iPhone XR vs XS: 7 Key Differences and Full Comparison

hands holding a red iPhone XR with the homescreen displayed.

iPhone XR vs XS: 7 Key Differences and Full Comparison

Quickly following the release of the iPhone XS, Apple introduced iPhone XR, which has nearly the same features as its predecessor. Both are indeed older generation models, but significantly cheaper if you cannot afford the latest iPhones.

Initial confusion aside, there are some distinctions between the two to consider. The iPhone XR is a better buy than the iPhone XS because of its larger display, longer battery life, and identical excellent performance at a significantly reduced price. Those looking for the finest possible screen and two back cameras might consider the XS. Camera quality is the determining factor for many. It is hard to ignore the XS if you love taking photos, as it features dual rear cameras.

So, which of these two iPhones—the XS or the XR—should you buy? Read on to learn about our in-depth comparison of the two phones and our recommendations for which one to buy.

iPhone XR vs XS: Side-by-Side Comparison

iPhone XRiPhone XS
Color options36
iOSiOS 12iOS 12
Display Size5.8 inches6.1 inches
Screen TypeOLEDLCD
ProcessorA12 BionicA12 Bionic
Rear Camera12MP12MP
ZoomOptical and Digital Zoom (10X)Digital Zoom (5X)
Biometric SecurityFace IDFace ID
Infographic iPhone XR vs iPhone XS

iPhone XR vs. XS: What’s the Difference?

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  • 6.1-inch liquid retina display
  • 12MP camera
  • IP67 rated protection from liquids and dust
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Screen size

What you see on your phone’s display matters. It is the hub for documents, media, and more, and something you will be staring at constantly throughout the day. And that is why the size matters a lot.

Despite its popularity, the iPhone XR is only available in one size, with a 6.1-inch screen. However, the iPhone XS comes in two different sizes: The basic iPhone XS is 5.8 inches tall, and a larger 6.5 inch “Max” model, which looks cool but costs an extra $100.

The iPhone XR’s screen is around 5% bigger, but it is also 10% heavier and somewhat thicker than the iPhone XS. One of the main reasons for this is that, unlike OLED displays, LCD screens cannot be seamlessly incorporated into the chassis.


Upon first sight, the only noticeable difference between the two phones is the XR’s brightly colored bodies. But, if you look closely, you will notice more than that.

The iPhone XS is only available in three colors, including space gray, silver, and gold, but the XR comes in six color variations.


The iPhone XR’s larger display is probably the most notable difference. Despite this, the iPhone XR’s screen is subpar in every other way.

Where the XS comes with an OLED display that offers 2436X1136 pixels, you only get to see 1792 x 828 pixels on the XR and too on an LCD panel. Similarly, the contrast ratio of the iPhone XR is 1,400:1, and the XS supports a contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1.

As you can see up top, the iPhone XR’s LCD instead of OLED and somewhat lower native resolution are its biggest shortcomings. It is astounding that the iPhone XR, which has a screen size of only 6.1 inches, cannot handle Full HD 1080p material.

OLED screens typically outperform LCD screens in terms of brightness, color accuracy, and contrast. While the iPhone XR’s LCD is impressive for a smartphone, it pales compared to the iPhone XS’s OLED display, which makes watching HD movies a joy.


Astoundingly, the A12 Bionic technology that powers the iPhone XS also powers the iPhone XR. But the difference becomes noticeable because of the RAM capacity.

The iPhone XS provides 4GB RAM, whereas 3GB RAM powers the XR. As a result, multitasking performance will increase marginally because more applications can stay in memory at once without being forced to reload.

While the iPhone X just had 3GB and was not slow, the iPhone XS’s dual camera system necessitates the increased RAM. And together with the A12 chip, the increased RAM delivers a 15% increase in peak CPU performance and a 50% increase in graphics performance and idle power economy.  

Network and Call Quality

Both phones offer great call quality. The exciting development is that these iPhones can use the faster 4G 600 MHz bands. Before iOS 11.3 was released, iPhones were incompatible with the 600MHz frequency band utilized by carriers to bring service to previously unserved areas.  

Even while the iPhone XR lacks the iPhone XS’s new 4G Cat 16 LTE speeds, its Cat 12 600Mbit performance more than meets your needs. While Apple may be trailing behind in 5G support, no one using such lightning-fast 4G connections is likely to notice.

Software and Apps

For the time being, both iPhones come factory-installed with iOS 12, the version of iOS introduced simultaneously with the devices. This was a solid improvement over iOS 11, mostly due to the enhanced notification interaction and the arrival of group FaceTime.

Memoji joins Animoji, letting you create a real-time reactive emoji of yourself to transmit through iMessage. Only the iPhone X, XS, XS Max, and XR, with their True Depth front-facing cameras, can use this feature.

In iOS 12, battery health data is available in the settings app so you can monitor your device’s battery life. One phone is identical to the other in terms of software. However, iOS 13 is available for download.


While both devices have nearly identical front and rear cameras, the iPhone XR cannot perform optical zoom. It relies on digital zooming as it has no additional telephote lens.

The digital zoom capabilities of the iPhone XS are also superior to those of the iPhone XR. With the XR, you can only achieve a 5X digital zoom for still images and a 3X digital zoom for video.

On the contrary, the XS can achieve a whopping 10X digital zoom for still images and a whopping 6X digital zoom for videos. And, of course, you cannot ignore its impressive 2X optical zoom.

These phones support Apple’s new ‘Smart HDR’ image processing. To compensate for the iPhone’s traditionally low dynamic range, this technique merges multiple images shot at different exposures to render a single image. It is similar to Google’s HDR+ on the Pixel 2, which will always be among the best camera phones available today.

Battery Life

Those on the fence regarding the iPhone XR’s LCD should know a lower resolution is much less demanding, and the larger size allows Apple to fit a bigger battery.

iPhone XS comes 2,658 mAh battery, whereas iPhone XR comes with a 2,942 mAh battery. This difference in battery size makes the iPhone XR perhaps more suitable than any other. It outlasts the iPhone XS in most uses and can compete with the more expensive iPhone XS Max.

Both these models are compatible with fast wired charging, reaching 50% from empty in 30 minutes. However, Apple has again opted not to bundle a fast charger with the device. It is bad enough that Apple does not provide one with the iPhone XR, but not getting it with the XS feels nothing short of daylight robbery.

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Additional Features

Both phones have additional features that help you make a better buying decision. For example, the iPhone XS has an IP68 rating, meaning it can withstand water immersion up to two meters deep for half an hour. The iPhone XR has a lower IP67 rating and is water resistant up to one meter.

Another interesting feature on the XS is “3D Touch”, which is not available on the XR. Using this feature, you can easily access the submenus by pressing your phone’s screen.

On the other hand, iPhone XR users can take advantage of Apple’s 3D Touch feature by touching and holding the screen. But unlike the iPhone XS, they will not feel any vibrations or other haptic feedback.

5 Must-Know Facts about the iPhone XR vs XS

  • The OLED screen of the iPhone XS is more sophisticated and has a higher resolution than the LCD screen of the iPhone XR.
  • The XR has a larger True Tone Liquid Retina display, which still looks amazing.
  • IPhone XS and XR have a powerful A12 Bionic Chip for enough power to handle face recognition, cameras, and augmented reality games.
  • The XS is the better option for camera lovers because it comes with dual lenses and the optical zoom required for amazing photos.
  • With an IP68 rating, the iPhone XS is slightly more water-resistant than the XR.

iPhone XR vs XS: Which Should You Buy?

Despite that, Apple removed practically every useful feature from the iPhone XS to make the XR, the things they gave up were always expendable.

Yes, there is a difference in screen quality, but ultimately, it comes down to your budget. While OLED panels offer superior black levels and contrast, the great majority of consumers will find LCDs to be more than enough. The pixel density is 326 ppi, three times higher than the pixel density of a 40-inch 4K TV (110 ppi).

However, do not forget that the iPhone XR’s battery life is much better, and its many color options make it more attractive. The iPhone XS series is great for those who want to (or can afford to) always be at the forefront of technology, but the iPhone XR is the best option for everyone else.  

For some customers, the iPhone XR’s lack of an OLED display, twin cameras, or thin bezels will necessitate upgrading to the more expensive iPhone XS. But for most consumers, the iPhone XR is an excellent value with all the unnecessary extras cut out.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you correct iPhone XR iCloud restore issues?

iPhone XR works amazingly well, but some users often face issues updating iCloud settings. If you ever face this problem, you are most likely to have to perform a hard reset.

You need to press Volume Up and release and then press Volume Down and release. Immediately press the side button and hold it until you see the Apple logo.

It may look a bit tricky, but it is not. And when done right, your phone will reboot itself.  Now, it is ready for you to check if it has resolved any iCloud problems.

Keep in mind that before trying anything, you need to ensure that you have created a local backup on an external device. This way, you can easily restore the settings and retrieve your data after a hard reset.


What to do when facing iPhone XR Face ID issues?

Some iPhone XR owners have trouble with Face ID after the first setup is complete. It is quite common and nothing tricky to solve.

For starters, try scanning your face when in a well-lit environment if the Face ID on your new iPhone XR is not working. Another option is to adjust the angle at which you hold it in relation to your face, either lower it or raise it. The majority of the time, this works like a charm.

If you want to utilize Face ID to unlock your phone, you will need to keep your eyes on the display the entire time. Facial recognition requires your whole attention while using the device, even though the newer Apple phones now do it much more efficiently and effortlessly.

How do you fix internet connectivity issues with iPhone XR?

Some iPhone XR owners have reported Wi-Fi connectivity issues. Others have voiced their displeasure with the speed. If you also experience any issues related to internet connectivity, there are a few tips to consider.

First of all, make sure you are on the most recent iOS version. If the problem persists, try restarting Wi-Fi.

If nothing works, it could be an issue with your router or ISP. If you are having issues with your Internet service provider, you can check DownDetector for updates. Outages may also be reported on your ISP’s social media accounts or through their support lines.

Turning off your router for one minute may help if you are sure there is no outage in your neighborhood. Finally, it is possible that the power cord is disconnected, so reconnect it and try again.

Another thing you can do is reset your device’s internet settings. For this, you need to go to the settings, find the network settings, and reset. Sometimes, resetting your iPhone to factory defaults may also help resolve any WiFi issues.

However, if your internet connectivity problems are exclusively related to cellular connections, you may also resolve them by restarting your phone.  Again, it could be due to service outages. But, if that is not the case, simply switch to Airplane Mode for at least half an hour and then turn it off to reconnect to the internet.

Do refurbished iPhone XR and XS worth the investment?

New smartphone users typically favor Apple. As you can see, iPhone models dominate their Google and Android equivalents from the same year regarding speed and battery life benchmarks.

Still, what about used phones or ones that may have been refurbished?

Apple’s iPhones continue to be the safest option among reconditioned phones. They retain around 15% more value annually than the finest Android phones. That means the battery will not die as quickly, performance will not drop precipitously, and the display will not crack as easily.


What should you consider when buying a refurbished iPhone XR or XS?

When purchasing a reconditioned iPhone, always check where it stands regarding battery health. You should ensure that the battery has at least 80% of its original capacity. The result is a phone that functions and performs just like a new iPhone. In these phones, the battery life is not a concern, and you can expect the same level of performance without having to replace it.

Remember that not every Apple iPhone reseller offers assurances of battery quality. If you are unlucky and get a battery with less than 80% capacity, you will have to live with a low-performing device. It won’t last long, either.

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