Living with Apple’s iPhone 6s in 2020 (Is It Any Good or Worth Buying?)

Is the iPhone 6s worth buying in 2020 Credit: Shiwa ID / Unsplash
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Yes, you read the title right. We’re talking about the outdated iPhone 6s. Not the iPhone 6s Plus, but the regular, tiny iPhone that most of you likely have long forgotten about.

The iPhone 6s came out a little over five years ago, back in September of 2015. This iPhone wasn’t such a big upgrade from the previous iPhone 6 – other than the expected bumps in performance and battery, the iPhone 6s also tried to fix the “bendgate” issues the previous iPhone had.

Remember when you could bend your iPhone just by sitting on it? Those were the days.

Other than a few upgrades, the iPhone 6s didn’t give users many reasons to buy it. On the outside, it was basically the same as the iPhone 6, and the only way to tell them apart is with the little “s” beside the word “iPhone” on the back of the device. Not a great upgrade, if you ask me. Especially because of the high price it had at the time. The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus started at $199 and $299 respectively. A price that, at the time, people considered to be high for a smartphone.

I still remember people online complaining about Apple charging $300 for an iPhone. If they only knew what the future would hold for them..

But now it’s 2020, the iPhone 12 lineup recently came out and we’re already hearing rumors about the upcoming iPhone 13. And yet, here I am still using the iPhone 6s as my daily smartphone of “choice.”

Why Am I Using the iPhone 6s in 2020?

I got to admit, the iPhone 6s wasn’t always my daily iPhone. But fate, and being bad a taking care of things, forced me to make the downgrade. A downgrade I wasn’t sure I could withstand.

Compared to today’s standards, the iPhone 6s isn’t a high-end smartphone. This 2015 iPhone is small, its battery is decent (to say the most), and with all the software updates that have come since its release, it shouldn’t even work properly, right?

At the time of this downgrade, I really didn’t have a choice. It was either the tiny iPhone 6s or no phone at all. Although I have to say, I was also curious to see how well a five-year-old iPhone would perform in today’s day and age. Many people get an iPhone, or any smartphone for that matter, and keep it until it’s basically junk. And to my surprise, I now understand why they do it.

Despite everything going against the little guy, the iPhone 6s surprised me and it continues to do so. Although, it’s not perfect.

The iPhone 6s Is Surprisingly Fast in 2020.

There have been five major software updates since the iPhone 6s came out. Back in 2015, the iPhone 6s was the first iPhone that shipped with iOS 9 out of the box. Combine that with the power of the Apple A9 Chip and you get yourself the fastest smartphone of 2015.

And, even though it wouldn’t break any benchmarks in 2020, my iPhone 6s remains surprisingly fast. I have used many smartphones in my days, including some of Samsung’s best smartphones, and even they start to run slow after just a few months.

Way back when the Samsung Galaxy S9 came out, I decided to give it a try. Sure, it wasn’t the highest-end smartphone of that year, but it was still a flagship. But after just a few months of using it, it started to lag and it just wasn’t performing as well as it should be. I’ve tried Huawei phones as well, and the same things happened to them.

The only Android smartphone that really withstood the test of time, at least in my experience, was the Google Nexus 5X. A phone that, after many months of use was still working without any stutters.

But the iPhone 6s on the other hand took performance to the next level. Despite having a now outdated chip, the A9 is still performing mostly as good as new. I am quite shocked at how fast the iPhone 6s still is. I’ve only experienced a few stutters but that was mostly the exception and not the rule.

Overall, it’s impressive how you can keep using a five-year-old iPhone without any issues with performance. Of course, there were some compromises I had to get used to.

My Biggest Issue with the iPhone 6s:

Sure, the iPhone 6s was faster than I ever thought, and that’s great. But there was one thing that proved to be a major issue for me: Battery life.

As you’d expect from such an old device, the battery doesn’t last long. During a normal day of use, I’d need to charge my iPhone 6s two or three times, depending on how much screen-on time I had.

Sure, constantly needing to charge your iPhone is annoying. There’s no doubt about that. However, it didn’t affect me that much amid the Coronavirus pandemic where I was home almost all of the time.

The real problem began when I had to start going outside more often. These days, I’ve been struggling to keep my iPhone with enough power to get me through even half a day, which is even harder since the iPhone 6s doesn’t support fast charging.

Not only do I have to constantly charge my iPhone, but I also need to give it enough time until it’s fully charged, or at least charged enough so it doesn’t die on me while I’m out and about.

There Are Other Compromises, Too.

The battery life is just one of the comprises you have to make when using an older device. There are also other things you need to take into consideration.

First the camera. Now, I don’t usually take many pictures, so this didn’t affect me that much. But when I did take a picture or a selfie, I could clearly see how much the camera on the iPhone has advanced throughout the years. The pictures on the iPhone 6s came out washed out, out of focus, or both.

Another issue is the display. The iPhone 6s has a 4.7-inch display, which is the same size you’ll find on the 2020 iPhone SE. The size isn’t really an issue, and it was even refreshing to have such a small device that you can use with just one hand without hurting your thumb.

My biggest problem with its size is apparent while typing. Maybe it’s just me and my clumsy fingers, but I couldn’t write without tapping on the wrong key in nearly every word. Other than that, the small size has been a great change for me and it’s cool to see more flagship smartphones with a smaller form factor.

Sadly, the biggest compromise with the display is its resolution. The iPhone 6s has a resolution of 1,334 by 750 pixels, which is nothing compared to the 2,532 by 1,170 pixels the iPhone 12 features. Of course, comparing these two devices is kind of unfair, and you will get used to this resolution the more you use the iPhone 6s.

However, one big plus that the iPhone 6s has, and you won’t find on the iPhone 12, or any iPhone in the future, is 3D Touch.

If you never used it, 3D Touch was a feature that let your iPhone sense how much pressure you put on the display. That way, if you pressed harder, the iPhone would be able to tell and, in some cases, it would complete a different action. For example, Peek and Pop.

Nowadays, modern iPhones have Haptic Touch. A feature that, in some ways, works the same as 3D, but it works using software instead of hardware. Even though it basically works the same way, it’s not the same experience. I had forgotten how cool 3D Touch is and how fun it is to use. It’s too bad we probably won’t see it on an iPhone again.

Overall, I Love the iPhone 6s. But Don’t Buy One.

My experience with the iPhone 6s has been mostly good, except for the battery life, which is something I can’t get past. But for such an old device, I’ve had a great experience using the iPhone 6s, even five years after its release. And the craziest part is that I know I’m not the only one.

Coincidentally, while I was browsing Reddit instead of, you know, finishing this article, I stumbled upon a post written by user Yoyoyobank3, in which they explain their own experience with the iPhone 6s.

Although it seems they switched to the iPhone 6s by choice, their experience has been similar to mine. They enjoy the overall experience but they still have some complaints with the display, the camera, and, you guessed it, the battery life.

Overall, they seem to be pretty satisfied with the iPhone 6s, as am I. And although I’ve enjoyed my time with the iPhone 6s, I don’t think I’ll be using it much longer.

I’m not too concerned with the camera or the display, but the battery life is a big issue in my opinion. Since I’m not staying home all that often nowadays, as I know I should, I need an iPhone that I know will stay awake with me for most of the day.

The bottom line is that, even if some features didn’t age well, it’s amazing how well the iPhone 6s works, even after all these years. The performance is as good as if it were brand new and 3D Touch makes this one of my favorite iPhones to date. But, if rumors are true, the iPhone 6s and the first iPhone SE probably won’t see a new update next year. So you really shouldn’t buy one in 2020.

Previously, we’ve talked about how right now is a great moment to upgrade to the iPhone 12 and one of the reasons is because you can get it now and not worry about upgrading for the next three to five years. And I think the iPhone 6s is a great example of that. When you get an iPhone you can rest assured that you’re buying a future-proof device that’ll last you for a very long time.

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