iPhone 8 color: Should you get silver, gold, space gray, or (Product)RED?

AirPods charging case with Lunies leather keychain case
AirPods charging case with Lunies leather keychain case

Color is how we express our style and flare. It's 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. The original iPhone only came in aluminum and black, but now Apple offers iPhone 8 in silver, gold (a new, blushing copper gold), space gray, and PRODUCT(RED).

If you're not sure which color is right for you, here's what you should consider!

Distraction dangers

The space gray and PRODUCT(RED) iPhones 8 have black faceplates. That means, when the display is off, dark, or filled with full-screen content like videos or games, the border fades away and you can immerse yourself in what you're doing. TV sets almost always have black bezels for a reason. It makes the frame easy to ignore.

The silver and gold iPhones 8 have white faceplates. That means when the display is lit up, especially for the standard iOS interfaces and for reading on the web, in ebooks, or in messaging apps, there's no dark border framing everything you do. It's why books are almost always uniformly light or white.

I've had iPhones of every color, used each for at least a year, and never found any of the faceplates to be distracting or distasteful. Everyone is different, though.

  • If you watch a lot of videos or play a lot of games, the space gray or PRODUCT(RED) iPhone 8 might make things more immersive for you.
  • If you read a lot of text or use a lot of standard apps, the silver or gold iPhone 8 may make the pages feel broader and more expansive.

Discoloration doubts

One thing that shouldn't worry anyone anymore is the idea that the white faceplate on the silver or gold iPhone could get stained or otherwise discolored. Same for the lighter back plates.

We've all learned to be deeply anxious when we wear white clothes or have white furniture or carpets for that very reason. Apple, though, took an extra six months to ship the white iPhone 4 and in that time the company nailed it.

My iPhone 4 still looks as clean and crisp as the day I bought it in 2011, and all the subsequent iPhones I've bought with white faceplates have stayed every bit as bright.

  • If you're worried about an iPhone with a white faceplate staining or discoloring, or the metallic finishes fading, stop. It'll be fine.

Withstanding wear

iPhone 8 has an aluminum body with an anodized finish. Apple's system is tougher than standard anodization but isn't gloppy looking like some of the ultra-tough treatments. They are metal, though, and so can be scratched.

On the silver iPhones, small scratches have less contrast, which makes them harder to see, depending on the lighting. Gold iPhones are somewhere in the middle. Space gray iPhones have a higher contrast, so scratches are a bit more noticeable. PRODUCT(RED), because of how rich it is, stands out a little more.

Some people won't care. To them, aging is part of what makes great objects great, like an old leather bag, favorite t-shirt, or the Millennium Falcon. Others don't ever want to see any wear.

  • If you hate the look of scratches, silver iPhones are your best bet.
  • If you like one of the other colors more, you can learn to love the wear or get a protective case.

Cases closed

If you're the type of person who immediately locks your new iPhone up in a heavy-duty case or wallet, you might think the color doesn't matter so much. Fair enough.

Most cases will still show some of the color though, be it the Apple logo, ports, edges, or the faceplate. In other words, just because you'll be wearing a jacket doesn't mean you the clothes beneath don't matter.

Cases can absolutely be used to change up a look, but you should still be happy with the basic look. Choose a color you love, then add a case you love to complete it.

  • If you want your case to "pop", a black or silver iPhone will let the accessory be the star.
  • If you want your case to complement or fade away, a gold, rose gold or (Product) RED iPhone will share the stage.

Coolness concerns

iPhone 8 back

iPhone 8 back (Image credit: iMore)

Silver has a classic elegance about it, and gold gets attention. Especially iPhone 8 gold, which is less intense and slightly blushing, almost like a pale copper. Space gray is equivalent to this little black shirt or dress — it goes with anything. PRODUCT(RED) makes a statement.

  • If you want a classic, stick with space gray or silver.
  • If you want some extra flair, go with gold.
  • If you want to make a statement, consider PRODUCT(RED).

Who should get the PRODUCT(RED) iPhone 8?

If you want the latest hotness — literal five-alarm fire, all-the-hearts hottness — and to support the charity and its work fighting AIDS, then you want the (Product) RED iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus.

Who should get the space gray iPhone 8?

If you want a color that won't distract you when you game or watch video, that absolutely won't discolor, even if it does show wear and tear a little more visibly, that's closer to timeless even if it's also more reserved, then get the space gray iPhone 8.

It's the classic for a reason.

Who should get the silver iPhone 8?

If you want a color that isn't so dark but still doesn't call a lot of attention to itself, and that doesn't show scuffs and scrapes as much, then get the silver and white iPhone 8 is for you.

Who should get the gold iPhone 8?

If you like the luxury look, aren't distracted by white borders, don't mind the middle ground when it comes to how wear and tear shows, and basically know bling is your thing, get the gold iPhone 8. It's almost as rosey.

Still undecided?

If you're still not sure about which color you should get, jump into our iPhone forums and the best community on the web will happily help you out.

At the end of the day, the only real answer is this — get the color you like best. Nothing else matters. Just close your eyes, picture your iPhone in your hand, and pay attention to what color you're picturing. Then buy that. And if you change your mind later, you can get a case.

Once you've decided, tell me — which one are you getting?

Rene Ritchie

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.