iPhone 5 vs iPhone 5S: What’s the difference?

Vs Paul Briden 12:05, 12 Sep 2013

How is the iPhone 5S different from the iPhone 5?

Now that the iPhone 5S is here, existing iPhone 5 users may be wondering what all the fuss is about and whether it’s worth an upgrade. For those who haven’t got an iPhone and are considering buying one, Apple’s made the decision easy for you by discontinuing the iPhone 5 – so if you want the premium model you can only get the iPhone 5S now. The iPhone 5 will, however, continue to be supported by Apple in terms of updates, technical support and so on.

Design and build

On the whole not much has changed on the outside in terms of shape, proportions and build materials. Like the iPhone 5 the iPhone 5S still has an aluminium unibody and a glass front panel.

Both phones feel very well made and quite solid in the hand, as well as being extraordinarily lightweight.

You’ve got a new set of colour options with space grey (which has black trim), silver (with white trim) and ‘champagne gold’ (also with white trim), while the older iPhone 5 has your standard black or white variants.

The only other visible change is the metallic trim around the Home button on the iPhone 5S.


The display hasn’t changed one iota between the two models, each has the same 4-inch IPS LCD with an 1136x640 pixel resolution at 326 pixels-per-inch (ppi). Apple’s stuck to a smaller display as it sees it as an optimum size for one-handed use and multimedia consumption. In terms of picture quality it’s nice and sharp with punchy colours and excellent brightness levels.


We don’t yet have all the grisly details about Apple’s new A7 processor but preliminary benchmarks currently emerging would appear to suggest Apple’s claims that it’s twice as fast as the older A6 chip found in the iPhone 5 are true. The A7 chip uses 64-bit architecture and is the first smartphone processor of its kind.

It’ll still run existing app and gaming content very quickly indeed, just like the iPhone 5 already does, but as app developers start to create 64-bit tailored content you should notice things getting even speedier. Gaming should also get a graphical boost thanks to support for Open GL ES 3.0.

Both setups are dual-core with the iPhone 5’s A6 processor being clocked at 1.3GHz and some reports suggesting the A7 is clocked to around 1.7GHz. Both also have 1GB of RAM.

Internal storage is the same on both models as each comes in the usual crop of 16GB, 32GB and 64GB storage variants and there’s no microSD card support to be found.

Another significant hardware change is the Touch ID fingerprint scanner on the iPhone 5S’s Home button. This is used to unlock the device, rather than entering a password or PIN, and can also be used for making app and content purchases via iTunes. Apple isn’t unlocking the Touch ID function for developers though, so don’t expect apps which utilise it in the future.

That means it’s a bit of a limited feature and not one I’m all that bothered about, I certainly wouldn’t upgrade from the iPhone 5 just for Touch ID.


Battery life on the iPhone 5 is already pretty good thanks to Apple’s optimisations and the pack itself is rated at 1,440mAh. The iPhone 5S’s battery is the same, but battery life should, according to Apple, be improved as it promises 40 hours of music playback and 10 hours of browsing or video playback.


Both handsets use Apple’s 8-megapixel iSight setup. The iPhone 5’s camera remains an excellent choice but with the iPhone 5S Apple has tweaked a few things to improve imaging performance. Notably it has a larger f/2.2 aperture, uses a larger pixel size, an improved back-illuminated sensor (BSI), a Hybrid IR filter and a dual-LED flash with both amber and white LEDs.

The iPhone 5S’s camera now starts adjusting automatically when you get ready to take a picture to try and enhance the shot as much as possible, the LED flash adapts dynamically to lighting conditions and is designed to produce more natural colour while performing better in low-light.

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As an iPhone 5 owner it looks like I may as well just wait another year for the 6 to come out. Not very exciting from Apple really.

Same here !!! up gradation from iphone 5 to iphone 5s is not worth at all , Apple has really screwed all the iphone 5 owners by discontinuing iphone 5.
Its a shame i am using a discontinued model which was latest a day before ! Lol , Apple could have dropped the price instead of doing that.

If apple would'nt discontinued i5 then the next models will not b in demand ....

What exactly would be the point of that, and why does it matter?

The 5S looks pretty much the same anyways. Just because people can't but a new one doesn't really make it out of date.

I'd argue that the 4S wasn't really worth upgrading to the 5 either, and they look quite a bit different. I don't really understand what this obsession is about being seen to have the latest Apple device all the time. It's pretty pathetic.

Exactly how I feel. Why do people feel the need to upgrade every year and get disappointed everytime apple releases an S version of their phone. What could Apple possibly do to a phone every year. Personally I think the iPhone 5S is a huge hardware upgrade and will allow for good innovative apps just like the iPhone 2.0 did. I only buy the S models of the iPhone for obvious reasons. And i've just sold my nearly 2 year old iPhone 4S for £290 in preparation for buying my new iPhone 5s. I'm on a sim only contract meaning ever 2 years I pay cash for my iPhone.. easy as that.

Really though. Apple is being greedy here guys. While the Galaxy S4 comes out with air view, air gesture, multi window, smart scroll, along with a bigger display, upgrade LCD, 13 mp camera and a Quad core processor, Apple, one of the longest most successful and up to date technological companies in the world, barely upgrades its 5S with Touch ID, the camera is still the same just wider and they just add another flash. Yet the iPhone 5S it is still going to cost $600 just for this small upgrade. Touch ID technology has been around for the past 5 plus years. Apple can make something much better than this with their technology, they know they have dumb customers and they will still make money with this small upgrade. Just wait for the iPhone 6 you'll probably expect to receive much more upgrades than this.

What's with all the anger? I have a 4S, I'm upgrading to a 5S after a 2 year contract. I'm going to sell my 4S to a private party, which will nearly cover the entire cost of a 32G 5S. What exactly in this arrangement is rage-worthy?

Oh I agree about that. They are very greedy indeed IMHO. They could offer their customers huge value, but they choose not to, and this will be their undoing eventually.

That being said, however, with the notable exception of Siri, Apple stuff tends to be quite robust, well designed, and tends to work well. They don't (as a general rule) add clutter or half-developed features. If they add it, it has to work, at least most of the time. The same cannot be said for Samsung. I think the huge number of sales of the Google edition of their devices says a lot about it.

With Apple, you're paying a bit more for a bit less, but then less is more, isn't it?

aww man, still dual core and 1 GB of ram? same resolution? The only difference is the touch id and colours, i expected much more from apple, guess I'm waiting for the s5 or htc 2 or whatever it's going to be called-_-
I had a 3g, 4 and 5 but now I'm moving to android because its so shocking that iPhone are developing much slowlier then htc,sony, samsung, google etc.

I agree to some extent of what you are saying, but as a computer engineer, I see that the reason why Apple product seems to work well is because they run a very basic, light, and flat platform which uses no special effects and features whatsoever, which allows the phone use little memory, as a result allowing the phone to run smoother for a longer period of time. This is great engineering in terms of making the phone more reliable and more responsive, but it takes away the practical purpose of smart phone innovations, which is to make smart phones more practical in a daily life to benefit customers as much as possible.

The new Samsung Galaxy S4 on the other hands has increased significantly in sales compared to its S3. Also the features on the S4 is well living up to its expectations. I think this is due to the new Quad Core processor that powers up the phone, which allows the phone to use double the amount of less memory, compared to a GS3 and iPhone 5, when special effects and features are in play. I've had a number of Apple products in my life such as the iPod nano, iPod touch 2G, 3G, 4G, and iPhone 4S, and 5. I never liked the idea syncing things through iTunes only. It just takes so much time, plus it can only sync to a computer it recognizes with the backup files. I've also experienced many lag on these devices as you install many apps, or restore the device many times. The iPhone 4S was a disappointment to me as its major upgrade was only Siri, and Siri definitely did not live up to customers expectations. I have a feeling that the 5S will turn out to customers just as the 4S did. Today I have moved on from the iPhone 5 to the Galaxy S4, and I am definitely enjoying everything this phone can do. To me its the most up to date phone with technology out there. Plus I like the idea of transferring music, pictures, videos, etc. by just dragging and dropping from any computer. I would expect the next iPhone to have better specs and features than the GS4 but from this, it sure does not look like it.

I do have many frustrations about the Apple stuff, don't get me wrong. I can say that after 3 years of iPhone ownership I've managed to completely avoid using the dreaded iTunes, and I've gotten by quite happily, especially since the iCloud sync came along. My app collection actually completely negates the need for me to attach it to a PC ever. I have Plex to sync my TV and movies, all the on-demand apps with local storage options, iCloud and Spotify for music... Dropbox for everything else. It all works very nicely, and that's mainly to do with the nice, solid, but simple OS.

Since I got my first iPhone, I've also had a second phone with Android on it (currently an HTC One which I love), and they each have their merits, but for me it's the iPhone I still go to for most things. I suppose everyone is going to have an individual preference. But yeah, the gap is closing, and closing fast. Apple aren't really innovating, and the rest are.

With their cash, they could've absolutely revolutionised the field by now, but they choose not to spend it. Heck, they even paid out a dividend or two - must be getting desperate.

I'd argue to the contrary as far as the sophistication of iOS goes. I was once, and still am, although to a much lesser degree, an OS Kernel programmer. I think it's very easy to mistake simplicity of design for primitiveness, and I still believe iOS to be among the most sophisticated mobile OS available, for its architecture alone. What it lacks in features it more than makes up for in stability, security and robustness. Apple's enforced limitations are frustrating, but it means you get some apps on this platform which are unquestionably unsurpassed on any other platform. Android's flexibility means that you get to do some extremely cool stuff which Apple don't allow, which is also a good thing. I certainly wouldn't be without my second device simply for some of the tools and utilities which Apple's quality control would never allow through.

That's a valid criticism, and it certainly doesn't line up with flagship phones from Sony, HTC and Samsung (among others). But have you ever done anything on the iPhone for which 1GB RAM, two cores and the 1136x640 screen is a problem? Sure, the odd *very* poorly programmed app does occasionally fail due to lack of memory, but because of the way iOS manages its memory there's seldom any excuse for this. If you look at the actual memory usage of almost any iOS app, it's very cleverly managed in the background. Android phones need a bit more oomph to do the same stuff because for most apps because of the relatively inefficient Java layer. Not that most apps need anywhere near the full power of the device, of course.

I must say, I'm pretty sick of the premium Apple put on their devices when you seemingly get a lot less for your buck, but it's just not as simple as that. If they weren't competitive or appealing in some way, people would soon stop buying them.

The thing I mostly observe is people disliking Apple themselves, as opposed to their products. I certainly fall into this camp.

Yes exactly the only difference is the fingerprint scanner it's nothing to get excited about ill just keep the iPhone 5

5 to 5S isn't a huge hardware upgrade at all. The only change that's "huge" is iOS 7.

I have always said Apple does a great job at "hiding" what's new with the latest phone, vs. what's new with the latest software. There is almost always a new software upgrade that takes place simultaneously with the intro of the new phone, so many people don't realize that many of the new features they like are in the software. This time around, it appears to me that iOS 7 is a really nice upgrade, and is going to look nice too. However, the phone itself is a copy of iPhone 5, other than the fingerprint deal and the color options. Having said that, there are zillions of people out there who will buy one just to get the finger ID. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the camera and the fingerprint deal the only hardware differences between the 5 and 5S?

How have they "screwed" iPhone 5 owners? I have an iPhone 5, and I plan to upgrade to iOS 7 and keep the phone. What difference does it make whether it's discontinued or not? Are you afraid you won't be able to get spare parts? LOL

Keep increasing that screen size and you'll have an iPad on your hands. I don't want a bigger screen than what Apple now offers. It's kinda like the huge laptops I see people carry around. It seems to me it defeats the purpose of portable. The 13" screen is quite big enough for a laptop, and the 4" screen is fine for a phone you have to carry around in your pocket.

Good point. I've sold my last 2 iPhones for the price of the new edition, so it's a no brainer. Sold the 4S for $300, walked into the Apple store and got the 5 for $300.

By the way, it only makes sense to discontinue the 5, because the 5 and 5S are almost exactly the same.

Actually i'd think that the 64bit A7 chip @ 1.7ghz with the M7 coprocessor is a big step up from the A6 1.3ghz of the current iPhone 5.

I love all Apple products, and if I have the money to blow on it I'm going to. Haha. But I do feel that this is a necessary upgrade for any iPhone 4S users like myself - It seems to be a huge step up from the 4S in my opinion. :) Happy shopping.

I've always had iPhones since the 2G ..always loved them and been happy with them but, they have let so many 10's of millions of fans, they will definitely see a drop in sales., im looking to buy a HTC one or something similar today..

Haters got to hate. If your due for an upgrade then it makes sense. If your not and you want want one it is a free country.

don't old folks like yourself need the big screen so you can see?

my galaxy note 2 which was released last year in october had similar specs as the new 5s, quadcore 1.6ghz processor and 2gb of ram. and just because it's on apple does not make it innovative. next thing you know they will put multi task window like the samsung on like iphone 10s, and all the fanboys will be like... "oh, it's so innovative!"

I think you miss the point completely. Hardware specs mean a lot less than the architecture of the device, the OS and the software. Android devices, for a number of reasons, actually need a bit more grunt just to keep up. There's nothing wrong with this, and actually these devices have a lot of advantages over their Apple contemporaries (they are certainly a lot faster and more flexible for certain tasks). But the reverse is also true, and I think people have to look a bit more objectively at this before they declare Apple stuff bad, or vice versa. Even Windows OS goes to prove that you don't need a 1.7GHz quad core processor and 2GB RAM to keep up with Android devices, even though (IMHO), the OS isn't the greatest from many other points-of-view.

jeg vil ha en iphone 5s

halloi love iphone 5s

hollo i love iphone 5s

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