Best iPhone for Seniors iMore 2020

Each year, we look at the newest iPhones on the market and decide which ones are best for our readers. For seniors, we're recommending the iPhone XR, which offers great features for less than other iPhones on the market. We've gathered other noteworthy models to help you choose the one that fits your needs best.

Best Overall: iPhone XR

iPhone XR

Described by a colleague as the "Goldilock iPhone," the iPhone XR is a terrific choice for most buyers, regardless of age. Available in multiple colors, including blue, yellow, black, white, coral, and red, the 6.1-inch device offers most of the same internals as the other 2018 iPhones, but for less cash. These include a 7MP TrueDepth camera, A12 Bionic chip with Neural Engine, Face ID, and wireless charging. The iPhone XR also consists of a 12MP camera, Liquid Retina HD display, water resistance to a depth of 1 meter for up to 30 minutes, and much more.

There's little not to love about this iPhone, although a few things stand out. First, the LCD doesn't offer the same brightness and deep blacks as the OLED found on the iPhone XS. Also, because of the LCD's backlight, you'll find a thicker bezel here bordering the screen. Also, Apple has removed 3D Touch on the iPhone XR and replaced it with Haptic Touch. In terms of accessibility, it appears that the latter is ever-so-slightly harder to use than the former.

Both of these negatives probably won't sway many would-be buyers, however. For one, the difference between LCD and OLED is only noticeable if you spend a great deal of time comparing the two side-by-side. Second, with rumors swirling that Apple plans on discontinuing 3D Touch on all future iPhones beginning in 2020, it's increasingly clear the tool isn't universally loved and probably won't be missed by most. Still, if accessibility weighs heavily on your decision, you might want to look at another model.


  • Large display for less
  • Colorful choices


  • LCD, not OLED
  • Thicker bezel than iPhone XS
  • No 3D Touch

Best Overall

iPhone XR

For most, this is the iPhone to get.

Less expensive than the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max with nearly the same internals.

Best Value: iPhone 8

iPhone 8

Not everyone wants to buy a new iPhone every year that includes all of Apple's latest bells and whistles. For those folks, there's the iPhone 8. Introduced in 2017 alongside the now-discontinued iPhone X, the iPhone 8 and its bigger brother, the iPhone 8 Plus, represent a bygone era in Apple handset design.

Featuring Touch ID, not Face ID, the 4.7-inch iPhone 8 is still packed with plenty of features that make it worth considering. These include a 12MP camera and 7 MP FaceTime HD camera, A11 Bionic chip with Neural Engine, wireless charging, 3D Touch, and more. Better still, the iPhone 8 is available for hundreds less than other handsets on this list.

If you're looking for a new iPhone that acts and feels a lot like the one you currently own, the iPhone 8 is probably the one for you. It offers modern features in a design that's practical and familiar. Best of all, it's often on sale.


  • Heavily discounted
  • Tried and true


  • Aging design
  • Touch ID, not Face ID
  • Glass back

Best Value

iPhone 8

Well-tested workhorse

A perfect choice for anyone who wants to upgrade, but not spend a lot.

Best Premium: iPhone XS

iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max

First introduced in September 2018, Apple's current flagship device offers the most advanced internals found on an iPhone to date. Featuring a 5.8-inch Super Retina HD (OLED) display, the iPhone XS includes dual 12MP wide-angle and telephoto cameras and a 7MP TrueDepth front camera.

Like the iPhone XR (and iPhone XS Max), the iPhone XS has an A12 Bionic chip with next-generation Neural Engine, Face ID, and wireless charging.

Reasons to purchase the iPhone XS over the iPhone XR include more storage available (512GB vs. 256GB), a better camera, and a more robust display. The most significant negative: the price.


  • Excellent specs
  • Best display to date


  • Expensive
  • Limited color options

Best Premium

iPhone XS

it's the flagship

Buy the iPhone XS if you want Apple's latest and greatest, but don't want the large display of the iPhone XS Max.

Best Large Screen: iPhone XS Max

iPhone XS Max

Finally, there's the 6.5-inch iPhone XS Max, which is identical to the iPhone XS except for its bigger display size. This handset is the one you should get if you want the latest and greatest with the largest form factor.


  • Biggest iPhone display to date
  • Great camera
  • It's all here


  • Pricey
  • Difficult to hold with one hand

Best Large Screen

iPhone XS Max

The biggest you can buy

Here's the largest handset Apple has designed to date. Buy this one if you want zero limits!

Bottom line

If you're a senior and in the market for an iPhone, you'll quickly notice there's a wide selection from which to choose. Our advice is to go with the iPhone XR, which provides most of the features found on the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, but for less cash.

The iPhone XR features a 6.1-inch Liquid Retina HD (LCD) display, 12MP camera, 7MP TrueDepth front camera, A12 Bionic chip with Neural Engine, Face ID, and wireless charging. It's available in six colors with 64GB, 128GB, or 256GB of storage. Happy shopping!

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Bryan M. Wolfe is a dad who loves technology, especially anything new from Apple. Penn State (go Nittany Lions) graduate here, also a huge fan of the New England Patriots. Thanks for reading. @bryanmwolfe

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