Is 128GB enough for an iPhone?

With iPhone storage capacities now going up to 1TB, a common question many users have is whether 128GB is still enough space for most needs or if more is required. The answer depends on how you use your iPhone.

For many average users who mostly use their phone for essential apps like messaging, social media, web browsing and photos, 128GB is typically adequate. But for power users who have lots of apps, download lots of media, shoot high-res video and more, the extra space of 256GB or higher may be warranted.

What determines your iPhone storage needs?

There are several main factors that influence whether 128GB will be sufficient iPhone storage for you:

  • How many apps you have installed – More apps means you need more space.
  • How many photos/videos you store locally – Higher resolution photos and videos take up more room.
  • How much music you save offline – Storing more audio files requires more storage.
  • How many large games you play – Games with heavy graphics like Fortnite take up several GBs.
  • How much offline media you access – Saving movies, TV shows or other media for offline viewing fills up space quickly.

Users who have lots of apps, games, music, photos and offline media will likely want 256GB or more. But those with mostly basic apps and who stream music and video can get by fine with 128GB.

Average storage needs for iPhone users

According to surveys of iPhone users’ storage habits, here are some averages that can give you an idea of how much space different types of users need:

  • Light users – less than 32GB used
  • Average users – 32GB to 128GB used
  • Heavy users – 128GB to 256GB used
  • Power users – 256GB or more used

Light users who only use their iPhone for basics like messaging, maps and web browsing typically can get by with the base 64GB or even 32GB on older models. Average users who also take some photos/videos, listen to music, play casual games and use social media apps usually fill up between 32GB to 128GB.

For heavy users who have lots of apps, photos, music and some large games installed, 128GB to 256GB is recommended. And power users who also store lots of offline media like movies and TV shows or shoot high-res video will want 256GB or higher.

Average app storage needs

To give you an idea of how apps contribute to storage needs, here are some examples of average app sizes:

App Type Average Size
Messaging 100MB
Social Media 100MB
Navigation/Maps 150MB
Gaming – Casual 100-250MB
Gaming – Large 1-2GB

So if you have about 10 essential messaging, maps and social media apps, that’s around 1GB right there. Add in another 5-10 casual games at 100-250MB each, and that’s another 1-2.5GB. So just with basic apps, you could be looking at 2-3GB used already.

Average photo storage needs

As far as photos, here’s a breakdown of how much storage you can expect to use:

Photo Type Avg Size (per photo)
Standard iPhone Photos 2-4MB
Portrait Mode Photos 10MB
ProRAW Photos 25MB
4K Video (per minute) 375MB

So 100 standard iPhone photos would use about 200-400MB. But if you take lots of portraits and ProRAW photos, as well as 4K video, storage needs can jump up substantially.

Factors that increase iPhone storage needs

Based on average storage used for different types of apps and photos, let’s look at some specific factors that can increase how much space you’ll need beyond the basics:

Shooting 4K or ProRes video

4K video requires 3-4x more storage than 1080p HD video. And the new ProRes video format on iPhone 13 bumps requirements up even further. Just a few minutes of 4K or ProRes video can eat up gigs of space very quickly.

Taking lots of photos

Avid photographers who snap hundreds of pics per month need extra room for all those photos, especially when using ProRAW or portrait modes that increase file sizes.

Downloading and saving media for offline viewing

Downloading movies, TV shows, podcasts or other media to save for offline viewing can rapidly fill up 128GB. Just a few HD movies can eat up that space entirely.

Installing large game apps

Many popular games like Fortnite, Genshin Impact and Call of Duty Mobile require 2GB+ to install. So gamers need ample extra space for these large titles.

Upgrading for more 4K/ProRes storage

Users planning to shoot lots of high-res 4K or ProRes video may want to upgrade to 256GB or higher just to accommodate those very large files that strain 128GB capacities.

User examples of 128GB vs 256GB needs

Here are some examples of real iPhone users and whether 128GB or 256GB makes more sense for them:

Light User – 128GB is fine

Joan uses her iPhone mainly for messaging apps, social media, web browsing, Uber and light gaming. She takes some photos but mainly uses the standard camera app. 128GB has been plenty for her needs.

Moderate User – 128GB is borderline

Mark has lots of apps, listens to music streaming services, takes photos regularly and plays more intense games like Mario Kart and Eve Echoes. He has started to run low on space with 128GB.

Heavy User – 256GB recommended

Sarah has around 100 apps including large games like Genshin Impact and Call of Duty. She takes 4K video and high-res photos using ProRAW. She saves some media for offline viewing. 128GB was way too small and she upgraded to 256GB.

Power User – 512GB or more needed

James captures lots of 4K and ProRes video for his YouTube channel. He also has hundreds of large apps and games. He upgraded directly to 512GB to have ample room for all his media needs.

Tips for managing storage on 128GB iPhone

If you have a 128GB iPhone and want to stick with that capacity, here are some tips for better managing your storage:

Offload unused apps

Delete apps you no longer use. Offloading apps keeps their documents and data without taking up space for the app itself.

Review and delete photos/videos

Offload blurry pics, screenshots, temporary downloads and other items you don’t need to keep. Also save photos to the cloud.

Disable auto-downloads

Turn off automatic downloads for music, apps, books and other media. Only download when you need something.

Stream when possible

Use streaming for music and video when you can, rather than downloading to phone storage. Use offline selectively.

Use optimized iPhone storage setting

This setting automatically offloads little used apps but keeps their documents and data.


Overall, 128GB of storage is probably enough for many average iPhone users who only use core apps and features, take some photos and videos, and stream most of their music and video. However, power users who have lots of apps and media on their phone will likely want to upgrade to 256GB or higher for extra capacity.

Following storage optimization tips like offloading unused apps and photos can help maximize how far 128GB will go. But frequent shooters of 4K video or ProRAW photos would benefit from the extra breathing room of 256GB or more.

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