iPhone cellular speed comparison

A new study from OpenSignal published today looks into the cellular performance of the most popular iPhones going back to 2013. While there’s nothing too surprising in the findings, it does nail down exactly what average speeds each model sees, how much owners of older iPhones are missing out, how much iPhone cellular speeds have grown over the years, and a few other interesting details.

For those with and iPhone 5s, 6 or 6 Plus, the research shows that those models are capable of roughly half of the cellular speeds that the new iPhone XS and XS Max are.

Another interesting tidbit was that iPhone cellular performance didn’t really change between 2015-2017 from the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus all the way to the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. Speeds finally saw a bump in with the iPhone X release and another boost with the iPhone XS and XS Max.

Here are the numbers for average US cellular speeds by iPhone model:

iPhone cellular speed comparison downloads

As for the newer iPhones, the numbers line up with the devices’ spec sheets, with the iPhone XR coming in a bit slower than the X, XS, and XS Max which have more capable modems. For the 2019 iPhone lineup, however, the next generation iPhone XR may match the iPhone 11 with cellular performance.

As for upload speeds, the XR almost matched the X, but still was further behind the XS and XS Max, as expected.

iPhone cellular speed comparison uploads

As for how iPhone cellular performance has grown over the years, OpenSignal shared a graph highlighting 83% growth from the iPhone 5s and 6 to the current lineup.

iPhone cellular speed comparison over time


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About the Author

Michael Potuck

Michael is an editor for 9to5Mac. Since joining in 2016 he has written more than 3,000 articles including breaking news, reviews, and detailed comparisons and tutorials.