How Much IPhone Storage Do I Need?
Are you a media gourmand?
The iPhone 5 is out, and many people are rushing to get their hands on it. But which one should you buy? Beyond choosing whether you want black or white, you'll have to select whether to get one with 16GB, 32GB or 64GB of storage. That depends on what you want to do with it. Here's a guide to help you choose.
What do I need for a basic setup?
When you first power up your iPhone 5, you're probably going to need to download some form of update, so that the most basic apps the phone uses – Music, Photo, Bookstore – can be properly optimized for the device. Judging by what we've seen on previous devices, this update is likely to take up around 1GB of space, but it'll be all set to go with iOS 6 setup.
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Popular social apps — such as Facebook and Twitter — take minimal space, about 10 megabytes or so each. The App Store listings usually indicate the size of an app — as well as how much the updates will add. Business apps can vary. Take Recorder, for example, which enables you to record audio on your iPhone 5. The app is just under 4 MB, though the recordings themselves can take up far more space.
Movies and TV shows
The App Store has abundant video. A feature-length film like "The Avengers" takes up about 1.5GB to 2.5GB, a one-hour drama like "Game of Thrones" is around 800MB and a half-hour sitcom like "Parks and Recreation" is a little over 350MB. That’s for standard-definition films and shows, which should be fine for a screen that small.
You can also go the streaming route, with tiny apps such Flixster, Netflix and Hulu Plus. Flixster, for instance, takes up a meager 16MB. Because they aren't stored on the iPhone, the videos barely require any space to play. To learn more about steaming video, check our guide "5 Steps to Cut Cable and Enjoy TV for Half the Price."
E-books and magazines
In most cases, e-books are simply text and small interactive menus. (And e-book reader apps, like Barnes & Noble's Nook, are only around 10MB.) Animated storybooks, such as the "Toy Story" titles, are larger, taking up around 170MB or more — still not so much. A photo-filled magazine issue can run close to 1GB.
No matter what iPhone 5 model you own, you can store a lot of music. Most songs from iTunes are around 5MB to 10MB a pop, and full albums barely register over 150MB. If you’ve got a hundred or so songs set up on a playlist for a road trip, you shouldn't have any problem. But if you're looking to port over your entire song collection to your device, you might prefer the higher-up iPhone 5 models. Even with iCloud syncing, the songs will take up physical space on your phone.
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Smaller games shouldn't be an issue. Even compilations like "Atari's Greatest Hits" and "Activision Anthology" clock in fewer than 50 MB apiece. However, some games will take up a monstrous amount of space. "Infinity Blade II," with its various updates, will consume around 2GB of space, for example.
You can keep track of storage by sorting through your iPhone 5 library — just plug your device into your computer and check under Settings. In that menu, it'll break down just how much space is being used, and for what types of media. On the iPhone itself, go into Settings, check under General Settings and then click on About.
Judging by what we've seen in past devices, we've broken down how much you can fit on each size device. The figures below are for maxing out each medium. Don’t try to cram 100 albums and 10 movies on a 16 GB iPhone 5.
16 GB iPhone 5
- Two high-definition movies (for example, "Prometheus" alone will run you about 3.8 GB), or
- Nine standard-definition movies
- 100 music albums (about 1,200 songs), or
- Roughly 450 small games such as " “Atari’s Greatest Hits,” or
- 12 large titles such as "Infinity Blade II," and "Real Racing 3" or
- 450 eBooks (combination of regular and animated storybooks)
32 GB iPhone 5
- Five high-definition or 20 standard-definition movies, or
- 200 albums or around 3,000 songs, or
- About 900 small games or 30 large games, or
- 1,100 eBooks
64 GB iPhone 5
- 10 high-definition or 40 standard-definition movies, or
- 400 albums or 6,000 songs, or
- 2,000 small games or 70 large ones, or
- 2,250 eBooks