10 Things That Make the iPhone and iPod touch Different

Here's how the iPod touch squares off against the iPhone

The iPhone and iPod touch are closely related—and not because these devices look alike. Both have the same operating system and the same key features: FaceTime video conferencing, support for Siri, iCloud, and iMessage, for example.

Even though these devices share the same OS and software features, there are differences between the iPod touch and the iPhone.

We compare the iPhone 11, iPhone X, iPhone 8, and the seventh-generation iPod touch. We omitted the iPhone XR budget-minded model.

01
of 10

Screen Size

iPhone X
Apple Inc.

The main difference is the size of the screens. The iPod touch uses the same 4-inch screen that's been used since the iPhone 5. Other models are pushing things forward in terms of size, resolution (retina display), and color gamut, leading to bigger, brighter, and more beautiful images.​

  • 6th Gen. iPod touch: 4 inches, 1136 by 640 pixels resolution
  • iPhone 8: 4.7 inches, 1334 by 750 pixels
  • iPhone 8 Plus: 5.5 inches, 1920 by 1080 pixels
  • iPhone X: 5.8 inches, 2436 by 1125 pixels
  • iPhone XS: 5.8 inches, 2436 by 1125 pixels
  • iPhone XS Max: 6.5 inches, 2688 by 1242 pixels
  • iPhone 11: 6.1 inches, 1792 by 828 pixels
  • iPhone 11 Pro: 5.85 in, 2436 by 1125 pixels
  • iPhone 11 Pro Max: 6.46 inches, 2688 by 1242 pixels
02
of 10

Camera Resolution and Features

Person taking selfie atop a hill by a bay

Cultura RM / Matt Dutile / Getty Images

The camera is an important aspect of any mobile device these days. The iPhone camera offers hands-down the best option.

Back Camera (Still Photos)

  • 7th Gen. iPod touch: 8 megapixels, panoramic (43 megapixels), burst mode
  • iPhone 8: 12 megapixels, panoramic (63 megapixels), burst mode, Live Photos, image stabilization
  • iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone XS, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro/Pro Max: 12 megapixels, telephoto and wide-angle lenses, panoramic (63 megapixels), burst mode, Portrait Mode and Lighting, Live Photos, image stabilization

Back Camera (Video)

  • 7th Gen. iPod touch: 1080p HD at 30 frames per second, 120 frames per second slow motion, 3X zoom
  • iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone XS, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro/Pro Max: 4K HD at 24, 30, and 60 frames per second, 120 or 240 frames per second slow motion at 1080p HD, 6X zoom, image stabilization, take photos while recording video

Front Camera

  • 7th 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 and XS: 7 megapixels, 1080p HD video, Portrait Mode and Lighting, flash, Live Photos, burst mode
  • iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro/Pro Max: 12 megapixels, 4K video recording, Portrait Mode and Lighting, flash, Live Photos, burst mode
03
of 10

Storage Capacity

RAM circuit board assembly

Richard Newstead / Getty Images

If you have a ton of music, lots of apps, or like to shoot hi-res photos and video, having as much storage as you can get is essential. The iPod touch tops out at 256 GB of storage (32 and 128 GB capacities are also available). Newer iPhone models offer considerably more.

  • 7th Gen. iPod touch: 32 GB, 128 GB, 256 GB
  • iPhone 8: 64 GB, 256 GB
  • iPhone 8 Plus: 64 GB, 256 GB
  • iPhone X:​ 64 GB, 256 GB
  • iPhone XS: 64 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB
  • iPhone 11: 4 GB, 128 GB, 256 GB
  • iPhone 11 Pro/Pro Max: 64 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB
04
of 10

Processor

A11 Processor

Apple Inc.

Processing horsepower doesn't matter in 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 64-bit A10 chip, the same processor used in the iPhone 7 and 2018 iPad. The iPhone, on the other hand, uses the latest chip.

  • 7th Gen. iPod touch: Apple A10, 64-bit
  • iPhone 8: Apple A11 Bionic, 64-bit
  • iPhone 8 Plus: Apple A11 Bionic, 64-bit 
  • iPhone X: Apple A11 Bionic, 64-bit 
  • iPhone XS: Apple A12 Bionic, 64-bit
  • iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro/Pro Max: Apple A13 Bionic, 64-bit
05
of 10

4G LTE vs. Wi-Fi

Various satelite and radar dishes broadcasting Wi-Fi and other signals.

Lizzie Roberts / Getty Images

The iPod touch can only access the internet when there's an available Wi-Fi network. The iPhone connects to Wi-Fi, and it can get online anywhere there's phone service with its cellular data connection

Although cellular data plans offer the iPhone more features and flexibility, it also costs more. iPhone users pay monthly subscription fees to network carriers. iPod touch users don't pay any service fees.

06
of 10

Face ID and Touch ID

Three examples of people smiling for Face ID on their iPhones.

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 sports the Touch ID fingerprint scanner built into the Home button. The iPhone X debuted the advanced facial recognition system called Face ID.

  • 7th Gen. iPod touch: not available
  • iPhone 8: Touch ID
  • iPhone 8 Plus: Touch ID
  • iPhone X, XS: Face ID
  • iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro/Pro Max: Face ID
07
of 10

Apple Pay

Remove Credit Card from Apple Pay with iCloud

PhotoAlto / Getty Images

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

  • 7th Gen. iPod touch: No
  • iPhone 8: Yes
  • iPhone 8 Plus: Yes 
  • iPhone X, XS: Yes
  • iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro/Pro Max: Yes
08
of 10

Water- and Dust-Proofing

iPhone getting soaked by a torrent of water droplets

Jose A. Bernat Bacete / Getty Images

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

  • 7th Gen. iPod touch: No
  • iPhone 8: Rated IP67
  • iPhone 8 Plus: Rated IP67
  • iPhone X: Rated IP67
  • iPhone XS, iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro/Pro Max: Rated IP68

IP68 means the device can survive immersion in up to 6 feet of water for up to 30 minutes.

09
of 10

Battery Life

Plugging in a low battery phone.

iStock

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

  • 7th Gen. iPod touch: 1043 mAh, 40 hours of music, 8 hours of video
  • iPhone 8: 1,821 mAh, 40 hours of music, 13 hours of video
  • iPhone 8 Plus: 2,675 mAh, 60 hours of music, 14 hours of video 
  • iPhone X: 2,716 mAh, 60 hours of music, 13 hours of video
  • iPhone XS: 2,658 mAh, 60 hours (65 hours for the XS Max) of music, 14 hours (15 hours for the XS Max) of video
  • iPhone 11: 3110 mAh, 65 hours of music, 17 hours of video
  • iPhone 11 Pro/Pro Max: 3046 mAh/3969 mAh, 65 hours of music, 18 hours of video
10
of 10

Cost

Close up employee and customer hands and a bag during a purchase at an Apple Store.

Sean Gallup / Getty Images

The iPod touch costs less than any current iPhone model. An iPhone X costs $999 and up. The cheapest iPhone 8 costs $400 more than the most expensive iPod touch. The latest model (iPhone 11) starts at $699. And that's before you factor in the monthly costs for phone and data service on an iPhone, which the iPod touch doesn't require. You get a lot with an iPhone, but compared to an iPod touch, you pay a lot, too.

Upfront Cost

  • 7th Gen. iPod touch: US$199-$399
  • iPhone 8: $699-$849
  • iPhone 8 Plus: $799-$949
  • iPhone X: $999-$1,149
  • iPhone XS: $999-$1,449
  • iPhone 11: $699
  • iPhone 11 Pro/Pro Max: $1,099-$1,449

Monthly Cost

With the iPhone XS, Apple introduced a trade-in program unrelated to the carrier's pricing and trade-in program. If you have a working Apple device in good condition, you can trade it in for a discount off a new iPhone. For example, a good-condition iPhone X will get you a credit of $500 off a 256 GB iPhone XS Max, which otherwise retails for $1,249 from Apple.