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This is the iPhone you should buy your mom

Published Oct 5th, 2022 7:16PM EDT
iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max boxes
Image: Jonathan Geller, BGR

Responding to a question from the audience at the Code Conference event he attended a few weeks ago, Apple CEO Tim Cook said “buy your mom an iPhone.” The executive offered the reply to a reporter asking about Apple’s plans to embrace RCS on iPhone, a richer communication text messaging system than SMS that Google uses on Android. This is part of the famous blue vs. green text bubbles dispute that Google is still entertaining in the US in its desperation to somehow convince Apple to get on board.

The reporter said that he and his mother find it difficult to send photos and videos to each other because she uses an Android device. That’s where Cook came in.

While some people might not appreciate the response as new iPhones are more expensive than most Android handsets, Cook’s advice is sound. You should buy your mom an iPhone if Android gets in the way of your texting. And the same goes for your dad. But that doesn’t necessarily mean buying one of the four iPhone 14 models that Apple just launched, which start at $799.

Don’t just give your mom your old iPhone

The easiest option here might be to upgrade your current iPhone to the iPhone 14. Rather than trading it in or selling it online, you can wipe the older model and pass it along to someone in your family. It can be a teenager who is getting their first smartphone. It could also be a parent who would benefit from the upgrade.

But don’t just give them any old iPhone. If you’re a heavy user, then the battery health of your iPhone might be compromised. And it’ll impact your mom’s iPhone experience. You certainly don’t want your parents to hate iOS after jumping ship from Android. At the very least, you can consider swapping the old battery for a brand new one.

Apple iPhone 13 Display
Apple iPhone 13 Display Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

If you’re upgrading from a newer iPhone, like the iPhone 12 and upwards, your battery health should be somewhat decent. Also, the iPhone model supports 5G connectivity and should get several years of decent software upgrades. In such a case, you can consider a battery replacement down the road.

Which new iPhone to buy your mom?

The better route is getting your mom a brand new iPhone. Not only is it a brand new device that will last several years without worrying about battery health and any issues, but it’s also a nice gesture. Parents get a brand new device, complete with the entire opening and setting-up experience.

You’ll still need to help your mom set up the handset for the first time, especially if a switch from Android is involved. But she should be ready to go in no time, and adapting to iOS should be reasonably easy.

That said, your mom might not need the latest and very best iPhone. Thankfully, Apple’s 2022 iPhone lineup is simply incredible, with prices ranging from $429 for the 64GB iPhone SE 3 to $1,599 iPhone 14 Pro Max. Somewhere in there lies the iPhone that you should buy your mom.

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Main
Apple iPhone 12 Pro with display turned on. Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR

Size matters

When buying a smartphone for a parent, size will absolutely matter. And I’m referring to two things here: Screen diagonal and storage.

The screen size is the most important detail. You’ll want to stay away from the 4.7-inch iPhone SE. It’s just too small for their eyes. Setting up massive fonts and using zoom might be required so they can read content on the screen comfortably. But even so, the iPhone SE is too small. That’s why you should only consider all-screen iPhones for mom and dad.

Even the 5.4-inch 128GB iPhone 13 mini might be too small for them. You should be focusing on a 6.1-inch or 6.7-inch iPhone. Some might favor the larger screen, while others like the smaller one.

iPhone SE 3 color options.
iPhone SE 3 color options. Image source: Apple

One thing to note here is that Apple only sells two 6.7-inch iPhones right now. The iPhone 14 Plus starts at $899, and the iPhone 14 Pro Max starts at $1,199. You won’t find older Pro Max models from Apple, so you’ll have to look at carrier and electronics store inventory. Again, we’re targeting a brand new iPhone here for mom.

Secondly, you need decent storage. You should ignore the 64GB tier unless your mom is comfortable using your iCloud account or setting up her own. Go for at least 128GB of memory. She’ll need the storage for photos and videos, which tend to bulk up chat apps like iMessage. After all, that’s the reason why you’re upgrading.

And mom will probably want to hold on to the new iPhone for a few years.

iPhone 11
Apple’s iPhone 11 colors. Image source: Apple Inc.

Apple might not sell the best iPhone for your mom

If you’re on a tighter budget, Apple doesn’t sell the best new iPhone for your mom. That’s the 6.1-inch 2019 iPhone 11 that Apple just discontinued. It’s the kind of iPhone that will satisfy all your needs.

First of all, it’s a relatively new iPhone that will run plenty of iOS versions for some years to come. It features a large 6.1-inch display, and it’ll get decent battery life. Finally, it comes in a 128GB version.

Before the iPhone 14 launch, Apple sold the iPhone 11 starting at $499. That’s just $70 more than the iPhone SE 3. You’ll now get even better prices, but not from Apple. The chances are you can score the handset for a great price from other retailers. But you will want to buy a brand new device so your mom can make the most of her switch to iPhone.

Apple’s 2022 iPhone lineup includes iPhone SE, iPhone 12, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max.
Apple’s 2022 iPhone lineup includes iPhone SE, iPhone 12, iPhone 13 mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max. Image source: Apple Inc.

If money is no object, you can easily upgrade her to an iPhone 12, 13, or 14. She’ll get a brighter OLED panel, much better cameras, faster performance, 5G connectivity, and a device that will last even longer than the iPhone 11.

To see every iPhone price point in Apple’s fall 2022 iPhone lineup, check our handy guide at this link.


More Apple coverage: Check out the best Apple deals online right now.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he closely follows the events in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises. Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.