How to Buy more iPhone Storage

Your iPhone comes with a set storage capacity. This capacity may range from just 16GB all the way up to 1TB. This storage holds the iOS operating system and your applications, and files such as documents, pictures and music. Especially if your device has a 16 GB or 32GB storage capacity, you may be running out of storage pretty quickly. If that’s the case you may ask yourself these questions:

  • Can I buy more storage for my iPhone?
  • What can I do if there is no available space left for my apps, photos or other content?

Sometimes you may get a Storage Almost Full message. You may not even be able to take new photos or videos before doing something about your storage. This article will answer your questions about increasing your iPhone storage.

iPhone storage full

How can I expand my iPhone storage?

Let’s start with this one. The answer to this question is that you can not buy any additional internal storage for your iPhone. However, you can add more storage with external accessories. The set storage capacity that came with your phone when you purchased it cannot be changed and you cannot add additional physical storage. If you have just 16 GB storage capacity, your internal storage will stay 16 GB and it will probably fill up quickly. Some smartphones have expandable storage space but not iPhones.

External drive

As stated before, you cannot change or upgrade the internal drive. However, you can use an external storage drive with your iPhone. This will let you expand your iPhone’s storage. These are usually called “plug-in flash drives” or “mobile drives”. They can be USB drives or SD cards. They are designed to increase your iPhone’s storage. To use them, you just plug them into your lightning port. Then you can use the Files app to manage your files. The advantages to using this kind of external physical storage include:

  • A fixed, one-time cost to purchase the hardware; no ongoing subscription costs.
  • External storage is easy to use.

Cloud storage

There are many cloud options: Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive and Apple’s own iCloud. iCloud offers 5GB of free storage space.

There are three main differences between external drives and cloud storage.

  • Cloud storage relies on a cellular or Wi-Fi connection. Uploading large files may take time and could be costly depending on your cellular data plan.
  • Cloud storage uses sync technology and most things are automatically done in the background so you don’t need to worry about forgetting to backup.
  • With cloud storage, there are recurring monthly fees if you require more storage than what is available with the free plan. For example, Apple offers 3 paid plans along with its 5GB free plan.

If you want to buy more iCloud storage, go to Settings > Your Name > iCloud > Manage Storage > Change Storage Plan.

iCloud Plan

Clean your phone

Most of the options I listed above are not free. If you do not want to spend money, you may want to clean your phone’s storage; delete the apps you never open, browse your photo album and find photos and videos you don’t want. I, for example, have a lot of screenshots I won’t need anymore and that I should delete. You can see the storage details on your device by going to Settings > General > iPhone Storage. You will see the storage taken up by your various apps. Your iPhone will also have a list of recommendations that you can follow.

iPhone storage setting

If you send and receive a lot of media files such as videos, GIFs, etc. via Messages or a third-party messaging app, it may store a lot of files on your iPhone. It is often the case that these files are not something you want to keep forever. You can delete these large files from Messages or other messaging apps like WhatsApp. We previously wrote about how you can free up WhatsApp storage.

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Dr. Serhat Kurt worked as a Senior Technology Director. He holds a doctoral degree (or doctorate) from the University of Illinois at Urbana / Champaign and a master’s degree from Purdue University. Here is his LinkedIn profile.

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