10 Things That Make the iPhone and iPod Touch Different

The iPhone and iPod touch are closely related—and not just because they look alike. Both devices run the same operating system and thus have the same key features: FaceTime video conferencing, support for Siri, iCloud, iMessage, and more. But despite sharing many software features, the two devices are very different. You can see that by looking at them, of course, but the differences go much deeper than just the surface level.

Knowing what those differences are will help you decide which device is best for you. There are many more differences than can be easily covered in one article, but here are the 10 most important. 

Because they are the current models, this article compares the iPhone X, iPhone 8 series, and 6th Generation iPod touch.

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Screen: 4 Inches vs 5.8 Inches

iPhone X
Apple Inc.

When looking at the devices, the biggest obvious difference is the size of their screens. The iPod touch uses the same 4-inch screen that's been used since the iPhone 5, while the other models are pushing things forward in terms of size, resolution, and color gamut, leading to bigger, brighter, more beautiful images.​

  • 6th Gen. iPod touch: 4 inches, at 1136 x 640 pixels resolution
  • iPhone 8: 4.7 inches, at 1334 x 750 pixels resolution
  • iPhone 8 Plus: 5.5 inches, at 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution  
  • iPhone X: 5.8 inches, at 2436 x 1125 pixels resolution
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Camera: Resolution and Features

woman taking selfie

Cultura RM/Matt Dutile/Collection Mix: Subjects/Getty Images

The camera is one the most important aspects of any mobile device these days, so you want to make sure you have a camera that takes great-looking photos and has lots of cool features and options. In those areas, the iPhone offers hands-down the best option, with the iPhone X (and to a lesser degree, the 8 Plus) serving up the most powerful set of features.

Back Camera - Still Photos

  • 6th Gen. iPod touch: 8 megapixel, panoramic (43 megapixel), burst mode
  • iPhone 8: 12 megapixel, panoramic (63 megapixel), burst mode, Live Photos, image stabilization
  • iPhone 8 Plus and iPhone X: 12 megapixel, telephoto and wide-angle lenses, panoramic (63 megapixel), burst mode, Portrait Mode and Lighting, Live Photos, image stabilization


Back Camera - Video

  • 6th Gen. iPod touch: 1080p HD at 30 frames/second, 120 frames/second slo-mo, 3X zoom
  • iPhone 8, 8 Plus, and X: 4K HD at 24, 30, and 60 frames/second, 120 or 240 frames/second slo-mo at 1080p HD, 6X zoom, image stabilization, take photos while recording video 


Front Camera

  • 6th Gen. iPod touch: 1.2 megapixels, 720p HD video, burst mode 
  • iPhone 8 and 8 Plus: 7 megapixels, 1080p HD video, flash, Live Photos, burst mode 
  • iPhone X: 7 megapixels, 1080p HD video, Portrait Mode and Lighting, flash, Live Photos, burst mode
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Storage Capacity: 128 GB vs. 256 GB


Richard Newstead/Moment/Getty Images

If you've got a ton of music, lots of apps, or like to shoot a lot of hi-res photo and video, having as much storage as you can get is essential. The touch tops out at 128 GB of storage, while all of the iPhone models offer up to double that amount.

  • 6th Gen. iPod touch: 32 GB, 128 GB
  • iPhone 8: 64 GB, 256 GB
  • iPhone 8 Plus: 64 GB, 256 GB
  • iPhone X:​ 64 GB, 256 GB
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Processor: A8 vs. A11

A11 Processor
 Apple Inc.

Processing horsepower doesn't matter in quite the same way on mobile devices as it does on desktop and laptop computers. Still, having newer, more powerful chips is always better. The iPod touch uses the 32-bit A8 chip, which is a number of years old now. The iPhones, on the other hand, use the latest chip, which can process data in 64-bit chunks, double what the touch can handle.

  • 6th Gen. iPod touch: Apple A8, 32-bit
  • iPhone 8: Apple A11 Bionic, 64-bit
  • iPhone 8 Plus: Apple A11 Bionic, 64-bit 
  • iPhone X: Apple A11 Bionic, 64-bit 
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4G LTE vs. Wi-Fi

woman on cell phone looking at bill
Echo/Cultura/Getty Images

The iPod touch can only access the Internet when there's an available Wi-Fi network. That's great if you're using the device at home, but what about when you need to head out into the world? Without a way to get on cellular phone and data networks, you're stuck.

But not if you have an iPhone. Not only does the iPhone connect to Wi-Fi, it also can get online anywhere there's phone service thanks to its 4G LTE cellular data connection

And though this gives the iPhone more features and flexibility, it also costs more: iPhone users have to pay monthly service fees to their phone companies (more on that in a bit), while iPod touch users don't have to pay any service fees.

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Face ID and Touch ID

Face ID on iPhone

Apple Inc.

You can, and should, secure all of these devices using a passcode. Only the iPhone offers added layers of security, though. The iPhone 8 series has the Touch ID fingerprint scanner built into the Home button, while the iPhone X sports the advanced facial recognition system, Face ID.

  • 6th Gen. iPod touch: N/A
  • iPhone 8: Touch ID
  • iPhone 8 Plus: Touch ID
  • iPhone X: Face ID
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Apple Pay

Remove Credit Card from Apple Pay with iCloud
image credit: PhotoAlto/Gabriel Sanchez/PhotoAlto Agency RF Collections/Getty Images

Apple Pay lets you buy things wirelessly, without ever taking your credit or debit card out of your pocket. But only if you have an iPhone. The iPod touch doesn't have the NFC (Near-Field Communication) chip, or the Touch ID or Face ID features, required to use Apple Pay, so this is an iPhone-only option.

  • 6th Gen. iPod touch: No
  • iPhone 8: Yes
  • iPhone 8 Plus: Yes 
  • iPhone X: Yes
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Water- and Dust-Proofing

Mobile devices are bound to encounter some mishaps from time to time, especially being dropped or getting wet. The iPod touch doesn't have much protection against that, other than whatever protection an add-on case might offer. The iPhone, on the other hand, is water- and dust-resistant to the IP67 standard, meaning the chances of those damaging elements getting inside your phone—even if you drop it in the water—are low.

  • 6th Gen. iPod touch: No
  • iPhone 8: Rated IP67
  • iPhone 8 Plus: Rated IP67
  • iPhone X: Rated IP67
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Battery Life

plugging in low battery phone

All of the iPhone models have larger batteries than the iPod touch, and thus they deliver longer life. If you're on the go a lot and have to wait a long time between recharges, having a bigger battery is a big deal.

  • 6th Gen. iPod touch
    • Music: 40 hours
    • Video: 8 hours
  • iPhone 8
    • Music: 40 hours
    • Video: 13 hours
  • iPhone 8 Plus
    • Music: 60 hours
    • Video: 14 hours 
  • iPhone X
    • ​Music: 60 hours
    • Video: 13 hours
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Making a purchase at the Apple Store
Sean Gallup/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Perhaps not surprisingly, the iPod touch costs less than any current iPhone model—a lot less. An iPhone X costs $999 and up, while even the cheapest iPhone 8 costs $400 more than the most expensive iPod touch. And that's before you even factor in the monthly costs for phone and data service on an iPhone, which the touch doesn't require. You definitely get a lot with an iPhone, but compared to an iPod touch, you pay a lot, too.

Upfront Cost

  • 6th Gen. iPod touch: US$199-$299
  • iPhone 8: $699-$849
  • iPhone 8 Plus: $799-$949
  • iPhone X: $999-$1,149

Monthly Cost