Results: how much storage do you realistically need on your phone?

Yeah, that's a painful topic — phone storage. Especially if you are an iPhone user, though thankfully, Apple upped their entry level phones and tablets to starting off with 32 GB last year. Now that was a relief. As you well know, some manufacturers out there may offer storage expansion via microSD, but some big companies like Apple and Google refuse to give in — they don't want to risk user experience by putting part of it in the hands of 3rd party SD card makers, presumably.

Anyway, since some phones out there are still sold in storage tiers, it's likely that you spent some time thinking about how much space you realistically need the last time you made a handset purchase. And we thought we'd ask you what conclusion you came to. Kind of unsurprising, the bulk of answers settled on 64 GB. That's a pretty good sweet spot for smartphones right now — a regular user can easily fit a bunch of apps and pictures on their handset and still have plenty of room to spread around. Google's Photos and various music streaming services (a-la Spotify) help people keep most of their stuff in the cloud, but it's always nice to have that you have a high threshold before you need to start to worry about deleting on-device content.

How much storage do you realistically need on your phone?

I can do with 8 GB
16 GB is doable
32 GB is fine for me
64 GB is just right
128 GB, just in case
256 GB is barely enough, amirite?
Even more!



1. LilJokr unregistered

For me, 64GB would do just fine. I use cloud storage for the most part anyway.

6. sgodsell

Posts: 7368; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Well realistically some apps and games have become ridiculously hugh. I notice VR/AR apps on average are around 100 MB, and a few are around the gigabyte range. It doesn't take a lot of those apps to fill up your storage. Plus movies are around the gigabyte range. But that is only if you store them for offline viewing. I guess it comes down to the individual and what they are doing with their devices. But the more storage the merrier you will be.

12. k4ever

Posts: 240; Member since: Oct 08, 2014

It's weird that people don't learn anything from history. I remember having this exact same conversation 10-20 years ago about storage on personal computers. 20MB was the sweet spot, then 100MB, then 1GB, and now it is 500GB/1TB. It's not the user that decides how much storage a device will need, it's the app developers. As applications become more complex, they need.more storage (and more powerful specs). If it were really up to us, we would never need more than our current device has -- who really wants to keep buying new hardware?

9. k4ever

Posts: 240; Member since: Oct 08, 2014

I stay the heck away from cloud storage -- even though I have 50GB of free cloud storage for life. It is beyond worthless. Why waste mobile data (or any data for that matter) constantly downloading and downloading files that you can just keep on your device? Why risk not having access to your favorite files when you are stuck in a data dead spot? Cloud storage is OK for backups for some data (even though a NAS or external HDD is way better), like contacts and some pictures (important pictures get moved to home storage). However, IMO, cloud storage is horrible for media files. Might as well give that money to a good streaming service like Spotify or Google Music (stay away from Apple Music unless you like loosing data). MicroSD is the way to go! It may be a little slower than regular internal storage, but you can expand it when needed -- you can seamlessly move files from device to device using microSD.

10. k4ever

Posts: 240; Member since: Oct 08, 2014

Almost forgot -- 64GB is the sweet spot for me right now. However, I may need to jump to 128GB soon as my microSD is almost full (only 1GB of space left). It's great that I can double the storage on my phone for less than $50 WITHOUT THE HASSLE OF BUYING A NEW PHONE!

15. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Dude, we live in 4G times; maybe where you live the internet has a s**tty speed, but billions of people enjoy the greatest tech. A smartphone is useless without 24h/day connection to the internet, without constantly backing up and sync data. Long ago one might have lost data, but not today, and the cloud is the reason for that. PS: if the phone breaks, 64, 512 GB or 10 TB of internal storage are useless.

19. k4ever

Posts: 240; Member since: Oct 08, 2014

If my phone breaks I can just take out my MicroSD and move it to a new phone without any loss of data. You must not travel much... I'm constantly on the road and one thing is abundantly clear: mobile data doesn't work everywhere (no matter which company you have). Without reliable data, cloud services don't work. There is nothing worse than driving down the highway and your music stops or stutters because you are in a dead spot -- or (just as worse) not being able to listen to access your music or files while you are on an airplane, or being forced to pay the ridiculous price for airplane wifi on each leg of your flight. Then, once you get to your destination, having to worry about whether or not you have a good enough signal to listen to your music and use Google Maps at the same time to get to your hotel. International travel, while using cloud storage, is a whole other nightmare... Even when I don't travel, there are building that I go into on a daily basis (like the grocery store or the hospital that my wife works in) that have terrible reception. Plus, who wants to run the risk of using an insecure wifi network (like the ones in grocery stores, McDonalds, or Starbuck's) just to listen to some music? MicroSD (and more internal storage) is always available and way more secure. Just don't lose your phone...

20. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

The same goes for Micro SD; how about if you drop the phone in a pond, it gets stolen, catches fire etc? I travel a lot in EU - that area of half of billion people with great internet speeds - and I always get at least 3G (5-10 Mbps) signal, enough to stream my music (oh, did I mention I can use my data plan in every EU country?) On a highway I can listen to... the radio, CD-s, it doesn't bother me that the streaming shutters; on the plane I read (books, some of us don't work on getting dumb, you know). I would never go back from using the cloud, because of all the benefits.

22. k4ever

Posts: 240; Member since: Oct 08, 2014

I traveled a lot to the Middle East -- terrible reception, but cheap (by western standards) data. I also traveled to the EU. Unless you plan on spending a mint for international data or for a decent SIM card that works in all the countries you visit, it is cheaper by far to just buy a microSD. No more than $30 for a good 64GB microSD or paying $$$ for international data or $$ (and a ton of research) for a SIM card (with data plan) in the EU that you are definitely going to throw away once you get back Stateside? My money is on the microSD. Let's run the odds on how often something bad (like losing or damaging your phone) is going to happen to your phone with a microSD in it vs how often you will need to purchase an international data plan plus an airline data plan for your phone while you travel -- just to use the cloud. I have had 5 international trips in the last 10 years and I never had my phone get damaged or stolen on any of those trips. Incidentally I was able to instantly access my media files from my microSD everywhere on those trips (even when I had to set my phone to airplane mode during takeoffs and landings, as required by law). Why would I limit myself to the radio (which only works when you in/around major cities) on trips? Also a CD is just another form of storage -- why use a CD, which is limited to 700 MB to 4.7GB of data, when I can connect my phone to my truck's head unit and play media from the 64+ GB of storage already on the phone? I can also download my Spotify playlist directly to my phone (since I have plenty of local storage) for use when I am driving through dead spots or on an airplane. Just face the fact that internal storage is always better than external storage (the cloud), unless we are talking about unattended backups.

23. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Oh, you are an US citizen; than I'm talking back everything I have said: you are right, living in the last century - communication wise - as you do, you need to use last century tools like SD cards. When you're going to be as evolved as we are or Asian countries, you'll no longer use cards, you'll use the cloud. Cheers!

17. adi90

Posts: 554; Member since: Dec 21, 2015

Just get a usb otg. It is better than cloud storage - no increase in data cost + no fear of media loss. You can also buy a mobile of your choice. Without worrying about lack of storage or paying extra for higher model.

2. Slytherin

Posts: 268; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

64GB is good enough for me! And i would never ever use Cloud storage!

3. JayBEE

Posts: 180; Member since: Apr 03, 2014

256 Gb! Cloud storage, die die die! I kid, but not a fan of cloud storage.

4. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

128GB for me, because why not!

5. Soundjudgment

Posts: 370; Member since: Oct 10, 2016

"Wait... you can actually STORE things on a telephone?? Can I keep my hunting-knife in there?"

7. 47AlphaTango

Posts: 729; Member since: Sep 27, 2015

512GB for me!!

8. L0n3n1nja

Posts: 1560; Member since: Jul 12, 2016

Doesn't hurt to have more storage but I do fine with 32Gb, I've never ran out of space on a 32Gb phone. Unlimited data, I stream everything, and I don't keep many games on my device. Photos/video get moved to my PC and an external hard drive on a regular basis. When I worked for Verizon it was common to see people with every photo they took in the last 5 years, moved from an old phone, because they might want to show them to someone lol.

11. darkkjedii

Posts: 31055; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Max always, expandable or non expandable.

13. joeytaylor

Posts: 957; Member since: Feb 28, 2015

Why should there be a minimum....max storage please

16. darkkjedii

Posts: 31055; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Yes sirrr.

14. Skizzo

Posts: 403; Member since: Jul 14, 2013

With video and camera resolutions getting better and better, storing those high res photos and videos will take more space. Also, as apps and games start catering to 2K-4K displays, with better and better visuals, app size will keep growing as well. Naturally, 64gb-128gb should be the BARE minimum these days. At the end of the day, more is better in most cases, so give me as much as possible. Or better yet, give expandable storage as an option if you start running low on space! :D

18. L0n3n1nja

Posts: 1560; Member since: Jul 12, 2016

I agree with all of that except photo size, camera resolution has actually dropped in favor of larger pixels that capture more light. Our higher quality 12mp images use less storage than the 13mp, 16mp, and even 20mp that were on phones.

21. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

64 GB is really a minimum for me. But my 128 GB is pretty filled up with offline Google music files. Why use my mobile data over and over again for albums I listen to on a regular basis. Also for travelling, I am using a Huawei E5787 with a 200 GB sd card in it.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.