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These are the tools you need to live with a 16GB iPhone

Published Apr 6th, 2016 10:10AM EDT
16GB iPhone SE Storage

Apple shocked fans with the iPhone SE’s low $399 price tag. For just $400 you get a compact phone that’s as powerful as the iPhone 6s and is superior to mid-range Android alternatives. The downside of buying this device is the limited storage that comes with the cheapest new iPhone. You still get just 16GB of memory to play with, which is a woefully small amount of storage in this day and age. However, there are ways of making the most of that limited storage without ever running out of space, which make the $399 iPhone SE a steal.

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Apple’s decision to stick with 16GB as the base storage tier for new iPhones is related to its bottom line. This marketing trick allowed the company to raise the average selling price of the iPhone, as more users decided to pay the extra $100 for 64GB of storage.

But there are tricks you can employ to make the 16GB iPhone a viable device.

First and foremost, you have to stop hoarding apps and media content. As CNET suggests, you should delete the apps you don’t frequently use, with games being the main storage hogs. Go to General, Storage & iCloud Usage, and Manage Storage to see what apps consume the most memory and delete the ones you aren’t using.

Removing apps that have web app alternatives, such as Facebook, is also a thing to consider for freeing up precious space.

Before you do anything, though, you might want to employ this clever trick for freeing up some space on the phone – essentially, if you try to rent a movie on iTunes that is larger than your available storage space, it will mysteriously free up space on your device.

Once you’ve deleted apps, do the same with pictures and videos. Rather than having them saved on your iPhone, back them up automatically to a cloud service, be it Apple’s iCloud, Dropbox, Flickr, or anything else. You can even back them up on your computer, and only keep some of them on the phone.

The simplest tool at your disposal is Apple’s iCloud. Head to iCloud, Photos, iCloud Photo Library (which has to be enabled) and then go for Optimize iPhone Storage. This option lets you send the full-size pics to the cloud, keeping smaller versions on the phone. Should the default 5GB of iCloud storage not be enough, then you can purchase additional iCloud storage.

One other photo and video related trick you can try is shrinking the files. That means recording 720p videos rather than 4K (go to Settings, Photos & Camera, and Record Video to make changes) and using a third-party camera app to decrease photo resolution.

Obviously, you can purchase third-party storage solutions such as the SanDisk Connect Wireless Stick 200GB for the iPhone that can connect to the device wirelessly. That way you don’t need extra cloud space, and you can easily transfer photos and videos from the phone to an external device that you can carry with you at all times.

Chris Smith
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 closely follows the events in 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.