In 2016, Apple unveiled a new iPhone lineup that dropped the 16GB storage size in favor of a doubled, 32GB entry-level model. Even so, many people live every day with a 16GB iPhone that can present some unique limitations. The key to using a 16GB iPhone is to understand exactly how many songs, videos, or apps can be stored on the device, and then to plan accordingly when installing apps, taking photos, and storing messages. With a bit of careful planning, the 16GB iPhone can actually be both a great phone and a great value over the long-term.
16 Gigabytes: What Does It Mean for Music, Videos, and Apps?
The allure of a 16GB iPhone is pretty simple: For a long time, it was the lowest-priced model. Additionally, many people didn’t feel that they needed more than 16GB to store their favorite songs and videos or download their favorite applications. In recent years, that calculation has changed a bit. Video files have gotten larger, music files have gotten larger, and apps have started taking up more space as they incorporate even richer user elements. So, what can a 16GB iPhone store today?
When it comes to music, iPhone users are going to get the most bang for their buck. The 16GB model can hold up to 3,500 songs that are of average quality, and about four minutes in total length. Remember, that’s far more than the first iPod could store! In this respect, the smallest capacity iPhone is still leaps and bounds better than almost anything else on the market that can store and play music files.
Video files are a bit trickier. Users who record 720p video with their device can hold about three hours of video before they must transfer it elsewhere. At an increased resolution of 1080p, only between 30 and 50 minutes of video will fit on the device. A 4K video is even more challenging: Only 18 minutes of UHD video can fit on the 16GB iPhone. For those users who intend to take lots of video and don’t want to move it off the iPhone every 20 minutes, it’s a good idea to consider a larger model.
Finally, many people will want to maximize their space to fit as many apps and games as possible. Assuming an average app size of about 100 megabytes, and about 12GB of free storage on the 16GB iPhone model, most users will find that they can fit about 120 apps on the device if they store no music or video. A mix of smaller apps and a few music files will yield roughly the same maximum number of apps on a device with this amount of storage available.
What to Know: Making the Most of 16 Gigs
It’s one thing to discuss the theoretical maximum storage of a 16GB iPhone, and quite another to actually live with that device on a daily basis. For all the talk of 3,500 songs, people often overlook one key thing: Other data will quickly accumulate on the device, eliminating media storage over time. For example, every sent and received iMessage or email will be stored on the device until it’s otherwise deleted. That means, with each message, a small amount of space is taken away from what would otherwise be used for music or video files. This can lead to surprise storage warnings after just a few months of use. So, what is a user to do? There are several tips that can extend the life of a 16GB iPhone.
- Use an IMAP Email Server: Email can be downloaded from either a POP or IMAP server. The difference is crucial. A POP serer stores the emails on the device’s storage, while an IMAP server stores messages in the cloud until they’re read. By using an IMAP server, the iPhone will devote less storage space to emails and allow for greater storage of music, video, apps, and other key files that users require on a daily basis.
- Automatically Delete Old Messages: Many users are in the habit of storing iMessages on their device “forever.” While this is a nice concept for users with more storage available, those on a 16GB iPhone won’t want to take the risk. Instead, open the iPhone’s “Settings” app and then tap on “Messages.” At the bottom of this screen, choose to delete messages after either 30 days or 1 year, depending on the frequency with which messages are sent and received. This will free several gigabytes of space for established iDevice users.
- Embrace the Power of the Cloud: In the past, local storage was the name of the game. If it could not be stored on a device, it typically could not be watched or heard. That era is over, thanks to the cloud. Now, it’s possible to stream videos, upload photos automatically to the cloud, and stream music from a remote server. Do all of these things with a 16GB iPhone, and it’ll become evident just how much space is left over for apps and games.
- Transfer Media to a PC: Get in the habit of transferring photos to a PC, if the cloud is not an option. The same is true of video. By removing these large files from the iPhone on a regular basis, it’ll be easier to avoid storage warnings and install each new version of iOS as they are released.
16GB iPhones Are Still a Viable Option for Smartphone Users
While the 16GB iPhone may not be the largest or most ideal model, it’s still an excellent value and a viable option for today’s smartphone users. This device does require a great deal of planning and care, however. Users must make sure that they’re automatically deleting old files, embracing cloud services for music, photos, and movies, and regularly transferring key files to a computer for long-term storage. By adopting these key practices, it’s easy to use and live with a 16GB iPhone for quite a long time.