The iPhone XR, introduced on September 12, 2018, is a lower-cost device that’s being sold alongside the newer iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max. The iPhone XR and even older iPhone 8 represent options for budget-conscious consumers who don’t want or need Apple’s latest technology.
Apple designed a new “Liquid Retina” display for the iPhone XR, which is a 6.1-inch LCD with a 1792 x 828 resolution that spans from edge-to-edge and top to bottom with minimal bezels. As with the iPhone XS, there is no Home button on the iPhone XR and it adopts the swipe-based navigation system introduced in the iPhone X.
The LCD does not support 3D Touch, but Apple introduced a new Haptic Touch feature to provide haptic responses to certain gestures on the device as a replacement.
Instead of Touch ID, the iPhone XR uses the same TrueDepth camera system that’s in the iPhone XS with faster, more efficient Face ID facial recognition for unlocking your device, making Apple Pay payments, and more.
Inside, the iPhone XR is sporting a 7-nanometer A12 Bionic chip that includes two-performance cores 15 percent faster than the A11 and four efficiency cores up to 50 percent more efficient. The four-core GPU in the A12 is up to 50 percent faster than the A11.
It features an f/1.8 12-megapixel wide-angle lens with a 32 percent larger sensor for sharper, more detailed pictures in low light, which is in fact the same wide-angle camera used in the iPhone XS. The camera supports optical image stabilization, improved True Tone Flash, and it has twice as many focus pixels.
Smart HDR brings out more detail in highlights and shadows even in situations where lighting conditions are poor, and wide color support results in rich, colorful photographs.
At the front, the 7-megapixel TrueDepth camera enables all of the features that are available in the more expensive iPhone XS, including Portrait Mode, Portrait Lighting, Depth Control, and more, for what Apple says are the “best selfies you’ve ever taken.”
When it comes to battery life, the iPhone XR had the longest battery life of any Apple iPhone at the time of its introduction, although that’s no longer the case with significant increases in battery life for Apple’s 2019 iPhone lineup. The battery in the iPhone XR does, however, last for an hour and a half longer than the iPhone 8 Plus, offering 25 hours of talk time or 15 hours of internet use.
The iPhone XR looks similar to the 5.8-inch iPhone XS, but it features a bigger 6.1-inch display, so it’s a mid-sized phone that fell between the iPhone XS and the 6.5-inch iPhone XS Max. It is smaller than the iPhone 8 Plus that it replaced, but with a larger screen.
Like the iPhone XS, the iPhone XR features an edge-to-edge display with slim bezels and no Home button, instead adopting a notch and the TrueDepth camera system for Face ID. Rather than using an OLED display, the iPhone XR is equipped with an LCD that has slightly thicker bezels than the XS due to the limitations of the LCD.
At the front of the XR, there’s a notch that houses the TrueDepth camera system, speaker, and ambient light sensor, but other than that, the iPhone XR is all display.
iPhone XR measures in at 150.9 mm tall, 75.7 mm wide, and 8.3 mm thick, which means it’s thicker than the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, which measure in at 7.7 mm. It weighs 194 grams.
iPhone XR Colors
Apple has created iPhone XR in six colors, marking the first time since the 2013 iPhone 5c that iPhones were made available in colors other than silver, space gray, gold, and red.
iPhone XR comes in white, black, blue, coral, yellow, and (PRODUCT)RED, with glass bodies and matching anodized aluminum frames.
To go along with the iPhone XR, Apple sells a clear iPhone case that’s designed to show off the bright colors of the device. The case was released in December 2018, two months after the launch of the iPhone XR.
Water and Dust Resistance
The iPhone XR is IP67 water and dust resistant, which means it is entirely dust proof and able to withstand one meter of water (3.3 feet) for up to 30 minutes.
iPhone XR is equipped with the most advanced LCD in a smartphone, which features several technological advancements to make it larger than ever.
Given the advanced LCD technology in use, Apple has given the display a new Apple-style name: Liquid Retina.
The iPhone XR’s display measures in at 6.1 inches and it has a resolution of 1792 x 828 with 326 pixels per inch and 1.4 million total pixels, meaning it is inferior to the OLED display in the iPhone XS models but on par with past iPhones that have used LCDs.
It has a 1400:1 contrast ratio, which is one of the areas where it falls short of the iPhone XS. The XS’s OLED display has a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio. Colors aren’t quite as rich nor are blacks quite as black, but it does have the same 625 cd/m² max brightness.
Apple eliminated the 3D Touch feature in the iPhone XR and instead replaced it with a new Haptic Touch option, which the company says is similar to the haptic trackpad in the MacBook Pro.
A12 Bionic Processor
The iPhone XR is equipped with a new 7-nanometer A12 Bionic chip that’s faster and more efficient than the A11 in the last year’s iPhone X.
There are two high-performance cores in the A12 that are up to 15 percent faster than the A11 Bionic and four efficiency cores that use up to 50 percent less power. The A12, combined with a bigger battery, enables much longer battery life for the iPhone XR.
As with the A11, the A12 can harness all six of its cores at once when a boost in power is needed, and a new performance controller dynamically divides work across the cores for the best performance and battery life.
Apple’s A12 Bionic includes a 4-core GPU that offers up to 50 percent faster graphics performance than the A11 chip.
The A11 Bionic introduced the first Neural Engine, and the A12-chip has a next-generation 8-core version that uses real-time machine learning to power features across the operating system, improving photo taking, gaming, augmented reality, and more.
According to Apple, the Neural Engine is able to perform five trillion operations per second, allowing more to be done in real time. It’s what powers the machine learning features in the iPhone XR, like photo search, Face ID, and augmented reality experiences.
RAM and Storage Space
iPhone XR includes 3 GB RAM, 1 GB less than iPhone XS and XS Max and the same amount of RAM that was in the iPhone X. iPhone XR is available in 64 and 128 capacities.
iPhone XR uses a single-lens camera system, but it is the most advanced single-lens camera Apple has designed, combining the latest hardware with some impressive software advancements to enable features that were not previously possible.
The iPhone XR is using the same f/1.8 12-megapixel wide-angle camera that’s in the iPhone XS and XS Max, and that camera, compared to the camera in the previous-generation iPhone X, features a 32 percent larger sensor with bigger pixels to allow for clearer, crisper photos even in conditions where lighting is poor.
It also features twice as many focus pixels, includes optical image stabilization for photos and videos, offers wide color, and it features the same improved quad-LED True Tone flash with slow sync. The lens of the wide-angle camera is equivalent to 26 mm, which means it offers a slightly wider field of view than the camera in the iPhone X.
Portrait Mode is enabled through a software feature that creates a depth segmentation map using the camera’s focus pixels and neural net software to separate the subject of a photo from the background.
Portrait Lighting is also enabled through this technique, but a limited number of effects are available. Users can choose Natural, Studio, or Contour lighting options, but Stage Light and Stage Light Mono effects included on other iPhone models with dual cameras are not available on iPhone XR.
iPhone XR can record 4K video at 24, 30, or 60 frames per second, 1080p HD video at 30 or 60 frames per second, or 720p HD video at 30 frames per second.
Extended dynamic range is available for video up to 30 frames per second, and when capturing video, digital zoom up to 3x is available.
It supports 1080p Slo-mo video at 120 or 240 frames per second, time-lapse video, and 1080p and 720p cinematic video stabilization. Stereo recording is included, as is stereo playback with new wider sound separation.
The iPhone XR has a 2,942 mAh battery, 8.3 percent larger than the battery in the iPhone X and 10.6 percent larger than the battery in the iPhone XS, but somewhat smaller than the 3,174 mAh battery in the iPhone XS Max.
Though it doesn’t have the largest battery of Apple’s three 2018 iPhones, the iPhone XR has the longest battery life, lasting an hour and a half longer than the battery in the iPhone 8 Plus. The iPhone XR offers up to 25 hours of talk time, up to 15 hours of internet use, up to 16 hours of video playback, and up to 65 hours of audio playback.
iPhone XR is fast-charge capable, which means it can be charged to 50 percent battery life in just 30 minutes. Fast charging requires a USB-C power adapter that offers at least 18 watts, which includes 29/30W adapters from Apple (priced at $49). Third-party 18W+ USB-C adapters also work, but the Lightning to USB-C cables must be purchased from Apple for $19.
According to Apple, iPhone the iPhone XR charges “even faster” than the iPhone X, and there is a copper coil inside that facilitates slightly faster charging because it doesn’t heat up quite as much.
iPhone XR supports LTE Advanced for data transfer speeds up to 450Mb/s. It works with more than 20 LTE bands, with Apple using a single model for all cellular networks.
The iPhone XR models sold around the world feature dual-SIM support, which allows two phone numbers to be used at one time.
Dual-SIM functionality is enabled through the inclusion of one physical nano-SIM slot and an eSIM, a feature that was first introduced in the iPad.
Dual-SIMs work with select carriers in Austria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, India, Spain, the UK, and the United States.
In China, where eSIMs are not allowed, iPhone XR devices feature two physical SIM card slots. Models with two SIM slots are limited to China and won’t be sold elsewhere.
Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
iPhone XR supports the Bluetooth 5.0 standard. Bluetooth 5.0 offers longer range, faster speeds, larger broadcast message capacity, and better interoperability with other wireless technologies.
Compared to Bluetooth 4.2, Bluetooth 5 offers four times the range, two times the speed, and eight times the broadcast message capacity.
802.11ac Wi-Fi with 2×2 MIMO is supported, with support for connection speeds that can reach a theoretical maximum of 866Mb/s.
GPS and NFC
Support for GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and QZSS location services is included in the iPhone XR.
NFC with reader mode is included, and for the first time, the iPhone XR includes a background tag feature that allows them to scan NFC tags without the need to open an app first.
iPhone XR Price
The iPhone XR is available for purchase in Apple retail stores, the Apple online store, and from third-party retailers. Prices for the iPhone XR starts at $599 for the 64GB model, while a 128GB model is available for $649. Apple also sells refurbished iPhone XR models as of May 2020, with refurbished pricing starting at $499.
AppleCare+ is available for the iPhone XR for $149. AppleCare+ extends the warranty of the iPhone XR and it provides coverage for two incidents of accidental damage with a $29 – $99 deductible.
|Storage||64GB, 256GB, 512GB|
|OS||iOS 12, upgradable to iOS 12.3|
|Model||A2102, A1921, A2104, A2102|
|Dimension||150.9 x 75.7 x 8.3 mm|
|Protection||scratch-resistant glass |
and oleophobic coating
|Color||Black, White, Red, Yellow, Blue, Coral.|
|Operating System||iOS 12, upgradable to iOS 12.3|
|Processor||Hexa-core 2×2.5 GHz Vortex +|
4×1.6 GHz Tempest
|Chipset||Apple A12 Bionic (7nm)|
|GPU||Apple GPU (4-core grapics)|
|Storage||64GB, 256GB, 512GB|
|Type||IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, |
|Screen size||6.1 inches|
|Pixel per inch||326|
|Resolution||828 x 1792 pixels|
|Single||12-megapixel f/1.8 (wide),|
1/2.55″ PDAF, OIS
|Flash||Quad-LED, dual-tone flash,|
|Video||[email protected]/30/60fps, |
HDR, stereo sound rec.
|Single||7-megapixel f/2.2, 32mm (standard)|
|Ambient Light Sensor||Yes|
|Wi-Fi standard|| 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax, |
Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot supported
|Bluetooth||Yes v5.00,A2DP, LE.|
|GPS||Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS,|
BDS, GALILEO, QZSS
|USB||Yes, 3.1 Type C 1.0 reversible connector|
|SIM Slot||Single SIM or Dual SIM, |
(dual stand-by for China)
IP67 dust/water resistant
(up to 1m for 30 mins)
|Loudspeaker||Yes, with stereo speaker|
|Messaging||iMessage SMS (Threaded view),|
MMS, Email, Push Email
|Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic|
|Dolby Atmos/AKG sound|
|Siri natural language commands and dictation|
|Apple Pay (Visa, MasterCard, AMEX certified)|
|Charging||Fast battery charging 15W|
(50% in 30 mins) &
Qi wireless charging
iPhone XR Review
Here’s what Matthew Panzarino of TechCrunch had to say about the iPhone XR’s 6.1-inch Liquid Retina LCD display:
While the screen is one of the best LCDs I’ve ever seen, it’s not as good as the other models. Specifically, I believe that the OLED’s ability to display true black and display deeper color (especially in images that are taken on the new XR cameras in HDR) set it apart easily.
That said, I have a massive advantage in that I am able to hold the screens side by side to compare images. Simply put, if you don’t run them next to one another, this is a great screen.
In response to the controversy that the iPhone XR’s display is being criticized for having a lower resolution than the iPhone X, The Verge‘s Nilay Patel thinks the display is just fine:
The display on the iPhone XR is… fine. It’s fine! It has lower resolution and pixel density than the OLEDs in new flagship phones like the iPhone XS, Galaxy S9, and Pixel 3, but it’s the same 326 pixels per inch as Apple’s previous non-Plus LCD iPhones. Anyone coming to this phone from any iPhone save the iPhone X will not notice a huge discrepancy in resolution.
Here’s what Pocket Lint‘s Stuart Miles has to say about the iPhone XR’s A12 Bionic processor, the same featured in the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max:
Since getting the phone in the office we’ve been playing Fornite and Asphalt 9 to put it through its paces with no issues whatsoever. Having extensively used the iPhone XS prior to testing the iPhone XR , it’s clear there is no difference in terms of processing power or capabilities. The experience hasn’t been subdued in terms of power or performance.
Alex Cranz of Gizmodo was pleasantly surprised by the iPhone XR’s battery life:
In day-to-day use app use, like web browsing and checking your email, you won’t notice a difference between what it can do compared to the pricier phones or versus the A11 in last year’s iPhones. One exception is battery life. The A12 has worked wonders on the battery life of the phones that contain it. We saw this with the XS, which lasted about an hour and ten minutes longer than the X in our tests, and we see it again with the XR which lasted quite a bit longer than the 8 Plus, despite the 8 Plus having a larger battery.
Mark Spoonauer writing for Tom’s Guide on the iPhone XR’s battery life:
On the Tom’s Guide Battery Test, which involves continuous web surfing at 150 nits of screen brightness, the iPhone XR lasted 11 hours and 26 minutes. That beats the times from the iPhone XS Max (10:38) and iPhone XS (9:41) by a significant margin. The Pixel 3 XL lasted only 9:30, while the Galaxy Note 9 also endured for 11:26.
In everyday use the iPhone XR ‘s endurance also impressed. After unplugging at 100 percent at 7 a.m., I used the phone intermittently to play games, check Facebook and email, and stream Spotify and capture photos and videos, and I still have 24 percent battery left at 9 p.m.
Wired‘s Lauren Goode says that the iPhone XR’s camera isn’t too far off from the iPhone XS’s:
But, if you’re comparing the XR with the XS, the camera capabilities on the iPhone XR are nearly the same as those on the XS, both when it comes to capturing still images and recording video. It has that wide-angle 12-megapixel rear camera, a 7-megapixel front camera with 3-D sensors, and dynamic range that has been improved from the HDR in last year’s phones. Overall, it’s an excellent camera.
Overall, John Gruber of Daring Fireball believes that the iPhone XR is so good, there’s got to be a catch:
There’s got to be a catch.
That’s what everyone has been thinking ever since Apple announced the iPhone XR alongside the XS and XS Max on September 12. Right? The iPhone XR seemingly offers too much of what the XS provides at a significantly lower price.
Well, there is no catch.
The iPhone XR is everything Apple says it is, and it’s the new iPhone most people should buy. I’ve been using one as my primary phone for the last week, and it’s a lovely, exciting device. Even some of the things I thought were compromises don’t feel like compromises at all in practice. Overall, yes, the XS and XS Max are better devices, but in a few regards the XR is actually better.