How Much Video Can You Record on an iPhone?

how much video can an iphone record
image credit: Cesare Andrea Ferrari/E+/Getty Images

Thanks to its top-notch camera and great apps for editing video, the iPhone is a mobile-video powerhouse (some feature films have even been shot on them). But what good is all that if you can't store the video? The question that iPhone owners who shoot a lot of video have to ask is how much video can you record on the iPhone?

The answer isn't completely straightforward. Many factors influence the answer, such as how much storage your device has, how much other data is on your phone, and what resolution video you're shooting.

To figure out the answer, let's take a look at the issues.

How Much Available Storage Users Have

The most important factor in how much video you can record is how much space you have available to record that video into. If you have 100 MB of storage free, that's your limit. Every user has a different amount of storage space available (and, in case you're wondering, you can't expand an iPhone's memory).

It's impossible to say precisely how much storage space any user has available without seeing their device. Because of that, there's no one answer to how much video any user can record; it's different for everyone. But let's make some reasonable assumptions and work from them.

Let's assume that the average user is using 20 GB of storage on their iPhone (this is probably low, but it's a good, round number that makes the math easy). This includes the iOS, their apps, music, photos, etc. On a 32 GB iPhone, this leaves them 12 GB of available storage to record video into; on a 256 GB iPhone, it leaves them 236 GB.

Finding Your Available Storage Capacity

To find out how much free space you have on your iPhone, follow these steps:

  1. Tap Settings
  2. Tap General
  3. Tap About
  4. Look for the Available line. This shows how much unused space you have to store the video you record.

How Much Space Each Kind of Video Takes Up

To know how much video you can record, you need to know how much space a video is going to take up.

The iPhone's camera can record video in different resolutions. Lower resolutions leads to smaller files (which means you can store more video).

All modern iPhones can record video at 720p and 1080p HD, while the iPhone 6 series adds 1080p HD at 60 frames/second, and the iPhone 6S series adds 4K HD. Slow motion at 120 frames/second and 240 frames/second is available on these models. All newer models support all of these options.

Make Your iPhone Video Take Less Space with HEVC

The resolution you use isn't the only thing that determines how much space the video you record needs. The video encoding format makes a big difference, too. In iOS 11, Apple added support for the High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC, or h.265) format, which can make the same video up to 50% smaller than the standard h.264 format.

By default, devices running iOS 11 use HEVC, but you can choose the format you prefer by:

  1. Tapping Settings.
  2. Tapping Camera.
  3. Tapping Formats.
  4. Tapping High Efficiency (HEVC) or Most Compatible (h.264).

According to Apple, this is how much storage space video at each of these resolutions and formats takes up (figures are rounded and approximate):

 1 minute
h.264
1 hour
h.264
1 minute
HEVC
1 hour
HEVC
720p HD
@ 30 frames/sec
60 MB3.5 GB40 MB2.4 GB
1080p HD
@ 30 frames/sec
130 MB7.6 GB60 MB3.6 GB
1080p HD
@ 60 frames/sec
200 MB11.7 GB90 MB5.4 GB
1080p HD slo-mo
@ 120 frames/sec
350 MB21 GB170 MB10.2 GB
1080p HD slo-mo
@ 240 frames/sec
480 MB28.8 GB480 MB28.8 MB
4K HD
@ 24 frames/sec
270 MB16.2 GB135 MB8.2 GB
4K HD
@ 30 frames/sec
350 MB21 GB170 MB10.2 GB
4K HD
@ 60 frames/sec
400 MB24 GB400 MB24 GB

How Much Video An iPhone Can Store

Here's where we get down figuring out how much video iPhones can store. Assuming that each device has 20 GB of other data on it, here's how much each storage capacity option of the iPhone can store for each kind of video. The figures here have been rounded and are approximate.

 720p HD
@ 30 fps
1080p HD
@ 30 fps

@60 fps
1080p HD
slo-mo
@120 fps

@240 fps
4K HD
@ 24 fps

@ 30 fps

@60 fps
HEVC
12 GB free
(32 GB
phone)
5 hrs3 hrs, 18 min.

2 hrs, 6 min.
1 hr, 6 min.

24 min.
1 hr, 24 min.

1 hr, 6 min.

30 min.
h.264
12 GB free
(32 GB
phone)
3 hrs, 24 min.1 hr, 36 min.

1 hr, 3 min.
30 min.

24 min.
45 min.

36 min.

30 min.
 
HEVC
44 GB free
(64 GB
phone)
18 hrs, 20 min.12 hrs, 12 min.

8 hrs, 6 min.
4 hrs, 24 min.

1 hr, 30 min.
5 hrs, 18 min.

4 hrs, 18 min.

1 hr, 48 min.
h.264
44 GB free
(64 GB
phone)
12 hrs, 30 min.5 hrs, 48 min.

3 hrs, 42 min.
2 hrs

1 hr, 30 min.
2 hrs, 42 min.

2 hrs

1 hr, 48 min.
 
HEVC
108 GB free
(128 GB
phone)
45 hrs30 hrs

20 hrs
10 hrs, 30 min.

3 hrs, 45 min.
13 hrs, 6 min.

10 hrs, 30 min.

4 hrs, 30 min.
h.264
108 GB free
(128 GB
phone)
30 hrs, 48 min.14 hrs, 12 min.

9 hrs, 12 min.
5 hrs, 6 min.

3 hrs, 45 min.
6 hrs, 36 min.

5 hrs, 6 min.

4 hrs, 30 min.
 
HEVC
236 GB free
(256 GB
phone)
98 hrs, 18 min.65 hrs, 30 min.

43 hrs, 42 min.
23 hrs, 6 min.

8 hrs, 12 min.
28 hrs, 48 min.

23 hrs, 6 min.

9 hrs, 48 min.
h.264
236 GB free
(256 GB
phone)
67 hrs, 24 min.31 hrs, 6 min.

20 hrs, 6 min.
11 hrs, 12 min.

8 hrs, 12 min.
14 hrs, 30 min.

11 hrs, 12 min.

9 hrs, 48 min.