It’s the iPhone 6s vs iPhone 6s Plus face off! Back in 2015, Apple introduced its latest flagship iPhone: the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus. While the two phones went on to be one of the most popular iPhones Apple has ever made, at the time of their debut some Apple fans were a bit disappointed because there were few design changes from the previous iPhone 6 series. However, the underlying technology did get a big boost.
That technology included things like a new 12MP rear camera, a second-generation Touch ID sensor, and the “3D Touch” display that sensed pressure as well as touch. It should be noted that as of 2021, Apple has done away with the 3D Touch display on all its iPhones. The tech just didn’t catch on.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. This article is about the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, after all. Let’s take a look at how Apple’s iPhone 6s compares to the larger iPhone 6s Plus. Plus are these two older iPhones still worth buying in 2021? Read on to find out…
iPhone 6s vs iPhone 6s Plus Specs Compared
|iPhone 6s||iPhone 6s Plus|
|Display: 4.7 inches (1,334 x 750 pixels)||Display: 5.5 inches (1,920 x 1,080 pixels)|
|Dimensions: 5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28in||Dimensions: 6.23 x 3.07 x 0.29 in|
|Storage Options: 16, 64, 128GB 16, 64, 128GB||Storage Options: 16, 64, 128GB 16, 64, 128GB|
|RAM: 2GB||RAM: 2GB|
|Camera: 12MP rear, 5MP front||Camera: 12MP rear, 5MP front|
|Battery Size: 1715 mAh||Battery Size: 2750 mAh|
|Price: ||Price: |
Is The iPhone 6s & iPhone 6S Plus Still Worth Buying In 2021? A word of warning…
Look, the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus were great phones back in 2015. They were probably the best on the planet. However, in 2021 their tech just looks archaic. Their design is outdated (no all-screen display), they still have Touch ID (no Face ID), and their A9 processor can’t hold a candle next to the A14 found in the new iPhone 12 series.
The good thing about the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus in 2021 is that the two phones do still run the latest iOS operating system. Both phones run iOS 14. But here’s the big word of warning: it’s likely neither phone will support iOS 15 when it debuts in September 2021. iOS 15 is likely to ONLY be supported on the iPhone 7 and later. That means current iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus owners could expect to be left behind when iOS 15 comes out. Or, in other words, get ready to buy a new iPhone this fall.
This brings us to another point: you probably shouldn’t spend the money buying a used iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus right now. That’s because while the phones are still perfectly usable, they won’t be able to update to the latest iOS this fall. So, if you are going to buy a used iPhone, make sure its the iPhone 7 or above.
iPhone 6s vs iPhone 6s Plus: A Full Overview
The above disclaimer out of the way, let’s now dive into seeing how the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus compare against each other.
With the iPhone 6s series, Apple kept the same design language of the previous iPhone 6 series. This was a disappointment to many who like to see a new iPhone design every year. However, this is how Apple usually ran their design cycles back then: a newly designed iPhone one year would be followed by the same design the next year, but that iPhone would include new internals and technology. These same-designed-as-previous-gen-iPhones were generally dubbed an “S” series upgrade.
- iPhone 6s – The iPhone 6s designed to be the most portable option of the two. Available in a range of colors, the iPhone 6s looks very smart, even today, with its premium build materials, clean lines, and perfectly proportioned chassis.
- iPhone 6s Plus – The iPhone 6s Plus is basically the same deal, just stretched out. The display is larger (5.5in versus 4.7in) and the handset has a much larger footprint, owning to its bezels and the fact it still runs Apple’s TouchID/Home button. Both the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus feature headphone jacks too.
Winner? Draw – Both the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus look identical, as they follow the same industrial design principles. The only difference in how they look and feel is to do with their sizes; the iPhone 6s Plus quite a bit bigger than the more portable iPhone 6s.
If you prefer smaller, more portable phones, then the iPhone 6s is going to be more to your liking. Want a larger, more expansive display for viewing media and apps on? Go with the iPhone 6s Plus, as it gives you way more screen to play with.
The big display jump on the iPhone 6s series was the addition of the 3D Touch technology. This display tech allowed the iPhone 6s’s display to sense not just touch, but pressure too. However, 3D Touch never really caught on widely among users, and in 2021, Apple has removed the technology from its most recent iPhones in favor of a long-press, which allows for the same options as 3D Touch.
- iPhone 6s – The iPhone 6s features a 4.7-inch display with a 1334×750-pixel resolution at 326 ppi. It’s a TFT LCD panel that has a resolution of 720p, which is very low by 2019 standards. It’s still functional, but it is not Full HD.
- iPhone 6s Plus – The iPhone 6s Plus’ display is superior on the resolution front. Not only does it have more pixels, but it’s also got a higher pixel per inch (ppi) density at 401ppi versus the iPhone 6s’ 326ppi. That being said, the smaller iPhone 6s actually has a slightly better contrast ratio of 1400:1 compared to the iPhone 6s Plus’ 1300:1. That means the smaller iPhone’s display can display just a bit more difference between the brightest whites and the darkest blacks.
Winner? iPhone 6S Plus – The iPhone 6s Plus has a larger, full HD display, so if high definition visuals are important to you, it is the one to go for. It’s only 1080p, however, so it does still pale in comparison to Apple’s newer QHD-totting iPhones like the iPhone XS Max. For their age, however, Apple’s iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus displays have held up remarkably well. I definitely prefer the iPhone 6s Plus’ screen though. For browsing, apps, and gaming it is much, much better.
Back in 2015, the iPhone 6s’ series A9 chipset was the fastest thing in a smartphone. But in 2021? Not so much.
- iPhone 6s – The iPhone 6s run Apple’s dual-core A9 chipset alongside 2GB of RAM. Back in the day, this was the #1 CPU for performance on the market. Moving around apps and the iPhone’s settings was buttery smooth and there was no hint of lag. Apple manages to do more with less when compared to its Android-powered stablemates, and the iPhone 6s is no exception to this rule.
- iPhone 6s Plus – The iPhone 6s Plus runs all the same internals as the iPhone 6s, so performance is more or less the same. These phones first launched way back in 2015, so they’re not exactly spring chickens. Having said that, Apple’s iOS is designed to still run on them, so users’ opting to buy an iPhone 6s/6s Plus in 2019 shouldn’t have too many problems with respect to performance.
Winner? Draw – Again, it’s impossible to say whether the iPhone 6s Plus is better than the iPhone 6s with respect to raw performance. Both phones run the same chipset and the same amount of RAM. From a purely academic standpoint, they’re essentially the same in this context, delivering smooth, reliable performance across the board. Where things get slightly different is to do with the cameras and battery life. In these instances, the iPhone 6s Plus is the superior phone.
On the surface, both the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus have virutally identical cameras. But its the iPhone 6s Plus that actually has the bett3r system thanks to its optical image stabilization.
- iPhone 6s – The iPhone 6s runs a 12MP camera on the rear and a 5MP front-facing camera. Image quality is decent enough, but the smaller iPhone 6s does lack one key feature the iPhone 6s Plus has – optical image stabilization.
- iPhone 6s Plus – The iPhone 6s Plus wins it here because it also has optical image stabilization. Optical image stabilization can make your pics look a lot better by using optical components of the lens to reduce vibrations and camera shake. It should also be noted that that same optical image stabilization found in the iPhone 6s Plus also works for video
Winner? iPhone 6s Plus – This aspect of the comparison is fairly straight-forward: the iPhone 6s Plus has a much better camera than the iPhone 6s. Why? Simple: it has Optical Image Stabilization (both for still images and video). This results in better quality shots and a higher standard of quality when shooting video. Even in 2019, the iPhone 6s Plus’ camera is still pretty darn good.
Whoo-boy! Did battery life suck back in 2015. Depending on your (very light) usage you could get “all day” battery life, but that wasn’t the norm. Most people could only expect about 12-15 hours of battery life with these phones during regular usuage.
- iPhone 6s – The iPhone 6s’ battery performance is just above average for an iPhone, meaning you can eke out of full day’s use if you don’t ride it too hard. In my experience, with normal usage, the iPhone 6s can get to around 5 pm with about 65% left in the tank
- iPhone 6s Plus – The iPhone 6s Plus has insane battery performance, easily one of the strongest in the mobile space. It carries a large (for Apple standards) 2750mAh battery that will provide all-day battery life, even with heavy usage.
Winner? iPhone 6s Plus – Like the camera section, this is another easy victory for the iPhone 6s Plus. Its larger 2750mAh battery delivers significantly better performance than the iPhone 6s’. The iPhone 6s Plus can go ALL DAY with heavy usage, whereas the iPhone 6s will struggle to get past 3 pm if you’re using it a lot. Bottom line? If battery life is important, the iPhone 6s Plus is the one to go for.
iPhone 6s vs iPhone 6s Plus: Verdict
|iPhone 6s Price||iPhone 6s Plus Price|
|Price: ||Price: |
Back in 2015, there was a clear winner in the iPhone 6s vs iPhone 6s Plus battle. The iPhone 6s Plus was the better iPhone. That’s mainly thanks to its larger display and its superior camera.
However, neither are included inside our Best iPhone: Your Definitive Guide. Why? Simple: they’re too old. You can pick up both the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 for not much money now, so you’re 100% better off going with one of them.
If you want an even newer model, say, the iPhone X from 2017, but you don’t want to pay full chat for the handset, you could buy a refurbished iPhone X and save yourself around 40% off the RRP in the process.
My advice? If you want to go the
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Which is better iPhone 6S or iPhone 6S Plus?
The iPhone 6s Plus is technically the best iPhone between the two. While each iPhone has the same A9 chipset and industrial design, the iPhone 6s Plus features the larger screen and the better camera.
Q: Is the iPhone 6s Plus still good in 2021?
Not really. While the iPhone 6s Plus runs the latest iPhone operating system – iOS 14 – it is unlikely to support iOS 15 when that OS debuts in fall 2021. That means you iPhone 6s Plus will not have the latest software other, newer, iPhones have.
Q: What does the S stand for in iPhone 6S?
No one knows for sure and the answer depends on who you ask. In the past, S-series iPhones have stood for “speed” or “security”. But after a while, the S moniker was just a way to distinguish between an iPhone that looked the same as the previous generation but featured updated internals.
Apple expert and novelist, Michael Grothaus has been covering tech on KnowYourMobile for the best part of 10 years. Prior to this, he worked at Apple. And before that, he was a film journalist. Michael is a published author; his book Epiphany Jones was voted as one of the best novels about Hollywood by Entertainment Weekly. Michael is also a writer at other publications including VICE and Fast Company.