How much storage is enough storage?

We’re all different in so many ways but one thing we seem to have in common is using lots of storage on our phones. We’re not sure if it’s because we love taking photos of anything and everything or because we’re too sentimental and don’t like to get rid of things.

We use our mobiles for lots of different reasons and rely on them to store messages, apps, music, games, photos, and more. It’s absolutely vital that you don’t run out of space for these things and the best way to make sure you don’t, is to clue yourself up on all things storage.

Here’s a handy guide to help you understand the different mobile storage options available, so you can decide which is best for you.

Room for a little one?

You might’ve heard storage being referred to as memory and with so many options to choose from, it can be quite daunting. The thing is, higher storage options normally come with a higher cost, so it’s important to make sure you’re getting what you really need.

There are 7 different storage levels you should expect to see when on the hunt for a new phone: 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, 516GB. The lower storage options like 8GB or 16GB are commonly seen in more basic phones, that are designed for calls and texts.

The amount of storage you need will depend on what you use your phone for. If you’re someone who takes lots of photos and videos and has a photo album with a million shots of the dog, you’ll need a lot of storage.

Every phone is different, but we can roughly work out how much storage would be needed if each photograph you take is around 4MB in size.

Mobile storage

Number of photos

16GB

4000

32GB

8000

64GB

16000

128GB

32000

Of course, this is just an estimation and we’re struggling to imagine who has got 32K photos just laying around on their phone, but hopefully this gives the aspiring photographers some idea as to what they’d need.

Videos will be a little different and it’s harder to tell how much room you’d need. An hour of recording in 1080p for example would take up around 1.5GB.

If you’ve got your hands on one of the fancier new phones, like the Samsung Galaxy S21, you may notice that your video recording is in 8K, which would of course take up more storage.

There are lots of other estimates we can make to give you an insight into what would be best for you. If your music library had around 250 songs in that were 5MB each, you’d need around 1.25GB of storage – album hoarders will want to consider this!

It’s also important to recognise that your apps take up space on your mobile too. Some apps take up more space than others, for example TikTok takes up more room than Facebook, and many games take up more room than both of these apps.

If you’re unsure on what your storage situation is, you can check on your settings. iPhone users should go to: Settings > General > Storage. Here you’ll see what apps are taking up what space and will also see a list of ways to optimise your storage.

Android users should go to: Settings > Device Maintenance or care > Storage. Here, you will be shown how much storage you have used and what you’ve got left. This way you can discover whether you need a clear out or not!

Work with what you’ve got.

If you’ve already got your phone and chosen your storage option, there are a few ways you can work with what you’ve got and still have more room for the things you love.

You can choose to expand your phone storage by using a microSD card which slots right into the side of your phone. Think of this as your very own walk in wardrobe. It lets you store things like photos and videos, so you can free up the space they would’ve taken on your mobile phone.

A phone with its Micro SD slot open.
Micro SD cards are perfect for storing your photos and videos on. 

Something to note is that phones will have limits on how much external storage they can support. Some will go up to 1TB while others may only allow for 32GB – some don’t allow microSD cards at all!

Cloud storage is another great way of getting around the storage limits on your mobile phone. It works by allowing you to store your files digitally, making them available online rather than on your mobile.

There are lots of different Cloud services such as OneDrive and Dropbox, but Android and iOS users will be familiar with Google Drive and iCloud.

A screenshot of the iCloud Drive logo.
iCloud is the perfect place for iPhone users to store extra bits and bobs.

If you’re making regular use of these storage options, you may be required to pay a small fee – still cheaper than a new phone!

iCloud comes with 5GB of storage, but you’re given the choice to upgrade this for a small monthly cost. To do this, go to: Settings > iCloud > Manage Storage > Buy More Storage. Here you’ll be prompted to choose a plan that suits you.

The cost is relatively cheap, and you can get 50GB for as little as 79p. 200GB is £2.49, while 2TB is an extra £6.99 a month. If you’re from a full family of iPhone users, you can set up a Family Sharing plan that lets you all share your storage with each other.

The most obvious one is of course, to free up your memory. Those photos of that one nice meal you had 2 years ago can go and so can the game you’ve not played in 3 years. We’re all guilty of holding onto things, on our mobiles, that we don’t really need, so maybe it’s time to let go.

A good place to start would be pre-installed apps that you simply have never even looked twice at. Your messages and emails can also take up a lot of space, so it may be wise to have a look through them and get rid of the stuff you don’t actually need.

Storage sussed.

We’re hoping that with this guide, you’ll finally be able to see the back of that not enough storage message that keeps popping up on your mobile. If you’re looking for a phone with lots of room but don’t want to break the bank, you’re in luck.

We’ve got lots of great deals on some of the very best mobiles out there at the moment, with unmissable prices, even on the higher storage options! You’ll never run out of space again.