How much stor­age do you need on an iPhone

Lewis Painter’s ad­vice will help you find the right stor­age op­tion

iPad&iPhone user - - CONTENTS -

One of the hard­est de­ci­sions you have to make when buy­ing an iPhone is choos­ing the stor­age op­tion: 32-, 128- or 256GB? Will you fill up a 256GB iPad? Is a 32GB iPhone enough for your needs? Is it worth saving money and buy­ing the smaller stor­age ca­pac­ity? Here we look at the var­i­ous fac­tors you should con­sider.

Local stor­age vs cloud stor­age

Ap­ple’s cloud stor­age ser­vice, iCloud, pro­vides users with un­lim­ited stor­age for ev­ery­thing pur­chased from iTunes – apps, iBooks, mu­sic, movies and TV shows – and the op­tion

of stream­ing media, rather than hav­ing to down­load it be­fore watch­ing/lis­ten­ing.

Beyond this, Ap­ple pro­vides 5GB of iCloud stor­age free of charge. If you need more Ap­ple of­fers the fol­low­ing:

50GB: 79p per month 200GB: £2.49 per month 1TB: £6.99 per month 2TB: £13.99 per month

While Ap­ple’s in­te­grated cloud stor­age op­tion is the go-to for many, there are other al­ter­na­tives avail­able, in­clud­ing Drop­box, Google Drive and OneDrive.

Note that while files can be stored in the cloud, they must be cap­tured lo­cally and up­loaded. You can’t record a 4K video from your iPhone di­rectly onto iCloud or Drop­box!

Con­clu­sion: Ask your­self whether you use iCloud, Google Pho­tos or other cloud stor­age ser­vices to store and ac­cess pho­tos, videos and other media? If the an­swer is yes, then you may get away opt­ing for 32GB stor­age, de­pend­ing on the amount of apps you in­stall. Although if you don’t use cloud ser­vices, or just want to be ex­tra safe, we’d rec­om­mend go­ing for 128GB or 256GB.

Stream­ing vs saving

iTunes of­fers a huge range of TV shows, movies and mu­sic avail­able for pur­chase. A typ­i­cal stan­dard def­i­ni­tion movie from iTunes can be around 1- to 3GB while a high-def­i­ni­tion movie can eas­ily hit 6GB. TV pro­grammes are smaller in size in­di­vid­u­ally, but a se­ries will be much larger. Of course, mu­sic files are tiny in com­par­i­son, but a lo­cally stored

li­brary of mu­sic can quickly fill up an iPhone or iPad. It’s a sim­i­lar story with stream­ing apps such as Net­flix, Ama­zon Prime Video, Spo­tify and Ap­ple Mu­sic.

How­ever, while the files may be large, those with a fast enough in­ter­net con­nec­tion have the op­tion to stream on-de­mand, rather than save media lo­cally. The ben­e­fit is that it frees up stor­age on your de­vice for apps and other files, although there are trade-ins. You won’t, for ex­am­ple, have any ac­cess to your media with­out an in­ter­net con­nec­tion, and it may eat up a large por­tion of mobile data if not on Wi-Fi. Not good for those with capped data con­tracts.

Con­clu­sion: If you stream most of your media rather than down­load it for off­line use, then you may be able to get by on 32GB. Those that have large media li­braries that are stored lo­cally should opt for 128- or even 256GB de­pend­ing on the size of the col­lec­tion.

Pho­tog­ra­phy and videos

The iPhone 7 se­ries has two 12Mp cam­eras ca­pa­ble of tak­ing in­cred­i­bly de­tailed pho­tos and videos. How­ever, that added de­tail means that photo files are larger than they used to be, and that’s with­out con­sid­er­ing Live Pho­tos – Gi­flike videos cap­tured along­side the full-res­o­lu­tion pho­tos. These can take up to dou­ble the space of stan­dard pho­tos.

It’s a sim­i­lar story with video – the iPhone 7 se­ries can cap­ture 4K video, which takes up much more stor­age than stan­dard 1080p video. For com­par­i­son, a one-minute video shot at 1080p at 30fps will be around 130MB, while a 4K at 30fps video of the same length will be over dou­ble at 350MB. Of course, cloud stor­age can help take the load off a large photo li­brary, but it’s not an ideal sit­u­a­tion – es­pe­cially if you’re trig­ger happy and run out of stor­age while cap­tur­ing.

Con­clu­sion: Do you in­tend to take a lot of pho­tos, or shoot long videos on your iPhone or iPad? If you only take the oc­ca­sional snap, 32GB may suf­fice. For any­thing more than the odd selfie, we’d rec­om­mend 128GB - pos­si­bly even 256GB if you’re more video-fo­cused.

Apps and games

For most peo­ple, apps and games take up the ma­jor­ity of iPhone and iPad stor­age, and it’s not hard to see why.

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