How Much Storage Do You Really Need on Your Phone?

Your mobile phone is a powerful companion and we rely on these more and more. The typical mobile phone user will likely be saving photos, recording videos, downloading music tracks, downloading apps and games, and saving documents and spreadsheets.

Last updated: 30th Jun 2020 at 4:55pm

All of these things can be stored on the memory of the phone, so ensuring that you have enough memory is a critical component of your buying decision. If you make the wrong choice, then you run the risk of running out of storage space.

Here we are going to take a brief look at what a MB and GB are. We will also highlight how much internal storage you need and take a look at the options you have if you run low on memory.


What is a MB and a GB?

A  Megabyte (MB) is a unit of storage space and in terms of mobiles phone storage, it is quite a small unit. A Gigabyte (GB), on the other hand, is quite large and is made up of 1,000 MB.

On their own, these units of memory mean very little, so we need to put them in some sort of context. By doing this, we will be able to properly understand the storage options ahead of you and take a reasonably accurate guess at the amount of storage that you will need when you buy your next smartphone.

Below are a few examples of the approximate amount of memory taken by photos and videos, music files, apps, and movies:

  • Photos - one photo is roughly 5MB, equating to 200 photos per GB
  • Videos - recording a Full HD (1080p) video will use 3GB per 5 minutes
  • Music - 200 music tracks take up approximately 1GB
  • Android apps - the average Android app is 12MB, equating to 80 apps per GB
  • iOS apps - the average iOS app is 35MB, equating to 28 apps per GB
  • Movies - depending on the quality, one movie is 1GB-2GB
  • OS (operating system) - the OS takes 5-10GB of the phone’s advertised memory

You do not need to include streaming services in this, as these files are kept over the internet, and not on your phone. This means that you don’t need to consider how much you are streaming music or TV shows.


Below is a scenario of the number of apps and files that could be stored on a 32GB smartphone:

  • 400 photos
  • 20 minutes of video
  • 400 music tracks
  • 80 apps
  • 5 movies


How much memory do phones have?

Mobile phones have a varying amount of storage capacities and these include the memory options highlighted below:

  • 8GB
  • 16GB
  • 32GB
  • 64GB
  • 128GB
  • 256GB
  • 512GB
  • 1TB (1,000 GB)

Phone memory costs money, so phones with little memory will be cheap to buy, while phones with a lot of memory can be rather expensive. Very few phones are released today with an 8GB memory and it would certainly not be advised to buy a phone with this very limited amount of storage.16GB is also very little and should only be chosen by those who don’t tend to record videos or download lots of mobile games or apps. 32GB to 64GB tends to be the comfortable mid-ground with 64GB, 256GB, or 512GB being ideal for those who use their phone and memory to the max.


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Expanding your memory with a microSD card

An SD card (secure digital) is a memory card that isn’t used any longer in mobile products such as phones and tablets. Today, many phones are advertised to have a microSD card slot, and these smaller-sized memory cards can be purchased and inserted into the phone to boost or expand its memory.

The values of these cards typically range between 8GB and 2TB, although the phone may not necessarily support high-value cards, so check the compatibility of the phone before you buy.

Not all phones have a memory card slot and the Apple iPhone is a good example of this. This means that you cannot expand the memory of an iPhone XS or XS max, making your purchase decision even more critical.


What is Cloud Storage?

Cloud storage is storage that is not on your mobile phone and it is accessible over an internet connection. The iCloud is a good example and this lets iPhone and iPad users store files or apps off the phone, making them accessible to all of their Apple devices. This gives the added benefit of knowing that all photos and videos are backed-up.

Your final option for clearing the memory of a phone that has a full memory is to delete photos and apps or move them onto a computer or laptop.


Now that you've learnt all about phone storage, why not take a look at some of our other educational guides? Find out all about SIM cards, or how to take better care of your phone

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