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What iPhone 12 storage do I need?

By Prakhar Khanna November 4, 2020, 5:00 pm
iPhone 12 storage

Apple is launching four iPhone 12 models this year, namely: iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max. While the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro are now available for purchase, the iPhone mini and iPhone 12 Pro Max will be available on November 13. Their pre-orders start on November 6. However, before purchasing any of the new iPhones, you must be wondering “What iPhone 12 storage do I need?” Worry not, we are here to help you decide by breaking down the fine details that you need to know before buying the new iPhone.

iPhone 12 storage: What variants does the lineup have?

The new iPhones come in three storage variants each. While the iPhone 12 series consists of 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB storage options, the iPhone 12 Pro lineup starts at 128GB, and goes up to 512GB with a 256 gigs model in the middle. Let’s break down the price per gigabyte to get a better sense of what you are paying for.


iPhone 12 series: Price per gigabyte

iPhone 12 mini iPhone 12
64GB – $699 / $10.92 per gigabyte
128GB – $749 / $5.85 per gigabyte
256GB – $849 / $3.32 per gigabyte
64GB – $799 / $12.48 per gigabyte
128GB – $849 / $6.63 per gigabyte
256GB – $949 / $3.71 per gigabyte

iPhone 12 Pro series: Price per gigabyte

iPhone 12 ProiPhone 12 Pro Max
128GB – $999 / $7.80 per gigabyte
256GB – $1,099 / $4.29 per gigabyte
512GB – $1,299 / $2.54 per gigabyte
128GB – $1,099 / $8.59 per gigabyte
256GB – $1,199 / $7.80 per gigabyte
512GB – $1,399 / $2.73 per gigabyte

As you can see from the tables above, the 256GB variant is the most value for money option for the four phones. However, you might not want to spend above $850 on any of the iPhone 12 models, and personally speaking, 256GB might also be too much for some of you. Separately, if you are in the market for the most affordable new iPhone, 64GB iPhone 12 mini is the way to go, but it might now be the best bang for your buck. This is where iCloud comes into play.

Golden iPhone 12 with 128 gigs of storage

As for the iPhone 12 Pro series, it starts at 128 gigs, which should be sufficient for the average user. However, it might not be enough for some power users. Plus, these smartphones include extra camera prowess, especially the iPhone 12 Pro Max, so you might want to get the 256GB variant at least. But you might not have the extra $100+ to spend on doubling the storage, and that’s where the Apple iCloud comes into play.

Do you use a lot of third-party apps?

Before making a purchase decision, you must ask yourself if you’ll be storing a substantial amount of apps and games on the phone. With millions of apps and games available on the App Store, you might want to experience a few to make the most of your new iPhone 12.

While most apps are small in size, some games tend to go over 1GB of space, and if you are purchasing a new iPhone 12 to play games on it, 64GB is definitely out of consideration. I suggest you go with at least 128GB of storage for this kind of usage. However, if you want to download without worrying then go for 256GB or even 512GB if that’s what you need.

Will you take advantage of the powerful cameras?

The new iPhone 12 lineup sports a dual rear camera setup, while the iPhone 12 Pro series come equipped with three cameras on the back alongside a LiDAR sensor. The iPhone 12 Pro can do HDR video with Dolby Vision up to 60fps, 4K video recording at 24/30/60fps, Slo-mo videos at 1080p at 240fps, Night Mode time-lapse, and more.

Two different iPhone 12 models with different storage

Now, it’s up to your usage. If you don’t plan on shooting a lot of 4K videos and clicking a few pictures, you can go with the 64GB model. But if you plan on clicking a lot of pictures including portraits, you better spend your money on the 128GB variant. However, if you plan on using the cameras for clicking a lot of photos and some videos, go with the 256GB version.

If you are primarily purchasing the iPhone 12 Pro or iPhone 12 Pro Max to take 4K videos or make a lot of content, it is advisable to purchase the 512GB model.

Stream or store content?

The new iPhones feature a beautiful display. From the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 mini to the 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max, all four devices can view videos in HDR and are suitable to play audio files including podcasts, music, audiobooks, and more. If you are someone who consumes a lot of media, you must decide if you’ll be streaming content or storing it locally on your phone.

If you always stream content and don’t plan on downloading anything, you should be fine with 64GB on the iPhone 12 series. But if you have some video and audio files downloaded, then you better go with the 128GB variant. However, if you think you’ll be constantly downloading content on your device, you must spend your money on the 256GB or 512GB model, depending on the kind of media you’ll be consuming.

Is iCloud the way to go?

With the purchase of a new iPhone 12, you’ll also get 5GB of iCloud storage for free. But let’s face it, it’s 2020, and 5GB is going to be insufficient. Hence, you might want to spend a bit more on the Apple iCloud serve, especially if you want to backup and sync data between your devices. You can store photos, videos, contacts, app data, calendar, mail, notes, and reminders on iCloud. Additionally, it’s not just for your iPhone. You can backup data from your iPad, macOS as well as the Apple Watch.

Apple iCloud storage tiers:

  • Free: 5GB of storage
  • $0.99/month: 50GB of storage
  • $2.99/month: 200GB of storage
  • $9.99/month: 2TB of storage

You should be fine with 5 gigs if you don’t use many iCloud features, or if you are already paying for another cloud service like Google Driver or Dropbox. However, this option might not be viable in the long run, and you’ll need to purchase an iCloud subscription.

Four iPhone 12 Pros of different color

If you want to save a few documents in iCloud Drive, and backup some phones and videos to iCloud Photo Library, 50GB is enough for you. But if you have a substantial amount of photos and videos, you might want to opt for the 200 gigs plan. Moreover, you can sync the data across all your Apple devices.

If you keep your new iPhone 12 for 2 years and purchase the 200GB iCloud plan, you’ll end up paying approximately $71 in 24 months, which is less than spending $100 more on doubling the storage of your iPhone. However, if you have multiple Apple devices, and all of them need a backup, get the 2TB plan.

Who should get the 64GB iPhone 12 series?

If you are heavily invested in the iCloud environment, and you would just store a few files and documents, stream most of the content, not shoot a lot of 4K content, and have limited third-party apps, 64GB should be enough for you. While it would be the worst value for money on paper, it might just be enough for you.

iPhone 12 mini 64GB

The iPhone 12 mini is smaller and lighter than the iPhone 12. It weighs just 133 grams, and Apple is calling it the smallest and lightest 5G-ready phone out there.

Who should buy the new iPhone with 128GB storage?

If you are going to use your phone with mixed usage of streaming content and storing files including some 4K content shot on iPhone, 128GB should be enough for you. It is the middle ground, and I suggest you spend $2.99 per month on iCloud storage rather than spending more than $99 on doubling the storage.

iPhone 12 128GB

The iPhone 12 features a 6.1-inch OLED display with the Super Retina XDR technology and a resolution of 2532×1170 pixels alongside packing new camera features.

Who should get the new iPhone with 256GB storage?

The 256GB variant is especially recommended for the iPhone 12 Pro Max since it sports the most advanced cameras in the lineup. If you are purchasing the Pro Max, you are likely to use a lot of its camera prowess to shoot 4K content and click a substantial amount of images. It should be enough if you stream content and have limited third-party apps on your phone.

iPhone 12 Pro

iPhone 12 Pro 256GB

The iPhone 12 Pro is smaller variant of the iPhone 11 Pro Max. It gets a slew of camera updates, and support for Apple Pro RAW that offers benefits of multi-frame processing and combines them with a raw format.

Who should purchase the 512GB iPhone 12 Pro or iPhone 12 Pro Max?

The 512 GB iPhone storage is recommended for power users who want as much space on their phones as possible. With this variant, you’ll have the option to store a lot of content offline, shoot 4K videos, click a lot of photos, and make use of the most advanced camera setup on an iPhone. Moreover, this is the best bang for the buck!

iPhone 12 Pro Max 512GB

The iPhone 12 Pro comes with a host of new features including a bigger display, better cameras with support for Apple Pro RAW alongside a LiDAR Scanner. It is the first camera smartphone with iPhone 12 Pro that can record Dolby Vision HDR.

After reading this, we hope you’ve now decided which variant suites your needs. We have done our best to break it down for you, but in the end it comes down to what your requirement is. If you go Pro, you will be getting 128 gigs in the base variant itself. This means, iPhone 12 Pro users will have double the storage in the base variant. However, spend more and get the 256GB model or even the 512GB version if you need it.


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