I need my space. How much space do you really need on your iPhone?

A hand holding a white iPhone

by David Redmond

Any time you’re buying a new phone, one question always comes up. How much storage space do I need?

The answer like most things depends on your use case. I work a lot with audio and video, so I need more space than someone who is just taking the odd photo.

In order to give you as accurate an idea as possible let’s first look at what uses space.

What uses space on a phone?
I’m simplifying a bit here, but different types of files on a phone use different amounts of data.

  • Text and images won’t use huge amounts of space, but if you have a lot then it can start adding up.
  • Audio and video use much more space so if you work with those formats a lot you’ll run out of memory fast.
  • Apps have a lot of variety, but if an app has lots of sounds and graphics then the amount of space it needs will be more. Games are a good example here and can take up a lot of space.

You also need to be aware of data within apps. If you’re sending voice notes and video messages on WhatsApp, then that’s going to take up a lot of storage. If you just send texts and make phone calls, then you might get away with less space.

How much do I need?
As an absolute minimum, I think everyone should have 128GB, and that’s assuming you’re just sending texts, making calls, and taking the odd photo. 128GB will give you enough space for apps for your smart speakers and stuff like that, but you won’t want to push it too far.

If you can afford to stretch to 256GB I really would. This would cover most use cases for personal casual use. You can take a few videos, and send a few voice notes, and you should have no bother storing the data from any fitness device. You will be flying close to the sun after a few years for sure, but with a bit of optimisation you can get by.

If you’re working on your phone you need to jump to 512GB, and if you’re creating content you need to jump to 1TB. This can be expensive, but if you’re using it for work it’s an investment you’ll need to make.

I work in content and I know I would use a 2TB option if it was available. Yes, I’m an extreme case, but in a content creation role, you use storage fast.

In general, try to get 256GB for casual use, and as much as you can for work. Storage is expensive, but you really don’t want to be forced to upgrade in two years due to a lack of space. You want your phone to last, so your better to think of that now rather than later.

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