How Much Storage (in GB) Do I Need In My Phone?

How much you need your phone to have depends on what you use it for

Choosing a new smartphone with the right amount of storage space (measured in gigabytes or GB for short) can be difficult, especially when it impacts the price you’ll pay. This article explains what to consider about a phone’s storage space to help you decide how much you really need.

How Do I Know How Much Storage I Need?

There are a few important factors to consider when determining how much storage you’ll need on your phone. Price is a big consideration, as costs increase with higher storage models, but it doesnt change how much you need. With solid-state memory costs decreasing in recent years, you can effectively double your phone’s storage cost for a minimal fee. For example, when this article was published there was only a $50 difference between the Samsung Galaxy S22 with 128GB ($799) and the 256GB model ($849).

Cloud storage is another feature to take into account. Many smartphone brands now offer free cloud storage and you can easily expand this amount for a small monthly fee. If you know you’ll be saving a lot of files to the cloud, you may not need a phone with a large amount of internal storage.

Check How Much Storage Is Being Used on Android

Here's how to check your Android phone's current storage usage, follow these steps:

  1. Open Settings and tap Device Maintenance.

    You can also access storage by typing "Storage" into Android's search bar.

  2. Tap Storage at the bottom of the screen.

  3. You should now see your phone's maximum storage capacity and available space. From here, you can uninstall documents, apps, and more to free up space.

    Android Settings showing path to Storage information

Check How Much Storage Is Being Used on an iPhone

Here's how to check how much storage is being used on an iPhone

  1. Open the Settings app.

  2. Tap General.

  3. Tap iPhone Storage.

    iPhone Setting showing path to iPhone Storage usage screen

Do I Need 64GB or 128GB on My Phone?

On the low end, most phones now come with at least 64GB of internal storage, with many new Android devices starting at 128GB. While either amount may fit your needs on paper, it’s important to remember you won’t have access to your device’s full storage.

The operating system, pre-installed apps, and other system software use up a significant portion of internal storage, and this share will increase over time as you download new software updates.

In addition to pricing and cloud storage considerations, you should factor in what you’ll be using your phone for. If you play a lot of mobile games and/or take a lot of high-res photos, you’ll want at least 128GB. However, if you don’t use many apps and stream most of your content (like movies and music), you’ll probably be fine with 64GB. 

Streaming content won’t affect your phone’s storage capacity unless you download it for offline viewing. However, streaming will consume a lot of mobile data if you’re not connected to Wi-Fi so be sure to watch your usage. 

If you’re still unsure how much storage (again, measured in GB) you’ll need on the next phone you buy, take a look at your current usage rates. If you aren’t running out of space, you probably don’t need a big upgrade. But if you frequently need to free up space on your phone, it’s probably a good idea to get as much storage as you can. 

If your phone is going to be your primary device to do everything: Camera, video camera, traveling entertainment device, etc. consider getting more than what the base model offers. On the other hand, if you have a dedicated camera you always bring with you, rarely shoot any video, and, when traveling, prefer a handheld book over a movie, you are more likely fine with the base model.

How Much Internal Storage Does the Average Phone Have?

Every smartphone comes with a set amount of internal storage space and this amount has increased dramatically in the last decade. Whereas a 32GB phone was at the upper limit of what you could buy in 2012, the Samsung Galaxy S22 now comes with a minimum of 128GB. On the higher end, most popular smartphone brands now offer 256GB, 512GB, and even 1TB models. 

One thing to keep in mind is internal storage cannot be increased or decreased. If your phone doesn’t have an expansion slot for a microSD card or other form of external storage, you’re bound to whatever the phone shipped with.

The main advantage of internal storage is it lets you store data locally for offline access. While cloud storage is an excellent resource for storing photos, videos, and other files, you can’t access these files without a Wi-Fi or mobile data connection.

To quickly check your Android phone’s storage capacity, open Settings > System > Storage > Device Storage. On an iPhone, open Settings > General > iPhone Storage.

  • How do I get more storage on my phone?

    Many Android devices have ports for Micro SD cards that let you expand storage. For an iPhone, you can use iCloud Drive for more digital space. You get 5GB of storage free and can upgrade to up to 2TB for a monthly fee.

  • What should I delete when my phone storage is full?

    Odds are, the biggest chunk of your phone's storage goes to photos and videos you've taken with the camera. You should consider backing them up to a computer or cloud storage to free up the space on your phone.

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