Four generations of iPhone go head-to-head in our app-launching drag race

Are the most recent iPhone models actually quicker than their last-gen counterparts? It’s a good question to ask, especially given just how important speed often is to consumers who are looking to pick up a new smartphone. We know the iPhone X and 8 Plus both pack faster CPUs, yes, but how do updated processor components translate into real-world performance? To answer these questions, we decided to run a speed test using the iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 Plus, and the iPhone X.

Basically, we opened a selection of apps and timed how long it took to launch said apps on each iPhone, allowing us to see which phone opens and renders apps the quickest. We also ran a similar test using a selection of graphically-intensive games, which require more processing power than your standard app.

iPhone X home screen

The first apps we decided to launch were Twitter and Facebook. Surprisingly, the iPhone 7 Plus beat the iPhone X when it came to Twitter, followed by the 6S Plus and 8 Plus. The iPhone X beat the 8 Plus when launching Facebook, though, the 7 Plus and 6S Plus weren’t far behind.

Next, we took a look at YouTube. The 6S Plus was, oddly enough, the quickest to launch the app, followed by the 7 Plus and 8 Plus — which tied — and the iPhone X. When launching Google Maps, all four headsets showcased nearly identical performance, with the 7 Plus barely coming out on top. The 7 Plus was the slowest at opening Pokémon Go, however, and was easily bested by the 8 Plus, 6S Plus, and the X.

The results were also somewhat surprising when it came to Sonic Dash, which saw the 8 Plus on top, followed the 6S Plus, 7 Plus, and the X. The latter phone was the quickest when launching Super Mario Run, however, which makes far more sense given the device hit the market right before the holidays. The 8 Plus, 7 Plus, and the 6S Plus followed in suite.

Twitter Facebook YouTube Google Maps Pokémon Go Sonic Dash Super Mario Run
iPhone X 05:05 02:35 05:25 03:35 11:50 11:20 12:25
iPhone 8 Plus 06:10 03:10 04:50 03:40 09:25 08:00 12:30
iPhone 7 Plus 04:55 03:55 04:50 03:30 23:11 10:30 15:45
iPhone 6S Plus 05:40 04:00 04:45 03:35 11:35 09:25 15:55

Now, what do these results mean when it comes to the overall performance of these devices? Well, honestly, not much. It appears as though, despite the updated hardware that goes into each device, the latest iPhones are about as quick as the previous models. The differences in speed are negligible, at least when it comes to opening apps. This could change, however, if we were to run more taxing apps or games that put more strain on the processor.

Regardless, users shouldn’t expect much of a difference when it comes to firing up Facebook.

David Cogen — a regular contributor here at Digital Trends — runs TheUnlockr, a popular tech blog that focuses on tech news, tips and tricks, and the latest tech. You can also find him on Twitter discussing the latest tech trends.


Sporty electrified Infiniti Prototype 10 concept headed to Pebble Beach

Infiniti will unveil a new concept car at the 2018 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. The Nissan luxury brand won't say much, but promises an electrified powertrain and an emphasis on performance.

New 'Fortnite' challenge is among the most difficult yet, but we know the solution

Where are the Stone Heads looking? That's the challenge posed by Fortnite's sixth week of season five. It's an easy challenge in concept, but difficult to manage in execution. If you don't want a hassle, no sweat. We've found the solution.

Is your smartphone frozen? Here's how to reset your iPhone

You can do a lot with an iPhone, but if you ever run into an issue with it, the first thing you should do is restart it. In this guide, we tell you how to reset your iPhone, and explain how it differs from a factory reset.

Storytelling masterpiece ‘Gone Home’ is headed to the Nintendo Switch

Fullbright's acclaimed first-person adventure game Gone Home will arrive to Nintendo Switch later this month. The game is available now on PC, Mac, Linux, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

From white skies to blurry subjects, how to fix common photo mistakes

You snapped the photo at the perfect moment, but the image is blurry. Understanding the most common photography mistakes can help capture better memories and more likable Instagrams. Here's how to fix these seven common photography…

Quindim, quiche or quesito? What will Android Q be called?

We always like to wildly speculate about the next dessert-themed name for Android, but the letter Q is making that tougher than usual. Here are our best guesses and suggestions for the full name of Android Q.

How iPhone photographers connect the world using only ‘basic’ gear

August 19 is World Photography Day, marking progress from the daguerreotype to the iPhone. But how do today's photographers create a connection to viewers using basic gear? We talked to iPhone photographers and influencers around the world…

Is this proof Google plans to launch a Pixel Watch soon?

From its Pixel smartphones to Google Home, the Google brand is quickly becoming synonymous with high-quality consumer hardware. This year, it looks like Google may branch out a little further by creating its first smartwatch.

Samsung confirms the Galaxy S10 won't be the first 5G phone

It may be no more than a sparkle in Samsung's eye, but the Samsung Galaxy S10 is definitely coming. Here's everything we know about what's sure to be Samsung's most amazing creation so far.

Samsung's new Galaxy Watch touts ultra-tough glass, multiday battery life

Samsung has finally introduced a sequel to the Galaxy Gear S3 smartwatch -- called the Samsung Galaxy Watch. The new device features a slick design, Samsung's Tizen operating system, and a heart rate monitor to help you track your fitness.

A library at your fingertips: The 101 best free Kindle books

You shouldn't always have to pay for a good read. Here are our picks for the best free Kindle books, so you don't have to sort through thousands of titles on Amazon and Google Play. We divided them into various genres, so dive in.

New patent suggests multiuser support could one day come to Siri

A new patent suggests that a major improvement may be in the works for Apple's digital assistant. Nothing has been confirmed, but Apple may soon work on implementing multiuser support for Siri.

Huawei could announce a trio of new smartwatches at IFA in late August

The Huawei Watch 3 may be a ways off from release, but that doesn't mean Huawei isn't working on what it could look like. A new patent from Huawei hints at a smartwatch with space to store a pair of true wireless earbuds.

Apple aficionados, these cute pillows are made just for you

Created as "a cuddly tribute to the tech that changed our lives," these cute pillows will be hard to resist for diehard Apple fans. Each one features an iconic Apple product, including the first iMac and the game-changing iPod.