Which iPhones Have OLED Screens? A Quick Guide…

By Richard Goodwin •  Updated: 10/14/20 •  6 min read

Apple makes a bunch of iPhones but only a select few use OLED displays, so make sure you know what’s what before buying!

OLED vs LCD: Which Is Better?

Short answer: OLED is much better than LCD. Why? Because LCD displays require a backlight panel as big as the display itself to be lit. This means the entire LCD display is lit at all time even if only one portion of the display needs to be.

An OLED display, on the other hand, doesn’t require any backlight. Instead, each pixel has a small amount of organic material that glows when an electrical current flows through it. This means each pixel can light up individually.

OLED displays, because they don’t require a backlight mean they are more power-efficient, so your phone’s battery lasts longer. Also, not having a backlight means the phone itself can be thinner.

iPhones That Have OLED Displays (Oldest Models First)

Ever wonder Which iPhones Have OLED Screens? Look no further!

#1) iPhone X – The First (And Cheapest) OLED iPhone

The iPhone X was Apple’s first OLED phone. It was also the first iPhone to ship without a Home button, it was replaced by FACE ID. The iPhone X was Apple’s first major design overhaul to its iPhone line-up since 2014’s iPhone 6.

iPhone 10 Specs
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The iPhone X, which is now Apple’s cheapest OLED phone, still serves up plenty of value for money in 2019. If you want that modern iPhone design, but don’t want to pay big bucks for it, the iPhone X could well be what you’ve been looking for.

Where To Get One: 

#2) iPhone XS/XS Max

The iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max were Apple’s 2018 flagship phones. The ultra-popular iPhone XR joined them later and went on to be the #1 selling iPhone for the 2018/19 period. Why? It was cheap, it looked and functioned great, and it was available in a range of colors.

Refurbished iPhone XS
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The iPhone XS/XS Max picked up where Apple’s iPhone X left off, adding in a new processor, Apple’s A12 CPU, and updates to the camera and video. At the time the iPhone XS Max was the biggest phone Apple had ever produced. It set up a new “Pro” niche within the iPhone stable which will be a mainstay from now on.

Interested to see how the iPhone 12 compares to older iPhones? Check out our iPhone 12 vs iPhone XS – Is It Time To Upgrade?

Where To Get One: 

#3) iPhone 11 Pro/Pro Max

The iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone Pro Max are Apple’s latest flagships. They pack in the company’s most recent and most powerful CPU, the A13, feature upgraded, large batteries for all-day usage, and some of the best cameras on the market right now.

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Both the Pro and Pro Max models feature a triple-lens camera on the rear and are considered by many to be the best overall cameras in the business right now – both for still photography and video. Google used to rule the roost with its Pixel cameras, but Apple’s closed the gap in 2019.

#4) The iPhone 12 Range

Apple’s iPhone 12 lineup of iPhones launched on October 13. The iPhone 12 – which includes the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro – will get a release date on October 23.

Which iPhones Have OLED Screens? A Quick Guide…
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All the models in the iPhone 12 range feature OLED panels – even the iPhone 12 Mini and the iPhone 12, the two base-model options.

Apple also updated the entire range with 5G too, and its new A14 CPU. The iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPhone 12 Pro are the flagships. Both of these phones have had sizeable updates to their cameras: they both now have LIDAR sensors and vastly improved performance and optics.

The base model iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini both feature dual-lens cameras, meaning all of Apple’s modern (meaning latest) iPhones now run multi-sensor cameras. Previous generations, like the iPhone XR, missed out on dual-lens cameras.

Where To Get One: 

Is The iPhone X Still Worth Buying?

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If you’re after a great deal on a modern-looking iPhone, meaning, an iPhone without a Home button, then, yes, the iPhone X is still a great option in 2019. It’s plenty powerful, has great specs and features, and will receive iOS updates until well into the mid-2020s.

The iPhone X is also the cheapest OLED iPhone you can buy. Don’t buy it new though; get a refurbished iPhone and you’ll save an additional 40% on the RRP – and don’t worry, it’ll look and function as good as new, providing you get it via a trusted reseller like Gazelle. Or Amazon; its renewed program is great for picking up older flagships for a lot less money.

iPhones That DON’T Have OLED Displays

Only Apple’s Flagship Models Have OLED Displays

Think it’s weird that Apple’s iPhone 11 doesn’t have an OLED display? It is. Kind of. But what you have to understand is that Apple (currently) reserves OLED (and all its benefits) for its top-of-the-line models – the XS/XS Max, X, and 11 Pro/Pro Max.

This could change in the future, as OLED becomes cheaper. But having OLED on some models and not on others is a clear way for Apple to differentiate its iPhones. The iPhone 11 is Apple’s current entry-level model. It kind of replaces the iPhone XR. It’s designed to be functional and more affordable than Apple’s fancier models (the XS MAX and Pro MAX, for instance).

UPDATE: All iPhone 12 Models To Have OLED Displays

According to leaked information, all of Apple’s iPhone 12 range of phones will feature OLED panels. The info comes via John Prosser and, as you can see below, the iPhone 12 range will use different OLED panels across the four phones in its range:

For 90% of people, the iPhone 11 or iPhone XR (or iPhone X) will be perfectly adequate. The only reason you’d get the iPhone 11 Pro/Pro Max is for the camera. If you’re OK with just a great camera, the iPhone 11 is 100% the way to go.

Or, if you want a mega bargain, you can pick up older iPhone models for around 40-50% less than normal via Gazelle in the USA and MusicMagpie in the UK.

iPhones That Have OLED Displays
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Richard Goodwin

Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.

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