Picking the right iPhone XS storage size for your needs and your budget can be tricky so we want to help you decide between the 64GB model, the mid-range 256GB model, and the much larger, more expensive 512GB iPhone XS.
While you might be tempted to buy one of the larger storage options, many of you won’t need to spend the money for 256GB or 512GB of storage.
There are several important factors to consider before you settle on an iPhone XS storage size and we’re going to break all of those down for you right here.
iPhone XS Storage Options
The iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max come in three colors which matches the three storage options Apple’s offering this time around.
There’s a huge gap between the 64GB and the 256GB and 512GB models and the 512GB is twice as much storage as the 256GB model.
The large gap between the three models is going to make this decision difficult for a lot of people.
Apple’s 64GB iPhone XS is $999 or $41.99/mo through a payment plan via Apple. The 256GB model is $1149 or $47.99/mo via a payment plan at Apple. The 512GB model is a whopping $1349 or $56.99/mo via a payment plan through Apple. The iPhone XS Max is far more expensive.
The 64GB iPhone XS Max is $1099 or $45.99 with a payment plan at Apple. The larger 256GB iPhone XS Max is $1249 or $52.99 via a payment plan at Apple. The much larger 512GB model is $1449 or $60.99/mo via Apple.
Unlike many Android phones, there’s no way to add additional storage via a microSD card. If you need extra storage you’ll need to add it via the company’s iCloud service or with a Lightning-compatible drive.
Apple won’t add any additional storage options down the road so you’re stuck with 64GB, 256GB and 512GB.
Pay for Storage Now or Pay Later
Back when we reviewed the iPhone 8 we determined 64GB of storage isn’t enough space for many people. If you plan to shoot 4K video, download a bunch of movies for travel, or play lots of games, you’ll probably need additional space.
Its been over a year since we bought a 256GB iPhone X and we’ve managed to take up more than 120GB of internal storage. That’s well beyond the the 64GB threshold, but less than half of 256GB.
We aren’t storing any huge movie files or 4K videos on the phone. Instead, storage is mostly taken up by important apps, 1080p videos, photos, and music.
Many of you might be able to survive on a 64GB iPhone XS or iPhone XS Max, but many others will likely wind up having to pay additional money for additional storage.
If you do go with the cheaper 64GB option you’ll likely have to pay very close attention to your storage space and app usage as the months go on. Some of you might start nearing the threshold just weeks after buying the device.
If that happens, you’ll have to start getting rid of files you no longer want or, if you want to keep your data, buy an iCloud Storage Plan.
You also might have to rely on streaming movies and other content if you run out of space on your iPhone. This could lead to data overage charges and it might force you to buy a bigger data plan to better handle your needs. Like iCloud, these cost money.
Who Should Buy the 64GB iPhone XS
The 64GB iPhone XS is the cheapest option. You’ll save money on the upfront cost of the phone and that’s pretty tempting considering how expensive the other models are. Here’s who should buy a 64GB iPhone XS:
- 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 locally on a computer.
- You come nowhere close to using 64GB of storage on your current iPhone.
Who Should Buy the 256GB iPhone XS
The cheapest option is an excellent choice for a lot of people, but many others might want to the peace of mind that comes with the 256GB iPhone XS or iPhone XS Plus.
Again, we’ve had a great experience with the 256GB iPhone X and enjoy knowing that we can do virtually anything on the device without coming close to that 256GB mark. Here’s who should think about buying the 256GB model:
- You like to store lots of Movies and Music locally.
- You need or prefer to keep your photos stored locally.
- You plan to shoot tons of 4K video.
- You’re close to using 64GB of space on your current iPhone.
- You can’t stand having to constantly manage the data on your phone.
Who Should Buy the 512GB iPhone XS
The 512GB version of these devices has the most storage, but it also costs as much as a new MacBook. Most users should be fine with 256GB or 64GB, but there are some people who might enjoy the additional storage.
- Extreme power users.
- Photo buffs who don’t want to use iCloud.
- People who travel often and want everything local.
How to Check Your Storage
If you’re currently using an iPhone you’ll want to check your current storage before you decide on of the new iPhone XS options. Checking your storage can provide you with insight into your habits and needs.
Here’s how to do this:
- Tap on your Settings app.
- Tap on General.
- Tap on iPhone Storage.
If you’re in the right place you’ll be able to see how much free storage you currently have and how much you’re currently using. You can also see what’s taking up the most storage on your device.
For many of you, it’s going to be your photos, videos, apps, and if you’re not using Messages in iCloud, your iMessages.
Which iPhone XS Storage Size Should You Buy?
If you only plan to use the iPhone XS for a year before upgrading, there’s far less pressure to go with the bigger storage sizes. You can simply make do and upgrade to a larger model when the new models arrive next year.
If you don’t plan to upgrade your iPhone for a few years or more, the 256GB model (or 512GB if you really think you need it) is a safer bet.
You should be able to avoid paying for iCloud or spending additional money.
Install iOS 13.3.1 for Better Security
If security is important to you, think about installing the iOS 13.3.1 update right away.
The iOS 13.3.1 update includes 21 new security patches that will help protect your device from harm. The company's outlined those patches in detail if you want to dig in.
If you skipped iOS 13.3, you get its patches with iOS 13.3.1. iOS 13.3 brought 12 new security patches to the iPhone and you can read about each one over on Apple's security page.
The iOS 13.3 update also added support for NFC, USB, and Lightning FIDO2-compliant security keys in the Safari browser.
If you missed iOS 13.2, it had 16 new security patches on board. You can read about all of them on Apple's website right here.
iOS 13.1.1 brought a security patch for a third-party keyboard issue to your iPhone. If you're interested in the particulars, you can read about them over on Apple's website.
If you passed on installing iOS 13.1, you get an additional patch with your iOS 13.3.1 update. You can learn more right here.
If you're moving up from iOS 12, you'll get iOS 13.0's nine security patches with your upgrade to iOS 13.3.1. Read about those here.
If you skipped iOS 12.4.1 or any older versions of iOS 12, you'll get their security patches with your iOS 13.3.1 update.
iOS 12.4.1 only had one patch on board, but Apple's iOS 12.4 brought 19 security patches to the iPhone. If you're interested in the specifics, you can read about them on right here.
In addition to those patches, iOS 13 itself comes with some security and privacy upgrades including improved anti-tracking features in Safari and the ability to get rid of location metadata in your photos.
You also now have the ability to block apps from using Bluetooth and the ability to allow apps to access your location just once.
iOS 13 will also send you reminders about applications that track your data.
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