Updated Feb 24, 2023 - We revisited the iPhone XR in 2023 to see how it stacked up to the most recent iPhone models. While this phone isn't going to win any hearts based off of new smartphone innovations or features, it still performs great for a phone over 4 years old. You're going to want to find out why we think the iPhone XR is one of the best smartphone deals on the market today.
In our opinion, the iPhone XR is still one of the best iPhones by price on the market in 2023.
It has a notched full-body display, a single camera, a volume rocker; all the stuff you already know and expect. But let’s talk about the stuff you can’t tell just from looking at it: what’s it like to own this iPhone today.
First of all, if you’re accustomed to a smaller iPhone that you can use with one hand (like the iPhone 8 or SE (2020)), the XR may feel awkward at the beginning. You can’t really stretch your thumb across the whole screen (even if you have huge hands), so be prepared to use this phone with both hands (sorry, bro).
But maybe that doesn’t bother you; if you’re coming from a larger phone like the 6S Plus, the iPhone XR will be a breath of fresh air. Many people praise the new gesture controls, which replaced the home button, and who doesn’t love more screen real estate? Yes, the trade-off to a full-body screen is the notch on the top of the phone (which houses the front-facing camera and face unlock scanners), but you honestly stop noticing it after extended use.
Have you ever tried a low-cost refurbished iPhone? You'll save big by buying refurbished and your iPhone will perform like new and look great expecially if you buy one in excellent condition.
The XR performs great thanks to the A12 Bionic chip, which allows you to multitask like a beast and play any game you want. But if you’re planning to install a ton of apps, remember to get a version with more memory (at least 128GB).
You can crank out 25 hours of talk time on the XR according to Apple, which means that you can likely squeeze in a whole day of use with maybe a few hours to spare on a single charge. If you don't have many opportunities in your day to charge your phone—and use it a fair bit—this is what you want.
If you buy a used iPhone XR from an independent seller, you're risking getting one with an old battery that won't give you the same battery life as a new unit. But here at Back Market, sellers are required to include batteries with up to 85% of their battery capacity. If you prefer to buy a iPhone with a new battery, you can do that too.
Pictures are as you’d expect: really good. Apple does a great job with their color science, per usual, so expect all of your photos to look pretty true-to-life. The only downside of this camera is its lack of additional lenses so you can’t actually zoom for images. Also, portrait mode only works for humans, so if you want to take those iconic blurry background images of your dog, cat, or rocks (my personal favorite...jk), you’re straight outta luck. But if you’re not buying this phone specifically for photography, this camera will be more than enough for your needs. It has an awesome camera, it just isn’t as feature-packed as the one on the iPhone 11 Pro.
Did I hear somebody ask for unlocked phones? These are great if you travel a lot, and you can even find one that works for all U.S. carriers!
The iPhone XR screen is a nice size and crystal clear. Although some reviewers complain about the pixel density not being as generous as higher-tier iPhones, you probably won’t notice it. Are there better screens out there? Yes. Do you need one? Not necessarily.
One thing to reiterate is that the size of the XR feels very big in hand. With a case, you may notice this phone feels thick; thicker than earlier iPhone models. But it seems like this is a trend that Apple is trying out: users have reported that they would prefer a device that’s slightly thicker with more battery life, and that’s what Apple has given us. It’s all about what type of user you are and what’s more important to you, but honestly, I feel all of us could use a little more battery life.
The iPhone XR has a great Liquid Retina HD 6.1" LCD screen, even though many YouTube tech reviewers gave it a hard time for not upping the pixel density of previous iPhones.
To sum it up, the iPhone XR is the perfect phone for you if you find yourself often craving extended battery life and a big screen. Will it take up a fair amount of space in your pocket/bag? Yes, but that's the trade-off for experiencing your phone on a bigger display and increasing battery capacity. There isn’t a single thing the iPhone XR doesn’t do well and while it might not be the most jaw-dropping iPhone out there, it's a great buy, especially if you purchase from a refurbished site like Back Market. At the time of updating this article at the beginning of 2023, you can find a refurbished iPhone XR on Back Market for under $200.
Thanks to Back Market's quality checks, we've made it our mission to make "refurbished" just as good as "new." We want your used iPhone XR to feel new in every way except for the price :)
If you’re trying to decide between a refurbished XR and a refurbished XS, read our iPhone XR vs iPhone XS comparison for a thorough review of the differences.
Find out how the iPhone XR compares to other popular iPhone models:
1. What does XR in iPhone XR stand for?
The 'X' is the Roman numeral for 10 because the iPhone XR is Apple's 10th iPhone series. The letter R doesn't actually stand for anything, which was confirmed by the SVP of global marketing for Apple, Phil Schiller. He borrowed this addition of 'R' from the car industry, where companies like Audi have R series cars that are typically higher-end models in the series.
2. Is the iPhone XR outdated in 2023?
Apple reportedly continues to support older iPhone models with software dates up to 6 years after the original released date. Since the iPhone XR was released in September 2018, you can expect that Apple will continue to support this model with iOS updates up to 2025. At the time of writing this, the iPhone XR received the most recent 16.3.1 iOS update on Feb 13, 2023.
3. Which is better: the iPhone XR or iPhone 11?
If you're deciding between the iPhone XR vs the iPhone 11, you'll find that the design and offered features are very similar. There are two notable upgrades to the iPhone 11, however: the processor chip and the rear camera. The A13 bionic chip on the 11 is reportedly 20 percent faster and consumes 40 percent less battery than the A12 bionic chip on the XR. The 11 also introduced a second lens on the rear camera system to support ultra-wide-angle shots with an upgraded sensor to improve low-light photography.
4. Does iPhone XR support 5G?
Unfortunately, the iPhone XR does not support 5G coverage and only supports 4G LTE networks. At this time, the only iPhone series that are capable of 5G connectivity include the 12, 13 and 14 series, plus the iPhone SE (2022). It's safe to assume that all Apple iPhones released from here on out will be 5G compatible.