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Sunday, July 21, 2024

IPhone 2021 purchase advice: Find the right iPhone

There are many unanswered questions before buying an iPhone. We explain the differences between iPhone 7 and 12 Pro Max in detail and help you decide.

Many people would probably like a new iPhone, but some are put off by the high price of the 12-series models. What can you do better than the devices from the past or an iPhone SE 2020 – and are the additional costs justified? We’ll rank the models according to their capabilities, starting with the 2016 iPhone 7, which is already waterproof and still running the latest iOS 14.

In the following description texts, we will concentrate on the new features and changes for each model. If you start in the middle and do not find explanations of certain features of a device, please go back to the older models. The table at the end of the article also shows where what has been introduced.


  • The current 12 series iPhones are among the best smartphones ever, but they are very expensive.
  • You can save a lot of money by purchasing models from the last few years or the iPhone SE.
  • When buying a used one, you should definitely check the battery, as it ages with use and years.
  • Devices before the iPhone 7 are not waterproof and may no longer work with the current iOS.

Pay attention to the battery when used

If you are looking to buy an older device, you should deal with the battery. If it has been used for over two years, it can be exhausted after a few hours.

In the iPhones 7 and 7 Plus, inferior batteries were installed in some cases, the capacity of which decreased rapidly after just one year. Up until the end of 2018, Apple reduced or paid for battery replacement through a repair program. If possible, try to get hold of a device with a new battery or plan to change the battery. It now costs 55 euros for each model from the iPhone 6 to the iPhone 8 Plus and the SE 2.

For the battery replacement for iPhone displays that reach to the edge (from iPhone X), Apple charges 75 euros outside of the warranty. If the battery of an iPhone has already been replaced, but not by a certified Apple technician, Apple will most likely refuse the repair and you can only go to a free workshop.

Similarities of the iPhones 7 to 12 Pro Max

The current iOS 14 runs on all iPhones from the 7th series and you don’t have to do without software innovations, security updates and workshop support from Apple. All have a Lightning socket for connecting the power supply unit, USB cable and peripherals. The screen content can be transmitted wirelessly to an Apple TV via AirPlay. All of them work mobile with at least Advanced LTE (max. 300 Mbit / s) and accept nano SIM cards. In the WLAN they support at least the 802.11ac standard (max. 866 Mbit / s). The NFC short-range radio technology, which is required for Apple Pay, is also implemented in every model.

All iPhones mentioned have multi-touch displays with a retina resolution of at least 326 dpi. This means that content looks razor-sharp and almost as if it was printed, with the naked eye no longer making out individual pixels. However, Apple does not do without glossy panels and front panes that reflect badly in the sun, but score with a better black value in videos.

The lenses of the cameras protrude slightly from the housing of all iPhones. The sapphire cover protects it from scratches, but to prevent it from tipping, you need a cover. Without them, you shouldn’t use any of the iPhones anyway, as the surfaces all scratch quickly or burst in the event of a fall.

Every year the iPhones got a faster 64-bit processor and improved graphics, which are combined in a SoC (System on Chip) along with other modules. Apple only partially equipped the SE models with older components. The iPhones bring sensors for acceleration, proximity, ambient light and a gyroscope (measures the orientation of the smartphone to the center of the earth), compass, barometer and GPS. The SoC also contains a motion coprocessor that collects and evaluates the movement data provided by the acceleration sensor, gyroscope and compass.

Until autumn 2020, every iPhone included headphones (EarPods), a USB cable and a power adapter, since then Apple has only packed a USB cable in the box. If you use your iPhone more often for videos or photos, you should ensure that there is enough memory, 64 GB is a minimum, for all others we recommend at least 32 GB.

Up to the iPhone 8 and the SE 2, the screen is unlocked with the Touch ID fingerprint sensor, which is integrated into the home button. With the introduction of the screens that reached to the edge, Apple switched to the face recognition Face ID.

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Christopher Patillo
Christopher Patillo
Christopher Patillo is an accomplished writer and editor with a passion for exploring the intersections of technology, society, and culture. With a Master's degree in Journalism Patillo has contributed to various publications. His writing focuses on emerging trends in artificial intelligence, digital privacy, and the ethical implications of technology in everyday life. He is also involved in community outreach programs aimed at promoting media literacy among youth.

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