When you go looking to get the iPhone 4S you not only have to pick your color and your carrier but you also have to pick your capacity.
The iPhone 4S is available in three sizes, 16GB, 32GB and 64GB. The prices start at $199, and climb to $299 and $399 respectively. The 64GB iPhone 4S is a new size, and might be the right choice for high demand users.
(Read: iPhone 4S Review)
The size of your iPhone is important, because you cannot add more storage later.
This guide will help you figure out which size iPhone you should buy, with a look at what uses the most space and why the size matters more this time around.
What Takes Up Space?
The four biggest culprits for taking up space on your iPhone are Apps, Photos, Video and Music.
If you plan to play games like Infinity Blade, Modern Combat 3, Rage HD and others, you could eat up 2-4GB of storage quickly.
Navigation apps, such as Navigon or Tom Tom, add on another 1.5 to 2GB of storage to bring real navigation to your iPhone.
The new iPhone 4S camera takes nicer photos, and the take up more memory than on the iPhone 4. That said, the file size of each photo is still a manageable 3.4MB to 3.7MB.
This means that you can take 1,000 photos and use up 3.7 GB of storage. You can also offload your iPhone photos easily to free up space down the road. While Photo Stream helps, it will only keep 1,000 photos, and only for 30 days.
The real storage demands hit home when you start talking about HD video. The iPhone 4S records at 1080P, a jump up from the 720P on the iPhone 4.
You cannot record at a lower setting, so it is important to factor in how much video you will record. The iPhone 4S will record video at about 178MB per minute, which means an hour of HD video will clock in around 10GB, based on the calculations from whenwillapple. I am seeing similar numbers on my own iPhone 4S.
If you have a large music library, make note of how much you want to keep on your iPhone. iTunes Match will help with this, but if you have a limited data plan, you may not want to count on the on demand streaming for everything.
In iTunes, you can look at your library size, and make a judgement. You can sync limited playlists, to save on space, but you need to decide if this is a compromise you are willing to make.
Which Size iPhone 4S Should I Buy?
This will vary from user to user, so I will share some different examples to help you.
Basic User or Archiver – 16GB iPhone 4S
If you are a basic user, who plans to use a few apps, keep a few hundred photos on your iPhone 4S, and has a moderate music library, you should be able to get by on the 16GB iPhone 4S.
This will let you keep 5GB of Music and plan on 3GB of apps, while still keeping 1,000 photos on your device with room for 15-20 minutes of HD video. This will bring your close to the brim, but if you move photos and videos off to your computer on a regular basis you should be alright.
Moderate User – 32GB iPhone 4S
If the above scenario sounds restricting, then the 32GB iPhone 4S will give you some breathing room. This is the safest bet for users who think they will record a decent amount of HD video, purchase movies from iTunes and plan to use a number of high demand apps.
With the 32GB iPhone 4S, you can tack on an hour of HD video, 5 GB of Apps (Infinity Blade, Rage HD, Tom Tom and others), your 8GB music library and still have room left over for growth.
Power User / Video Addict – 64GB iPhone 4S
When it comes to users who plan to take a lot of HD video, especially while on vacation or traveling, the 64GB iPhone 4S is your best pick. This is also a good choice for users that have a large music library and don’t want to rely on iTunes Match for access.
The 64GB version will fit in your 15GB iTunes library, all of your apps, and still have room for a few thousand photos and a couple of hours of HD video.
Which iPhone 4S Sizes Did I Buy?
I purchased the 64GB iPhone 4S, because I want to be able to keep my music on the phone, take a decent amount of HD video and download apps without worrying about space. I am already at 13.7GB used. This includes about 7 minutes of HD video, 7GB of Music and a number of apps.
For my wife, we went with the 32GB iPhone 4S. This is the perfect size in my opinion. It offers enough room to grow, and won’t limit her App usage, photos stored on the device or her ability to record HD video. We picked this size mainly because it is nothing to see her take a few hundred photos in a weekend. With the hope of a puppy on the horizon, I expect many photos and videos to have a permanent home on this phone. I expect a similar 10-1 ratio of Puppy to Josh photos and videos.