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How many minutes of 4K video will it take to fill up your 16GB iPhone?

September 10th, 2015 at 5:20 PM
iPhone 6s 4K Camera

Famed tech reviewer Marques Brownlee attended Apple’s special media event in San Francisco this week and managed to get little bit of hands-on time with the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus following Wednesday’s presentation.

During the course of a quick video review which touched on some of the device’s upgraded specs and new capabilities, Brownlee shifted his focus to the iPhone’s new beefed up cameras. Now it goes without saying that the ability to shoot 4K video is one of the more intriguing and impressive camera features Apple managed to incorporate into its new iPhone models. Still, all of that high-resolution clarity comes at a high price as it pertains to storage, especially considering that the base model iPhone still checks in at a paltry 16GB.

This of course begs the question: How many minutes of 4K video can one shoot and store on a 16GB iPhone?

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Thankfully, Brownlee’s video overview has that answered for us and the answer might surprise you. As you can tell from the following screenshot of the iPhone’s video preferences page, each minute of 4K video taken at 30 fps will occupy approximately 375 MB of storage. In contrast, and certainly not much of a surprise, that’s more than double the amount of storage space that video taken at 1080p and 30 fps takes up.

So let’s do the math.

If 1 minute of 4K video takes up 375 MB of space, it shouldn’t be difficult to see how many minutes of 4K video a 16GB iPhone can hold.

But before we get started, it’s worth highlighting that new iPhone models doesn’t truly come with 16GB of free space right out of the box. After all, we do have to account for the operating system. Using the iPhone 6 as a benchmark, let’s assume that a brand new 16GB iPhone 6s will, in practice, only have about 13GB or storage for users to play around with.

OK, now let’s get started.

At 375 MB of storage per every minute of footage, we see that 10 minutes of 4K footage would take up 3.75GB, 20 minutes of 4K footage would take up 7.5GB, and 30 minutes of 4K footage would take up 11.25 GB. Calculating to 13GB shows that a 16GB iPhone would deliver approximately 34 minutes and 40 seconds worth of 4K video.

Of course, this assumes that a user doesn’t install any third-party apps.

A life long Mac user and Apple enthusiast, Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 6 years. His writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and most recently, TUAW. When not writing about and analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions, the most recent examples being The Walking Dead and Broad City.

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