6 Key Ways the iPhone 6 & iPhone 6S Are Different

How to pick the right model

The difference between the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S isn't immediately obvious. That's because from the outside the iPhone 6 and the 6S look basically identical. With two great phones that seem so similar, it can be hard to figure out which you should buy. If you're wondering whether you should splurge on the 6S or save some money and get the 6, it's crucial to know the six most important differences between the iPhone 6 and 6S. 

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iPhone 6 vs 6S: Price

iPhone lineup

Stephen Lam / Getty Images News / Getty Images

The first, and maybe most important, way that the iPhone 6 and 6S are different is the bottom line: price. The 6 series costs less than the equivalent 6S model (these prices assume a two-year phone company contract and a price discount that comes with the contract):

 iPhone 6 iPhone 6 Plus iPhone 6S  iPhone 6S Plus
16GB US$99 $199 $199 $299
64GB $199 $299 $299 $399
128GB $399 $499

Apple no longer sells the iPhone 6 or 6S series, but you can still buy them used or on the secondary market. Prices will differ from what you see here, but generally should be less.

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The iPhone 6S Has 3D Touch

3D Touch on iPhone 6S

Apple Inc.

The screen is another major area of difference between the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S. It's not the size or resolution—those are the same on both—but what the screen can do. That's because the 6S series features 3D Touch.

3D Touch is Apple's iPhone-specific name for the Force Touch feature it introduced with the Apple Watch. It allows the phone to understand the difference between a tap on the screen, pressing the screen for a short time, and pressing the screen for a long time. The phone can then to react differently to each. For example:

  • You can get a preview of emails or text messages without opening apps by using a short press. 
  • A long press on an app reveals a menu of shortcuts for common functions of the app to increase efficiency. 

You also need the 3D Touch screen to use Live Photos, which transforms still photos into short animations.

If you want to take advantage of 3D Touch, you'll need to get the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus; the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus don't have it.

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iPhone 6 vs 6: The Cameras Are Better on the iPhone 6S

Person taking a photo with the iPhone doing photography on the street

Ming Yeung / Getty Images 

Almost every version of the iPhone has a better camera than its predecessor. That's the case with the 6S series: its cameras are better than those on the 6 series.

  • The iPhone 6S has a 12-megapixel camera on the back that can record video at 4K HD resolution. The camera on the iPhone 6 is 8 megapixels and records up to 1080p HD.
  • The user-facing camera on the 6S is 5 megapixels and can use the screen as a flash for taking selfies in low light. The same camera on the iPhone 6 is 1.2 megapixels and has no flash.

If you only take photos from time to time, those differences may not matter much. But if you're a serious iPhone photographer or shoot a lot of video with your phone, you'll appreciate what the 6S has to offer.

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The iPhone 6S Is Faster the iPhone 6

circuit board

Jennifer Trenchard / E+ / Getty Images

Cosmetic differences are easy to see. The hardest thing to detect is performance differences. Over the long term, though, more speed and power translates to more enjoyment of your phone.

The iPhone 6S series packs more punch than the iPhone 6 in three areas: 

  • Speed: It's built around Apple's A9 processor, which Apple says is 70% faster overall, and 90% faster in graphics tasks, than the A8 processor in the 6 series.
  • Motion Tracking: The 6S series uses the M9 motion co-processor, which is the next generation of the M8 in the 6 series. It provides more detailed and accurate tracking of movement and activity.
  • Data Connections: Lastly, the cellular radio chips in the 6S allow faster data connections to phone company networks and the Wi-Fi chips do the same for those networks. You won't be able to take advantage of that speed until phone companies upgrade their networks, but when you do, your 6S will be ready. An iPhone 6 can't say the same.
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iPhone 6 vs 6S: Rose Gold Is on the 6S

iPhone 6S Rose Gold

Apple Inc.

Another difference between the iPhone 6 and 6S is purely cosmetic. Both series offer models that come in silver, space gray, and gold colors, but only the 6S has a fourth color: rose gold.

This is purely a matter of style, of course, but the 6S gives you the opportunity for your iPhone to stand out in a crowd or to accessorize with your jewelry and outfits.

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The 6S Series Is Slightly Heavier

silver scale

Vladimir Godnik / Getty Images

You probably won't notice this difference too much, but it's there nonetheless: the 6S series is slightly heavier than the 6 series. Here's the breakdown:

iPhone 6 iPhone 6S iPhone 6 Plus iPhone 6S Plus
4.55 ounces 5.04

Needless to say, a difference of half or three-quarters of an ounce isn't much, but if carrying as little weight as possible is important to you, the iPhone 6 series is lighter. 

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