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.
Instead of offering two options like it did with the iPhone X (64GB, 256GB), the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max come with 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB.
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 $49.91/mo through a payment plan via Apple. The 256GB model is $1149 or $56.16/mo via a payment plan at Apple. The 512GB model is a whopping $1349 or $64.50/mo via a payment plan through Apple. The iPhone XS Max is far more expensive.
The 64GB iPhone XS Max is $1099 or $54.08 with a payment plan at Apple. The larger 256GB iPhone XS Max is $1249 or $60.33 via a payment plan at Apple. The much larger 512GB model is $1449 or $68.66/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 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.
In the year since we bought a 256GB iPhone, we’ve managed to take up 90GB of internal storage. That’s 30GB more than 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 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 12.2 for Better Security
If you're on the fence, here's one of the best reasons to install iOS 12.2.
If you value your device's security, you'll want to download iOS 12.2 in the near future because it comes with new security patches.
Apple lists a whopping 41 security patches in its iOS 12.2 security change log. You can read more about the patches over on the company's website.
If you skipped iOS 12.1.4, you get four important security patches including fixes for a widespread FaceTime eavesdropping bug that lets you call someone via FaceTime and hear the audio coming from their phone before they pick up the phone.
You can read more about these patches on Apple's website.
If you skipped iOS 12.1.3, you get some additional patches with your version of iOS 12.2. They're baked into your upgrade.
Apple lists a grand total of 23 patches on board iOS 12.1.3 and you can read about all of them over on Apple's website.
If you skipped iOS 12.1.1, you'll probably want to install the iOS 12.2 update on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch today.
The iOS 12.1.1 update brought 17 patches for potential security exploits. They'll will help protect your phone. You can read about them here.
If you skipped iOS 12.1, you'll get the 24 patches from that update with your version of iOS 12.2. If you skipped iOS 12.0.1, your iOS 12.2 update brings two additional patches. Both patches are for potential lock screen exploits.
If you skipped iOS 12.0, and you're still running iOS 11.4.1 or below, your iOS 12.2 update comes with a longer list of security updates.
The iOS 12.0 update delivered 16 patches for security issues. You can read about all of them over on Apple's security page.
In addition to those patches, iOS 12 delivers new security features aimed at protecting you and the data you store on your device. These include:
Long story short, if you store sensitive data on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, you have some really good reasons to upgrade to iOS 12.2 today.
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