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. The original iPhone only came in aluminum and black, but now Apple offers iPhone 7 in silver, gold, rose gold, (matte) black, jet black, or (Product) RED.
If you're on the fence about which finish to get, here's what you need to consider!
- Distraction dangers
- Discoloration doubts
- Withstanding wear
- Slick vs. stick
- Cases closed
- Coolness concerns
- Who should get the (Product) RED iPhone 7?
- Who should get (matte) black?
- Who should get silver?
- Who should get gold or rose gold?
- Who should get jet black?
- How to sell your old iPhone
- See iPhone at Apple (opens in new tab)
The (matte) black and jet black iPhones 7 have a black faceplate. 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, gold, rose gold, and (Product) RED iPhones 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 (matte) black or jet black iPhone might make things more immersive for you.
- If you read a lot of text or use a lot of standard apps, the silver, gold, or rose gold iPhone may make the pages feel broader and more expansive.
One thing that shouldn't worry anyone anymore is the idea that the white faceplate on the silver, gold, rose gold, or (Product) RED iPhone could get stained or otherwise discolored.
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.
Likewise the backs. All the space grays, silvers, golds, and the most recent rose gold have all kept their colors exactly.
- If you're worried about an iPhone with a white faceplate staining or discoloring, or the metallic finishes fading, stop. It'll be fine.
iPhones have aluminum bodies with anodized finishes. 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 and rose gold iPhones are somewhere in the middle. (Matte) black iPhones have a higher contrast, so scratches are a bit more noticeable. Jet black? Shiny finishes scuff easily.
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.
Slick vs. stick
The (matte) black, silver, gold, rose gold, and (Product) RED iPhone 7 all have anodized aluminum finishes, same as the iPhone 6s and previous years, going all the way back to the iPhone 5. So, if you've used a previous generation iPhone, you know how they feel. iPhone 6s was slightly less slippery than iPhone 6, and iPhone 7 is slightly less slippery again, but if you're worried you may drop it, you'll want to get a case regardless of the color.
Except for the jet black iPhone 7. You'll still want to get a case to avoid scuffs, but the finish is so polished it's actually far less slippery than any other metal iPhone. It's almost... sticky.
- If you don't have a problem with metal phones, get any color or get a case and you'll be fine.
- If you want an iPhone that isn't as slippery, get the jet black iPhone 7 — though you'll likely still want a case.
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.
Silver has a classic elegance about it, and gold gets attention. (Its more champagne than chintz, though, so it doesn't come off as overly tacky.) Rose gold is similar, but for those who want to take it to the next level.
This year, though, black is back and it's doubly hot. There's "black", which has a matte finish, and "jet black", which has a gloss finish. Jet black will be the one that tells everyone at a glance you have the latest, greatest iPhone, so it'll be the one people get to impress.
- If you want a classic, stick with (matte) black or silver.
- If you want some extra flair, go with gold or rose gold.
- If you want to make a statement, consider jet black.
Who should get the (Product) RED iPhone 7?
If you want the latest hotness — literal five-alarm fire, all-the-hearts hottness — and kicking in an extra $100 above the base iPhone 7 price to support the charity and its work fighting AIDS, then you want the (Product) RED iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus.
Who should get the (matte) black iPhone 7?
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 matte black iPhone 7 (or the space gray iPhone 6s or iPhone SE.)
It's the classic for a reason.
Who should get the silver iPhone 7?
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 7 is for you (or silver iPhone 6s or iPhone SE.)
Who should get the gold or rose gold iPhone 7?
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 or rose gold iPhone 7 (or gold or rose gold iPhone 6s or iPhone SE.)
Who should get the jet black iPhone 7?
If you've always wanted an iPhone as dark and shiny as Darth Vader, if you want a singular object where you can barely see a seem or line, or if you simply want the latest and for everyone to know you have the greatest, then get the jet black iPhone 7 and enjoy!
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 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.