian iPhone, iPad hijack serves as yet another reminder to use unique passwords

There are reports coming out of Australia about iPhones and iPads somehow getting locked down by Find my iPhone, in some cases with a message claiming the devices will only be unlocked if a AUS$100 ransom is paid. What makes this bizarre is that it appears to only be happening in Australia (and the internet has no borders) and it's unclear how the attackers are accessing Find my iPhone for the devices in question. So, what's going on?

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Swarm for iPhone review: It's not Foursquare, and here's why that's great!

Swarm by Foursquare is a new social checkin and meetup up for iPhone. At first I was a little stumped. Why would I need Swarm if my friends and I already use Foursquare? However, as I started using Swarm I started to change my mind. It's a different app and it's useful for something that's both similar and yet very different from Foursquare — seeing what your friends are up to and figuring out how and where to meet up with them.

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Amzer Double Layer Hybrid Case with Kickstand for iPhone 5c review

The Double Layer Hybrid Case with Kickstand by Amzer for iPhone 5c offers not only an easy way to watch movies and shows, but also provides some serious protection against drops. It's easy to install, comes at an extremely reasonable price, and fits well. But are there any drawbacks to buying this case over something else?

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USB vs. Bluetooth vs. Wi-Fi: The best way to tether to your iPhone or iPad!

Tethering lets you share the data connection from your iPhone or cellular iPad with your Mac, PC, Wi-Fi tablet, and other devices. There are three ways to tether to your iPhone or iPad and they are USB (via Lightning or Dock cable), Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi (personal hotspot). But which one gives you the fastest speed? Which one gives you the most reliable connection? Which one saves you the most battery life? Which is the best way to tether to your iPhone and iPad?

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How to create and customize vibration alerts on your iPhone

By default your iPhone uses two quick vibration pulses for a text message and a continuous steady pulse vibration for incoming calls. All other Notification Center alerts receive a single vibration. But what if you want something different so you can easily tell what kind of notification you're receiving without even looking at your iPhone? As it happens, you can do just that by creating and assigning your own vibration patterns. Here's how:

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Apple bringing 8GB iPhone 5c to India

Apple will be bringing the 8GB version of the iPhone 5c to India in the coming weeks. During Apple's Q2 2014 conference call, CEO Tim Cook said that Indian iPhone sales had more than doubled. India is an emerging market where many of the "next billion" smartphone customers are expected to come from, and getting a lower cost version of Apple's pop-art-inspired mid-tier iPhone makes a lot of sense. Especially for customers who don't need to cary around a lot of media with them but do want access to messaging apps and the mobile web.

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How to fix a broken charge port on an iPhone 5

If your iPhone 5 isn't charging anymore, it's possible that either liquid came into contact with your charge port, or one of the pins are broken. Other symptoms of a bad dock connector can include iTunes not recognizing your iPhone when it's plugged into the computer. If you're experiencing any of these symptoms and aren't quite ready to fork over the cash for a new iPhone just yet, we can walk you through how to repair your iPhone on your own. Follow along for step by step instructions on replacing the Lightning dock in your iPhone 5!

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Spotify for iPhone review: Finally, some progress!

I have an ongoing love hate relationship with pretty much every music streaming service available. I just want them to be better as none of them as a whole are the best. That's why I was excited when Spotify majorly overhauled their iPhone app. It was a chance to try the service out again and see if the glaring issues that push me on the Rdio side of the fence are finally remedied. Is it good enough for me to give it a second chance? More importantly, is it good enough for you, our readers, to choose it over the many available options? Let's find out...

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