As an Apple iPhone owner, one of the biggest challenges that you come across is figuring out how much storage you need.
None of the iPhones that Apple has released since 2008 (when the first iPhone launched) have offered expandable storage such as a microSD card slot. This means that for the most part, you only have the base storage of your iPhone to work with.
Apple has likely made this decision to make the iPhone faster and better designed. An iPhone with a microSD card slot would probably have to be a lot bigger and the memory of a microSD card is going to be slower than the built-in memory of your device. It’s unlikely that Apple will change its approach to iPhone storage in the future.
Because of all this, you need to figure out how much storage you need on an iPhone before you buy it. You will be locked into that amount of storage for the next year, two years, or until you next decide to get a new iPhone. You don’t want to get to month three and find that you’re running out of space on your device.
So, before you buy, figure out how you’re going to be using that space, how you can free up some space, and how to get an iPhone with more storage without paying a premium price for it.
Table of Contents
How Much Storage Does an iPhone Have? What Takes Up the Most Storage on an iPhone? Where to Buy Cheap iPhones With a Lot of Storage How to Make More Room on Your iPhone
How Much Storage Does an iPhone Have?
Different iPhones have different maximum amounts of storage. There are multiple storage options for each type of iPhone. This has grown and changed over the years, as Apple has realized that people are using their phones a lot more and so need more storage to save all of their apps, photos, and other files.
Out of the iPhones that are available to buy now, the iPhone XS Max has the biggest amount of storage. The phone, which was first released in 2018, comes in three different storage options: 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB.
The iPhone with the least amount of storage is the iPhone 5, which was first released in 2012. It is available with three different storage options: 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB.
For the sake of comparison, we have listed out all of the available iPhone models and their storage sizes here
- iPhone XS Max: 64GB, 256GB, 512GB
- iPhone XS: 64GB, 256GB, 512GB
- iPhone XR: 64GB, 128GB, 5256GB
- iPhone X: 64GB, 256GB
- iPhone 8 Plus: 64GB, 256GB
- iPhone 8: 64GB, 256GB
- iPhone 7 Plus: 32GB, 128GB, 256GB
- iPhone 7: 32GB, 128GB, 256GB
- iPhone SE: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB
- iPhone 6S Plus: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB
- iPhone 6S: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB
- iPhone 6: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB
- iPhone 6 Plus: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB
- iPhone 6: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB
- iPhone 5S: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB
- iPhone 5: 16GB, 32GB, 64GB
The newer the iPhone, the more storage it will offer. If you need a phone with a huge amount of storage, then you’ll want to get the iPhone XS Max, iPhone XS, or iPhone XR.
iPhone storage is precious and if you’re looking to conserve space or leave room for other, more important files that you may create or download, you need to know what takes up the most room.
For most people, it will be apps that take up the most storage on your iPhone.
Mobile games are much better in quality than they once were, but to offer those incredible graphics and multiplayer features, they have massive file sizes. Fortnite Battle Royale on iOS has a file size of around 2GB, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds on iOS has a file size of 2.1GB, and Hearthstone has a file size of 1.6GB.
Other apps, such as Snapchat and Messages, can also take up a huge amount of space on your iPhone. Snapchat uses image caching which means that it saves some image files to your phone and this can make the app’s file size increase to multiple gigabytes. Messages can also have a file size of more than 1GB if you use it a lot to talk to your friends and family.
In 2015, Apple increased the maximum iOS app size to 4GB, meaning that an app you download from the App Store can be up to 4GB. This doesn’t include extra data you may download afterwards (such as updates or saved files) but it does show just how much room apps can take up on your phone.
After apps, music will probably be the biggest space-hogger on your iPhone. Apps like Spotify allow you to download tracks for offline play and this can easily bring the total size of the app to more than 5GB.
If you still download tracks (and don’t just use streaming services) then these are likely to take up a lot of space too. The length of a song can determine how large its file size is, but the best estimates are that you get around 125-250 songs per gigabyte of storage. If you have thousands of songs, then that could total 10GB of space if not more.
Photos and videos also take up storage on your iPhone. The file size of an image will depend on its quality, but a still image can take up a few megabytes of space. If you like to do whole photoshoots before you choose the right selfie (and then don’t delete the outtakes), these photos could be taking up big amounts of storage space.
The file size of a video also depends on its quality. Apple estimates that one minute of video filmed at 720p HD at 30 frames per second can take up 60MB. One minute of video filmed at 4K at 60 frames per second can take up 400MB. Once you start filming much longer videos, as much as an hour long, it can take up gigabytes of storage.
How to Figure Out How Much iPhone Storage You Need
To figure out how much iPhone storage you need, when buying a new iPhone, you’ll want to check how much storage you are using on the iPhone you have.
To do this, go to Settings > General > [Device] Storage.
From this menu, you can see an overview of how you are using your iPhone’s storage. It will show you the different categories (such as apps, videos, and media), how much storage you are using, and how much storage you have left. It will also show you which apps are using the most storage.
To figure out how much storage you need, you should think about:
If you have had your iPhone for a few months and the storage is almost full, then when you buy a new iPhone, you’ll want to get one with way more storage.
If you’ve had your iPhone for longer than that and you still have a lot of space left, then your next iPhone can have the same amount of storage if not lower. (Lower storage options cost less).
You should also think about whether your iPhone usage habits are going to change. If you think that you’ll be downloading fewer games, taking fewer videos or streaming more music (not downloading it) in future, then you could get an iPhone with lower storage because you may not need all of that extra space.
Where to Buy Cheap iPhones With a Lot of Storage
iPhones with more storage do cost more money. However, you can buy a cheap iPhone with a lot of storage, saving money while getting the extra storage space that you need.
The best way to do this is to buy a refurbished iPhone.
RefurbMe is a price comparison site for refurbished Apple products, such as iPhones, MacBooks, and iPads.
We list deals from leading retailers such as Apple, Mac of all Trades, and Gazelle. Every refurbished product on the platform has been thoroughly tested and is certified to work and will come with a warranty (a minimum 30-day warranty).
To search for iPhones by storage on RefurbMe, you can use the menu on the left-hand side. Scroll down to the option that says “Storage” and use the slider to filter which iPhone storage sizes you would like to look at.
Prices for a refurbished iPhone start at $69 (for an iPhone 5 with 16GB of storage), meaning that you’re likely to find a deal that suits your budget on RefurbMe.
How to Make More Room on Your iPhone
If you haven’t got any spare change for a new iPhone at the moment or you just don’t feel like getting a new device, then there are ways that you can get more storage space on the iPhone you already have.
Uninstall Apps You Don’t Need
Apps take up a huge amount of iPhone storage space but the truth is, it’s unlikely that you use all of them, every day. So scroll through your apps and take a look at which ones you haven’t used in weeks or months, uninstalling them to free up a giant chunk of space on your iPhone.
If you can’t remember the last time you used an app then that’s probably a good indication of how much (or how little) you care for it. However, you can also take a look at the date you last opened an app by going to Settings > General > Storage and then scrolling down to the list of apps.
Clear Out Your Snapchat Cache
Officially, the Snapchat file size on iOS is just 300MB, but if you’re a regular Snapchat user then it may be taking up far more storage space than that on your iPhone.
This is because of caching – Snapchat saves some files locally on your device to make this media load faster.
To clear this and free up storage space, Click the Snapchat (Ghost) logo > Settings (the Cog) > Clear Cache. Here, you’ll find the option to clear your Browser Cache and your Memories Cache.
Clearing your Memories Cache will delete any Memories (saved images, videos and stories) that are saved to your phone so make sure to save these to the cloud or save them to your Camera Roll before you clear it!
Clear Out Photos
While individual photos and videos are a small contributor to iPhone storage space, collectively, these can really add up.
The chances are quite high that you don’t need that screenshot you took back in 2017 and you probably don’t want or need those unpublished outtakes of your last selfie photoshoot. So, if you need some storage space, delete these from your phone. Or, if you really want to keep them (but don’t have the space to do so), add them to your iCloud.
Delete Data from Messages
Outside of your Photos app, you may have sent a lot of photos and videos through the Messages app. Much of this media will be saved as a backup in Photos and so you can delete the duplicates as they are saved in Messages.
To easily see which media you’ve sent, in iOS 11, go to Settings > General > Storage > Review Large Attachments. You can then go through the list and delete whatever you don’t need.
If you aren’t on an iPhone with iOS 11, you can also go into your messages and delete the media manually. This will take more time than the iOS 11 method, but it’s still an effective way of clearing out storage space.
Stream More Music
If music is the biggest reason why your iPhone storage space is full then the solution is simple: stream more music!
With streaming services such as Apple Music and Spotify, you can add many of the tracks that you have downloaded from iTunes to your music streaming library. This way, you can use your Wi-Fi Internet connection or your mobile data to listen to these songs for free, without them taking up so much space on your phone.
Delete Offline Data from Safari
Apple’s Safari browser saves website data and things from your reading list so that you can still look at media when you don’t have an Internet connection. It’s a great feature, but it’s also one that takes up a lot of storage space.
To clear this out and free up some storage, open Settings > General > Storage > Safari and delete the data of the “Offline Reading List.”
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