Not So Spacey: iPhone 7’s 32GB Memory May Not Be Enough, Says Report

First Posted: Sep 08, 2016 07:28 AM EDT

Apple CEO Tim Cook unveiled the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco yesterday. The new handsets are direct sequels to last year's iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus, and feature a new A10 chip, improved cameras, and stereo speakers. Though Apple has wisely ditched a 16GB option in the iPhone 7, but with 4K video, big apps and raw photos, you may get a lack of storage in the new model.

The First iPhone in 2007 came with what now seems a laughably inadequate 4GB supply of flash memory. But since then, app imagery quadrupled in size, video and photo resolution increased to look good on high-resolution Retina screens and iOS itself got bigger. The problem is that 32GB will soon feel just as bad. So if you plan on keeping your iPhone around for more than a couple years, considering shelling out the extra $100 for a higher-capacity model.

The tech industry breathed a collective sigh of relief Wednesday to see Apple release iPhone 7 and 7 Plus with 32GB, 128GB or 256GB of storage space and scrap the 16GB options for the last-gen 6S and 6S Plus, reports CNET. "Even consumers who use few apps but who use the iPhone 7 camera may appreciate the larger storage quantities in the new iPhone range," IHS analyst Ian Fogg said.

What's the problem?

Apps may be a big problem to the 32Gb iPhones due to their massive memory taking space. In the iOS 10, Lightweight apps are only 10 or 20 megabytes, but most of them are closer to 60MB or 100MB. Apple's Garageband is 1.5GB,Asphalt 8: Airborne is 1.7GB, Facebook is 151MB and Google Chrome is 175MB. Amazon Video with a movie and TV show downloaded for offline watching takes 4GB.

Then there are the high resolution photos, each shot is a few megabytes, but adding the short video information of Apple's Live Photos feature increases file sizes. On top of that, Apple has gradually increased camera resolution so each photo captures more pixels. One 18-second clip takes 40MB. And that's just with 1080p video; newer iPhones can shoot 4K video with quadruple the number of pixels and thus much larger file sizes.

Though there are a few tricks to get along without enough storage, but some of the pain is easing automatically. iOS 10 comes with a tool to optimize file storage. With streaming video and audio services like Netflix and Spotify becoming steadily more practical, media files don't take up permanent residence on your device. And cloud computing services like iCloud, Dropbox, Google Photos and Google Drive let you store documents and photos on servers connected over the Internet so you can free up storage.

"With cloud storage, 32GB iPhone should be OK for this generation," said Avi Greengart of Current Analysis. If you're happy with the apps that come already installed with the iPhones you'll be okay but if you are looking much farther, you should better go with at least 128GB.

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