Apple’s #1 selling, most popular iPhone is not its flagship, nor the iPhone 12 Mini; instead, it will most likely be the company’s standard iPhone 12 model…

iPhone 12 Sales 2021 – Which Model is Most Popular?

It’s a bit too early to call which iPhone was the most popular option for 2021, however, new data from a range of sources suggest Apple’s iPhone 12 is on track to deliver considerably more unit sales than 2019’s iPhone 11 range.

Most Popular iPhone Model? It's NOT The iPhone 12 Mini...Pin

Turns out people REALLY did want 5G, after all. According to Dan Ives, an analyst, Apple’s share price could jump 25% in 2021 off the back of extremely strong iPhone 12 sales. Importantly, Apple is now picking up significant traction in both China and India, two massive growth regions for iPhone.

As for which is the most popular iPhone model for 2021, sadly there is limited data on this at present. However, as always, Apple’s cheaper models – this time the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Mini – are always the biggest players with respect to overall sales. However, reports suggest the iPhone 12 Mini is not selling as well as the standard iPhone 12 model.

Guess people are over small phones now. Who knew?

Similarly, COWEN analysts reckon Apple is on track to ship 55 million iPhone 12 units in Q1 2021 – up from 51 million in Q1 2020. In light of this, Apple has had to expand its production rate by as much as 30%. We’ll know more about individual handset sales as we get deeper into 2021. Until then, we’re advising our readers to pick up either the iPhone 12 or the iPhone 12 Max Pro – go with the latter if you want the best possible camera experience.

Most Popular iPhone 2020 – The iPhone 11, Again…

Apple’s launch schedule is always late in the year, so the “iPhone year” technically runs from Q4 2019 to Q4 2020. During this period, Apple’s iPhone sales have been fairly strong; it sold 37.7 million iPhone 11 handsets during the first half of 2020, securing it the top spot for overall sales for 2020 so far…

The iPhone SE 2020, iPhone XR, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max all made it into the top 10 as well – albeit with much smaller sales volume.

Data collected by Omdia confirms Apple’s iPhone 11 as not only the best selling iPhone of 2020 but also the best selling phone on the market – it secured almost 40 million sales for the year. The next best was Samsung’s A51 with 11.4 million sales which just goes to show just how powerful Apple’s iPhone brand remains in 2020.

Best Selling iPhones For 2020 By Model

  • iPhone 11 – 37.7 million units
  • iPhone SE 2020 – 8.7 million units
  • iPhone XR – 8 million units
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max – 7.7 million units
  • iPhone 11 Pro – 6.7 million units

The only other brand, save for Apple and Samsung, to make the top 10 was Xiaomi – it had several phones in the top 10 list, with the Xiaomi RedMi Note 8 coming in highest with 11 million sales. That’s more than Apple’s iPhone SE 2020, iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone XR, and iPhone 11 Pro Max.

In 2020, we’ll likely see bigger growth from Apple with its 5G-enabled iPhone 12 range. There will be four models, all with OLED displays, across a range of price points. The advent of 5G and, reportedly lower prices, could well instigate Apple’s first super-cycle since 2014’s iPhone 6 release.

Most Popular iPhone Model 2019 – The iPhone 11

Most Popular iPhone Model 2019Pin

View ALL The Latest iPhone 11 Deals (Or, Build Your Own Using The Filters)

Apple had a pretty good 2019. The company released three iPhones, the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Max. As usual, the iPhone 11 base model was the cheapest with the Pro models being more expensive – $899.99 for the iPhone 11 Pro and $999.99 for the iPhone 11 Pro Max. Check this post out for a detailed breakdown of how much the iPhone 11 range costs.

The most popular iPhone for 2019, by sales volume, however, was not the flagship model. No, it was the cheaper iPhone 11 – this model accounted for around 39% of Apple’s Q4 iPhone 11 sales, according to research by CounterPoint. Apple’s entire iPhone 11 range accounts for 69% of iPhone sales during the quarter too, showing high-levels of adoption.

The iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max were considerably lower. Still, Apple’s sales were down year-on-year despite the popularity of the iPhone 11.

And the reason? Well, there’s two, apparently: the first is that people are waiting for 5G iPhones before upgrading and the second, which is more likely, is that people are defecting to cheaper mid-tier phones from Chinese brands like OPPO and Xiaomi. Either way, Apple’s 40 million sales for the year are still pretty impressive.

This is why we now have the iPhone SE 2020; Apple’s £419/$399 entry-level iPhone 8 redux. And if you want to see how competitive the iPhone SE 2020, make sure you check out how it compares to similarly priced phones inside our Pixel 4a vs OnePlus Nord vs iPhone SE 2020 head-to-head comparison.

iPhone 11 Deals

Most Popular iPhone Model (2018 to 2019) – The iPhone XR


The iPhone XR was a hugely popular release for Apple. So much so, in fact, that the entry-level iPhone 10 model’s sales eclipsed the more expensive iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max. Again, the reason for the iPhone XR’s success was its price; the handset was accessibly-priced by Apple (it’s now available for less than $450) and packed in a ton of great features, as well as killer design.

Apple did not release official sales stats for its 2018 iPhone models. Why? Unclear. But many suspect that the reason for this was because iPhone sales in 2018/19 weren’t as good as they were in 2017 – the entire market slowed down.

Still, analysts were able to draw clear conclusions on the most popular iPhone model for 2018/19, using customer buying data. And there was a clear winner – the iPhone XR.

According to CIRP data, the iPhone XR accounted for a massive 39% of ALL iPhone sales during 2018/19. Pretty remarkable, especially when you consider the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max had a head start on the market by getting an earlier release date.

iPhone Sales Figures 2018

  1. iPhone XR – 39%
  2. iPhone XS/XS Max – 26%
  3. iPhone 8 – 22%

As you can see, the iPhone XR has a clear advantage over its more expensive stablemates. Even the older iPhone 8 did impressively well. Again, this is likely down to its reduced pricing. Turns out Apple customers DO like value for money, after all!

iPhone Users Value Storage Capacity Over OLED Panels

One really interesting aspect of CIRP’s data is that it showed a clear correlation of iPhone users opting for higher storage models of the iPhone XR – the 256GB model. Around 38% of iPhone XR users opted to buy handsets with higher amounts of storage – up from 33% with the iPhone 8.

MORE: The #1 iPhone Case Brands (Best For Style & Protection)

According to the data, Apple customers would rather pay slightly more a handset running an LCD display, than cough up a similar amount of money for less storage and an OLED display, as you get with entry-level models of the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max.

What Does This Data Tell Us About The iPhone 12 Range?


Given how things have played out in 2019, it’s clear that Apple cannot afford to mess around with the pricing of its iPhone 12 range too much. Keeping the base model iPhone 12 in and around $699.99 would be the smartest move alongside minor increases in price for the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max models.

Another possibility is to do with 5G. Apple is rumored to be making four iPhone 12 handsets for 2020, and they’ll all have OLED displays and 5G.

Still, Apple has to tackle year-on-year declines in sales for its iPhones, and to do this it will have to make sure that it positively NAILS its 2020 pricing structure for its new iPhone models. It cannot afford to do what Samsung is apparently about to do with its Galaxy S20 range (start prices at 900 EURO), as this would kill adoption.

We will also see some developments with the iPhone 12’s camera tech too, though the really big changes in this department will likely be reserved for the iPhone 13 which will land inside 2021.

With respect to performance, Apple’s iPhone 12 phones will run on the company’s as-yet-unannounced A14 chipset. This new CPU should bring with a bunch of performance uplift over the already-impressive A13 used inside the iPhone 11 range and the iPhone SE 2020.

The main event on 2020’s iPhone releases will be the advent of 5G connectivity, OLED panels on all models, and the addition of an extra model – the iPhone 12 Max – which will basically be a slightly more expensive (and larger version) of the entry-level iPhone 12 model.

The entry-level iPhone 12 will also be a lot smaller than the iPhone 11; reports suggest it could use a 5.2in OLED panel, the smallest fitted to a modern iPhone. The iPhone 12 Max will feature a larger 6.1-6.5in OLED panel. In total, this will equate to four models: the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Max, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Either way, things look like they’re about to get very interesting for iPhone users in 2020…