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The Best Apple Phones For 2020 -Apple Iphone Buy Guide And Review
Apple has a number of phones available now. These range in size from the small and affordable iPhone SE 2 to the big, and very expensive, iPhone 11 Pro Max. We also expect the iPhone 12 to be announced later this year, so that could sway your decision if you’re happy to wait. Luckily we’ve done all the hard work so you don’t have to and you’ll find all the answers in our best iPhone list below. We’ve looked at all the iPhones currently available on the market, and based on our thorough, independent testing, ranked them all according to who and what they are best suited to.
1 Simple Mobile Prepaid – Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max (64GB) – Gold [Locked to Carrier – Simple Mobile]

Simple Mobile Prepaid – Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max (64GB) – Gold [Locked to Carrier – Simple Mobile]

Carrier - This phone is locked to simple Mobile from Tracfone, which means this Device can only be used on the Simple Mobile wireless network. Plans - simple Mobile offers a variety of coverage plans, including 30-day unlimited Talk, text & ...
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9.5
2 Apple iPhone 11 Pro, 512GB, Midnight Green – Fully Unlocked (Renewed)

Apple iPhone 11 Pro, 512GB, Midnight Green – Fully Unlocked (Renewed)

Fully unlocked and compatible with any carrier of choice (e.g. AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon, US-Cellular, Cricket, Metro, etc.). The device does not come with headphones or a SIM card. It does include a charger and charging cable that may be ...
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9.5
3 Apple iPhone 11

Apple iPhone 11

While this list starts with the most powerful, and expensive, phones available, ZDNet's Jason Cipriani was right in stating that the Apple iPhone 11 is probably the best phone for most people. We typically see Apple keep prices the same, or increase ...
Added to wishlistRemoved from wishlist 0
9
4 Apple iPhone XS, 64GB, Space Gray – Fully Unlocked (Renewed)

Apple iPhone XS, 64GB, Space Gray – Fully Unlocked (Renewed)

Fully unlocked and compatible with any carrier of choice (e.g. AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon, US-Cellular, Cricket, Metro, etc.). The device does not come with headphones or a SIM card. It does include a charger and charging cable that may be ...
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9
5 Apple iPhone X, 64GB, Space Gray – Fully Unlocked

Apple iPhone X, 64GB, Space Gray – Fully Unlocked

Fully unlocked and compatible with any carrier of choice (e.g. AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon, US-Cellular, Cricket, Metro, etc.). The device does not come with headphones or a SIM card. It does include a charger and charging cable that may be ...
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9
Best seller 6 Apple iPhone XR, 64GB, Coral – Fully Unlocked

Apple iPhone XR, 64GB, Coral – Fully Unlocked

Fully unlocked and compatible with any carrier of choice (e.g. AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon, US-Cellular, Cricket, Metro, etc.). The device does not come with headphones or a SIM card. It does include a charger and charging cable that may be ...
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9
$ 549.99 $ 479.99
Read full review
Best value 7 Apple iPhone 8 Plus, 64GB, Gold – Fully Unlocked

Apple iPhone 8 Plus, 64GB, Gold – Fully Unlocked

Fully unlocked and compatible with any carrier of choice (e.g. AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon, US-Cellular, Cricket, Metro, etc.). The device does not come with headphones or a SIM card. It does include a charger and charging cable that may be ...
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9
$ 449.99 $ 339.99
Read full review
8 Apple iPhone 8, 64GB, Space Gray – for AT&T/T-Mobile

Apple iPhone 8, 64GB, Space Gray – for AT&T/T-Mobile

Locked to the GSM network and only compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile. Will not work with Sprint, Verizon, US Cellular or Cricket. The device does not come with headphones or a SIM card. It does include a charger and charging cable that may be ...
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9
9 New Apple iPhone SE (64GB, White) [Carrier Locked] + Carrier Subscription [Cricket Wireless]

New Apple iPhone SE (64GB, White) [Carrier Locked] + Carrier Subscription [Cricket Wireless]

Apple isn't known for making affordable phones, but the iPhone SE is a perfect option for those who want an iPhone experience without paying high prices. As a person who primarily uses Android phones, it is also a great option as a second phone for ...
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9

Best Apple Phones 2020

Buying guide and recommendation

Simple Mobile Prepaid - Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max (64GB) - Gold [Locked to Carrier – Simple Mobile]

1 Simple Mobile Prepaid – Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max (64GB) – Gold [Locked to Carrier – Simple Mobile]

Simple Mobile Prepaid – Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max (64GB) – Gold [Locked to Carrier – Simple Mobile]

Carrier - This phone is locked to simple Mobile from Tracfone, which means this Device can only be used on the Simple Mobile wireless network. Plans - simple Mobile offers a variety of coverage plans, including 30-day unlimited Talk, text & ...
Added to wishlistRemoved from wishlist 0
9.5

The iPhone 11 Pro Max isn’t just the best phone around, it’s the phone I’d buy with my own money. And I would still pick it over other great phones like the Samsung Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra and OnePlus 8 Pro.

Yes, the regular $699 iPhone 11 is a fantastic value, but the iPhone 11 Pro Max ($1,099) has a more dynamic OLED display compared with the iPhone 11’s LCD. I also like having the third lens on the iPhone 11 Pro Max for telephoto zoom, which the iPhone 11 lacks. And as much as I like the smaller iPhone 11 Pro — which shares all the key features with the Max — I prefer the iPhone 11 Pro Max for its bigger screen and longer battery life. 

Apple should have included more storage to start, and I’m getting tired of that notch. But as you’ll see in this in-depth iPhone 11 Pro Max review, it’s the best iPhone period. Although some may want wait until this fall for an iPhone 12 with 5G and a bigger and smoother 120Hz display, the iPhone 11 Pro Max is the best phone money can buy today.

 

iPhone 11 Pro Max review: 

  • The triple cameras on the iPhone 11 Pro Max now give Apple the best camera phone, thanks to its great Night mode and improved Smart HDR. Check our our iPhone 11 Pro vs Pixel 4 camera face-off.
  • The cameras also shoot gorgeous-looking 4K video with extended dynamic range and cinematic video stabilization.
  • Apple’s slow-motion selfies are fun at 120 fps, even though the slofie name hasn’t taken off.
  • If you want the longest iPhone battery life, the iPhone 11 Pro Max is the one to get, as it lasted nearly 12 hours on our web surfing test. 
  • Apple finally included a fast charger in the box, so you can get to 50 percent in 30 minutes.
  • We wish Apple included more than 64GB of storage, so you may want to pay for more if you shoot a lot of video.

iPhone 11 Pro Max price and availability

The iPhone 11 Pro Max is now available and went on sale Sept. 20. The phone starts at a fairly steep $1,099 ($45.79 per month) but can be had for as little as $499 ($20.79) if you trade in an iPhone XS Max. (Older iPhones fetch a smaller trade-in value from Apple.) 

The iPhone 11 Pro Max comes with 64GB of storage. A 256GB model sells for $1,249 and the 512GB version costs $1,449. It’s worth noting that the Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10 Plus come with 256GB standard, which is quadruple the storage. 

If you’re buying the iPhone 11 Pro Max in the UK, prices start at £1,149 for 64GB of storage, then £1,299 for 128GB and £1,499 for 256GB. Apple is running a trade-in offer if you’re willing to give them your current phone in part-exchange, meaning that you can get the iPhone 11 Pro Max for as low as £859 depending on your existing phone’s value.

iPhone 11 Pro Max design: Downright Intimidating

 

iPhone 11 Pro Max review back of phone and three rear cameras

The iPhone 11 Pro Max has a look from the back that says “Come at me, Android.” The three camera lenses are so large that I feel like something’s about to launch out of them. I do like the matte glass finish on the back, which is downright refreshing compared with glossy, smudge-prone phablets like the Galaxy Note 10 and Huawei P30 Pro.

 

I could see why the iPhone 11 Pro Max might be jealous of the regular iPhone 11. It comes in four colors to the iPhone 11’s six. And instead of fun hues like green, purple and yellow, Apple sticks with more conservative options for the iPhone 11 Pro Max that befit its pro-user status. These include the midnight-green color on our review unit (which frankly looks gray). The midnight green only really shines through on the stainless-steel band and in the rings around the cameras. Space gray (which is darker), silver and gold round out the options.

 

iPhone 11 Pro Max review midnight green color

The iPhone 11 Pro Max looks the same from the front as the iPhone XS Max. The notch toward the top, which houses the Face ID TrueDepth camera, is still distracting but I’ve gotten used to it.

At 6.2 x 3.06 x 0.32 inches and 7.97 ounces, the iPhone 11 Pro Max continues to be a handful. It’s heavier than the 7.34-ounce iPhone XS Max and also a bit thicker. The Galaxy Note 10 Plus, which has a larger 6.8-inch screen, is a full ounce lighter at 6.9 ounces and it’s also slightly narrower and slimmer at 6.4 x 3 x 0.31 inches.

iPhone 11 Pro Max durability

 

iPhone 11 Pro Max review water resistance

Speaking of intimidating, Apple says that the front and back of the iPhone 11 Pro Max have the toughest glass in a smartphone. However, the regular iPhone 11 cracked on the first drop in our drop test from 3.5 feet on a sidewalk. We would invest in a case if you’re worried about breakage.

By the same token, some iPhone 11 Pro owners have complained that their screens have scratched easily. We have not encountered any issues with our review unit. But if you’re concerned about your phone picking up scuffs or scratches we would invest in a screen protector.

Apple has improved the IP68 water resistance on the iPhone 11 Pro Max; the phone can withstand being submerged in 4 meters of water for 30 minutes (up from 2 meters on the iPhone XS Max). That makes it more durable than any other flagship phone against liquids, earning it the top spot in our list of the best waterproof phones.

iPhone 11 Pro Max display and audio: This is bright

If you’re on the fence between the iPhone 11 Pro Max and iPhone 11, don’t bring both phones outside. You’ll notice the huge difference in brightness that I did. In fact, the iPhone 11 Pro Max’s 6.5-inch Super Retina XDR display vastly outshined the Galaxy Note 10 Plus, too, when I put both phablets side by side.

 
 

iPhone 11 Pro Max review display

When watching the Star Wars Episode 9 Trailer: The Rise of Skywalker on both the iPhone 11 Pro Max and last year’s iPhone XS Max, I could make out more gradations of color in Princess Leia’s hair as she hugged Rey. This is likely thanks to the extended dynamic range offered by the improved panel on the iPhone 11 Pro Max.

Our lab results backed up my real-world impressions, as the iPhone 11 Pro Max turned in an average nit reading of 761 nits, compared with 652 nits for the iPhone 11 and 686 for the Galaxy Note 10 Plus. 

The iPhone 11 Pro Max’s panel isn’t the most colorful, registering 118.6% of the sRGB color gamut, compared with 124.6% in the Note 10 Plus’ Natural screen mode. The OnePlus 7 Pro hit 180%. Regarding color accuracy, the iPhone 11 Pro Max’s display registered a Delta-E score of 0.28 (where 0 is perfect). That’s stellar, but not quite as good as the Galaxy Note 10 Plus (0.25) and OnePlus 7 Pro (0.18).

The sound on the iPhone 11 Pro Max is just as bright as the visuals, as there’s now spatial audio with Dolby Atmos support. When watching the trailer for Yesterday, Jack’s cover of The Beatles famous track had more dimension to it through the iPhone 11 Pro Max compared with the iPhone XS Max. The guitar strings and vocals were much more present, while they sounded flatter on last year’s phone.

iPhone 11 Pro Max cameras: A true triple threat

 

Although Apple has taken a back seat to Android camera phones over the past couple of years, Apple has regained its footing — and then some— with the iPhone 11 Pro Max. The new phone offers three stellar 12-MP rear cameras: a wide-angle, a 2x telephoto with wider aperture that lets in more light than before and an ultra-wide camera with a 120-degree field of view.

Check out the many photo comparisons below, as well as our iPhone 11 Pro vs Pixel 4 camera face-off to see how the two phones compare in various situations. 

 
 

iPhone 11 Pro Max review camera app

While you’re shooting with the standard-wide camera, the iPhone 11 Pro Max’s camera interface shows you a live preview outside the frame of what you could fit into your shot if you engaged ultra-wide mode. It’s a nice touch and I found myself switching to that mode several times during my testing to get a more dramatic shot.

Apple iPhone 11

1 Apple iPhone 11

Apple iPhone 11

While this list starts with the most powerful, and expensive, phones available, ZDNet's Jason Cipriani was right in stating that the Apple iPhone 11 is probably the best phone for most people. We typically see Apple keep prices the same, or increase ...
Added to wishlistRemoved from wishlist 0
9

Apple on September 10, 2019, unveiled the iPhone 11, its new flagship $699 smartphone that offers a range of powerful features at an affordable price tag. Sold alongside the more expensive iPhone 11 Pro and the iPhone 11 Pro Max, the iPhone 11 is the iPhone that’s ideal for most people.

The iPhone 11 succeeds the iPhone XR, and it features a 6.1-inch LCD display that Apple calls a “Liquid Retina HD Display.” It features a 1792 x 828 resolution at 326ppi, a 1400:1 contrast ratio, 625 nits max brightness, True Tone support for adjusting the white balance to the ambient lighting, and wide color support for true-to-life colors.

Like the iPhone XR, the iPhone 11 does not include 3D Touch, instead using Haptic Touch. Haptic Touch is supported across iOS 13, but it lacks the pressure sensitivity of 3D Touch. The iPhone 11 and 11 Pro also support Haptic Touch, with Apple eliminating 3D Touch across the iPhone lineup.

Design wise, the iPhone 11 features a glass body that comes in six different colors: White, Black, Yellow, (PRODUCT)RED, Purple, and Green. The latter two colors are both new in 2019.

The iPhone 11 doesn’t look much different than the iPhone XR, but Apple says it’s made from the toughest glass ever in a smartphone and offers improved water resistance (IP68), boosting overall durability. Spatial audio offers a more immersive sound experience, and Dolby Atmos is supported.

The camera system sets the iPhone 11 apart from the XR, with Apple introducing a new dual-lens camera that’s an improvement over the prior single-lens camera. The camera setup features a standard wide-angle camera and a new ultra wide-angle camera with a 120 degree field of view. Unlike the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max, there is no telephoto camera lens.

Apple says the ultra wide-angle camera captures four times more scene, making it ideal for landscape photos, architecture images, tight shots, and more. Both of the cameras work together to enable Portrait mode for people, pets, objects, and more, an upgrade over the iPhone XR that only supported person shots in Portrait mode.

The camera interface on the iPhone 11 has been overhauled with a more immersive experience that lets you see and capture the area outside of the frame using the ultra wide-angle camera if desired. 2x optical zoom out is supported, as is digital zoom up to 5x.

Apple has added a new Night mode that’s designed to use the iPhone’s processing capabilities and the new wide camera sensor to capture crisp, clear, bright photos even in very low lighting conditions, similar to the Night Sight mode on Google Pixel devices.

Next-generation Smart HDR takes advantage of machine learning to capture more natural-looking images with improved highlight and shadow detail, and in iOS 13.2, Apple is introducing a Deep Fusion feature that uses advanced machine learning techniques for pixel-by-pixel processing of photos, optimizing for texture, details, and noise. All in all, the iPhone 11 offers much improved photographic capabilities over the XR.

4K video recording with extended dynamic range is available at 24, 30, or 60fps, and both of the cameras in the iPhone 11 can be used for recording video, with live swapping available using a simple tap.

QuickTake video mode lets you hold down on the shutter button in the Camera app to automatically record video with subject tracking, and an Audio Zoom feature matches the audio to the video framing for more dynamic sound.

The front-facing TrueDepth Camera system has been updated with a new 12-megapixel camera, and making Face ID up to 30 percent faster and able to work from more angles. For the first time, it supports 120 fps slo-mo video, allowing users to capture slo-mo selfies, aka “slofies.” The TrueDepth camera also supports next-generation smart HDR for more natural-looking photos and it can record 4K video at 60 fps.

Inside the iPhone 11, there’s an A13 Bionic 7-nanometer chip along with a third-generation Neural Engine. Apple says the A13 Bionic is the fastest chip ever in a smartphone with 20 percent faster CPU and GPU than the A12. New Machine Learning Accelerators allow the CPU to deliver more than 1 trillion operations per second, and the Neural Engine is faster than ever for real-time photo and video analysis.

When it comes to battery life, the iPhone 11 lasts for one hour longer than the iPhone XR. It supports up to 17 hours of video playback, up to 10 hours of streamed video playback, and 65 hours of audio playback, though it does not match the battery life of the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max. Fast charging is available, but unlike the iPhone 11 Pro, the iPhone 11 ships with a standard 5W charger and fast charging requires extra equipment.

The iPhone 11 features an Intel modem chip with Gigabit-class LTE, 2×2 MIMO, and LAAWi-Fi 6 support (802.11ax) with 2×2 MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0Dual-SIM with eSIM, and an Apple-designed U1 Ultra Wideband chip that improves spatial awareness and allows for better indoor tracking. In iOS 13.1, the chip allows for directionally aware suggestions for AirDrop so you can drop files to a person you point your iPhone at.

Apple is offering the iPhone 11 in 64, 128, and 256GB capacities with prices that start at $699. The iPhone 11 officially launched on Friday, September 20 and can be purchased from the online Apple Store and in Apple retail stores.

Reviews

Reviews for the iPhone 11 have been largely positive, with reviewers praising the new dual-lens camera system with its new ultra wide-angle lens and Night mode, allowing for crisp, clear photos even in low lighting situations.

Reviewers also praised the long battery life of the iPhone 11 and the low cost. At $699, the device is much more affordable than the 11 Pro and Pro Max, and aside from display and camera quality, the 11 is just as capable as its more expensive counterparts.

Reviewers agree that the iPhone 11 is the iPhone that’s ideal for most people thanks to its price tag and feature set, though those who have an iPhone XS, XS Max, or XR may not want to upgrade as this is an iterative update. For those with an older iPhone, though, the iPhone 11 is an excellent phone.

Design

Like the iPhone XR, the iPhone 11 features a precision-machined 7000 series aluminum frame that wraps around an all-glass enclosure. With its 6.1-inch display, the iPhone 11 is between the 5.8-inch iPhone 11 Pro and 6.5-inch iPhone 11 Pro Max in size.

The iPhone 11 has an edge-to-edge display with slim bezels and no Home button, adopting a notch at the top for the TrueDepth camera system. Because it uses an LCD instead of OLED display, the iPhone 11 has slightly thicker bezels than the iPhone 11 Pro models.

 

Other than the notch at the top for the Face ID camera, speaker, and ambient light sensor, the iPhone 11 is all display.

 

The iPhone 11 measures in at 150.9mm tall, 75.7mm wide, and 8.3mm thick, which is identical to the previous-generation iPhone XR. It weighs in at 6.84 ounces, also identical to the XR. It is thicker than the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max, which measure in at 8.1mm.

The back of the iPhone 11 features the most significant design change thanks to the new dual-camera system. Apple is using a new square-shaped camera bump that flows into the rest of the device. The two camera lenses protrude slightly from the back of the iPhone as the camera elements are thicker than the body of the iPhone.

The Apple logo on the iPhone 11 has been relocated relative to previous iPhone models. It’s now in the middle of the device rather than towards the top, a change that may have been implemented for a planned two-way charging feature that was later scrapped. The bilateral wireless charging option would have allowed the iPhone 11 to be used to charge other iPhones, the Apple Watch, the AirPods, and other Qi-based devices.

More Durable Glass

According to Apple, the iPhone 11 is made from the most durable glass ever in a smartphone, so in theory, it should hold up better to accidental bumps and drops. It’s still glass, though, so it’s best to use a case or have AppleCare+ in case of accidental damage.

Apple says it’s using a “dual ion-exchange process” to strengthen the front and back glass of the iPhone 11.

Color Options

The iPhone 11 continues to be available in six colors, but Apple introduced new colors this year. It comes in black, green, yellow, purple, (PRODUCT)RED, and white, with Apple eliminating the coral and blue shades that the iPhone XR was available in.

Water and Dust Resistance

The iPhone 11 has an IP68 water resistance rating, which is up from IP67 in the previous-generation iPhone XR. It’s rated to survive a depth of up to two meters (6.5 feet) for up to 30 minutes. Two meters is double the depth rating of the iPhone XR, but half that of the iPhone 11 Pro.

The iPhone 11 Pro has is able to stand up to submersion in water up to four meters deep (13 feet) for up to 30 minutes.

With an IP68 water resistance rating, the iPhone 11 can withstand splashes, rain, and brief accidental water exposure, but intentional water exposure should be avoided. Apple warns that water and dust resistance are not permanent conditions and deteriorate as a result of normal wear.

Apple’s warranty does not cover liquid damage to iOS devices so it’s best to use caution when exposing the iPhone 11 to liquids.

Spatial Audio and Dolby Atmos

The iPhone 11 is built with a new spatial audio feature that’s designed to simulate surround sound for a more immersive audio experience. It also supports Dolby Atmos sound.

Display

Like the iPhone XR, the iPhone 11 uses an LCD display that it calls the “Liquid Retina HD” display. It measures in at 6.1 inches and features a 1792 x 828 resolution at 326 pixels per inch.

Though the iPhone 11 has an LCD instead of OLED display, Apple says it is the most advanced LCD that’s been introduced in a smartphone, constructed with new engineering techniques. It is identical to the display in the iPhone XR, and is inferior to the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max displays.

The iPhone 11 display continues to support Apple’s latest technology advancements including Tap to Wake to activate display with a single tap, a swipe-based gesture system to replace the Touch ID Home button, True Tone for matching the white balance of the display to the ambient lighting, and wide color for vivid, true to life colors.

 

It has a 1400:1 contrast ratio, which is one of the areas where it falls far short of the iPhone 11 Pro models. The iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max have a 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio, which means their colors are richer, blacks are blacker, and there is HDR support, which is unavailable in the iPhone 11.

Haptic Touch

Apple eliminated the 3D Touch feature in the iPhone XR and replaced it with a new Haptic Touch option, which has now rolled out to the entire 2019 iPhone lineup.

Haptic Touch is similar to 3D Touch and offers much of the same functionality, but it is not pressure sensitive so there are not multiple functions for each press. Instead, Haptic Touch is like a long press with haptic feedback. For more on the difference between Haptic Touch and the previous 3D Touch, make sure to 

A13 Bionic

The iPhone 11 is equipped with an A13 Bionic chip that’s faster and more efficient than the A12 Bionic chip in the iPhone XR. Apple says that the A13 Bionic is the fastest chip ever in a smartphone and so advanced that it’s “years ahead of the pack.”

The CPU’s two performance cores in the A13 are up to 20 percent faster and use 30 percent less power than the A12, and the four efficiency cores are up to 20 percent faster and use up to 40 percent less power.

 

The GPU in the A13 is 20 percent faster than the GPU in the A12 and it uses 40 percent less power.

, the A13 in the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro offers 50 to 60 percent higher sustained graphics performance than the iPhone XS and 20 percent faster CPU performance.

Neural Engine

The A13 chip features a next-generation 8-core Neural Engine that Apple says is faster than ever for real-time photo and video analysis. A pair of Machine Learning Accelerators allow the CPU to run up to six times faster, delivering more than 1 trillion operations per second.

The Neural Engine is up to 20 percent faster and uses up to 15 percent less power than the previous-generation Neural Engine. Apple says its Neural Engine powers the camera system, Face ID, AR apps, and more.

Core ML 3 for developers allows apps to leverage the power of the A13 Bionic for apps and games.

RAM and Storage Space

While there hasn’t been a teardown yet, rumors and benchmarks have suggested the iPhone 11 is equipped with 4GB RAM, up from 3GB RAM in the iPhone XR.

The iPhone 11 is available in 64, 128, and 256GB capacities.

TrueDepth Camera and Face ID

Face ID, introduced in 2017, is the biometric authentication system used in the iPhone 11, which features a notch housing the True Depth camera system that enables Face ID.

In the iPhone 11, the TrueDepth camera system has been improved with new hardware. It’s faster and it’s able to work from a wider range of angles, so it’s more efficient and quicker than ever.

 

Face ID is used across the iOS operating system for tasks like unlocking your iPhone, allowing access to third-party passcode-protected apps, confirming purchases in iTunes and the App Store, and authenticating Apple Pay payments.

Face ID works through a set of sensors and cameras built into the front of the iPhone 11, called the TrueDepth Camera system. To create a facial scan, a Dot Projector projects more than 30,000 invisible infrared dots onto your face, which are then read by an infrared camera.

This depth map of your face is then relayed to the A13 Bionic processor where it is transformed into a mathematical model that the iPhone uses to make sure it’s you attempting to access your iPhone.

 

Face ID uses infrared, so it works in low light and in the dark, with a built-in Flood Illuminator making sure there’s always adequate light to take a facial scan. Face ID works with hats, beards, glasses, sunglasses, scarves, makeup and all other accessories and items that might partially obscure a face, but it does need to see your eyes, nose, and mouth to work.

The A13 Bionic chip with built-in Neural Engine means that Face ID can adjust to minor facial changes over time, so if you grow your hair longer or grow a beard, Face ID adjusts and continue to unlock your iPhone.

Face ID Security and Privacy

Face ID uses a detailed 3D facial scan that’s unable to be fooled by a photo, mask, or other facial imitation. An “Attention Aware” security feature allows Face ID to unlock your device only when you look in the direction of the iPhone 11 with your eyes open, so it does not work when your eyes are closed, when you’re sleeping, when you’re unconscious, or when you’re looking away from your phone.

Attention aware is optional and there is an accessibility feature to turn it off for those who are unable to focus on the iPhone’s screen, but most people should leave it turned on for the added layer of security.

With the attention aware feature, the iPhone 11 knows when you’re looking at it. Face ID displays notifications and messages on the Lock screen when you look at the iPhone 11, it keeps the screen lit, and it automatically lowers the volume of an alarm or ringer when it knows your attention is on the iPhone 11’s display.

If a thief demands your iPhone, Face ID can be disabled quickly and discretely by pressing on the side button and the volume button at the same time. Do this before handing your phone over, and a thief won’t be able to scan your face. Face ID also turns off after two failed facial recognition attempts and a passcode needs to be entered for it to be turned back on.

Face ID data is encrypted and stored in the Secure Enclave on the iPhone 11. Apple can’t access your Face ID data, nor can anyone who has your phone. Authentication happens entirely on your device, with no Face ID data ever stored in the cloud or uploaded to Apple. Third-party developers do not have access to the facial map that Face ID uses to unlock a device, but the TrueDepth camera can be used to scan a user’s face for the purpose of creating more realistic augmented reality apps.

With Face ID, there’s a 1 in 1,000,000 chance that someone else’s face can fool Face ID, but the error rate increases to 1 in 1 in 500,000 with an alternate appearance registered in iOS 13. Face ID has been fooled by identical twins, children, and a carefully crafted mask, but it’s still secure enough that the average person shouldn’t worry about their iPhone being unlocked by someone else.

TrueDepth Camera Specs

The TrueDepth camera system, in addition to powering Face ID with the additional biometric components, is also a standard front-facing camera that can be used for selfies.

In the iPhone 11, the front-facing camera has been upgraded to 12 megapixels from 7 megapixels in the iPhone XR, and it supports next-generation Smart HDR. The updated camera is capable of recording 60 fps video in 4K with support for extended dynamic range video at 30 fps.

 

When using the new front-facing camera, you can turn the iPhone from portrait mode into landscape mode to automatically capture more in the frame, which is useful for situations like group selfies.

When you take a selfie with the iPhone 11 in standard portrait orientation, it uses a zoomed in 7-megapixel version. Turning your iPhone to landscape mode allows more into the frame and results in a 12-megapixel photo, as does tapping the little arrow icon to zoom out when in portrait orientation.

Slofies

The front-facing TrueDepth camera is able to capture 120 fps slo-mo videos for the first time, enabling a new feature that Apple is calling “Slofies.” These are slow motion front-facing camera videos similar to the slo-mo videos available from the rear facing camera in prior iPhones.

Animoji and Memoji

The TrueDepth Camera System supports two features called “Animoji” and “Memoji,” which are animated, 3D emoji characters that you control with your face. Animoji are emoji-style animals, while Memoji are customizable, personalized avatars that you can create.

To enable Animoji and Memoji, the TrueDepth camera analyzes more than 50 muscle movements in different areas of the face, detecting movement of the eyebrows, cheeks, chin, eyes, jaw, lips, eyes, and mouth.

All of your facial movements are translated to the Animoji/Memoji characters, letting them reflect your expression and emotion. Animoji and Memoji can be shared with friends and used in the Messages and FaceTime apps.

There are more than a dozen different Animoji to choose from, modeled after existing emoji characters: monkey, robot, cat, dog, alien, fox, poop, pig, panda, rabbit, chicken, unicorn, lion, dragon, skull, bear, tiger, koala, t-rex, and ghost. There are an unlimited number of Memoji that can be created to look like you and other people.

 

As of iOS 13, there are also Animoji and Memoji stickers that can be used in the Messages app and other areas of the operating system.

Rear Cameras

The major new feature in the iPhone 11 is an upgraded dual-lens camera system. It includes an f/1.8 6-element 12-megapixel wide-angle lens (26mm focal length) and an f/2.4 5-element 12-megapixel ultra wide-angle lens (13mm focal length), up from a single 12-megapixel camera lens in the iPhone XR.

The new ultra wide-angle lens has a 120 degree field of view, which is ideal when you want to get a landscape or architecture shot, or fit more in the frame close up. Unlike the iPhone 11 Pro, it does not have a telephoto lens, so while 2x optical zoom out is supported, there’s no optical zoom in feature.

The standard wide-angle camera supports Optical Image Stabilization, but the ultra wide-angle lens does not.

With the new ultra wide-angle lens, Apple is introducing an updated camera app interface that displays the entire field of view captured by the ultra wide lens even when you’re taking a picture with the standard wide-angle lens. Toggling between modes can be done with a tap.

The iPhone 11 is equipped with next-generation Smart HDR, which Apple says better recognizes people, treating them differently from the rest of the shot. Faces feature highlights, shadows, and natural-looking skin tones while background elements are preserved.

Night mode

The wide-angle camera in the iPhone 11 has a new, larger sensor with 100 percent Focus Pixels that enables new low light capabilities such as a Night mode that’s designed to take much brighter pictures in low lighting conditions. It’s similar to Google’s Night Shift mode, brightening up the photo using software.

 

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