iPhone 6s video review

The iPhone 4s brought us the Siri virtual assistant. The iPhone 5s brought us the Touch ID fingerprint identity scanner. Both, transformative. The same is true of 3D Touch on the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.

3D Touch

Technologically, it makes multitouch multidimensional and take the capacitive screens we've been enjoying since the original iPhone to a whole new level. Or rather, depth. With 3D Touch, you don't just swipe and tap anymore. You press. And thanks to the Taptic engine, you feel like you're pressing.

Functionally, it makes the iPhone faster and more convenient. Instead of tapping an icon to launch an app, you press to jump right into it.

Apple calls these Quick Actions; you can have up to four per app icon. They can be static for tasks you do all the time, like taking a selfie or getting directions home. They can also be dynamic, so you can go straight into a recent text chat. Instead of tapping back and forth to read mail or preview maps or web pages, you can press into list items or links to peek at them, lighten up to back out, or press deeper to pop right in.

Previews and actions can even be combined together: When you peek, you can swipe up to get a list of quick actions and tap on them immediately. You can even swipe sideways in Mail to quickly triage on the go.

You can press the keyboard to turn it into a trackpad, the side of the screen to switch back to previous app, a Live Photo to animate it, and the list goes on. Apple has also given developers direct access to the dynamic pressure sensitivity data, as shown off in the new Notes app. That'll be great for everything from drawing to gaming.

It does take some getting used to. The difference between a tap, long press, and 3D Touch can be tricky at first. But the haptics and interface are well tuned and once you get the hang of it, it's like you have a warp tunnel through iOS. It accelerates everything.

Cameras

The cameras have seen substantial improvements as well: The rear iSight is now 12 megapixels with "deep trench isolation" to make sure those new pixels produce crisp, clean images.

It also shoots 4K video.

Not by default—you have to enable it—and many people won't need it. But for pros, being able to shoot—and more importantly zoom, stabilize, and crop—with that many pixels is a huge benefit.

The front FaceTime camera is now 5 megapixels and it comes with a special chip that lets the Retina display flash at three times brightness—the equivalent of a TrueTone flash.

The iPhone 6 still lacks the optical image stabilization of the 6s Plus, but the 6s Plus can now use its OIS for rock-steady video.

Live Photos

They can also both take Live Photos. They're not videos but 12 megapixel captures 1.5 seconds before and after, so that when you transition or 3D Touch them, they animate and come to life.

Again, it takes practice to nail the timing and make sure you get the beginning and end of a smile, cheer, stumble, flare, or twirl, but when you do…. magic.

You can use Live Photos as wallpapers on your iPhone or Apple Watch, and share them to the Mac when OS X El Capitan launches at the end of September.

Apple will be making it easy for developers to add Live Photos to apps as well, but like with any new technology we'll have to wait to see how far and how fast it spreads.

Touch ID + Apple A9

The Touch ID sensor is now in its second generation and quicker than ever, and the Apple A9 chipset is significantly faster. 70% for processing and 90% for graphics. It's the kind of results you get when you don't have to support multiple architectures and you can match the silicon directly to the software.

It also directly integrates the new M9 coprocessor, making motion and fitness tracking more energy efficient and enabling—optionally—"Hey Siri!" even when you're not plugged in.

Same with the radios. LTE has gone to 23-bands, including band 12 in the U.S., and up to 300 megabits per second on LTE Advanced. Bluetooth is now 4.2 and Wi-Fi can go to 866 megabits per second on 802.11ac.

Design + rose gold

While the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus may look like last year's models, to support the increased pressure of 3D Touch they're now made out of stronger 7000 series aluminum and the glass has been hardened with a new dual ion-exchange process for added durability.

And it comes in rose gold.

It's more rose than gold. Truthfully, it's metallic pink. But it's restrained pink. Like Apple's gold has always been more of a champagne. It's warm but not hot and while it may not be for everyone, it will be for everyone who wants to make a statement. It also shows, once again, how a new color can prompt just as much interest as a new design.

The displays are still 4.7-inches and 5.5-inches, so those hoping for a return of the smaller phone sizes will have to keep hoping for at least another year.

Likewise those demanding thicker phones. Battery geometry isn't like pumping frosted filling. Adding more mass, thermal insulation, and RF interference for minimal power isn't a smart tradeoff. And lightness is absolutely essential for usability. You can add a rugged case or power pack when you need it. You can't tear off half your phone when you don't.

That's why Apple's sticking with the essentials and continuing to use software advances like universal gestures and 3D Touch to improve one-handed use, and facedown detection and low power mode to maintain battery life—even with a battery made slightly smaller to fit the Taptic Engine.

Should you upgrade?

If you have an iPhone 4s or one of the iPhones 5, it's a major upgrade and you should strongly consider it.

If you have an Android phone and Apple's security, privacy, ecosystem, and ease of use have become increasingly compelling to you, thanks to the new Move to iOS app, switching has never been easier.

If you have an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, it'll come down to how badly you want 3D Touch and that new camera, and how enticing the new yearly upgrade plans are to you.

Apple calls iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s the most advanced phones ever. What matters, though, is that they're among the most thoughtful and useful.

That's why, for most people, most of the time, the iPhone remains the best phone you can buy.

More to come!

We'll be back with in-depth iMore-style reviews of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus shortly. So, if you have any questions, let us know!

Rene Ritchie
Contributor

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

58 Comments
  • 3D Touch looks like a great feature. I can't wait to try it!
  • Makes me want a iPhone. Sick of Android Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Lol. Not sick of android but I might just have to replace my iPhone 6+! This S model looks pretty nice! Posted via my Nexus 6!
  • Enjoying my iPhone 6s + and 6s, wonderful phones and one of the best out there. People switching from Android will also enjoy but please don't switch thinking that Apple is more worried about your security. All companies are only worried about profits and Apple will sell everyone of us if they can figure out a way to make money from our data, they are currently incompetent in that and not guaranteed they will be like this forever. Switch because it is a great phone and not because of people spreading FUD.
  • Uh, if you like Apple so much why is your avatar an Android? Busted iOS>Android ---> http://flip.it/VmdPE
  • There is a typo under the cameras section.
    It should be iPhone 6S and not iPhone 6 Plus that does not have OIS
  • Maybe it's just me but I'm not very impressed with the 6s. Definitely not worth upgrading my 6 Sent from the iMore App
  • For me I wouldn't say it's a disappointment, I'm very happy with the update. Just the 2gb of ram alone has helped with annoying stuttering menu transitions and general snappiness. However, I think some reporting has shown some over-excitement. In my case I was able to sell my 6, upgrade to 6s and my phone service bill will be a few dollars cheaper then it was last year. So, why not. Sent from the iMore App
  • If you have 5s and older, the 6s will blow your mind.
    If you have 6 or 6plus, you will not going to see huge difference unless you always want to have apple latest and greatest.
    As for me, taking pictures is very important on my smartphone and I wished apple will include at least OIS on the 4.7 iPhone 6, wider aperture 1.9 or 1.8 and wider lens, those were going to be my reason to upgrade, unfortunately NO.
    3D Touch looks awesome but since most apps am using are third parties, i will not going to see it's advantages, maybe down the road, I don't shoot videos on my smartphone so 4K is not important to me, 12MP will give you more details or bigger pictures but not a reason for me to get the 6s, Think I will wait the iPhone 7 or if I were going to get the new one, am going to the 6s PLUS which at least has OIS for my most low light shots.
    For my current 2014 iPhone 6, the 2015 6s PLUS is going to be more of an upgrade than the 6s.
  • You were at Madison Square Park and no pictures of the Flatiron Building...the horror. The 3D Touch is very enticing, I'm going to head to the store to try it out.
  • Don't worry, I've got plenty of those in an impending camera test. :)
  • Nice video! Must say that the Modern Buckle (or was that a Classic Buckle) and Space Black bands look so so nice on your wrists. I'll be upgrading my 5S to a 6S Plus. Gotta go do some hand calisthenics in preparation. The games that will make use of 3D Touch may be magnificent and... tiring.
  • Reachability has been a godsend switching from a 6 to 6s Plus. Craziness.
  • I'm enjoying the new 6s having picked one up yesterday, but it's a bit buggy to be sure. I found an interesting one wherein if you "tickle" the home button slightly, the icons all slide halfway down the screen. That's just bizarre and makes you wonder if anyone was paying attention in the usability department. More importantly, I have been stymied at attempts to put in an alphanumeric passcode. Basically it let me do it (a requirement if you also want to enable the fingerprint scanner), but then the keyboard you get when you turn on the phone is completely frozen and doesn't allow input. You end up completely locked out of your own phone even though you know the passcode. If you swipe back and forth a few dozen times (yes literally dozens of times), you can sometimes enter a letter or two before it freezes. After ten minutes of this I finally got my 7 character passcode in and then immediately turned off the passcode feature because obviously ... it's broken. It is a fairly serious bug, and very scary, considering that this one feature is crucial both to security and to you being able to actually use your phone. To those that criticism me for "always being negative" (I'm not, but whatever), this is just here to alert others to the fact that this is a possible bug or could happen to you. I've been searching for about a half hour or so and have yet to find any mention of this elsewhere.
  • "Tickling" the home button is actually a feature of the iPhone6. A light two touch brings the top rows down for easy reachability since the iPhone got longer.
  • Minus the fondling of the Home button, it sounds to me like you've got issues with that specific device. If I were in your shoes I'd serioiusly consider trying to get another phone ASAP. Maybe do a complete reset first, just to be sure it isn't something software related - but, yeah.
  • Gaziobee- What your experiencing when you get a half screen is a feature that was introduced in iOS 8. It allows users with larger screens the ability to reach higher icons with one finger. It's not a bug. You access it by double tapping on the home button lightly. Sent from the iMore App
  • Oh right, of course. Sorry for that. :-/ The thing with the frozen keyboard worries me much more anyway.
  • The video was very informative and superbly presented. I have shared it with my daughters who have an iPhone 5S. Thanks for the outstanding work.
  • I just want to say that I'm really enjoying my upgrade to the 6s. The devil is in the details, and this phone is now a refinement to the previous 6. The first thing I really noticed is the new aluminum. My phone feels more solid, with some heft (only a few grams more, but noticeable). The color is different as well. My space grey appears a shade different. The 3D Touch is a joy to use, and the haptic feedback is wonderful (I almost wish it could be used on other functions as well). As a parent of a six year old, I can't wait to use the camera (especially the 4K video). Lastly, I have to say that the speed of the 6s is amazing. I know Apple loves to spout their numbers (4x, 10x, etc.), but this phone lives up to the hype. I highly recommend this phone to anyone thinking about an upgrade. You won't regret it. Sent from the iMore App
  • Loving my 6s! So glad I switched back to Apple. Sent from the iMore App
  • This was a review!? Sounded more like an advert for the iPhone! People will down vote me but honestly that wasn't a review! And no I don't have an iPhone nor am I anti apple.
    I am looking forward to reviews of the IPhone from MKHB and Erica Griffiths on YouTube. They will give praise when it's due in other words a good proper review!
  • Lol you expected a review on iMore Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Yea I was equally confused. Was it a review or just an advertisement to buy one? Every word simply praised the phone and nothing more. I have an Android phone and will be moving back to the iPhone, but not on the 6S. I really hate the design and that rose gold is way too feminine looking. I enjoy my gold S6 edge color more.
  • The more positive a review, the more likely the reviewer will be invited to future Apple press events, like major keynotes ;-) Also, this seems more like a topical iOS 'how-to' site, and not one to come to if you want to read or watch a review that gives you all the angles, pro & con, about a device. Maybe think of it more like a site to check if you're trying to convince yourself to purchase an iOS device -- you won't talk yourself out of it based iMore's content...
  • This is a well-known "pro-Apple-everything" site, with a particular penchant for positivity. What exactly did you expect? If you think about it even a tiny bit further ... pretty much ALL tech websites like this are *promotional* sites. They aren't necessarily paid by Apple, but the entire reason for their existence is the promotion of technology, specifically, Apple technology. They aren't here to explain technology to you or give you an unbiased opinion of it, they are here to *promote* it to you. Think "salesman," rather than "teacher" and you are on the right track.
  • Not our review by a long shot! Those will come in the next week or two. This was a quick 48-hour hands on touching on the high points. We'll have much more thorough coverage in the weeks to come.
  • OK fair enough this article is not a review but the title of the video on YouTube was " iPhone 6s + iPhone 6s Plus video review" so you can understand my confusion because the video just seemed like an advert for the iPhone and not a review. To be fair that's misleading, maybe change the video title to "Over view of the new iPhones"
  • Thanks, I found it helpful. Mainly an android user here but have an iPhone and will probably sell my unlocked 6+ and get a 6s+ when the craziness settles down. Liking iOS 9 so far and want to check out 3D touch. Posted via my Nexus 6!
  • saw one today. I'll be honest, i didn't watch a second of the iphone 6s reveal. So when i used it today, i couldn't see a thing different than my iphone 6. I'm sure there are upgrades and ios 9 shit i didn't see but in the few minutes i used it it wasn't apparent. I wasn't gonna upgrade anyways but seems whatever is different is under the hood. Even ios 9, i didn't see much different except the utter shit new music player which is no longer about music management but rather feeding you apple products and services. That thing is amazing. there's now 4 permanent buttons on the bottom of the app that i'll never use and can't remove or alter. And seriously apple i don't need your suggestions or recently added wasting half my screen. Nice downgrade on that app. Lost their way of making things streamlined with that.
  • The "s" models don't usually offer many visual enhancements. It's normally under the hood tweaks and additional features you'll get. Think Siri with the 4s, Touch ID with the 5s and 3D Touch with the 6s. Sent from the iMore App
  • I didn't have the 6 so to me the 6s is amazing, but I totally agree about how shitty the new Music app is. Like most Apple stuff it's all about the store, sales, and streaming everything from the cloud. The iOS music app totally sucks for just playing your own music on your own phone now. I buy my own music, I chose what to put on the phone, and I just want a player on the phone to play it. You'd think this would be simple. I want my album view back because I only buy albums. I want it to open on the "Playlist" view (the only part I use anymore), instead of always opening on the "My Music" part which is f8cking useless unless you are buying into the iCloud shit. Why do I have to always hit that playlist button every time I open the app? Just leave it where I'm using it.
  • I have an Album view in the dropdown list.
  • Yeah, not the same thing though. In iTunes, when you sync, you get a choice of syncing playlists, and also albums (you can do artists too but I never heard of anyone doing that). On the iPhone, in the new Music app, the synced music can be viewed by hitting the "Playlist" button (which shows playlists of course), or the "Music" button which has a pulldown where you can select Album view. The problem is, the "Album" view, just shows all the music you have on your phone, it doesn't show which are albums and which are not. In other words if you sync a playlist that has a hundred songs each from a different artist, you just get a hundred "Albums" showing up here, even though you haven't actually got the album for ANY of those songs. The actual, real albums that you synced to your phone are lost somewhere in that long long list of garbage. They do it that way now because they want you to turn on streaming (there is a big advert for it at the top of the same "Music" screen). If you buy into the whole Apple Music thing and streaming, this layout makes some sense. For those of us that just want to sync our local music (the standard way up until a month or two ago), it doesn't make any sense at all. It's got to the point where only about 10-20% of the Music app is relevant or makes any sense if you don't buy into the streaming shit. It's annoying at best.
  • OK, maybe I'm just not as smart as I think I am, because I'm not following. When I open the Music app and go to "My Music" and click on the drop down list in the middle, there is an option for "Albums." When I choose "Albums" it lists the individual albums that those songs on my iPhone belong to. For instance - and don't judge! - the first page of the "Albums" list right now shows "Hunting High and Low" from A-ha; "Gold" by Abba; "Back in Black" by AC/DC; "Black Ice" by AC/DC; "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" by AC/DC; "Highway to Hell" by AC/DC and "For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)" by AC/DC. These are the actual albums that are on my iPhone. So I guess I'm not understanding what you mean by "Album" view.
  • I love it. Sent from the iMore App
  • The 6s really highlights how dated 1GB of RAM was on older generations. Some of the features like live photos and selfie flash should easily be ported to the previous gens but clearly RAM is the deficiency here. Either that or Apple is showing their greed card a little.
  • +1 on this. Can't wait to see how 2gigs of RAM help out with the apps open. Posted via my Nexus 6!
  • Love it. Seriously best iPhone release.
  • IMO this was not a very good video preview of the videos on the different devices and on all of them, I thought the IP 6 was the best. IMO!!
  • Could you do a review of the lighting doc. It does not seem very stable due to no back. It is only the connector holding the phone up. Sent from the iMore App
  • In progress!
  • If you have 5s and older, the 6s will blow your mind.
    If you have 6 or 6plus, you will not going to see huge difference unless you always want to have apple latest and greatest.
    As for me, taking pictures is very important on my smartphone and I wished apple will include at least OIS on the 4.7 iPhone 6, wider aperture 1.9 or 1.8 and wider lens, those were going to be my reason to upgrade, unfortunately NO.
    3D Touch looks awesome but since most apps am using are third parties, i will not going to see it's advantages, maybe down the road, I don't shoot videos on my smartphone so 4K is not important to me, 12MP will give you more details or bigger pictures but not a reason for me to get the 6s, Think I will wait the iPhone 7 or if I were going to get the new one, am going to the 6s PLUS which at least has OIS for my most low light shots.
    For my current 2014 iPhone 6, the 2015 6s PLUS is going to be more of an upgrade than the 6s.
  • Trop kool la fonction 3D Touch pour moi c'est aller à l'essentiel
  • I ordered the 6s+ to replace my 6+ on an AT&T Next 12 contract because I really wanted the new camera. We enlarge/crop pictures fairly often and my son's Samsung 16mpxl shooter puts the 8mxpl 6+ camera to shame when you are blowing up details. Also, adding OIS to video will be a game changer. As for the rest, 3D Touch looks promising and "more power" is always welcome, but those alone wouldn't get me to upgrade. Maybe the iPhone 7 will make breakfast for us (or, heresy, despite Rene's battery response above, they will pour more battery into it - there is NEVER enough battery - EVER).
  • If you're on T-mobile in the US, you should definitely consider upgrading as 6S/6S Plus are the only iPhones to support Band 12/700MHz, giving you notably better coverage and indoor reception.
  • Have you seen a noticeable improvement? Are you urban, suburban or rural?
    Thanks!
  • I had the iPhone 6s Plus and it's an absolute beast Sent from the iMore App
  • The new TouchID now works with sweaty hands! This alone made me so happy. After a hard run, I can get in my iPhone without drying off my hands first. That never worked with my iPhone 6.
  • Is Reachability faster in all ways too?? Sent from the iMore App
  • iPhone is the most Overrated device. http://helpwritinganessay.com/
  • That video is worth watching just to see all the faces Serenity can make. :)
  • Excellent review of the best smartphones available. Great work guys!
  • No sound on video ?!? That just me? Sent from the iMore App
  • Nicely done.
  • I tried the iPhone 6s Plus for the last four days and honestly for me isn't a major upgrade from a iPhone 6 Plus. It's more heavier and battery life isn't that good anymore. The price here in Canada is way to high to upgrade. I am happy with my iPhone 6 and what it does. Texting email and make a picture.
  • Upgraded from 5S to 6S last Sunday, and after some wrangling, finally got everything up and going - and it's a very important upgrade for me, especially from a performance standpoint. I do want to elaborate on the wrangling a bit: I was using Beta 9.1/2 on my 5S and the new 6S I brought home was running 9.0. So, I was, initially, not able to restore my 5S backup to the 6S because iTunes would not allow me to restore an image from a later iOS - it took me (I admit I can be a bit slow sometimes), a little while to figure out what to do, but I finally decided I was okay with installing Beta 9.1 on the new phone, went back to my Apple beta program email, and followed the instructions to get the new 6S upgraded to iOS 9.1 beta. Now I'm able to smoothly restore my 5S backup to my 6S. In the meantime there have been a few apps that don't want to run at all, or have acted irratically, and simply deleting and reinstalling them has fixed the few issues I've had. My wish is that Apple would take us beta testers into account when we want to upgrade our hardware. In retrospect it all makes sens, but I wish Apple would spell it out, up front, don't just hit me with a screen that says I can't restore because the new device has an older iOS version - spell it out for me. Would've saved me a couple of hours of frustration. But the final outcome is, in a word - AWESOME!
  • Serenity Caldwell is ridiculously talented. Not only is she easy on the eyes, but her writing and voice work (specifically on this video) is really great. I found myself tolerating Rene (no offense, dude, but in comparison...) and looking forward to the next voice bit by Serenity. iMore is awesome, but way more awesomer with Serenity.