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iPhone 6s survival guide: How to live with a 16GB iPhone

Updated Dec 19th, 2018 9:05PM EST
16GB iPhone 6s Storage Tips Tricks

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Apple has done it again: 16GB is still the amount of storage in the cheapest iPhone 6s. With preorders now live, many of you will be wondering whether you can survive for at least a year with a 16GB device, or whether they should simply spend an extra $100 for the 64GB version that offers four times more storage.

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With both the iPad Pro and new Apple TV, Apple is basically admitting that 16GB isn’t enough for the user. Each device has the base memory set at 32GB, which is something Apple is yet to do with the iPhone (and other iPad models for that matter).

The reasons are purely financial. The 16/64/128GB configuration is simply more lucrative for Apple than a 32/64/128GB setup, as the company can convert more buyers to the 64GB and 128GB tiers.

However, this year, the 16GB iPhone might not be as bad as you expect it to be – but be prepared for some compromises.

Work smarter

iOS 9 brings significant changes to the way storage is handled, which should be good news for existing 16GB iPhone owners who make the jump to the new OS next week, and to customers looking to buy the 16GB iPhone 6s.

For starters iOS, 9 requires a lot less storage than its predecessor. iOS 9 needs less than 1.5GB to run, compared to more than 4.5GB for iOS 8. That will free up additional storage.

Furthermore, iOS 9 has an app thinning feature that’ll ensure that only the app code your iPhone needs will be downloaded to your device.

Finally, the OS can automatically delete apps you have installed to perform future iOS 9 updates and then reinstall the apps automatically after the update is applied.

Tweak and sacrifice default features

Some features in iOS 9 will be storage hungry, and you should avoid them – or at least find ways to fix these storage issues. 4K video recording and Live Photos are two culprits. Slow-mo video recording is another, and so are HDR photos.

You will rapidly consume your storage if you like recording 4K videos and taking Live Photos. Even 12-megapixel pics and 5-megapixel selfies will require more storage space than before.

You can either disable these features, or just backup 4K videos and Live Photos on a regular basis.

Stream music and videos

Rather than downloading media to your device, you’d be better off streaming music (and there are many options, including Apple Music) and videos (many options available here too). If you absolutely want to store local content, clean up your phone from time to time. You don’t need all your music, or all your favorite TV show episodes with you at all times.

Delete extra apps

From time to time, you really should delete the apps you’re not using anymore. You can always reinstall them from the App Store if you need them, but there’s no point keeping them on the phone when you’re not using them. As for the ones you use, make sure they don’t become storage hogs by heading to Settings, the General and Usage, and cleaning up those that do.

Know your iCloud

If you don’t want to spend $100 on 48GB of additional memory, you might be interested in expanding your iCloud storage beyond the default 5GB bundled with Apple ID. You should know that Apple slashed prices for monthly iCloud storage subscriptions this week.

Just $0.99 per month gives you access to 50GB of storage instead of 20GB, while $2.99 offers 200GB, and $9.99 gets you 1TB of data.

As for that default 5GB of iCloud space, this guide will help you free up additional storage there before paying for additional space.

Meet all the other clouds

Obviously, you don’t have to buy cloud storage from Apple. There are plenty of other offers you can take advantage of from the competition. Google, Microsoft, and Amazon are just three of the cloud storage providers that you might be interested in checking out before buying a 16GB iPhone 6s.

Your computer is your iPhone’s friend

In addition to cloud storage, you can also rely on the storage space available on your computer. Move your pics and videos onto your PC or laptop as often as possible to prevent clogging up your phone. The same goes for music and videos.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.