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iPhone 8 and iPhone X: Do You Need 256GB of Local Storage?

How big is too big? We debate the need for larger local storage in the iPhone 8 and iPhone X

A new generation of iPhone is here, and this time we have both the iPhone 8 and iPhone X (pronounced "ten") to lust after.

For those who are ready to camp out in front of your local Apple Store, there are some tough decisions to make. Aside from deciding which new iPhone model to buy, you'll also need to choose the color, screen size, and the all-important element of storage capacity.

This year, you have the choice of either 64GB or a whopping 256GB of storage space, but oddly, nothing in between. We took some time to break down why you may or may not need to carry around a portable hard drive in your pocket.

Look To The Cloud

Music

In a time where everything on your iPhone can be backed up in some form of cloud storage, it may seem absurd to even offer 64GB of space for some users.

A growing majority of iPhone customers have subscriptions to music streaming services like Apple Music, Spotify, or Google Play Music. Any of these offer a great solution to avoid carrying around the entire Taylor Swift catalog to occasionally throw on "22" when you've had a particularly tough day.

Even If your phone plan has data limits, these services allow you to store a few albums or playlists locally, and 64GB would be plenty to rotate through several hundred songs at a time.

For iPhone users who may not be aware, Google Play Music allows you to backup your entire iTunes or local MP3 collection to the cloud for free. The only storage limit is an unbelievable 50,000 songs (15TB of music), and all you need is a standard Gmail account to login.

So dust off that external hard drive full of embarrassing music from high school and preserve those songs in the cloud!

Movies and Photos

But what about 4K images and video? Certainly, filming an entire concert in 4K resolution on your new iPhone 8 will make short work of that 64GB of storage.

For every three minutes you record of 4K video, you'll use about 1GB of space. However, there are also cloud solutions to keep backups of your high-resolution video and photos.

While Apple may only offer 5GB of free iCloud storage, you can pay to upgrade your plan to 50GB for $0.99/month, 200GB for $2.99/month, or a massive 2TB for $9.99/month.

Sure, you may pay the difference between a 64GB and 256GB iPhone in just over a year, but these plans allow you to keep all of your video and images safe and viewable on any Apple device.

Apple users can also take advantage of Google Photos and backup all of your photos and videos for free. The free "high quality" plan does compress your photos to 16MP and your videos to 1080P, but only the iPhone X with its 2436 x 1125 resolution can truly view videos with quality higher than 1080P.

Growing Apps and a Need For Space

I know that many will worry about the growing size of mobile applications, and the concerns are valid.

Today's 500MB install files could easily become tomorrow's 1GB application size as screen resolutions get higher and the technology within the phones get more complex.

Currently, installing just the popular social media applications like Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter will take around 1GB of storage, and the iOS system takes up around 4.5GB from the start.

However, with the 256GB iPhone 8, you could download the massive (400MB) Instagram application around 630 times before being concerned with storage. But Apple's push towards augmented reality may exponentially increase mobile application sizes and those interested in the potential of AR gaming may have a legitimate need for the larger storage capacity.

Those that create content for platforms like Youtube or use their iPhone X for photography might be screaming at the thought of compressed media — if you're going to use the iPhone 8 or X in a creative role where you have a constant need to quickly access videos or photos, then the 256GB phone might make sense.

We understand that not everyone is around Wi-Fi at all times and may not have the data or time to consistently stream files to their phone. For that minority of buyer, a cost increase between the 64GB and 256GB model of around 15-20% (depending on iPhone 8 or X) for 300% more storage may be an easy decision.

*****

For the vast majority of people trying to decide on the details of their new iPhone 8 or X, we encourage you to check out the growing number of affordable cloud storage solutions mentioned here and in the forums.

Also, find somebody you know with either a 128GB or 256GB iPhone and ask them if they are remotely close to 60GB, you may be surprised by how little storage they use.



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About the Author
Nolan Browning Contributor

Nolan is an avid automotive, electronic, and gadget enthusiast. If it has an engine or a processor, he can't keep his hands off it. He was introduced to Windows 3.1 in the early '90s and has been hooked ever since. Deal alerts include "mechanical keyboard," "smart watch," and "bulk candy."


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8 Comments

1
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Our community has rated this post as helpful. If you agree, why not rep TopDownRide?
#2
I've found 128Gb is perfect (for me).

I have the Note 5 (my upgrade came just after the Note 7 explosions began so I was forced to wait to upgrade until now.....and unfortunately I think the Note 8 is ugly and not nearly innovative enough and the lack of ANY new tech features on the 8, 8 Plus, and even the X made me sad, frustrated, and a bit angry ....the X is basically my 2-year old Note 5 with an Apple Logo on it and no awesome S-Pen).

I paid extra to immediately exchange my 32Gb Note 5 for the 64GB after filling it up in less than 24 hours. I reached capacity on the 64Gb in under 18 months and I don't store any music on my devices AT ALL and relatively few pics and videos.

I'm a heavy tech user and streamer - regularly using 1TB per month of data.

My iPad Pro 12.9 is 128Gb and I just bought an iPad Mini 4 cellular so I could stop carrying around the huge Pro (I really was hoping for a Pro Version of the iPad Mini cellular for a super portable version of my 12.9" a Pro that worked with the Apple Pencil and more....but nope) and I waited until I found a 128Gb model, giving up the rare Rose Gold color I really wanted because it capped out at 32Gb or 64Gb.

My original iPad is an iPad 2 cellular and I got the 64Gb model due to a true Slickdeal at a local Target back when people thought 16Gb was "plenty" so the top end 64Gb cellular models weren't selling (I paid significantly less for my 64Gb cellular than the 16Gb wifi only model) and I filled the 64Gb up pretty quickly as well.

I will say that I no longer feel I NEED more than 128Gb on a smartphone as long as I have my iPad Pro handy. I think 256Gb is the new minimum for any "workhorse" iPad/tablet going forward.

I feel like 128Gb is the "sweet spot" right now and it's really a shame Apple didn't offer the new iPhones with 64GB, 128Gb, 256Gb, and maybe 512Gb....honestly, the iPhone X should have come in 256Gb, 512Gb, or even 1Tb, if just to make it seem worth the crazy $1k price point.


But, that's just another gripe in a long list for the "Revolutionary Game Changing" iPhone that was supposed to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the device that truly changed the world.



A slightly off-the-main-topic rant:
What is up with Apple giving us tech that's 2-3 years old? Still lacking basic features that Samsung made standard years ago? Increasing the price so it's now the cost of a middle class engagement ring? I paid $100 for my Samsung Galaxy Note 5 -64Gb in September 2015 that included a wireless charging pad, Qualcomm Quick Charge Cable + Wall Adapter (or you could choose the Samsung VR Glasses) and it has been a very good phone that has basically doubled as a laptop. The S-Pen has been invaluable and I've now had some version of the Note since it debuted....so giving up that awesome & highly versatile feature is not something I'd do or even consider lightly. But the Note 8 is no longer aesthetically pleasing and I have a thing for white tech which Samsung USED to cater to pretty heavily - but that's now gone. The iPhone X has a much smaller screen, is lacking the S-Pen or even an Apple Pencil integration, and has ZERO new or innovative features - it's a very costly Dud. I'm so bummed about both of these "flagship" smartphones .... and I am now, unbelievably, waiting to see what Google has to offer on October 4th. I cannot believe it.

Sorry....just had to vent. I had VERY high expectations for both Apple & Samsung this year.

At least I'll have my 4K Apple TV to play with ....running against my Shield, lol
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#3
If it can record at 4k 60FPS, what it really needs is a MicroSD card slot. But that puts money into MicroSD card manufacturer's hands and not Apple. So they don't put one.
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#4
Quote from TopDownRide
:
I've found 128Gb is perfect (for me).

I have the Note 5 (my upgrade came just after the Note 7 explosions began so I was forced to wait to upgrade until now.....and unfortunately I think the Note 8 is ugly and not nearly innovative enough and the lack of ANY new tech features on the 8, 8 Plus, and even the X made me sad, frustrated, and a bit angry ....the X is basically my 2-year old Note 5 with an Apple Logo on it and no awesome S-Pen).

I paid extra to immediately exchange my 32Gb Note 5 for the 64GB after filling it up in less than 24 hours. I reached capacity on the 64Gb in under 18 months and I don't store any music on my devices AT ALL and relatively few pics and videos.

I'm a heavy tech user and streamer - regularly using 1TB per month of data.

My iPad Pro 12.9 is 128Gb and I just bought an iPad Mini 4 cellular so I could stop carrying around the huge Pro (I really was hoping for a Pro Version of the iPad Mini cellular for a super portable version of my 12.9" a Pro that worked with the Apple Pencil and more....but nope) and I waited until I found a 128Gb model, giving up the rare Rose Gold color I really wanted because it capped out at 32Gb or 64Gb.

My original iPad is an iPad 2 cellular and I got the 64Gb model due to a true Slickdeal at a local Target back when people thought 16Gb was "plenty" so the top end 64Gb cellular models weren't selling (I paid significantly less for my 64Gb cellular than the 16Gb wifi only model) and I filled the 64Gb up pretty quickly as well.

I will say that I no longer feel I NEED more than 128Gb on a smartphone as long as I have my iPad Pro handy. I think 256Gb is the new minimum for any "workhorse" iPad/tablet going forward.

I feel like 128Gb is the "sweet spot" right now and it's really a shame Apple didn't offer the new iPhones with 64GB, 128Gb, 256Gb, and maybe 512Gb....honestly, the iPhone X should have come in 256Gb, 512Gb, or even 1Tb, if just to make it seem worth the crazy $1k price point.


But, that's just another gripe in a long list for the "Revolutionary Game Changing" iPhone that was supposed to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the device that truly changed the world.



A slightly off-the-main-topic rant:
What is up with Apple giving us tech that's 2-3 years old? Still lacking basic features that Samsung made standard years ago? Increasing the price so it's now the cost of a middle class engagement ring? I paid $100 for my Samsung Galaxy Note 5 -64Gb in September 2015 that included a wireless charging pad, Qualcomm Quick Charge Cable + Wall Adapter (or you could choose the Samsung VR Glasses) and it has been a very good phone that has basically doubled as a laptop. The S-Pen has been invaluable and I've now had some version of the Note since it debuted....so giving up that awesome & highly versatile feature is not something I'd do or even consider lightly. But the Note 8 is no longer aesthetically pleasing and I have a thing for white tech which Samsung USED to cater to pretty heavily - but that's now gone. The iPhone X has a much smaller screen, is lacking the S-Pen or even an Apple Pencil integration, and has ZERO new or innovative features - it's a very costly Dud. I'm so bummed about both of these "flagship" smartphones .... and I am now, unbelievably, waiting to see what Google has to offer on October 4th. I cannot believe it.

Sorry....just had to vent. I had VERY high expectations for both Apple & Samsung this year.

At least I'll have my 4K Apple TV to play with ....running against my Shield, lol
Sadly iPhones were never meant for the techie. I'm in IT consultant and everyone (techie) around me uses some form of Andriod phone except for the other people (non-techie). Guess what they use? iPhones. I jump on board a few years back, for one reason, it just works and works well. There are just too many flavor of andriod to deal with. It's kind of like Linux for the smartphone. Puts smiles on every techie face, but everyone else, not so much. Apple has a ecosystem that works really well. It's a tight integration between all their product line, from the iPhone to macbook pro. The thing will Apple, I've notice is that, although they made be late to the game in some instance, they tend to do it better. Not because the technology is better, but the way you utilize the tech. It seems Apple does one thing well with any tech it implements, it research what the average user (non-techie) thinks they need and so far it's working out great for Apple. You can't be one of the biggest valued tech company and not done something right. When you do want your target consumer wants, you can command a premium for what apple is selling, even if the "older" tech in a nicely wrap package.
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#5
I have a 128 GB iPhone 7 and have only 11.35 GB remaining. I wish Apple would have offered a 128 GB iPhone X, but it looks like I'll have to spring for the 256 GB model.

Part of the reason I try not to depend too heavily on the cloud is because: 1) My home upload speed is only 5 Mbps and 2) I have T-Mobile, and service can be spotty when I travel.
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#6
I drive uber in a college town and guarantee Samsung is not just for techies. They all know plenty about Android. Though Apple still has a hefty cool factor, they do lust after what they don't have when it's in front of them.

128 GB is a lot of 1080p video but the article answered its own question: it's all about the 4k recordings. Personally I'd rather drop in a card though.
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Joined Jul 2017
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#7
Quote :
While Apple may only offer 5GB of free iCloud storage, you can pay to upgrade your plan to 50GB for $0.99/month, 200GB for $2.99/month, or a massive 2TB for $9.99/month.

Sure, you may pay the difference between a 64GB and 256GB iPhone in just over a year, but these plans allow you to keep all of your video and images safe and viewable on any Apple device.
Somehow I doubt this very much.
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#8
It is not an accident that there is no 128gb option.

64 is the new 16gb
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Joined Jun 2006
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#9
I'm in the backcountry camping/hiking and vanlifing all the time. Cloud and IoT are completely useless -- no data out there. Local storage is an absolute must. Sooner or later this Cloud storage BS fad will fade.
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