Hosting and bandwidth provided by MacAce.net.




iPhone Q&A - Updated April 18, 2017

All Apple Q&As >> iPhone Q&A (Home) | iPhone Repair Q&A (Home)

To be notified of new Q&As, sign up for EveryMac.com's bimonthly email list.

If you find this page useful, please Bookmark & Share it. Thank you.




What are all the differences between the iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, and iPhone 7? Which is best?

There are a whopping twenty four different iPhone 6/iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s/iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone 7/iPhone 7 Plus models. As always, EveryiPhone.com has documented all of them in detail. However, this Q&A primarily addresses collective differences for the sake of simplicity.

iPhone 6
Photo Credit: Apple, Inc. (iPhone 6)

As these three lines share the same general shape and size, it would be easy to mistake any of them for one another even with a fairly detailed inspection.

iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, iPhone 7 - Backs
Photo Credit: Apple, Inc. (iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6 Plus - Back)

However, there are many important differences between the iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, and iPhone 7 that are not obvious and that are well worth review as a result.

External Design & Functionality Differences

Although there are tiny differences in weight, the iPhone 6/iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s/iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone 7/iPhone 7 Plus all share thin all aluminum designs with softly rounded sides.

The iPhone 6s/iPhone 6s Plus and iPhone 7/iPhone 7 Plus models use aerospace-grade 7000 series aluminum, which is more durable and less bendable than the aluminum used in the earlier iPhone 6/iPhone 6 Plus, though. The iPhone 6s/iPhone 6s Plus adds ion-strenghtened glass and an unadvertised rubber gasket for improved water resistance and the iPhone 7/iPhone 7 Plus are splash, water, and dust-resistant to the IP67 standard (as well as pack ion-strengthened glass), but still are not waterproof.

All have a Lightning connector, but the iPhone 7/iPhone 7 Plus models have dual (stereo) speakers instead of one but lack the traditional bottom-mounted headphone jack that the other models have. They have much more subtle rear antenna lines, too. All three lines have a "Touch ID" fingerprint sensor, but the iPhone 6s/iPhone 6s Plus is faster than its predecessor and the iPhone 7/iPhone 7 Plus has a taptic-engine powered solid state "clickless" Home button rather than a physical Home button like the others.

Display Differences

All three lines have a multitouch "Retina HD" display and the same dimensions, resolutions, pixel density, and contrast ratio as well as dual domain pixels, but each line is better quality and more capable than its predecessor.

The display quality and functionality is different between models accordingly:

  iPhone 6
iPhone 6/6+
iPhone 6s
iPhone 6s/6s+
iPhone 7
iPhone 7/7+
Dimensions: 4.7/5.4" 4.7/5.4" 4.7/5.4"
Resolution: 1334x750
1920x1080
1334x750
1920x1080
1334x750
1920x1080
Pixel Density: 326 ppi
401 ppi
326 ppi
401 ppi
326 ppi
401 ppi
Contrast Ratio: 1400:1
1300:1
1400:1
1300:1
1400:1
1300:1
Wide Color: No No DCI-P3
3D Touch: No Yes Yes
Tapic Sensor: No Yes Yes
Touch ID: 1st Gen 2nd Gen Solid State
Ion-X Glass: No Yes Yes


Perhaps most notably, the iPhone 7/iPhone 7 Plus provides a "wide color" gamut (DCI-P3) and enhanced brightness that in detailed testing, the respected DisplayMate found to be "visually indistinguishable from perfect."

Housing Color Differences

For the iPhone 6s/iPhone 6s Plus and iPhone 7/iPhone 7 Plus lines, Apple added new color options to stoke demand.

Specifically, the color options for the iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, and iPhone 7 include:

iPhone 6
iPhone 6/6+
iPhone 6s
iPhone 6s/6s+
iPhone 7
iPhone 7/7+
White Front/
Silver Back
White Front/
Silver Back
White Front/
Silver Back
White Front/
Gold Back
White Front/
Gold Back
White Front/
Gold Back
Black Front/
Space Gray Back
White Front/
Rose Gold Back
White Front/
Rose Gold Back
  Black Front/
Space Gray Back
Black Front/
Matte Black Back
    Black Front/
Glossy Black Back
    White Front/
Matte Red Back


Note that Apple warns the glossy "Jet Black" color option for the iPhone 7/iPhone 7 Plus is particularly vulnerable to "micro-abrasions" and is not a good choice for those who are picky about damaging the finish.

On March 21, 2017, Apple added a (PRODUCT) RED Special Edition iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus to the lineup. It has a white front and a matte red back.

Camera Differences

The iPhone 6/iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s/iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone 7/iPhone 7 Plus all have dual cameras, but there are notable quality differences between them.

FaceTime Cameras

Each front-facing "FaceTime" camera is better than its predecessor:

  iPhone 6
iPhone 6/6+
iPhone 6s
iPhone 6s/6s+
iPhone 7
iPhone 7/7+
Megapixels: 1.2 MP 5 MP 7 MP
Aperture: f/2.4 f/2.2 f/2.2
Video: 720p 720p 1080p


Most notably, the front-facing camera in the iPhone 6s/iPhone 6s Plus and iPhone 7/iPhone 7 Plus models have larger sensors and wider aperture values (smaller f stop), which allows for more light. The iPhone 7/iPhone 7 Plus shoots 1080p video, also.

iSight Cameras

The rear-mounted cameras, which Apple formerly called "iSight" but dropped this branding with the iPhone 7/iPhone 7 Plus, have even less in common:

  iPhone 6
iPhone 6/6+
iPhone 6s
iPhone 6s/6s+
iPhone 7
iPhone 7/7+
Megapixels: 8 MP 12 MP 12 MP x2*
Aperture: f/2.2 f/2.2 f/1.8/f/2.8*
Pixel Size: 1.5µm 1.22µm 1.22µm
LED Flash: Dual True Tone Quad True Tone
Lens: Yes Five-Element Six-Element
Zoom: 3x 5x 5x & 2x/10x*
Video: 1080p 4K 4K
Slo-Mo: No Yes Yes
Focus Pixels: No Yes Yes
AIS: Yes Yes Yes
OIS (Photos): No No/Yes Yes
OIS (Videos): No No/Yes Yes


* The iPhone 7 Plus models, and only the iPhone 7 Plus models, have dual rear cameras. There are two rear 12 megapixel cameras, one wide-angle with a f/1.8 aperture and another telephoto with a f/2.8 aperture. By combining an image from both cameras, it emulates a 2x optical zoom as well as a 10x digital zoom.

In a detailed review, the respected DxOMark found significant improvements in the iPhone 7 camera compared to its predecessors.

Identification Differences

It is easy to mistake any of the iPhone 6/iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s/iPhone 6s Plus, or iPhone 7/iPhone 7 Plus models for one another when they are not side-by-side.

Many of the devices can be identified by Model Number, which is listed on the back of each phone in tiny type, but not all of the iPhone 6/iPhone 6 Plus models can be individually identified in this way.

Nevertheless, for the purpose of this Q&A, it is sufficient to note that the following model numbers refer to these devices:

iPhone Model Model Numbers
iPhone 6 A1549, A1586, A1589
iPhone 6 Plus A1522, A1524, A1593
iPhone 6s A1633, A1688, A1700, A1691
iPhone 6s Plus A1634, A1687, A1699, A1690
iPhone 7 A1660, A1778, A1779, A1780
iPhone 7 Plus A1661, A1784, A1785, A1786


These devices also can be spotted uniquely by other identifiers.

Specifically, EveryiPhone.com's Ultimate iLookup feature -- as well as the EveryMac app for iOS 5 or later, Android, and Kindle Fire -- can precisely identify these iPhone models by Order Number (referred to as "Model" within the iOS "Settings" app under General > About), and their Serial Numbers, as well.

Battery Life Differences

The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s models have the same battery life as do the larger iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 6s Plus models, but the battery life is a bit different for the subsequent iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models:

  iPhone 6
iPhone 6/6+
iPhone 6s
iPhone 6s/6s+
iPhone 7
iPhone 7/7+
Talk Time (3G): 14/24 Hours 14/24 Hours 14/21 Hours
Internet (3G): 10/12 Hours 10/12 Hours 12/13 Hours
Internet (4G/LTE): 10/12 Hours 10/12 Hours 12/13 Hours
Internet (Wi-Fi): 11/12 Hours 11/12 Hours 14/15 Hours
Video Playback: 11/14 Hours 11/14 Hours 13/14 Hours
Audio Playback: 50/80 Hours 50/80 Hours 40/60 Hours


As you can see, battery life is better for the larger "Plus" models, as they have physically larger batteries, but it also is worth noting that the newer iPhone 7/iPhone 7 Plus models have better battery life in some tasks, but inferior battery life in others.

Wireless Connectivity & Data Differences

In basic terms, each line of iPhone models support more advanced wireless connectivity than their predecessors. All of these devices support 802.11a/b/g/n/ac with MIMO, GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz), and UMTS/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1700/2100, 1900, 2100 MHz), as well as LTE/4G connectivity but support for specific bands varies. The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models supports the fastest version of LTE Advanced which is as fast as 450 Mbps.

For details, if desired, refer to these separate Q&As:

When they were first shipped, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus models supported Bluetooth 4.0, but with iOS 9 installed, Apple upgraded the Bluetooth capability in these models to Bluetooth 4.2. However, on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, Bluetooth 4.2 only supports improved privacy rather than increased speed. The newer iPhone 6s/iPhone 6s Plus and iPhone 7/iPhone 7 Plus models fully support Bluetooth 4.2.

Internal Differences

The iPhone 6/iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s/iPhone 6s Plus, and iPhone 7/iPhone 7 Plus models have much different architectures:

  iPhone 6
iPhone 6/6+
iPhone 6s
iPhone 6s/6s+
iPhone 7
iPhone 7/7+
Clockspeed: 1.4 GHz 1.8 GHz 2.3 GHz
Processor: Apple A8 Apple A9 Apple A10 Fusion
Cores: Dual Dual Quad
RAM: 1 GB 2 GB 2 GB/3 GB*
Architecture: 64-Bit 64-Bit 64-Bit
Coprocessor: M8 Motion M9 Motion M10 Motion
Orig. Storage: 16/64/128 GB 16/64/128 GB 32/128/256 GB
Current Storage: 32 GB (6)† 32/128 GB 32/128/256 GB
Apple Pay (NFC): Yes Yes Yes
Barometer: No Yes Yes


* The iPhone 7 Plus models have 3 GB of RAM whereas the smaller iPhone 7 models only have 2 GB of RAM.

† Apple re-introduced 32 GB variants of the iPhone 6, but not the iPhone 6 Plus, in February and March 2017 in the US (on AT&T GoPhone and Boost Mobile), in India, Europe, and other international markets in Space Gray. The company also introduced a 32 GB variant of the iPhone 6 in Gold in China and Taiwan.

The Japan-specific iPhone 7/iPhone 7 Plus models -- the iPhone 7 (Japan) A1779 and iPhone 7 Plus (Japan) A1785 -- additionally have support for Sony's FeliCa for contactless payments on iD and QuicPay as well as Suica support on JR East, whereas all other models do not.

iOS Support Differences

The iPhone 6/iPhone 6 Plus originally shipped with iOS 8 and subsequently shipped with iOS 9. The iPhone 6/iPhone 6s Plus originally shipped with iOS 9 and now ship with iOS 10. The iPhone 7/iPhone 7 Plus ship with iOS 10.

Regardless of the version of the operating system installed when the device first shipped, all three lines fully support the latest version of iOS 10.

It is not possible to install a version of the iOS earlier than the one that was pre-installed, and it is difficult even to "downgrade" to an earlier version after upgrading a compatible iPhone to a later version of the iOS.

iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, and iPhone 7 Comparison Chart

These differences as well as other details and US pricing information is summarized below:

  iPhone 6
iPhone 6/6+
iPhone 6s
iPhone 6s/6s+
iPhone 7
iPhone 7/7+
Introduced: Sep 2014 Sep 2015 Sep 2016
Discontinued: Sep 2016 Current Current
Clockspeed: 1.4 GHz 1.8 GHz 2.3 GHz
Processor: Apple A8 Apple A9 Apple A10
Architecture: 64-Bit 64-Bit 64-Bit
Coprocessor: M8 Motion M9 Motion M10 Motion
RAM: 1 GB 2 GB 2/3 GB
Orig. Storage (GB): 16/64 16/64/128 32/128/256
Current Storage (GB): 32 (6 Only) 32/128 32/128/256
Battery Life (Hours): 10-80 10-80 12-60
Display Size: 4.7"/5.5" 4.7"/5.5" 4.7"/5.5"
Resolution: 1334x750
1920x1080
1334x750
1920x1080
1334x750
1920x1080
Pixel Density: 326 ppi
401 ppi
326 ppi
401 ppi
326 ppi
401 ppi
Contrast Ratio: 1400:1
1300:1
1400:1
1300:1
1400:1
1300:1
Wide Color: No No DCI-P3
Headphone Jack: Yes Yes No
Ion-Strengthened Glass: No Yes Yes
3D Touch: No Yes Yes
Taptic Sensor: No Yes Yes
Stereo Speakers: No No Yes
4G/LTE Internet: Yes Yes Yes
Wi-Fi (802.11ac): Yes Yes Yes
Bluetooth: 4.2 4.2 (Full) 4.2 (Full)
Rear Megapixels: 8 MP 12 MP 12 MP (x2)
Rear Video: 1080p 4K 4K
Rear Aperture: f/2.2 f/2.2 f/1.8/2.8
Rear Zoom: 3x 5x 5x & 2x/10x
Rear LED Flash: Dual True Tone Quad True
Primary Material: Al Al 7000 Al 7000
Water Gasket: No Yes Yes (IP67)
Touch ID: 1st Gen 2nd Gen Solid
Apple Pay (NFC): Yes Yes Yes
Barometer: No Yes Yes
SIM Card: Nano Nano Nano
Original iOS: iOS 9 iOS 9 iOS 10
Maximum iOS: iOS 10 iOS 10 iOS 10
Current Price* (US): US$299 US$549-
US$749
US$649-
US$969

* Note that these prices are for devices unlocked and paid in full upfront. Carrier subsidized options also are, or were, available.

For pricing in dozens of countries, see the "Global Prices" on the specs page for each iPhone as well as the "By Global Original Prices" section of EveryiPhone.com.

So, which is best? Should I buy an iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, or iPhone 7?

For most users, the iPhone 7/iPhone 7 Plus models are the best by far. They're (1) faster, (2) have a higher quality display, (3) have better cameras, (4) have better battery life for Internet use, (5) have the option of additional storage, (6) support faster LTE-A, and (7) are much more water resistant.

However, for those on a tighter budget -- or those who have older, but expensive headphones that use a traditional headphone jack -- the iPhone 6/iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 6s/iPhone 6s Plus remain well worth consideration.

Given the option, EveryiPhone.com would suggest buying a used iPhone 6s/iPhone 6s Plus over the earlier iPhone 6/iPhone 6 Plus (whether new or used). As the iPhone 6s/iPhone 6s Plus models have twice as much RAM and a faster architecture, they likely will have current iOS support longer. With more months of support, this effectively means that they will cost less on a prorated basis for someone who takes good care of their hardware.

iPhone Purchase & Sale Options

There are no shortage of places to buy an iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, or iPhone 7. However, buying your iPhone from a quality company with an excellent track record will provide an ideal experience and save you money and time, also.

In the US, site sponsor PowerMax has a good selection of used iPhones available for sale free of sales tax. PowerMax also accepts trade-ins on older iPhones toward the purchase of a newer iPhone or anything else they sell. If you just want money for your old iPhone, site sponsor BuyBackWorld will buy your older iPhone directly for fast cash or sell you a used iPhone from their extensive selection.

In Southeast Asia, Singapore-based site sponsor PCPRO provides quick money for used iPhone models as well as all other Apple hardware.

Please also see EveryiPhone.com's Ultimate iComparison feature to dynamically compare any iPhone model to any other iPod, iPhone, or iPad.


Permalink | E-mail a Friend | Bookmark & Share | Report an Error/Typo


Suggest a New Q&A | Sign Up for Bimonthly Site Update Notices


<< iPhone Q&A (Main) | All Apple Q&As




EveryMac.com and EveryiPhone.com are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind whatsoever. EveryMac.com, EveryiPhone.com, and the author thereof, shall not be held responsible or liable, under any circumstances, for any damages resulting from the use or inability to use the information within. For complete disclaimer and copyright information please read and understand the Terms of Use and the Privacy Policy before using either website. Use of any content or images without expressed permission is not allowed, although links to any page are welcomed and appreciated.