What’s the best gaming iPhone? Apple iPhone handsets keep their value for years after their release date, and with plenty of iPhone generations to choose from, there’s no one answer.
With the recent announcement of the iPhone 15 lineup, the iPhone 14 Pro Max is no longer the biggest and best iPhone, but its A16 processor and high refresh rate screen keep gaming looking smooth. If you’re on a budget, older-generation handsets like the iPhone SE or iPhone 13 are still available from the best cell phone providers at a lower price than the flagship iPhone lineup.
We’ll help you to pick the best iPhone for gaming for your needs. Whether it’s a big screen, the best sound quality, top performance, or you’re working with a strict budget, we’ve got you covered.
Despite not being tailored specifically for gamers like the Asus ROG Phone 7, iPhones are still among the best gaming phones you can buy. Once you’ve chosen a new model, we also have a guide to the best phone cases to help you protect your new piece of kit, and Apple Arcade games to test its capabilities.
These are the best gaming iPhones available right now:
- iPhone 14 Pro Max – best overall
- iPhone 14 – balanced price and performance
- iPhone SE – budget choice
1. iPhone 14 Pro Max
Best iPhone for gaming overall.
iPhone 14 Pro Max specs:
|Chipset||Apple A16 Bionic|
|Display||6.7-inch 120Hz OLED (1290 x 2796)|
|Battery||Li-Ion 4323 mAh|
- Uses the speedy and impressive A16 bionic chip
- Beautiful 6.7-inch super retina XDR screen
- Struggles a bit if you play for extended periods
Only want the best of the best? The iPhone 14 Pro Max is that choice for you. It might be considerably more expensive than the competition, but you really get what you pay for here.
The display is huge, at 6.7 inches, with a variable refresh rate of up to 120hz, high pixel density, and the new Dynamic Island cutout at the top. It also supports a much higher contrast ratio, HDR, and a much higher maximum brightness. Couple that with enormous battery life of around 29 hours and you’ve got a serious gaming phone.
2. iPhone 14
Best gaming iPhone to balance price and performance.
iPhone 14 specs:
|Chipset||Apple A15 Bionic|
|Display||6.1‑inch 60Hz all‑screen OLED display (2532 x 1170)|
|Storage||128GB – 512GB|
|Battery||Li-Ion 3279 mAh|
- Decent battery life
- Great OLED screen
- Only 60Hz
- Lacks the A16 Bionic chip
The iPhone 14 is the phone we’d recommend to most serious prospective iPhone gamers and the best iPhone for gaming overall. Although we put the iPhone 14 Pro Max at the top of this guide – thanks to its high-level performance – the vanilla 14 model is around two-thirds of the price of the iPhone 14 Pro Max, but as it packs in most of the features that count, it’s the shrewd person’s choice.
You’ve still got a beautiful OLED display screen, which helps the best iPhone games look their absolute best. While its battery life sits around the 20 hour mark, rather than the Pro Max’s 29, you’ll still get a lot out of it between charges.
If you’ve got money to spend, and you can live without the most luxurious of features, this is, without a doubt, the gaming iPhone to buy. It comes in a raft of fancy colors too. Hello, Yellow iPhone 14…
3. iPhone SE
Most affordable iPhone for gaming.
iPhone SE specs:
|Display||4.7-inch 60Hz widescreen LCD display (1334 x 750)|
|Storage||64GB – 256GB|
|Battery||Li-Ion 1624 mAh|
- Cheap for an iPhone
- 5G connection
- No OLED screen
- Lower RAM and storage space
Bigger isn’t always better, as the iPhone SE can attest to. Not only is it the cheapest iPhone on the market, but it’s also got an upgrade A15 chip inside. That’s there to offer the same horsepower as an iPhone 13.
The trade-off? A smaller screen, no Face ID unlocking, and a home button, among other things. The screen could be the only dealbreaker though. It really is quite tiny.
It’s an impressive phone nonetheless, and if you want access to the incredible A15 at the lowest possible price, this is the iPhone for you.
How we chose the best gaming iPhone
When creating this list, these were the criteria we used to determine whether or not any particular phone deserved a spot on this list:
- Recency: When looking at gaming phones, you should only consider those which are actively still being supported by their manufacturers. Those which don’t run the risk of becoming incompatible with the best mobile games.
- Battery life: Enjoy a nice long gaming sesh? You’re going to want something with a decent battery life. We’re not going to recommend you seven year old iPhone 7 that only lasts six hours on its diminished battery – only recent models that can offer a battery life of around 20 hours or more.
- Pricing: Obviously, iPhones are expensive, but they are also home to some pretty cool exclusive games. For those without a huge budget, we wanted to include a cheaper option (the SE) so you’d still be able to play those iOS games.
- Screen quality: To really make your games pop, you’ll want a nice big OLED screen, and we have focused on models that feature that, though we also included a cheaper LCD option for budget shoppers.
- RAM: The better the RAM, the more smoothly your iPhone will run your games. We recommend 6GB for the best performance, though you’ll still get by on the 2GB of the iPhone SE. We wouldn’t want to recommend anything with less.
Read our how we test page to find out more. If you have any further questions, check out our FAQs below:
Which is the best iPhone for gaming?
The iPhone 14 Pro Max is currently the best iPhone for gaming. Of course, the latest models are always going to be better for it than their predecessors, so it will be succeeded one day, but for now, it’s a good choice.
Can you use an iPhone for gaming?
Of course. There’s even a whole service based around it. Read our list of every Apple Arcade game for an idea of the many games available on the platform.
Why do gamers prefer iPhone?
For many gamers, Apple’s devices are a preferred platform because of the fact that many games are very well optimized for iOS software. They’re also powerful devices capable of handling some pretty impressive games.
Where can I find the best iPhone deals?
Check out the following retailers if you’re after a good iPhone deal:
Here are a few individual discounts for you too:
Want to wait for the iPhone 15 release date before getting a new phone? Read our iPhone 15 leaks article to find out more about Apple’s next big release. Oh, and if you happen to be in the market for the best Android phone instead of an iPhone, be sure to check out our list of the best Android phone for games here.