top 10 mobile phones in history

Top 10 Best-Selling Mobile Phones Of All Time

Since its invention in 1973 and its first release a decade later, the handheld mobile phone has truly conquered the world. Over 7 billion mobile phones have been sold all over the world ever since. This means that the number of sold mobile phones has reached around the same number of human beings currently in existence. The popularity of the mobile phone is perhaps only matched by the popularity of the car and the computer.

Wherever there is a popular product, there is also a huge market. And the market for mobile phones is especially competitive with plenty of new phones being released each year. Ten phones in particular had a great global impact and are now known as the ten best-selling mobile phones in history. The following ranking shows you which phones made the list based on their worldwide sales numbers.

The 10 Best-selling Mobile Phones Of All Time

top 10 best-selling mobile phones in history

1. Nokia 1100

best-selling mobile phones in history - nokia 1100

Production years: 2003 – 2009
Worldwide sales: ~ 250 million

Released in 2003, Nokia’s 1100 model truly revolutionized the world of mobile phones in the first decade of the 21st Century. While it didn’t feature any remarkable innovations compared to its predecessors or phones of different brands, it proved one thing: Mobile phones don’t have to be expensive. The Nokia 1100 was very affordable and that fact ultimately turned the mobile phone into a mass product. Unsurprisingly, the 1100 was especially popular in poorer, developing nations. In the 6 years of its production, it managed to sell around 250 million times all over the world, making it still the best-selling mobile phone in history.

2. Nokia 1110

Production years: 2005 – 2007
Worldwide sales: ~ 248 million

Nokia’s 1110 model was directly inspired by the success of the 1100. It did offer some improved features compared to the 1100, like support for mp3 ringtones. But otherwise, the 1110 was mostly similar to the 1100. It, too, was low-priced and therefore also especially targeted low-income households as well as low-income countries all around the world. Considering the Nokia 1110 was only produced for 2 years, from 2005 to 2007, its global sales number of 248 million is in many respects even more impressive than that of the 1100 model.

3. Apple iPhone 6

Production years: 2014 – 2016
Worldwide sales: ~ 220 million

Apple’s iPhone 6 is the third best-selling mobile phone to date, proving that high-priced phones can be quite popular as well. The iPhone 6 was Apple’s eighth-generation smartphone and the most successful iPhone in the entire iPhone family. Released in 2014 and coming in two variants (a “Standard” and “Plus” version), the iPhone 6 offered significantly improved camera quality, WiFi and LTE connectivity as well as battery life. During its production years between 2014 and 2016, it sold around 220 million times worldwide, making it the best-selling smartphone in history.

4. Apple iPhone 12

Production years: 2020 – 2023
Worldwide sales: ~ 200 million

The Apple iPhone 12, released in 2020, comes fourth among the best-selling mobile phones in history with an estimated 200 million sales worldwide. The iPhone 12 was the first iPhone with 5G connectivity. It was powered by the A14 Bionic chip and therefore the first smartphone chip built on a 5-nanometer process. This chip delivered impressive performance improvements, enhancing the device’s speed and energy efficiency. The introduction of Night Mode on both the 12-megapixel wide and ultra-wide lenses allowed users to capture detailed and well-exposed photos in challenging lighting conditions.

5. Apple iPhone 6S

iphone 6s - best-selling mobile phones top5

Production years: 2015 – 2018
Worldwide sales: ~ 174 million

Launched in 2015 and building on Apple’s success with the iPhone 6, the iPhone 6S continued the success story of its predecessor with around 174 million sales worldwide. Similar to the iPhone 6, the 6S was released in two variants, a standard model and a larger “Plus” version. The 6S introduced several key enhancements, including the introduction of 3D Touch, a more advanced 12-megapixel rear camera, and the ability to shoot 4K videos.

6. Apple iPhone 5S

Production years: 2013 – 2016
Worldwide sales: ~ 165 million

The Apple iPhone 5S marked a pivotal moment in smartphone history, standing out as a milestone device for Apple and the entire smartphone industry at large. Released in 2013, the iPhone 5S brought forth a combination of sleek design, innovative features, and enhanced performance compared to its iPhone 5 predecessor. The 5S boasted the powerful A7 chip, making it the first smartphone in the world to utilize a 64-bit architecture. The 5S’s camera also received notable upgrades, with an improved 8-megapixel sensor and the introduction of the True Tone flash. During its production run from 2013 to 2016, the iPhone 5S achieved significant success in the market, selling around 165 million units globally.

7. Nokia 3210

Production years: 1999 – 2000
Worldwide sales: ~ 161 million

There is no doubt that Nokia shaped the worldwide market for mobile phones like no other company from the late 1990s through the 2000s and the Nokia 3210 was perhaps the most influential model Nokia has ever produced. Released in 1999, the now iconic phone featured truly cutting-edge technology, most notably the internal antenna. The 3210 was also the first mobile phone that specifically targeted younger people and featured three pre-installed games on the phone, most notably “Snake” which became an almost legendary trademark Nokia game in the following years. Despite being only in production for around a year, the Nokia 3210 impressively sold approximately 161 million times around the world.

8. Apple iPhone 7

Production years: 2016 – 2019
Worldwide sales: ~ 160 million

Apple’s iPhone 7, released in 2016, was the direct successor of the iPhone S6 and also came in a Standard and “Plus” variant. As the tenth-generation iPhone, it brought several enhancements and refinements to the iPhone experience. The rear camera incorporated 12-megapixels with optical image stabilization, allowing for better and sharper images. The front camera was also upgraded to a 7-megapixel sensor, improving the quality of selfies and especially video calls. The introduction of the A10 Fusion chip marked a significant performance leap, providing faster processing and much improved battery life. Apple also controversially removed the traditional headphone jack in favor of wireless audio solutions. Nevertheless, the iPhone 7 still became a huge commercial success with 160 million sales worldwide.

9. Apple iPhone 11

Production years: 2019 – 2022
Worldwide sales: ~ 159 million

The Apple iPhone 11, unveiled in September 2019, comes eighth among the best-selling mobile phones in history. As the thirteenth-generation iPhone and the successor of the X variants, the iPhone also came in three variants: A Standard, a “Pro” and a “Pro Max” version. A highlight of the more expensive Pro/Pro Max variants was their improved Super Retina XDR displays, with higher contrasts and thus an improved viewing experience. Under the hood, the iPhone 11 boasted the powerful A13 Bionic chip, providing a leap in performance and energy efficiency. During its production cycle from 2019 to 2022, the iPhone 11 sold around 159 million times and hence represented another commercial success for Apple.

10. Apple iPhone X R/S

Production years: 2018 – 2021
Worldwide sales: ~ 151 million

The list of best-selling mobile phones of all time concludes with the Apple iPhone X (Roman ‘Ten’). It was released in 2018 and came in three variants: The XR, the XS, and XS Max. It represented the twelfth generation of iPhones. With the XR model, Apple wanted to offer buyers a much cheaper new-generation phone option, whereas the XS and XS Max versions targeted higher-budgeted iPhone users. The XS and XS Max featured Super Retina OLED displays, and a dual-camera system, consisting of a 12-megapixel wide lens and a 12-megapixel ultra-wide lens. All three variants boasted a powerful A12 Bionic chip, ensuring faster performance and more efficient energy usage. Combined, the three iPhone ‘X’ versions sold around 151 million times.

Top 10 Best-selling Mobile Phones of All Time

(as of December 2023)

Top 10 Best-Selling Mobile Phones of All Time:
1. NOKIA 1100
Worldwide sales: ~ 250 million
2. NOKIA 1110
Worldwide sales: ~ 248 million
Worldwide sales: ~ 220 million
Worldwide sales: ~ 200 million
Worldwide sales: ~ 174 million
Worldwide sales: ~ 165 million
7. NOKIA 3210
Worldwide sales: ~ 161 million
Worldwide sales: ~ 160 million
Worldwide sales: ~ 159 million
Worldwide sales: ~ 151 million
*Updated as of December 2023.*
Best-selling mobile phones of all time by worldwide sales.
For models with different variant options, the combined sales numbers are considered.
Mobile phones with the same brand name manufactured by different companies (e.g. “Nokia 105”) are counted separately.

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