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128GB Really is ‘Lot of Storage’ for iPhone Photos?

    Are you an iPhone user? If so, I need you to do me a favor. Open the Photos app on your device and swipe to the bottom of your images display, then take a note of how many pictures there are in the app. How many do you have? For me, that number felt pretty startling: 33,679.

    That’s a lot of photos.

    I also have an iPhone with 128GB of storage capacity. In its latest ad, Apple says that is “lots of storage for photos.” In my instance, though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

    To be explicit, I’m not accusing Apple of being devious or of misleading people. I’m quite aware that I am very much an extreme case, and I don’t expect that the average iPhone user has anywhere near as many pictures as I do on their device.

    But it’s still astonishing to see just how much space my images occupy. I’ve got a 200GB iCloud plan and offload my photographs from my device onto Apple’s cloud servers. Right now, I’m using about 100GB of it, with almost the totality of that taken up by my photos.

    There’s no way I could put all that onto my device’s storage alongside everything else I store on it. What I’m asking is for Apple to be just a little more liberal when it comes to iPhone storage capacity.

    Storage gone in 60 seconds

    As much of an unusual case as I undoubtedly am, focusing on the sheer number of photos might be missing the point. These days, all modern iPhones can take 48MP images. You don’t need to have over 30,000 of the things to swiftly fill up 128GB. In fact, you’ll run out of space after just over 1,700 images, provided you take 48MP ProRaw images at 75MB a pop (and that doesn’t even consider in space taken up by your apps, documents, messages, and iOS itself).

    Apple continues giving us new ways to eat up our storage, without boosting that storage itself. The 128GB iPhone has been the entry-level choice since 2021, when Apple mercifully discontinued the 64GB tier (except on the iPhone SE). But even then 128GB didn’t precisely feel spacious. With the addition of new, storage-hungry technologies like ProRaw images, high-resolution sensors and ProRes video capabilities, it’s simpler than ever to run out of space.

    The obvious retort to this problem is a straightforward one: buy an iPhone with more storage. If you are going to be using all these advanced technologies like ProRaw and ProRes, chances are you’ll be prepared to pay for expensive equipment anyway. What’s a little extra expenditure on more storage?

    But we all know iPhones are expensive and and I expect most people buy them hoping to retain hold of them for years and get their money’s worth. With all of these interesting new imaging toys to play with, from ultra-high-resolution photos to slow motion videos, it would be simple for someone to make a big dent in their 128GB iPhone’s storage just by playing around with these options for a while.

    Expand that over a number of years and 128GB starts to feel very restricting, even if you are not a pro photographer or videographer. The true solution is to make a spacious iPhone the default.

    It’s time for change

    As I mentioned earlier, my way out of this conundrum was to acquire a 200GB iCloud plan. At $2.99 / £2.99 a month, it’s not exactly expensive, and a fairly good deal compared to upgrading to a 256GB iPhone. The price of that upgrade is £100 ($100), and it would take almost three years of my iCloud subscription to spend that much. I realize it’s not a like-for-like equivalent, but you get the point.

    But while iCloud helps assuage some of the 128GB pain, it’s not a panacea. When you offload your photos to iCloud, you need to retrieve them again when you want to view them on your device. For low-resolution images, that’s (usually) rapid enough. But downloading 48MP photos or very high-resolution videos? That can result in a lengthy, tedious wait just to see your own work.

    The answer, in my views, is for Apple to increase the base iPhone storage from 128GB to 256GB. Ideally, Apple would eat the expense of this move – it did the same when it ditched the 64GB option, and it’s not like the company is short on cash. After all, it would feel unfair to punish users with a price increase for the entry-level model when Apple has introduced so many methods to eliminate that storage in an instant.

    Ultimately, the ball is in Apple’s possession now. The company has done so much excellent work to upgrade the iPhone’s photo and video abilities – the iPhone really is one of the best smartphone cameras you can buy – now all we need is the storage to match.

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