6 Key Ways the iPhone 5S and 5C Are Different

iPhone 5c on top of an iPhone 5S

 "iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C" (CC BY 2.0) by Janitors

Understanding the exact differences between the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C can be tricky. The color of the phones is obvious, but all the other differences are in the guts of the phone — and those are hard to see. Check out these seven key differences between the 5S and 5C to understand how the two phones differ from each other and to help you pick the right model that's right for you.

Both the iPhone 5S and 5C have been discontinued by Apple. Read up on the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR to learn about the latest models before you buy a new phone.

01
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Processor Speed: The 5s Is Faster

Watching TV on an iPhone

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The iPhone 5S has a faster processor than the 5C. The 5S sports an Apple A7 processor, while the heart of the 5C is an A6.

The A7 is newer and more powerful than the A6, particularly because it's a 64-bit chip (the first in a smartphone). Because it's 64-bit, the A7 can process chunks of data twice as big as those handled by the 32-bit A6.

Processor speed isn't as big a factor in smartphones as it is in computers (many other things affect overall performance as much as, if not more​ than, processor speed), and the A6 is fast, but the A7 in the iPhone 5S makes that model speedier than the 5C.

02
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Motion Co-Processor: The 5C Doesn't Have It

Apple Store Regent Street - Christmas 2013
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The iPhone 5S is the first iPhone to include a motion co-processor. This is a chip that interacts with the iPhone's physical sensors — the accelerometer, compass, and gyroscope — to provide new feedback and data to apps.

This includes much more detailed fitness and exercise data in apps, and the ability to know whether the user is sitting or standing. The 5S has it, but the 5C does not.

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Touch ID Fingerprint Scanner: Only the 5S Has It

Man holding thumb to glass surface

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One of the iPhone 5S's headline features is the Touch ID fingerprint scanner that's built into its Home button.

This scanner lets you tie the security of your iPhone to your unique, personal fingerprint, which means that unless it's you (or someone has your finger!), your phone is very secure. Set up a passcode and then use the fingerprint scanner to unlock your phone, enter passwords, and authorize purchases. The scanner is available on the 5S, but not the 5C.

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Camera: The 5S Offers Slow-Mo and More

Taking a photo while recording video on iPhone

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When compared based on the specs alone, the cameras in the iPhone 5S and 5C don't look very different: they both max out at 8 megapixels for still images and 1080p HD video.

But the subtle details of the 5S's camera really stand out. It offers two flashes for true-to-life colors, the ability to record slow-motion video at 120 frames per second in 720p HD, and a burst mode that takes up to 10 photos per second.

The 5C's camera is good, but it doesn't have any of these advanced features.

05
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Colors: Only the 5C Has Bright Colors

iPhone 5C

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If you want a colorful iPhone, the 5C is your best choice. That's because it comes in many colors: yellow, green, blue, pink, and white.

The iPhone 5S has more colors than previous models — in addition to the standard slate and gray, it now also has a gold option — but the 5C has the brightest colors and the biggest selection of them.

06
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Storage Capacity: The 5S Offers Up to 64 GB

Pile of SD cards

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The iPhone 5S has the same maximum amount of storage as last year's iPhone 5: 64 GB. This is enough to store tens of thousands of songs, dozens of apps, hundreds of photos, and more. If your storage needs are big, this is the phone for you.

The 5C matches the 16 GB and 32 GB models that the 5S offers, but it stops there — there's no 64 GB 5C for storage-hungry users.