Apple iPhone 6 vs. iPhone 6S: Smartphone specs comparison

Buying an old iPhone? Find out what sets the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S apart

If you’re puzzling over which iPhone you should buy, but you lack the funds for a new model, then you may be tempted to pick up an older iPhone. Apple continues to support iPhones for several years after release and they tend to last well, so this could be a smart and frugal move. The oldest iPhone Apple still sells is the iPhone 7, but you might want to pick up an older used iPhone for less.

The successor to Apple’s iPhone 6 was the iPhone 6S. It looks identical to its predecessor, so you may well be wondering what’s the difference? Below, we spell out the hardware specifications of both iPhones, and dip into an analysis of the categories where you’re likely to see the biggest differences. This is the iPhone 6S vs. iPhone 6 comparison.

Apple iPhone 6S

Apple iPhone 6

Size 138.3 x 67.1 x 7.1 mm (5.44 x 2.64 x 0.28 inches) 138.1 x 67 x 6.9 mm (5.44 x 2.64 x 0.27 inches)
Weight 143 grams (5.04 ounces) 129 grams (4.55 ounces)
Screen size 4.7 inches 4.7 inches
Screen resolution 1334 x 750 pixels (326 pixels per inch) 1334 x 750 pixels (326 pixels per inch)
Operating system iOS 12 iOS 12
Storage space 16GB, 64GB, 128GB 16GB, 64GB, 128GB
MicroSD card slot No No
Tap-to-pay services Apple Pay Apple Pay
Processor A9 chip with 64-bit architecture, M9 motion coprocessor A8 chip with 64-bit architecture, M8 motion coprocessor
RAM 2GB 1GB
Camera 12MP rear, 5MP front 8MP rear, 1.2MP front
Video 2160p at 30fps, 1080p up to 120fps, 720p at 240fps 1080p at 60fps, 720p at 240fps
Bluetooth version 4.2 4.0
Ports Lightning port, 3.5mm audio jack Lightning port, 3.5mm audio jack
Fingerprint sensor Touch ID Touch ID
Battery 1,715mAh 1,810mAh
App marketplace Apple App Store Apple App Store
Network support T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint
Colors Space Gray, Silver, Gold, Rose Gold Space Gray, Silver, Gold
Price $150 and up $110 and up
Review score 4.5 out of 5 stars 4.5 out of 5 stars

Performance, battery life, and charging

Apple iPhone 6S
Jessica Lee Star/Digital Trends

Every new iPhone is faster than those that came before, and the iPhone 6S is no exception. Apple jumped from the A8 chipset that was in the iPhone 6 to its A9 chipset. Similarly, the 6S upgraded from the M8 coprocessor to the M9. These upgrades translate to faster processing speeds — about 70 percent faster, according to Apple. The iPhone 6S also boasts 2GB of RAM, which is double the RAM in the iPhone 6. That means that the iPhone 6S is noticeably faster than the iPhone 6 in most tasks and a much more capable multitasker. In terms of storage, both come in 16GB, 64GB, or 128GB versions.

The iPhone 6S actually has a smaller battery than the iPhone 6, but the more efficient processor balances things out and it tends to last a bit longer on an average day. Both charge via the Lightning port and take a similar length of time to juice up.

Winner: Apple iPhone 6S

Design and durability

iPhone 6 tricks

In terms of look and size, there isn’t much of a difference between the two, in fact, you’ll struggle to tell them apart. The iPhone 6S is 0.01 inches thicker and half an ounce heavier, but those are hardly noticeable differences. Both phones are 5.44 inches tall by 2.64 inches wide, and both feature a 4.7-inch display. Both have the headphone jacks, a Lightning port for charging, and that iconic Touch ID home button that was a feature of iPhones for many years.

Both phones are aluminum, so they’re pretty tough, but the iPhone 6S is built from superior Series 7000 aluminum, which should be a little stronger. This change may have been a response to the bendgate furor around the iPhone 6 Plus.

Winner: Tie

Display

Both of these iPhones have a 4.7-inch display with a 1334 x 750-pixel resolution, which works out to 326 pixels per inch. There’s no dividing them here. Only the 6S has Apple’s 3D Touch technology, but we’ll deal with that in the special features section below. Visually speaking, there’s no difference between these displays.

Winner: Tie

Camera

The iPhone 6S blows the iPhone 6 out of the water in the camera department with a seriously beefed-up main camera and a much-improved selfie camera. The main camera is rated at 12 megapixels, up from 8 megapixels, and the front-facing camera has jumped to 5 megapixels from a woefully inadequate 1.2 megapixels. The 6S is also capable of shooting 4K resolution video, while the iPhone 6 is limited to 1080p. You can expect to capture much better photos with the iPhone 6S.

Winner: Apple iPhone 6S

Software and updates

While the iPhone 6 launched with iOS 8 and the iPhone 6S launched with iOS 9, both have since been updated to iOS 12. It looks likely that they’ll also be updated to iOS 13. There’s no significant difference between them on the software or update front, but, looking to the future, the iPhone 6S will likely get one extra update over the iPhone 6.

Winner: Tie

Special features

Apple iPhone 6S
Jessica Lee Star/Digital Trends

Immediately apparent is the inclusion of the 3D touch feature on the iPhone 6S. Essentially, 3D Touch is enabled by a pressure-sensitive screen that can pick up on how hard you press the display. You can lightly press to peek into things, for example lightly pressing on a photo in your gallery will give you a pop-up preview. You can press harder to pop straight into the content.

The iPhone 6S also supports a slightly newer and better Bluetooth version and it comes in Rose Gold, which is not an option with the iPhone 6.

Winner: Apple iPhone 6S

Price and availability

If you want to buy an iPhone 6S or an iPhone 6 today, then you’ll likely be buying a refurbished handset or a used phone. Prices vary widely, but you can pick up an iPhone 6 starting from around $110 and an iPhone 6S will cost $40 or so more.

Overall winner: Apple iPhone 6S

There’s no doubt that the iPhone 6S is a better phone. There isn’t a huge gap between them; the main differences are the improved performance and the better cameras in the iPhone 6S, but they are important updates. Since both can be had pretty cheaply now, and the iPhone 6S is liable to last you a bit longer, we would definitely recommend it over the iPhone 6.

Mobile

What is UFS 3.0 storage? We asked an expert about the SSD for phones

We take a dive into UFS, or Universal Flash Storage, to find out what the latest UFS 3.0 standard is capable of and why you might want it in your next smartphone. An expert from the standards body, JEDEC, explains all.
Mobile

Master your newly updated iPhone with the best iOS 13 tips and tricks

The iOS 13 public beta is here. But there's a lot of new and confusing features to dive into in iOS 13. Don't flounder around looking for them -- here's a list of useful iOS 13 tips and tricks to get you started.
Deals

Looking to upgrade your iPhone? Apple refurbished iPhone X is $130 off

Are you looking to upgrade your phone to the iPhone X? If so, Apple is having a great deal on the refurbished iPhone X over at Apple.com, saving you at least $130. Here's everything you need to know about the deal happening at Apple.
Deals

Looking to upgrade? These are the best iPhone deals for June 2019

Apple devices can get expensive, but if you just can't live without iOS, don't despair: We've curated an up-to-date list of all of the absolute best iPhone deals available for May 2019.
Deals

Best smartphone deals for June 2019: iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, and LG

Need a better phone but don't want to spend a fortune? It's never a bad time to score a new smartphone and save some cash. We rounded up the best smartphone deals available that can save you as much as $900.
Mobile

Hackers conduct prolonged cyberattack against phone network, says security firm

A security company says a prolonged cyberattack against global phone networks, where hackers have apparently collected data related to phone conversations and even the physical location of the device, has taken place.
Photography

Create apocalyptic A.I. world with this camera app that removes people from pics

What would the shots in your camera roll look like without any people? Bye Bye Camera is a new iOS app that uses artificial intelligence to remove all people from the photo., but it's not designed for practical applications.
Mobile

Having problems with your OnePlus 7 Pro? Check out these workarounds and fixes

Every phone has issues that require some tweaking to sort out. Here are the most common OnePlus 7 Pro problems that people are talking about with advice on how you can work around them or fix them and get on with your day.
Music

How much is Spotify Premium, and how can you get it at a discount?

Having access to millions of songs comes at a price -- albeit, a pretty small one. Before you figure out how much Spotify Premium is going to cost, you will want to see if you qualify for a discounted (or even free) subscription.
How-To

Optimize your new Apple AirPods with these tips and tricks

Here are some tips, tricks, and lesser-known features from Apple's first pair of fully wireless earbuds, allowing you to get the most out of the company's world of cordless sound.
Android

Samsung's Galaxy S10 5G is coming to T-Mobile on June 28

Samsung's Galaxy S10 5G is the flagship of the S10 line, and it's expensive at $1,300. But, it's the only one of Samsung's latest phones that can connect to a 5G network. It's available from Sprint and Verizon, and now T-Mobile.
Mobile

The best gardening apps help you watch your garden grow

It takes work, commitment, and smarts to cultivate a beautiful garden or grow your own food, so you need all the help you can get. The best gardening apps can identify plants and pests and assist with garden care and planting schedules.
Mobile

Here are 5 things I’d like to see in the Samsung Galaxy Note 10

It's important that smartphones continue to improve and evolve or they risk stagnation and may alienate potential buyers. Here are five changes and new features I'd like to see in Samsung's forthcoming Galaxy Note 10 smartphone.
Mobile

iOS 13 is here. Here's how to get it on your iPhone or iPod Touch

The iOS 13 public beta has been released, giving you a chance to try out iOS 13's new features. But how do you download Apple's latest software? Here's our guide on how to download the iOS 13 public beta.