The XR has a similar design to the iPhone X and iPhone XS. However, it has slightly larger bezels, an aluminum frame, and is available in a wide variety of colors. Similar to other X-branded iPhones, all models come with a black front. The XR has an IP67 rating for dust and water resistance, which means it can be immersed in 1-meter deep water for up to 30 minutes.
The XR has similar hardware to the XS, but with a few features removed to reduce the price. Instead of 3D Touch, the XR comes with Haptic Touch where the user long presses until they feel a vibration from the Taptic Engine. The XR also has an LCD display known as "Liquid Retina" instead of the OLED screen used on the X, XS, and XS Max. The display on the XR has a resolution of 1792 × 828 pixels and a pixel density of 326 ppi, compared with 458 ppi on other X-branded iPhones. The screen-to-body ratio of the XR is 79.3%, much higher than the 67.5% of the iPhone 8 Plus but still lower than most other phones in its price category. Unlike most other phones in the X-series, the XR ships with a single camera on the rear on the phone, featuring exactly the same main camera sensor as on the XS and XS Max, utilizing a 1/2.55" sensor size and 1.4μm pixel size. Unlike the XS, it does not have optical zoom, because of the single camera. DxOMark gave the camera on the iPhone XR a rating of 101, giving the title “Top-ranked single-lens phone.”
Despite the rear single-camera setup, a modified version of Portrait Mode is included. It works unaltered while using the TrueDepth front camera, but with the rear camera it attempts to calculate depth of field using a combination of the focus pixels on the image sensor and AI, resulting in more limitations including lower resolution depth data and subjects not being close enough due to the wide-angle lens being used instead of the missing telephoto lens. Just like the iPhone XS and XS Max, the iPhone XR also offers an adjustable depth of field through software, allowing the user to adjust the background bokeh effect after taking a photo.