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Is 256GB Enough For iPhone? What You Need To Know

Choosing the right amount of storage for your iPhone is vital, especially if you plan on using it for a few years. Is 256GB enough for most iPhone users? Let’s find out… 



KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Base Model Storage: The base model for recent iPhones starts with 128GB of storage. This might be enough for light users who don’t take many photos or videos and don’t download many games or apps.
  • 256GB Storage: For most modern users, 256GB is the new ideal level of storage. It provides ample space for photos, videos, games, apps, and even movie and TV show downloads.
  • Storage Capacity: A 256GB storage device can hold approximately 51,200 high-quality photos, 128 hours of HD video, or 2,560 average-sized downloaded files.
  • iCloud Storage: While you can supplement your iPhone’s storage with iCloud, native, on-device memory is generally better and more convenient to use.
  • Future iPhones: It’s anticipated that future iPhone models will continue to offer 128GB as the base storage option, with options for larger storage capacities.

Not so long ago, back when Apple’s iPhone was first getting started taking over the market from legacy brands like Nokia and BlackBerry, 16GB of internal storage was actually pretty common. 

Of course, this was in an era before applications, high-resolution video and photos, and massive, desktop-grade operating systems. You didn’t need a lot of storage on a Nokia 3310. But an iPhone 14 or iPhone 15? You’re going to want to choose wisely because, once you run out of storage, it is a real pain. 

Is 256GB Enough Storage For iPhone? 

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Apple’s base model iPhone 14 comes with 128GB of storage; the iPhone 15 will likely be the same. Is 128GB enough storage? Potentially. But only if you’re a very light user, meaning you’re someone that doesn’t take a lot of photos and/or videos and seldom downloads games and apps. 

It’s the base model storage for a reason. For most modern users, basically, anyone under the age of 45, 128GB might not be enough – not if you plan on using your iPhone to its full potential. You can supplement with iCloud storage, of course, but native, on-device memory is always better. 

The next step up is 256GB and this, for most people, is the new goldilocks-level of storage for the iPhone. You’ll have plenty of storage for photos and videos, as well as games and apps, and even movie and TV show downloads via apps like YouTube Premium, Amazon Prime, and iTunes. 

How Many Photos, Videos & Other Files Can 256GB Hold? 

You can do a lot with 256GB of storage on your phone. Even the most hardcore of shutterbugs would struggle to fill up a 256GB iPhone with pictures and video alone. 

Here’s a breakdown of all the stuff you could cram into a 256GB iPhone: 

  • Pictures: If we consider the average size of a high-quality photo taken by a smartphone to be about 5MB, a 256GB storage device can hold approximately 51,200 photos.
  • Videos: If we consider a high-definition (HD) video, which typically uses about 2GB per hour, a 256GB storage device can hold approximately 128 hours of HD video.
  • Downloaded Files: The number of downloaded files a 256GB storage device can hold depends on the size of the files. For example, if an average downloaded file is 100MB, a 256GB storage device can hold approximately 2,560 files.

Does iOS Take Up Storage? 

iOS-17Pin

Of course, we have to keep in mind that Apple’s iOS takes up quite a bit of room these days too. The current latest build, iOS 16, is around 5GB in size and this comes straight out of your iPhone’s storage. No ifs, no buts. But, at least, Apple does give you 5GB of free iCloud storage. 

Still, if you go for a 256GB iPhone 14, you’ll be down to 251GB – or thereabouts – before you’ve even logged in. And there’s no way to manually expand the storage either. Apple hates SD cards and anything messing with its precious ways of doing things. 

This is why it is super important to always go with as much storage as possible. Most users – like 98% of people reading this – will never need to bother with 512GB or 1TB iPhones. They’re designed for content creators that shoot and edit tons of high-resolution video. 

If you’re a casual and/or fairly standard smartphone user, meaning you take the occasional picture and video, browse social media platforms using apps, send and receive email, play the occasional game, and IM via Messages and WhatsApp, 256GB will be more than enough for your needs. 

The only time you’ll need more than 256GB is if you’re starting to shoot video content for things like YouTube. Apple’s Pro and Pro Max models are pitched, predominantly, at content creators – that’s where the “Pro” branding comes from – and this is why 1TB storage options are included in the Pro range. 

Apple’s iPhone Storage Options Detailed

For a more detailed look at all of Apple’s past and present storage versions, please check out our detailed guide to iPhone Storage Sizes: A Complete Guide.

  • 128GB: This is now the entry-level storage option. It’s suitable for average users who use their phone for a variety of tasks, including taking photos, downloading apps, and storing some music and videos. They might also use their phone for light work tasks, like checking email and using productivity apps.
  • 256GB: This storage tier is ideal for heavy users who take a lot of high-resolution photos and videos, download a large number of apps, and store music and videos on their phone. They might also play resource-intensive games and use their phone for tasks like video editing.
  • 512GB or 1TB: These are the highest storage options and are suitable for power users. These users might be professionals who use their phone for tasks like filming and editing 4K videos, playing high-end games, or running resource-intensive apps. They might also need to store a large amount of data on their phone for work purposes.

Check out all the latest iPhone 14 deals here.

Kurt Langston

AI expert with a passion for making complex concepts accessible to all. With over eight years of experience in the field, he has honed his expertise in machine learning and AI, becoming a trusted voice in the industry. Kurt currently serves as the Head of AI News Coverage and Content at KnowYourMobile, a leading online platform for mobile technology news and reviews. In this role, he oversees the production of insightful articles, tutorials, and guides, helping readers navigate the rapidly evolving landscape of AI tools and technologies

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