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.