iPhone Storage Size Guide: How Much Do You REALLY Need?

by | 06/02/2021 12:39 pm
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Apple now sells a bunch of different iPhones across a range of price points. But which iPhone has the most storage? In this simple iPhone storage size guide we’ll show you how much storage each iPhone has and explain how much you’ll likely need on your next iPhone… 

The amount of storage you have on your phone is important, although the requirements for you might be different to someone else you know. If you shoot a lot of video and photos, you’ll want a good amount of storage.

But if all you do is use the iPhone for browsing the web, using apps, and a bit of social media, then you could probably get away with less. As always, it depends on you, the user, how much to go for. In most cases, however, 128GB will be more than enough for the average guy or gal.

Even though Apple is apparently planning a 1TB iPhone model for 2021. Whether that happens or not remains to be seen. Here’s everything you need to know about Apple’s current iPhone storage sizes – and which option is best for you!

iPhone With The Most Storage: A Breakdown By Model & Series

iPhone X
  • 64GB
  • 256GB
iPhone XS 
  • 64GB
  • 256GB
  • 512GB
iPhone 11 
  • 64GB
  • 128GB
  • 256GB
  • 512GB
iPhone 12
  • 64GB
  • 128GB
  • 256GB
  • 512GB

As you can see from the table above, the iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPhone 11 Pro Max currently have the highest amount of storage you can get in an iPhone, topping out at 512GB.

These models are very pricey though, as you can see here. And for most people, 512GB is not essential. Case in point: I’ve had several 128GB phones over the last few years and I haven’t run out of storage once.

For this reason, I think only a very select few users would ever require more than 128GB. If you like to carry around A LOT of media on your phone, or you shoot and edit a lot of video, sure, 256GB or even 512GB makes sense.

But that isn’t most people; most people listen to music via the cloud, use iCloud storage for their photos, and don’t run that many apps. My advice? Go with the least amount of storage you can. Apple really dings you for storage, so it makes sense to keep it as low as possible.

Is 64GB iPhone OK?

64GB is the least amount of storage you can get on modern iPhones like the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12. And in most cases, 64GB should be enough for the average user.

However, there are a couple of things you NEED to keep in mind.

The first relates to how many pictures and videos to plan on taking? If you’re a serial snapper, and you run lots of apps and games on your iPhone, you’ll probably need more than 64GB.

The second relates to downloading content and media onto your iPhone. If you like downloading and storing lots of files on your iPhone, from TV shows to films and videos, then 64GB might not be enough for you.

If you fit the above criteria, I’d probably recommend that you go with a 128GB iPhone just to be safe. Apple doesn’t include expandable storage on any of its iPhones, so you have to be careful with how you manage what you’ve got.

OK, so when is a 64GB appropriate? Simple: if you’re a light user, somebody like my mum, then 64GB will be more than enough for you. What do I mean by a “light user”?

A light user is someone that doesn’t take loads of photos and videos and, most of the time, uses their phone ONLY for IM, web browsing, email, and social media. A light user runs limited apps and doesn’t usually have many games stored on their phone.

If you’re a light user, a 64GB iPhone will be fine.

What’s The Best Amount of Storage For Normal Use?

Because Apple’s iPhones do not have any options for expandable storage, I would always advise users to go with a 128GB model. This gives you plenty of room, should you suddenly decide to become a shutterbug or get into mobile gaming.

A 128GB iPhone is more expensive than a 64GB iPhone, but with 128GB you will never have to worry about running out of storage, so you have peace of mind to just use your phone as you want, never having to pay attention to how much or how little you download onto its internal memory.

Again, this is a best case scenario. If you cannot afford a 128GB model, a 64GB one will suffice. You just need to be aware that, with heavy usage and lots of photos and videos, you will get through the storage very quickly.

And once you’ve used all of your iPhone’s storage, you will then have to pay for additional cloud storage via iCloud to pick up the slack. Hence why I’d recommend you ALWAYS go with at least 128GB of storage on your iPhone if at all possible.

Do I Need A 256GB iPhone?

If you’re what’s considered a “pro user”, meaning someone that runs a ton of applications on their iPhone, uses it as a storage device for work-related files and media, and also uses plenty of applications, then, yes, 256GB could be what you need.

256GB is A LOT of storage, though, and for most people you won’t get anywhere near this. Case in point: my iMac that I use for work, and haven’t audited in six years, only has 350GB of stuff on its hard drive, and while that is a lot more than 256GB, it just goes to show how far storage can actually go.

Where 256GB starts to make more sense is if you plan on running your iPhone for a LONG TIME. Like six years or more – or until Apple stops supporting it with iOS updates. In this context, you’ll want as much storage as possible. And 256GB should do you just right.

What About A 512GB iPhone?

Beyond 256GB of storage, we have Apple’s top-of-the-range storage option: 512GB which is just over half a terabyte of internal storage. This is a huge amount of memory; it is more than some laptops. But you will pay top dollar for this amount of storage – around $1399/£1399.

Who needs 512GB of storage on their iPhone? Honestly, I’m not too sure. Even forum discussions on the subject seem to point to 512GB being complete overkill, meaning all the storage most people will ever need is 512GB.

I mean, look at this way: with 256GB of storage, you’ll have enough room for 13,000 photos, 1000 songs, and 1400 videos on your phone. And even with all that, as well as all your apps and games, you’ll still have around 50GB of room left over.

The only upshot of having 512GB of storage is that you’ll have enough room on your iPhone to carry ALL you media with you at all times. That means all your downloaded movies and TV shows, all your ebooks, all of your podcasts, and all of your apps and games. And even then, you’ll still probably have plenty left over.

Most iPhone users seldom break the 256GB threshold, so, yeah… you probably don’t need to fork out for a 512GB iPhone any time soon.

Why Higher Storage iPhones Cost More Money

When it comes to iPhone storage, you’re probably wondering why higher storage sizes are so expensive? Well, there’s two reasons for this.

The first reason is that Apple likes making money. This is why it has – and always will – charge a premium for its products. Do you really think the iPhone 12 costs Apple $799 to make? It is actually more like $100. But the RRP has to reflect costs associated with building and distributing the phone and also generate profit.

Apple also likes to ensure it has hefty profit margins on all of its profits, usually around 35%.

The second reason is to do with quality. Apple has to ensure that the memory it uses in its iPhones is flawless. It cannot afford the memory to break or get corrupted; it has to work perfectly for up to a decade. This means it CANNOT use cheap memory. If it did, it would have QC issues and returns.

This is also why Apple doesn’t allow microSD and/or expandable storage on its iPhones. It likes to control the entire experience. If you start expanding the storage on your own, you’re stepping outside of Apple’s control. And Apple does not like this. If you want more storage, you have to pay for it.

It’s as brutally capitalistic as that.

Which means when the time comes to upgrade your iPhone, make sure your choose the right storage size for your needs. Again, I’d ALWAYS recommend you go with at least 128GB. That way, you’re pretty much covered for all eventualities.

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