Choosing the right iPhone 8 storage size for you and your needs can be tricky, but we’re here to help you decide between the 64GB model and the larger, more expensive 256GB iPhone 8.
The easiest thing to do is to just buy as much storage as your bank account allows, but many of you don’t need 256GB of internal storage on your phone.
There are several important factors to consider before you settle on one storage size or the other and we’re going to break all of those down for you in this guide.
iPhone 8 Storage Options
The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus come in three colors, but there are only two storage options to choose from across all carriers. The previous model, the iPhone 7, came in three (32GB, 128GB, 256GB).
The decision to eliminate the 32GB model was a good choice (32GB simply isn’t enough space for most people), but the lack of a third option actually makes the decision a little bit tougher because there is such a wide gap between 64GB and 256GB of internal storage space.
Apple’s 64GB iPhone 8 is $700 or $34.50 through a payment plan via Apple or around $29 a month at carriers. The 256GB model is $849, $40.75 via a payment plan at Apple or about $35 a month at carriers. The iPhone 8 Plus is far more expensive.
The 64GB iPhone 8 Plus is $800, $39.50 with a payment plan at Apple, or about $33 a month at carriers. The larger 256GB iPhone 8 Plus model is $949, $45.75 via a payment plan at Apple or about $40 a month at carriers.
Unlike Android phones, you can’t add storage with a microSD card. Apple’s iPhones don’t come with expandable storage. If you want to add storage you need to add it via the company’s iCloud service or with a Lightning drive.
We don’t expect Apple to add any additional storage options so you’re stuck with 64GB or 256GB.
Pay for Storage Now, or Pay Later
In our iPhone 8 review we determined 64GB isn’t enough for a lot of people. If you plan to shoot 4K video, download a bunch of movies for travel, or play games, you’ll need more space.
In the weeks since the phone’s launch in September we’ve managed to fill up 80GB of space on a 256GB iPhone 8. We aren’t storing any huge movie files or 4K videos on the phone, rather, we’ve filled it up with important apps, 1080p videos, photos, and to a lesser extent, messages and music.
Some of you might be able to survive on very low amounts of storage, but many others will likely wind up having to pay for additional storage.
Typically when we’re helping people solve issues with their iPhone it revolves around storage and the amount of space memories (photos, videos) and apps are taking up on the device’s hard drive. A lot of times, they simply don’t have enough hard drive space on their computer to properly store their files.
You can survive on 64GB of space, but you’ll have to pay close attention to your storage space and app usage and you’ll most likely have to buy into an iCloud Storage Plans. Remember, you can now share iCloud storage with your family members.
You also might have to rely on streaming movies and other content should you run out of space. This in turn could lead to overage charges or picking a bigger data plan to better handle your needs. This costs money.
You have a choice. Pay for the extra storage now or wind up paying for it later on down the road.
Who Should Buy the 64GB iPhone 8
So who should buy the cheaper 64GB iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus? You’ll save money on the upfront cost of the phone and that makes it tempting to those looking to get into Apple’s ecosystem on a budget.
- You stream most of your movies and music.
- You don’t plan to record a lot of 4K videos.
- You plan to store your photos in iCloud Photo Library or on a computer.
- You have plenty of room on your current iPhone.
Who Should Buy the 256GB iPhone 8
While 64GB will be the perfect size for some people, others might want to the peace of mind that comes with the 256GB iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus.
- You store a lot of your Movies and Music locally.
- You need or prefer to keep photos stored locally.
- You plan to shoot tons of 4K video.
- You are close to using up all of your current iPhone storage.
We should also add if you hate managing the storage on your device, the 256GB is the way to go. If you get the smaller model and you start nearing the threshold, you’ll need to spend time combing through your files figuring out what you need to delete or move off the device.
How to Check Your Current Storage
If you’re currently using an iPhone, you should check your current storage before you decide on 64GB or 256GB. A quick check will provide great insight into your habits.
- Tap on your Settings app.
- Tap on General.
- Tap on iPhone Storage.
This will show you how much free storage you currently have and how much you are using. It’ll also tell you exactly what’s taking up the most storage. For many of you, it’ll be your photos and videos, apps, and messages.
If you’re using Apple’s iCloud service, you should check on your iCloud storage usage:
- Open Settings.
- Tap on your Name at the top of the screen.
- Tap on iCloud.
This screen shows your iCloud storage use and your current plan. If you tap on manage plan you’ll get a better breakdown of how you use cloud storage.
Which iPhone 8 Storage Size Should I Buy?
We’ve found both the 64GB and 256GB iPhone 8 models to be manageable though it depends on how you use your current device and how you want to use your next iPhone.
If you aren’t using up all of the space on your current device, you might opt for the 64GB iPhone 8 or iPhone 8 Plus.
If you only plan to use the iPhone 8 for a year before upgrading, there’s less pressure to go with the big storage size. You can simply make do and upgrade to a larger model when the time comes.
If you don’t plan to upgrade for awhile and plan on shooting lots of photos and videos and downloading lots of content (apps, movies, music) the 256GB model is a safer bet.
You should be able to avoid iCloud and spending additional money this way.
Install iOS 11.4 for Better Security
The iOS 11.4 update comes with 30+ patches aimed at improving your device's security making it an essential download for most iPhone and iPad users.
iOS 11.4 also reportedly comes with a USB Restricted Mode that disables the Lightning port on your iPhone or iPad if a device hasn't been unlocked or connected to a computer using a passcode within the last week.
If you missed any of Apple's previous iOS updates, your iOS 11.4 update could come with a lot more.
If you skipped iOS 11.3.1, your iOS 11.4 update comes with iOS 11.3.1's four security patches.
If you skipped iOS 11.3, your iOS 11.4 update comes with 27 additional patches for potential exploits. Those of you lingering on iOS 11.2.6 would be wise to make the move sooner rather than later.
If you missed iOS 11.3, your iOS 11.4 update also includes a new privacy feature. When an Apple feature wants to use your personal information, an icon now appears with a link to access detailed information about how your data will be used and protected.
If you're running iOS 11.2.5 or older, you're currently exposed to an issue that lets people send a specific character that will crash an iOS-powered device and block access to the Messages app. It can also block apps like Facebook Messenger, Gmail, Outlook, and WhatsApp.
The iOS 11.2.6 update's main purpose was to patch up this issue. If you skipped iOS 11.2.6, you'll get these enhancements with iOS 11.4.
If you're running iOS 11.2.2 or below and receive a certain GitHub link through your Messages app, your iPhone or iPad can lockup or respring. The Messages app will also become unusable.
Apple's iOS 11.2 update fixed several problems, but it also brought problems of its own including a potentially nasty zero-day iOS HomeKit vulnerability.
The vulnerability, discovered by Tian Zhang, allowed for unauthorized control of HomeKit accessories including garage door openers and smart locks.
Apple quickly rolled out a server-side fix, but the company restored full functionality with the release of iOS 11.2.1. If you skipped iOS 11.2.1 and use HomeKit, you should download iOS 11.4 right now.
If you skipped iOS 11.2, you'll get a few more patches with your iOS 11.4 update. Apple's iOS 11.2 update delivered 11 patches including one for Mail and one for Wi-Fi.
The iOS 11.2 and iOS 11.2.1 updates also patched up a widespread security issue called "Meltdown." Apple says its analysis suggests it "has the most potential to be exploited."
Meltdown affects all iOS 11 powered devices so we highly recommend downloading iOS 11.4 if you skipped iOS 11.2.
If you skipped iOS 11.1.2, iOS 11.1.1, and iOS 11.1, you'll get additional patches with your iOS 11.4 update.
The iOS 11.1 update delivered eight security patches including a fix for a serious Wi-Fi vulnerability called KRACK or Key Reinstallation Attack. KRACK is an exploit that targets the common WPA2 encryption protocol.
If you're just now making to move from iOS 10 (or whatever you're on) to iOS 11, your iOS 11.4 update will come with even more security features.
In iOS 11 you can't establish trust with a PC using fingerprints alone. You'll also need to put in a full passcode in order to gain that trust.
If you want to protect the data you store on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, you should make your move to the latest version of iOS. This is particularly important for those of you running older versions of iOS.