How to Buy more iPhone Storage

Get some extra storage space on your iPhone

By Kevin Shaw - Editor
4 Min Read

Although the 128GB minimum storage is sufficient for most iPhone users, others may require a little extra. With phones like the iPhone 15 Pro shooting 48MP ProRAW photos, as well as 4K/60p video, storage space can get eaten up incredibly quickly. For that reason, 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 an alert if your device storage is almost full. You may not even be able to download new apps or update your OS before doing something about your storage. This article will answer your questions about increasing your iPhone storage.

How can I expand my iPhone storage?

The answer to this question is that you can not buy any additional internal storage for your iPhone. However, you can expand your iPhone’s storage capacity with external accessories such as flash drives. The iPhone physical storage is set when you bought the iPhone and cannot be increased. If you have just 64 GB storage capacity, your internal storage will stay 64 GB and it will probably fill up quickly. Some smartphones have expandable storage space but not iPhones.

External drive

As I’ve already mentioned, the iPhone physical storage is set when you bought the iPhone and cannot be increased. However, you can hook your iPhone up to external drives and expand your 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.

Newer iPhones (iPhone 15 and above) with USB-C ports can connect directly to USB-C storage devices, but older iPhones with lightning ports will need adapters to do the same.

Depending on your iPhone model and the storage device you’re using, you’ll want to acquire an appropriate cable or adapter, like lightning to USB-C, lightning to USB-A, USB-C to USB-A, or USB-C to USB-C.

It’s easy to use external storage drive with your iPhone. Start by connecting your iPhone to the external storage device securely using the appropriate adapter or cable. Your iPhone should recognize the external storage in a few seconds.

Once your external device is physically connected to your Apple device, you can use the native Files app to access the external device.

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

Another way to expand your iPhone storage is by using cloud storage services. Instead of saving photos, videos, music, audio, and documents on your iPhone’s internal storage, you can upload them to the cloud. This frees up space on your phone while still allowing you to access and share your files whenever you need them from any device with an internet connection. You can stream those media files from most services, too.

Popular cloud services like Dropbox, Google Drive, Google Photos, Microsoft OneDrive, and iCloud offer various storage options.

Apple’s iCloud is built in to iPhones and iPads, which makes it an easy choice for cloud storage. It offers 5GB of free storage space, and works pretty seamlessly, letting you just use your device like normal without worrying about constantly moving stuff between your devices and the cloud to maximize storage space.

Google Photos is great for automatically backing up photos and videos, but that’s all it can back up. Google Drive can store a lot of other stuff, but you do have to manually move stuff to it. Each Google Account includes 15 GB of storage which is shared across Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Photos.

Dropbox users can enable a feature called Camera Upload to back up photos and videos to your Dropbox account. Dropbox offers 2GB of free storage. Similarly, you can automatically upload your iPhone or iPad camera roll to OneDrive. Microsoft OneDrive offers 5GB of free storage with the Free account.

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 iCloud plans along with its 5GB free plan.
    • 50GB. This plan costs $0.99 per month and is generally plenty to back up both an iPhone and an iPad on the same Apple ID.
    • 200GB. This plan costs $2.99 per month and can be shared among all the devices in a family.
    • 2TB. This plan costs $9.99 per month and can be shared with a family as well.

If you want to buy more iCloud storage for your iPhone, follow the steps below:

  • Open the Settings app, then tap your name.
  • Select iCloud, then choose Manage Account Storage. Or scroll down and tap Upgrade to iCloud .
  • Choose your desired plan and follow the onscreen instructions.

Remember to manage your cloud storage periodically, deleting unnecessary or outdated files to optimize space and avoid exceeding limits.

Clean your phone

Most of the options I’ve discussed above are not free. If you do not want to spend money, you can free up space on your iPhone by deleting apps, photos, and videos. To see the available storage on your device, follow the steps below.:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap General.
  3. Tap iPhone Storage.
  4. You may need to wait a few moments, but you should see a graph at the top of the screen displaying how much free space you have and what’s using up your memory (media files, apps, photos, and so on).
  5. Under the Recommendations header, you’ll see suggestions on how to make more storage on iPhone. Tap on a suggestion to see what Apple recommends and take appropriate action.

Get More Storage Space on Your iPhone

The next time you purchase a new iPhone, know that it’s always a good idea to get the most storage you can afford. While an opportunity to save some money may be enticing, you could end up spending half of your phone’s lifetime shuffling files around and running out of space.

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By Kevin Shaw Editor
Kevin Shaw is a seasoned tech journalist based in Los Angeles with a penchant for all things Apple. He started writing about Apple products in 2007 and it's been a love affair ever since. He has spent over a decade testing and writing about iPhones, iPads, Macs, and other Apple products. In his spare time, he likes nothing more than catching up with the latest news and sports podcasts on the beach.
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