Is an 8GB iPhone enough?
December 8, 2011 5:04 AM   Subscribe

I am upgrading to an iPhone. Wondering if the 8gb would be sufficient, or do I need a larger capacity?

I currently do not have a smartphone (I just have a regular cell phone). I have an iPod Touch (2nd Gen, 32GB) that I simply love. Instead of carrying around both my cell phone and iPod Touch, I want to combine them both and get an iPhone. Since the iPhone 4GS recently came out, I want to take advantage of the cheaper 4G deals (I really don't have a need for the 4GS at this time and the 4G would be very sufficient for my needs). I can get a 4G for $50, however here is the catch. I would much prefer a White phone over the black. I can get a White iPhone in 8GB for $50 (they don't have any of the White 16GB in stock) or I can get a 16GB Black phone for $50.

I really don't know how much space I need. With my Touch now, I have 32GB and here is my current usage - Audio 1.61GB, Photos - 0.01GB, Apps - 0.66GB, Other - 0.31GB with about 29GB Free. I have a huge library of music, but I have no desire to put it on my Phone/Touch (I just keep a small selection of songs on it and a regular rotation of about 20 podcasts). I don't have all of my apps on my Touch now, but I don't have a lot that I have to have on there. Whenever I travel, I like to add a movie or two to my Touch (never more than two), so I know that takes up space.

Anyway, just wondering if the 8GB White Phone will meet my basic needs or will I quickly realize that I need more space and should have opted for the Black 16GB. Thanks,
posted by dbirchum to Technology (19 answers total)
Get the 16GB - you'll put it in a case the minute you get it home anyway, and then it can be any color you want.
posted by ella wren at 5:11 AM on December 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

Yeah, I'd opt for more space and get a white case if the color really matters to you that much. The camera on the iPhone 4 is so much better (and the resulting files larger) than the iPod touch that you'll be glad you opted for more space if you ever want to shoot photos or videos with it. It's so much nicer to just have space and not worry about having to actively manage your content to avoid filling it up.

Like you, I don't keep a ton of media on my phone, but I have used up roughly half of the space on my 16 GB iPhone 4. The bulk of my usage is apps and app data, followed by photos, then music. You may find that with ubiquitous data access, you might start installing more apps that previously wouldn't have been useful on an iPod touch.

Also, it's iPhone 4 and 4S, not 4G and 4GS. The only reason I nitpick on this is so that you don't assume they have anything to do with "4G" cellular network branding (or speeds), because they don't.
posted by Nothlit at 5:33 AM on December 8, 2011

It's so much nicer to just have space and not worry about having to actively manage your content to avoid filling it up

that. +1

and, if the color really is important just put it in a case.
posted by zombieApoc at 5:35 AM on December 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

With iTunes Match you can have access to your whole music library on your iPhone without taking up much space.

Really, the only thing you'd need more than 8 GB for would be movies, lots and lots of pictures & videos, or lots and lots of large games.

I have certainly regretted getting iOS devices with too little memory in the past. But given your usage pattern I think you'd be fine with the 8 GB model.
posted by alms at 5:51 AM on December 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I vote go for the 8GB. I went from an 8GB (original iPhone), to a 16GB (3G), then back to the 8GB for a while, and then on to a 16GB 4S. I've never even come close to filling up 8GB; I'm using 3.2GB at the moment, and I'd have happily gone for an 8GB phone this time round if I could have got a 4S in that size. Like you I tend to rotate a small number of podcasts and a music selection, and I take apps off the phone if I'm not using them very often (not really to save space, just to declutter).

So I don't think there's any particular reason to believe you're inevitably going to run into space problems with an 8GB phone. Yes, there are some iPhone-specific things that might increase the amount of space you're using (like an increased number of apps you could install), but mostly it's to do with how you use it - and if you're not the kind of person who likes to have all their apps/music/photos/etc stored on the iPod, that's unlikely to change just because it's an iPhone.
posted by Catseye at 5:56 AM on December 8, 2011

The 4S reportedly has an excellent camera; I have an iPhone 4, which has a pretty damn good camera, and the number of pictures I take jumped dramatically when I got this phone. If you're the sort of person who's good at regularly deleting/transferring to your computer the pictures on your phone, then the 8gb will likely be fine. If you're like me and are lazy, or indecisive about which photos to get rid of, then go with the 16gb.
posted by rtha at 6:06 AM on December 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm going to vote for the 8 GB white. Most cases do not cover the bezel on the iPhone; there are a lot of other cases that make use of transparency to a much nicer effect with the white iPhone. And your usage needs would certainly be met by the 8 GB.

I really wanted a white iPhone; my husband laughed at my color stubbornness as he used his black iPhone 4 while I was still using my super slow 3G. I waited, and it was completely worth the wait. My cases & wallpapers look so much prettier than on the black iPhone.
posted by Kronur at 6:07 AM on December 8, 2011

Obviously, more space is always better. But it all depends on your usage pattern, and how willing you are to actively manage your storage. For me, 8 gigs is plenty.

I have an 8 gig iPhone 4, and I consider myself somewhat a power-user. I have more apps and games than I need, I download my music from iCloud, I stream podcasts, and do all the other things one would normally use a smartphone for.

The only time I ran out of space is when my podcast aggregator was set to automatically download the latest episode of all my podcasts. That filled up the storage in a hurry. I turned that option off (since I can easily stream), deleted the downloaded podcasts, and haven't had a problem.

I also don't keep a lot of music on the phone itself. I either use Pandora or (even better) Spotify to stream, or I grab what I want from my iCloud. Once something is out of heavy rotation, I just delete those songs from the device. (Just swipe across the song title and the "delete" button will appear.) It's easy enough to download it again when you want to hear it.

In general, I usually have over 1 gig free, and I could free up more space by deleting some unused apps. (Note that if you delete a paid app, you can re-download it any time without paying again.)
posted by The Deej at 6:17 AM on December 8, 2011

I agree with The Deej that podcasts (especially those that automatically update) are the biggest space consumer on my iPhone 4. I have a 16GB and I am always running out of space. If you don't intend to start listening to tons of podcasts, you can probably get away with the 8GB.
posted by cabingirl at 6:22 AM on December 8, 2011

If you're the sort of person who's good at regularly deleting/transferring to your computer the pictures on your phone, then the 8gb will likely be fine. If you're like me and are lazy, or indecisive about which photos to get rid of, then go with the 16gb.

You don't even have to do this. Photostream automatically saves your last 1000 photos to iCloud, making them available to your Mac or PC. You can delete them from your phone without losing them, as long as you download the oldest ones to your computer before they roll off of Photostream.

On Preview re: podcasts: Listen to as many podcasts as you want. Just stream them. If you do need to download (such as before heading into spotty coverage), just make sure to delete after listening. Most software has the option to automatically delete after listening.
posted by The Deej at 6:28 AM on December 8, 2011

A couple datapoints, in case it's helpful.

My girlfriend is using 4gb of her 16gb iphone. 2gb of that is video, which she watches at the gym then deletes. Clearly, she'd be okay with an 8gb phone. She doesn't take many photos or have that much music.

I am using 8.4 gb of my 16gb iphone. No video, 2 gb music, over 1gb apps (I have a lot of apps), a lot of photos (maybe 1000? - not sure how much space they take up). I've had my phone for more than a year, but I anticipate that I will add more photos and apps over time, so I'm VERY glad to have the 16gb model.
posted by insectosaurus at 6:47 AM on December 8, 2011

If you're 1 year+ into the iPod touch and using about 3/32 GB then all indications are that an 8 GB iPhone will be 'enough' (and by enough I mean sufficient for the next 3 years. Do you have a replacement cycle in mind?).

After that, it's about what you want.
posted by mazola at 6:55 AM on December 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

I replaced my older 3G with a new 4S recently, and it's damn-near full up at 64Gb, but that's me and I carry a lot of stuff on there, not just music.

Based on this...

With my Touch now, I have 32GB and here is my current usage - Audio 1.61GB, Photos - 0.01GB, Apps - 0.66GB, Other - 0.31GB with about 29GB Free.

... it seems clear that you don't use space much at all. Nothing about the new phones will require you to use it more than you already do.

So the 8Gb will be fine for you.
posted by rokusan at 7:21 AM on December 8, 2011

I agree that based on your existing usage patterns, the 8GB should be fine. Just check how much space you use when you've downloaded your "couple of movies" -- you might find 8GB isn't good enough, especially if you're talking about HD video.

Aside from that, you'd only find yourself running out of space if you suddenly start storing tons of video, photos, podcasts, or you go on a big app downloading spree. But since you could do just about all of these things on your iTouch right now and still aren't using up 8GB, there's no reason to think you'll suddenly have a space problem after you upgrade.
posted by Andrhia at 7:57 AM on December 8, 2011

The 8G should be fine considering what you're using on your Touch, and remember that if you invest some time in giving star ratings and making sure everything is labelled correctly in iTunes you can make the synch process a very flexible tool to fine-tune how much music is or is not on your phone at any one time. Personally I give star ratings to all songs and made a smart playlist for songs with 4 or 5 stars and just synch those. Since there's space left over, I can also choose an Artist and add the rest of that repertoire as well. If I need more space I just uncheck that artist and like magic the space is available for other things.
posted by mikel at 9:18 AM on December 8, 2011

My guess is that 8GB will be fine for you, and if it isn't, iTunes Match is $25/year, which makes it easy to listen to anything in your music collection as long as you have WiFi or cellular data connectivity.
posted by Good Brain at 2:09 PM on December 8, 2011

8 extra gigs trumps color every time

8 gigs is not even close to being enough unless you are going to store most of your stuff in the cloud, but a lot of cloud space is not free
posted by caddis at 2:10 PM on December 8, 2011

I don't think anyone else mentioned this, but I believe the iPhone 4 (as opposed to the 4S) is only available as an 8GB model now. If you want more space you'd have to get a 4S.
posted by stopgap at 7:37 AM on December 9, 2011

I could get along with 8 gigs pretty easily, especially with iCloud taking care of music. I would probably keep less apps I don't use hanging around, and I would transfer my pictures more often, but it's definitely doable for many people. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

and, if the color really is important just put it in a case.

Not everyone gets a case, and getting a black case is not the same as having a black phone.

I understand the desire for a case, and I've used one, but it does seem a bit ridiculous to buy an Apple phone, famous for their design, and then throw it in a clunky case that means it really doesn't matter how great the phone looks.

In other words, get the color you want.
posted by justgary at 11:50 PM on December 11, 2011

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