How Much Storage Do You Need in a Smartphone?

When you buy a smartphone, you’d ideally ensure it has enough storage space to meet your needs. But, unfortunately, not everyone’s needs are the same. Some users are hoarders and need more storage, while others can do just fine with the bare minimum.

Finding how much storage you’ll actually use will help you avoid the dreadful insufficient space notifications. Also, it’ll help you save cash since you won’t have to pay more for storage you won’t consume in the long run.

Here, we’ll help you figure out the right amount of storage you need in a smartphone. So, let’s dive in.

Standard Smartphone Storage Options

Unlike in the early days of the smartphone, storage has immensely increased, and what you previously paid big bucks for is not even considered the bare minimum anymore. For instance, the Samsung Galaxy S2 shipped with 16GB of storage in 2011. There was also a more expensive 32GB variant.

By modern standards, both storage options seem pretty low. That’s for a reason, of course. We take plenty of pictures and videos, mobile games and apps have gotten bigger, and we save as many memes as possible for later use.


Galaxy S21 Ultra's screen
Image Credit: Samsung

Modern smartphones now ship with 32GB as a standard, and lower storage options than that are becoming hard to come by. Even most phones in the sub-$100 category will include at least 32GB of storage. With 32GB being the minimum, the standard choice for most smartphone companies has become 64GB.

However, besides 32GB and 64GB, you’ll also find phones with 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and even a whopping 1TB of storage. An excellent example of the latter is Apple’s iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro, some of the best smartphones in 2022.

Is 64GB or 128GB Enough for a Phone?

While 64GB or 128GB storage sounds good on paper, you never get the same amount of available space, even on a brand-new phone. Some of that storage will be unusable since the operating system and pre-installed apps occupy it.

And remember, when talking about storage, it’s not just about the figures. While you can have, say, 110GB usable on a 128GB device, you still can’t use the whole 110GB. You also need breathing space to prevent your phone from hanging and sluggish performance.

Everyone uses their smartphones differently. Hence, determining a sufficient amount of storage for your specific needs depends on various factors. One of these includes your media consumption habits.

If you’re someone who prefers to store your media files locally, you’ll have a difficult time working with 64GB of onboard storage. Plus, you will quickly gobble up storage if you take many pictures or videos and use your phone as a primary storage device. In this case, you will be better off going for 128GB or maybe higher to be safe.

If you store a moderate number of media files on your device, 64GB of storage should be just fine. By moderate, we mean you religiously stream music, movies, and TV shows rather than downloading them offline. 128GB could be a lot of storage if you’re that kind of person.

However, 128GB will give you more room to play with under moderate use and should be a safer option, especially considering that most modern smartphones no longer ship with a hybrid or a dedicated memory expansion slot. That way, there’s no way to upgrade your storage other than buying a new phone.

iphone storage full feature

Another factor to consider is gaming. If you regularly play graphic-intensive games like Fortnite, Call of Duty, or PUBG, you should go for 128GB without question. Lastly, if you have embraced the cloud and prefer to have your files online, there’s no need to get a 128GB device. You can regularly back up your files and delete them locally to free up space.

However, despite the factors mentioned above, 64GB of storage is often enough for the average consumer. But if you sometimes go overboard with media files, 128GB should cover your needs. This is a sweet spot that balances out the price-to-value ratio and can give you peace of mind even if you’re a heavy user.

It isn’t too much or too little, just enough to sometimes go overboard with media files, give your photography ambitions a shot and play resource-intensive games. In summary, we recommend 64GB for most people, but if you can get 128GB, please do so.

Is 256GB a Lot of Storage for a Phone?

As you’d expect, it depends on you as a smartphone user. Most people can do just fine with 64GB of storage, while 128GB is for those who need a little extra headroom to avoid the trouble of constantly freeing up phone storage.

256GB might seem like a lot of storage for a smartphone at first, but if you either hoard media files, play resource-intensive games, or create video or image content online, this option gives you more freedom than 128GB. If one of these describes you, and you have the liberty to choose between a 128GB versus a 256GB phone, go for the 256GB option.

How Many GBs of Storage Do You Need on a Phone?

Of course, the more storage your phone has, the better. However, increased storage space usually comes at a hefty premium. But if you can comfortably splurge on a 512GB storage option for peace of mind while taking high-res images and 4K videos, go for it.

That said, you should carefully consider your needs since 256GB can sometimes be overkill, even for heavy users. Higher options are outright overkill and should only be viable for the prosumers who use their smartphones to create content. In general, your usage habits determine how many GBs you need on your phone.

With all that said, if you can buy the smartphone you want with more storage without incurring extra costs, it’s worth doing. Even if you don’t use it, it might increase the resale value of your smartphone when the time comes, and having extra unused storage doesn’t negatively affect performance, so why not go for it?


🧪 |Medical Laboratory Scientist 🥇 | Mindset over Everything. 
 🤝 | Let's Grow Together.

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