If you’re thinking about getting a new iPhone or giving one as a gift for the holidays – maybe you’re waiting for the upcoming iPhone 12 announcement – you’ve probably noticed that storage is a major factor in just how expensive iPhones can get.
While saving money is a key factor, you might be glad to see just how many dollars you can knock off by lowering storage capacity. For the iPhone 11, for example, the difference between a 64GB phone and a 256GB phone (also the likely choices for the iPhone 12) is a difference of $150!
That brings us to the big question: Just how much storage do you need, anyway? Can you get away with a lower amount of storage to cut the price? Continue reading to figure out how much iPhone Storage you really need.
How Much Cloud Storage Do You Have?
Do you frequently use iCloud? The free version of iCloud cuts off at 5GB of storage, which isn’t much at all. If you don’t pay for extended storage but you do save a lot of files on your phone, then picking a larger storage option is a good idea for the long term. Or, for a more affordable solution, move your photos and videos to a third-party service like ThunderDrive, which nets you a massive 2TB lifetime storage subscription for just $59 flat.
On the other hand, if you pay for iCloud and use it frequently (and don’t mind deleting to free up space), then choose the lowest storage option, 64GB or 32GB, to save as much money as you can.
What Are Your Photos and Video Needs?
If you don’t use iCloud that much, it’s important to think about how you create and store photos and videos on your phone. If you only take casual photos with friends and family and like having them saved but aren’t especially invested in it, then 64GB should be all that you really need if your other iPhone use isn’t too demanding.
On the other hand, if you spend a lot of time on social media and take frequent videos and photos to communicate with friends (something that’s become a bit more common with 2020’s social distancing regulations), then you probably need a bit more space to comfortable save, edit, and upload everything you want. We suggest 128GB in this case or 256GB if you happen to be a professional vlogger.
How Do You Enjoy TV or Music?
Do you love to stream your music and TV shows from your iPhone? Great! Streaming apps don’t take up that much space, and you won’t need storage if you’re primarily streaming. This allows you to comfortably choose the 64GB option and have your iPhone be an entertainment hub – as long as your Wi-Fi and data plan can keep up.
Others may prefer to download music and videos for later, a service many streaming apps offer, as well as popular music apps and iTunes. Some people greatly prefer this because then they don’t need to rely on an internet connection to watch what they want. They also can save things for later on when they are commuting (or just bored). Whole shows and music libraries can take up a lot of space: If you are a music junky, you may want to bump to the 256GB version or at least 128GBs.
How Many Mobile Games Do You Play?
Broadly speaking, some mobile gamers concentrate everything on the few games that they really love, while other mobile gamers like to download and try new games all the time. The latter approach ends up creating a large catalog of games on your phone, and these gamers may like to keep as much of this catalog around as possible to return to games that they enjoyed (also true if parents are intending for an iPhone or iPad to be a gaming device for their kids).
These “gotta catch ‘em all” gamers should definitely go with the 128GB version to hold a healthy number of games in stock. The 256GB option isn’t really necessary, since going through the backlog and deleting old games is an easy way to clear out space.
How Much Do You Use Your Phone For Business?
iPhones can also be an integral part of a business workstation. Depending on the job, this can mean that iPhones may need to juggle lots of PDFs and other files, or complex apps to interface with desktop computers. That can put a demanding load on an iPhone, which usually calls for more storage. If your iPhone plays a key role in your life and is more or less vital, then you may need to give it all the storage space you can.
How Do You Feel About External Storage?
There’s also a big caveat to this analysis that all iPhone users need to think about before making a final decision: Do you use an external storage drive, or are you willing to start? iPhone support for external drives has come a long way, and now Apple allows people to easily connect a spare drive with a Lightning cable adapter and the Files app. There are also a growing number of great wireless external hard drives, which make the job even easier.
This would require offloading any apps or files you aren’t currently using and then accessing them as you need them, along with a portable external SSD. However, it’s a very effective way of managing significant storage needs for professionals or ambitious amateurs, and it effectively negates the need for any storage on your iPhone, allowing you to put that money to a storage drive instead – and get a little more flexibility out of your data management.