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How much storage do you really need on your smartphone?

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© nextpit

The amount of internal memory varies from device to device. In some cases, you could use a microSD slot, but this isn't always possible. How much memory do we really need on our smartphone? Well, it depends on how you use it.

The options on the market: what to choose?

There are a huge variety of devices out there for Android, all equipped with different internal memory and RAM. Depending on the price range, your options change, but you can see how far manufacturers have come with this compared to some years ago, especially in the mid-range where 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage are now the norm. For this reason, life is easier for Android users compared to iPhone users.

Manufacturers release devices with 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, and 512GB of internal storage. In fact in 2019 it's now even possible to buy a 1TB smartphone. At least, this is what it will say on your smartphones packaging, but these figures don't necessarily reflect the amount of space that is available to you. Part of this is taken up by the system itself and bloatware.

AndroidPIT Sony Xperia XA2 0180
Don't underestimate the space pre-installed apps take up on your smartphone / © NextPit

The low end: is 16GB enough?

Smartphones with just 8GB are quite rare now, and with good reason: just the files received on WhatsApp and a few photos are enough for the system to start lagging with such limited storage. Personally, I'd advise against choosing this option. 

You can just about survive with 16GB, but take this advice: you'll have to make sure you clean up your smartphone from unnecessary apps and take advantage of cloud services such as Google Photos, for example. Heavy multitasking and demanding games are a definite no, so therefore your experience is limited to general web browsing, emails, WhatsApp, and not much more. At the moment, some low-end smartphones still offer 16GB of storage, including Samsung's popular J line (J3 2017, J5 2017 and J7 2017).

32-64GB: a comfortable middle?

32GB is reasonable, unless you're used to taking a lot of photos and the cloud is still a world you don't know. In any case, this is a good solution for those who don't need a top of the range device, and don't require a lot of apps. Another example, again, is Samsung with its Galaxy A6 2018

A robust 64GB is a decent choice. This option allows you to have enough space for apps, photos and other files, and you won't have to deal with constant system slowdowns while playing games or multitasking. Fans of mobile games with good graphics, which can often take up several GB per game, should consider 64 at the very least. The Razer Phone 2 has a nice combination of 64GB storage and 8GB RAM, both fast and roomy enough for a games library with PUBG Mobile, Fortnite, Darkness Rises and so on on-board. The Samsung Galaxy S9, still a great phone now more affordable then ever, also comes with 64GB as standard.

128GB and up: never worry about storage again

128 and 256GB  are two options no longer reserved for the top flagships. Upper mid-rangers like the Samsung Galaxy A9 can boast 128GB amount, and even high-end devices from budget brands like the Honor View20 also pack plenty of storage at 256GB. The OnePlus 6T and the new Samsung Galaxy S10e also come in these configurations.

But to really stake your claim at the top in 2019, one must offer a whopping 512GB storage. A number previously unthinkable on a smartphone, but as we know, the numbers keep going up and up. The Xiaomi Mi MIX 3, among its many other attractive qualities, comes with 128GB-512GB storage depending on configuration. The Samsung's new Galaxy S10 can have up to 512GB, and the Galaxy S10 Plus can go all the way up to an absurd 1TB, or 1,000GB!

Suffice to say, that such an outrageous number may become more common years from now, but hardly anyone has a need to keep such vasts amounts of data on their smartphone. If money is no object, or if you're using your phone as a mobile workstation to create and edit videos, then you might be grateful that a smartphone can now break the 500GB mark. But most of us will struggle to fill up 128GB.

There is no definite answer

Your budget and the way you use your smartphone are the two factors to consider when choosing the best memory option to suit your needs. Media files take up a lot of space, and one way to solve this problem is to reduce photo quality in your camera's settings. However, this is not ideal if you're a keen photographer, so forget devices with 16 or 32GB is this is the case.

AndroidPIT Scott surviving 1
Would you survive with 16GB of internal storage? / © NextPit

Regarding apps, you can enjoy music and TV series by using streaming services such as Spotify and Netflix, for games though, it's different. Gamers: compromising isn't an option, you need to go for more storage. As for other users who only like to play games occasionally, you should ensure that you clean up unused apps, and any other type of unwanted files.

How much storage do you need on your smartphone?
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Go to the settings on your smartphone, how much memory do you have available? How much memory would you ideally like to have on a new device? Let us know in the comments.

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Jessica Murgia

Jessica Murgia

Italian editor and Android lover: with her, all the most intimate secrets of Android will be revealed! Chronic traveler, a lover of good wine and good food, Jessica is crazy for shopping and passionate about technology! What's never missing in her bag? A book, an MP3 player, her Android smartphone and an external battery!

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  • Jinjur Beard 1
    Jinjur Beard Jun 9, 2021 Link to comment

    need multiple slots for individual SD cards. 2 or more micro SD slots.

  • 1
    sheikh rasul Nov 6, 2019 Link to comment

    I have bought a slightly used Samsung j2 In Colombia for US $ 50 ! It functioned well with WhatsApp yahoo mail Uber for five months ! Only when Whatsapp upgraded on Oct 18 did I realize I was flying on 8 GB ! WhatsApp can come back on if I eliminate Yahoo mail and Uber , but to me the last 2 is most essential.I am not crying because I lost WhatsApp ! Because I really fly around the world every year with real keys to 4 houses ( tucked in my laptop bag ! ) situated in major world economies and cities .Go figure !

  • 1
    Girish Sep 14, 2019 Link to comment

    I have been using a 32 GB ROM J7 prime since 2 years. But it is definitely not sufficient now with Oreo OS and some vital apps consuming most of the memory. So I recently bought a 128 GB ROM phone as I know for sure 64GB will become unusable within a few months. I recommend a minimum 128 GB phone for buyers unless they are tight on their budget and are using the phone in a bare minimum manner.

  • Mr.JB 2
    Mr.JB Aug 8, 2019 Link to comment

    Well I already get an Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 and was in the dilema of 64GB or 128GB, have already an 128GB MSD, so I dont know (for now) if I really need 256GB of total storage, I think 64GB and 128GB MSD wii do the job just fine

  • 1
    Stephen W May 15, 2019 Link to comment

    It's frustrating that the carriers only order the low-end models of phones. Last year when I got my S9+, I choose it for 64GB of storage, vs the S9 only had 32GB. They had no options for anything more than 64GB. I have between 5-12GB of free space, depending on how many photos are on the internal storage. I have to keep transferring photos to my microSD card so I don't run out of storage. I use my 128GB microSD for holding my downloaded podcasts, audible books, photos, and videos.

  • 1
    Ann B Nash Mar 20, 2019 Link to comment

    Just got S10+ a week ago, brought over about 25gb of photos, videos, other files and I am all ready at 122gb. Not sure how it happened, but there must be a lot of bloatware on this phone. Luckily, I got the 1tb phone. Works great, though. Don't regret buying it.

  • 8
    Vijay Mar 19, 2019 Link to comment

    I currently have 11GB of the 32GB free, so I would be comfortable with 64GB storage.
    This 11GB would be zero if I added my music files to it.


  • 3
    Empress Trudy Mar 18, 2019 Link to comment

    within reason any small amount is sufficient. stuff everything on a cloud somewhere. uSD cards are still absurdly expensive and slow for what you get.


  • 2
    Comeware Mar 18, 2019 Link to comment

    I am a writer for app reviews, installed a bunches of apps on my Android phone. A big sized memory is required, so I chose the 128GB. And the size of your device is based on your needs.


  • 12
    Dick Bailey Mar 18, 2019 Link to comment

    There is a difference between memory and storage. Based on the title, I read the article expecting a discussion of the merits of 4,6,8 Gb of Ram. Instead, the article discusses storage, which is an individual's usage decision - not a technical issue. Disappointing.


    • 8
      Zaxx Mar 18, 2019 Link to comment

      yup...I CONSTANTLY see this brain fart...and these writers are techies?? smh...

      Stephen WSorin

      • 2
        HiL Oct 10, 2019 Link to comment

        It litterly says in the much storage do you really need....dude your blind

  • 8
    Zaxx Mar 18, 2019 Link to comment

    Another recycled article. Poll is missing the 16gb option. The answer is a min. 16gb WITH an option for an SD card.


  • 27
    Sorin Mar 18, 2019 Link to comment

    The principle of "the most memory is the better" does not mean that the phone will go better, just the waste of money. If you need more storage, you have the microSD card available. As well, cloud solutions can be used for storage, with Internet access speeds now at very high levels. As well, for those who need to store lots of files, the portable version has the ability to save to an external SSD connected to the phone via the USB port.
    On the opposite side, a 1TB storage phone seems stupid, a smartphone is still a smartphone, and it's not a computer or a graphics station, or a camcorder to need such a waste of shocking space. Because in this case, the current consumption is higher, the battery needs to be bigger, and hence harder, and the problems are chained.


  • Rusty H. 33
    Rusty H. Mar 18, 2019 Link to comment

    My previous 2 phones had 64, plus the option for an external SD. I never even filled 1/2 of that space. Photos, generally are on my Adobe cloud account. Music, I stream. My phone now has 128 meg...I'll never fill half of that.


  • 3
    MemphisReins29 Mar 19, 2018 Link to comment

    Normally I am the opposite when it comes to sounding like a stereotypical gay man, however when it comes to Flagship Smartphones I personally feel the bigger the better & the more memory the better, I hate to sound like a size queen but when it comes to Android Smartphones the bigger the better & the more memory the better & the best new hitech goodies that's packed in with the larger size of the phones is hands down the best device on the market, they can't be beat, especially not Samsung, the rein over the Smartphone industry.
    the only time that I've wanted a phone that hasn't been a Samsung Galaxy S Plus or Note
    is an 2016 or 17 when Hawaii came out with the Hawaii honor Note 8 which is a 6.6 inch screen and it's a full titanium body it has been just like to know it is a beautiful device and it's huge and it's a good solid son that come with good solid processors and good solid technology packed inside however it is still wasn't the top of the line for Hawaii which I thought was a joke they should have put top-of-the-line technology in that phone and it should it should be there flagship phone around the world
    but I was going to get that phone I was going to buy the Hawaii honor Note 8 but it's it is not available in the US b/c it it did not get approved to be released in the states which was total freakin BS but anyway I hope that the Hawaii Honor Note 9 comes out and it comes packed the 6.6 inches & titanium body & top of thd line screen as far as resolution & crack resistant & is fully waterproof & packed with all of top of the line technology inside of it with no expense spared and I hope it is released in the states & if it does get released in the states then I will actually consider leaving Samsung for the 1st time sine the Samsung Note 2 came out, I have a feeling that's not gonna happen though so I will not be leaving Samsung, so I'm hoping that Samsung will make a competitor for the Huawei Honor Note & Note 9 with 6.6 inch screen & a titanium body & packed with the highest tech available & be fully waterproof & have 265 gigabytes of storage & be able hold 400 gigabytes SD-Card or more, if Samsung comes out with a phone like that then I will be buying it & I will continue buying it generation after generation.

    ComewareSorinCharlotte Kidwell

    • 2
      Charlotte Kidwell May 11, 2018 Link to comment

      I have to say I agree with you about the biggest and best if one can afford it. I have the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus with 128 gigabytes of storage (after inserting a micro SD card). I love this phone and don't plan on upgrading anytime soon. I've owned phones from other manufacturers but have found Samsung to be the best so far. With other phones coming in from manufacturers I'm not familiar with, there could be a non-Samsung flagship phone in the future. I guess we'll have to wait and see. 🙂


      • 2
        HiL Oct 10, 2019 Link to comment

        Samsung's trash, pleb

    • 1
      Darcy M Oct 15, 2019 Link to comment

      Dude, try using some punctuation so people can understand wtf you're talking about.

  • Ghost_dev 4
    Ghost_dev Mar 8, 2018 Link to comment

    64gb and 4 ram (?) for medium range phones


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