64GB or 256GB iPhone 8: which storage option should you choose?


When the very first iPhone launched back in 2007, it came with either 4 or 8GB of built-in storage – both plentiful amounts for a time when the size of photos was measured in kilobytes and native third-party apps for Apple's phone were non-existent. It has been 10 years since then, and our need for gigs has grown quite a bit. In fact, the 64GB inside the base iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are now just an okay amount for a phone of this class. Would you be able to survive with 64 gigs, or should you go with the 256GB model instead when you place your iPhone pre-order? Let us help you out.

TL;DR: Just tell me what iPhone storage option to pick.

First things first: how much free space does a 64GB iPhone 8 have?


That right there is no dumb question. Even when brand new, your iPhone has some of its storage space occupied by iOS and its core applications. On our iPhone 7 Plus running the iOS 11 beta, we have almost 3.7GB taken up by the OS and a few hundred megabytes dedicated to native apps like Safari, Music, and Maps. These numbers will vary from one device to another, but for simplicity's sake, we'll assume that a 64GB iPhone has 60GB at the user's disposal. 

And how much space do apps and games eat up?


Numbers vary, of course, but we do know the figures for some of the most popular iOS apps. For example, Apple's own iLife suite (including GarageBand for making music and iMovie for editing video) consumes about 2GB of storage, and iWork (including office apps: Pages, Keynote, and Numbers) requires an additional 1.3GB. These are all optional apps, of course, but are all nice having. 

We must also take popular apps and games into account. We downloaded 20 of the most popular iOS apps, and all together took up a little over 2 gigs of space, which is not too bad. Of course, many of these apps will cache additional data over time, but the OS will clean that up automatically if storage space is low. With games, it is a different story. They can be very large in size, with premium titles going well into gigabyte territory. We put together 10 of the most popular iOS apps and their space requirements totaled to 7.2GB.

Third-party appsSpace required
(in MB)
GamesSpace required
(in MB)
Facebook215Hearthstone2680
Uber158Asphalt 8 Airborne1870
PayPal140Vainglory1190
Facebook Messenger138Monument Valley 2581
Gmail120Pokemon Go285
Snapchat117Candy Crush206
Twitter112Super Mario Run194
Yelp105Minecraft PE152
Starbucks97Clash Royale117
WhatsApp97Clash of Clans115
YouTube89Total:7275 MB
eBay84
Shazam82Apple's essential appsSpace required
(in MB)
Pinterest80GarageBand1410
Amazon80Keynote602
Spotify80Pages396
Google Maps77iMovie652
Instagram77Numbers282
Tinder66Total:3342 MB
SoundCloud65
Netflix64
Total:2143 MB

What about video, music, and photos?


We've updated this section with more accurate information regarding the size of videos on iOS 11.

Without a doubt, video is the media with the highest space demands. On iOS 11 and with its new high-efficiency video compression enabled, each minute of high-quality footage at the traditional 1080p, 30fps setting takes up 60MB of space, and 4K video takes up a whopping 170MB per minute. The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus have the capability of shooting 4K at 60 frames per second – the highest quality recording mode on an iPhone ever β€“ and that consumes 400MB per minute.

Music is a lot less taxing. Should you choose to keep any Apple Music tracks for offline use, each will take around 9.2MB of space. So a gig of storage will fit around 108 songs. 

And with photos, the situation is a bit complicated since image size varies depending on what's in the frame and on whether you have the Live Photo option enabled. But on average, and if you have Live Photos on about half the time, 1GB will fit around 262 shots. Our calculations are based on a total of 50 photos of various scenes that we took with our iPhone 7 Plus and with Apple's new HEIF image format. 

Okay! So which one do I get: 64GB or 256GB iPhone 8?


On a 64GB iPhone 8, you can store 1000 songs, 2500 regular photos, 2500 Live Photos, 2 hours of 4K video at 30fps, 20 of the most popular apps, 10 of the most popular games, and Apple's own productivity suite of applications. That's a lot of stuff, and if you think you can fit within these figures, then you'll be totally fine with a 64GB iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus

But if you take and store a lot more video on your iPhone, if you consider yourself a heavy gamer, if you never bother deleting any of the photos that you take, then yes, the 256GB iPhone is the one you should consider. Since it provides you with 4 times as much storage space, a premium of $150 is reasonable and easy to swallow.  

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Related phones

iPhone 8
  • Display 4.7" 750 x 1334 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 7 MP front
  • Processor Apple A11 Bionic, Hexa-core, 2390 MHz
  • Storage 256 GB
  • Battery 1821 mAh(14h talk time)
iPhone 8 Plus
  • Display 5.5" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 7 MP front
  • Processor Apple A11 Bionic, Hexa-core, 2390 MHz
  • Storage 256 GB
  • Battery 2691 mAh(21h 3G talk time)

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24 Comments

1. twens

Posts: 1177; Member since: Feb 25, 2012

I have a 32gb 7plus and it’s still not full.

5. Bankz

Posts: 2548; Member since: Apr 08, 2016

neither

6. ibend2

Posts: 159; Member since: Mar 16, 2016

64GB is enough to store tons of apps and games, and get 200GB microSD (it's really cheap right now) to store musics and videos.. /s

22. Luuthian

Posts: 332; Member since: Sep 09, 2011

Yeah I've got a 128GB iPhone 7 and I'm only using about 15GB last I looked? I've deleted most of Apple's apps and use streaming music services so... Yeah, 64GB is plenty for the majority

2. kryme

Posts: 469; Member since: Oct 24, 2013

256 for me.... that should hold me 2 to 3 years

3. MetroPCSGuy

Posts: 3; Member since: Aug 04, 2017

Actually the premium of jumping from 64gb to 256gb is not $100, its $150.

4. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3108; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

I want a fast charger. Not the one included in the box.

8. darkkjedii

Posts: 31087; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Bro I can't believe, it's not fast charging included in the box. I totally get not including a wireless charger, but damn...just put the fast brick and cable in the box. That's Apple for you.

14. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3108; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

Ikr? The fast charging feature have been introduced for a couple of years now and all phones with said feature includes the fast charger in the box. Apple finally introduced the feature but you know what? screw the customer, milk every last cent of the poor soul and let him buy more adapters. Genius marketing technique. Smh

18. darkkjedii

Posts: 31087; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

They dropped the ball on that one.

7. darkkjedii

Posts: 31087; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

I go max storage, whether the phone is SD, or not. Just get the 256, iPhones have an excellent video editor. When I record vids, I always keep only what I really want and scrap the rest...frees up hella storage.

10. Boast_Rider

Posts: 535; Member since: Sep 14, 2017

I get the reason to get the 256GB if you store a lot of videos. However, isn't it a pain when you want to watch the stored memories with friends/family? A small screen of the phone probably doesn't cut it. Which makes the point of getting the 256GB moot IMO. I think getting the normal storage variant(64GB) and spending the extra money on a secondary easy-to-share storage solution( like a NAS) is much more convenient solution.

19. darkkjedii

Posts: 31087; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

I see your point, but I'd still opt for top storage. It's just one less of a worry.

9. slannmage

Posts: 289; Member since: Mar 26, 2013

The larger the ssd, the faster and longer lasting it will be

11. Jimrod

Posts: 1605; Member since: Sep 22, 2014

I think it basically boils down to: 64gb is absolutely fine for most use and most people. If you're massively into video editing then bigger is better.

12. KingSam

Posts: 1453; Member since: Mar 13, 2016

32 GB is fine 64 is a good headroom. I have a 32 GB SD card that's about a quarter full. And my internal storage is fine.

13. jove39

Posts: 2146; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

64gb is sufficient.

15. Blessed777

Posts: 17; Member since: Feb 23, 2017

Why don't you get 128 GB ? I know apple doesn't offer it to give you only practically the most expensive option, one more reason to think apple doesn't care about me as customer for years but tired of things like this so switching to galaxy s8 plus

16. Blessed777

Posts: 17; Member since: Feb 23, 2017

Why don't you get 128 GB ? I know apple doesn't offer it to give you only practically the most expensive option, one more reason to think apple doesn't care about me as customer for years but tired of things like this so switching to galaxy s8 plus

17. Blessed777

Posts: 17; Member since: Feb 23, 2017

Ah if you don't know it apple after 10 years behind Samsung in screen to body radio search the info

20. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

Apple hater are so dumb.. just saying

21. frequency

Posts: 108; Member since: Aug 13, 2013

is there any 512gb internal storage phone in the market yet? 256gb is just not enough for me

23. yyzamin

Posts: 382; Member since: Aug 26, 2015

Future proof yourself if you can afford it

24. pcmacbob

Posts: 1; Member since: Nov 08, 2017

That is a delima about the ram. But if you get the 64gb version you can purchase additional memory sticks that will plug into the lightning port and be able to transfer your photos and videos from your iPhone to them. I have 2 128gb external devices to store stuff on. You just have to have them with you if you go anywhere to take pics or video. One is from Sandisk called iXpand Drive and the other is a device that allows you to put a micro memory card into it. They work great Just do a google search for micro memory card to iphone.

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