What iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus storage size should you get: 16GB vs. 64GB vs. 128GB?

The iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus come in three different storage options — 16GB, 64GB, and 128GB. Choosing between them is one of the hardest decisions for most iPhone buyers. Camera and video capabilities keep improving, App Store apps are getting larger, and the functionality of our iPhones keeps getting better. All of this comes at the price of storage space. This is why choosing a storage size that matches your particular use case is so important. The last thing you want to do is get the dreaded out of space error after only a few months of owning your new iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus. Luckily that's where iMore comes in! From start to finish, we can help you choose the most cost effective storage option based on how you use your iPhone!

Price per gigabyte breakdowns

The iPhone has always been sold at different price points based on the amount of storage capacity it contains. Each upgrade bump in storage will cost you an additional $100. If you're in another country, that may vary slightly but typically remains unchanged for most folks.

This year Apple dropped the 32GB model entirely, unless you're buying last year's iPhone 5s which is still a great phone. Assuming you're buying an iPhone 6 or an iPhone 6 Plus, here's the cost breakdown per gigabyte —

iPhone 6 on-contract with carrier subsidy

  • 16GB: $199 or $12.44 per GB
  • 64GB: $299 or $4.67 per GB
  • 128GB: $399 or $3.12 per GB

iPhone 6 off-contract at full price

  • 16GB: $649 or $40.56 per GB
  • 64GB: $749 or $11.70 per GB
  • 128GB: $849 or $6.63 per GB

iPhone 6 Plus on-contract with carrier subsidy

  • 16GB: $299 or $18.69 per GB
  • 64GB: $399 or $6.23 per GB
  • 128GB: $499 or $3.90 per GB

iPhone 6 Plus off contract at full price

  • 16GB: $749 or $46.81 per GB
  • 64GB: $849 or $13.27 per GB
  • 128GB: $949 or $7.41 per GB

If you think in terms of how much bang you get for your buck, the very best deal in terms of price per gigabyte is the 128GB model in pretty much any pricing scheme, for both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. However, keep in mind that this time around there is more to consider in that you're also paying for a larger screen in the iPhone 6 Plus.

For most people, I'd almost always recommend buying the 64GB model if you can afford it. For only $100 more, you're getting four times the storage capacity, and who doesn't value that? However, if you want the most bang for your buck where storage is concerned and money is no object, the 128GB model is the best deal on a per GB basis.

Local vs. Cloud storage

iOS 8 brings some serious changes to iCloud this time around. Namely, in the form of iCloud Drive. Gone are the days of only being able to store backups and selective app data in iCloud. Apple has torn down the caged walls and now lets you use iCloud Drive across all your iOS devices and Macs in the same way other popular storage services such as Dropbox and Google Drive have for years.

These changes also include brand new pricing for iCloud storage. The following pricing includes storage for your iCloud backups, Photo Stream, and any documents, photos, and videos you choose to store in iCloud Drive.

  • 5GB - Free
  • 20GB - $0.99/month
  • 200GB - $3.99/month
  • 500GB - $9.99/month
  • 1TB - $19.99/month

iCloud integrates seamlessly into iOS and OS X which means that there are no third party apps to download in order to access your stuff. You can then free up lots of storage space on your iPhone and still know that those photos, videos, and files are accessible via iCloud Photo Library and iCloud Drive from anywhere.

So before deciding on a storage capacity, decide whether or not you're going to take advantage of iCloud Drive. If the answer is yes and most of your current storage capacity is eaten up by photos and videos, iCloud Drive will alleviate that burden and may allow you to choose a smaller capacity iPhone if you need to.

Photos and videos

The iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus both sport 8 megapixel cameras on an all new sensor. More importantly, both of them support taking panoramas of up to 43 megapixels. When it comes to video, both devices support full 1080p HD at up to 60 frames per second. If you're taking slow motion video, increase that threshold to a staggering maximum of 240 frames per second.

All you need to understand about the above specs is that they can eat through a ton of local storage, very quickly. If you are the type of person that takes loads of photos and videos, a 16GB iPhone is probably out of the question unless you're using a cloud service such as iCloud Drive or Dropbox.

Apps, games, and media

Apps, especially games, can also take up a lot of space on your iPhone. It's not uncommon for some console-quality games to be well over 1GB in size these days. Basically, as chipsets get better, so do the apps that take advantage of them. Better graphics and higher frame rates come at a price, and again, it's physical storage space.

Then you have to consider other types of media such as movies and music. iTunes movies can be 1 to 3GB in size for SD depending on the length. If you prefer watching HD, they can easily eat up 3 to 6GB in storage. TV shows can be a quarter to half the size of movies, but more than make up for it by the number of episodes typically available. If you get your movies and TV shows from somewhere other than iTunes, you're still looking at about 400MB an hour for SD and over 1GB (sometimes way over) an hour for HD. Music files are generally quite small but can add up as well, especially if you have lots and lots of albums you want to keep with you everywhere. Even with something like iTunes Match or a similar streaming service, you need local storage for offline playback. Again, it all adds up.

Who should get 16GB?

If you don't use a lot of apps, if you don't want to have a lot of movies and TV shows, or a huge amount of music, if you don't intend to shoot and keep very many photos and video on your new iPhone — or if you're opting for a high tier iCloud Drive storage subscription, you'll probably be okay with 16GB.

Some people like to keep their iPhones light and handle all their gaming and media on their iPad. If that's you, save some cash and grab the 16GB version.

Who should get 64GB?

Apple shook things up this year by doing away with a 32GB option. The good news is, it means you get 4 times the storage for only $100 more. For most people, 64GB will be plenty of space and then some. You can store thousands of songs, lots of apps, a decent amount of photos and video, and still feel like you can breathe. If you're planning on using iCloud Drive in conjunction with your new iPhone, 64GB should be more than enough.

If you're planning on using your iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus as your primary means of consuming media content, or as your primary camera and video recorder, the 64GB model will serve you well for a long time to come.

Who should get 128GB?

Some people don't like cloud storage or don't want to have to depend on a data connection in order to access their stuff. Combine that with being a digital packrat and all of a sudden 128GB sounds appealing. It's probably safe to say that if you're even considering a 128GB model, you probably need it. You most likely fit into one of the two categories I just described as well, and you want everything with you, all the time.

If you want all the things with you, at all times, and money is no object, opt for the 128GB model. But you already knew that didn't you?

Still undecided?

If you're still not sure about 16GB, 64GB, or 128GB, jump into our iPhone discussion forums and the best community in mobile will happily help you out!

Also, remember, in most places you'll have time to try out your new iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus and return it if you don't like it. So, make sure, as soon as possible, you put your new iPhone through realistic paces. Load up all the apps and games you want with you, load up your movies and TV shows, go out and take some photos and shoot some video. Give it a complete and thorough workout. If it feels like you got too much storage, say 64GB and you haven't even gone past 2GB, or if you got too little, say you're already at 12GB of 16GB, then take your iPhone back and exchange it for one that better suits your needs.

If you come to this realization too late, after the exchange period is over, remember you can buy additional storage through iCloud Drive, or look at other options like Dropbox which will let you keep your stuff available online and potentially free up some much needed space on your iPhone.

iMore senior editor from 2011 to 2015.

  • Like most , wished Apple had dropped 16GB and started with 32GB but oh well ....Will have to get the 6 Plus with 64GB instead.
  • I was baffled by that at first too — until I wrote this article actually. Personally I think it's a marketing angle. Why would anyone buy 16GB if you get now get FOUR times the amount of storage for $100 more? Many people would have settled for 32GB being plenty. But why do that if you can get a good majority to fork over $100 more by making the next tier SO much more appealing? :)
  • Yeah why wouldn't you want to screw your customers?!
  • It is not "screwing" their customers, this is a business and an incredibly successful one at that. And like Ally said, it is a great marketing move on their part. Would I have liked that extra 16Gb for the same price? Of course, but I cannot blame Apple for a smart business move.
  • How does Apple go from 16GB to 64GB? How many people are willing to pay $750 for a smartphone? For the last few years at least Apple has offered a 32GB $649 iPhone and now customers are forced to spend an extra $100. And please don't tell me about the 16GB model. With as much $$money$$ as Apple has made over the years, they should start thinking about the working class people! What about those parents whose children want an iPhone 6 for the holidays and No Upgrade option is available? Just look what you can get for $550 on the Android and Windows phone side? -Rich
  • You're dead wrong actually. It was NEVER $649 for 32GB - it was $649 for 16GB, $749 for 32. Actually you're getting MORE storage. The pricing scheme is exactly the same except now 64GB replaced 32 and the top tier was nudged up. last year a 32 GB iPhone 5s cost you $749. This year a 64 GB iPhone 6 costs you $749. Not sure why you think you're getting ripped. The $100 bump in price is for the 6 Plus, which is understandable.
  • Allyson, I stand corrected. Thanks! -Rich
  • They should have kept the 32 gig and charged an extra $50. I am not happy that I have to shell out an extra $100. I currently have a 16gig which I constantly have to delete stuff off of just to do updates....then I can load it back on..really irritating.
  • Couldnt agree more Sent from the iMore App
  • You certainly don't live in Australia where we pay $1129 for the 64G model...
  • HA!!, that's correct!!! Sent from the iMore App
  • From a business perspective it is indeed brilliant. I should mention though that my current iPhone is 64GB. I use to say that don't need that much space, well I am well past the 16 GB limit, so I am stuck on at least 64GB. Sent from the iMore App
  • I'm not sure how brilliant it is to screw with potential new customers. For the first time I actually considered getting an iPhone but when I saw the memory limitations I decided against it. In 2014, 16gb with no expandable memory is a joke in my opinion. This alone made me dismiss these phones. I've been enjoying the smooth stability of Windows Phone for two years and really enjoy using it but, at times, I become curious about the app gap everyone talks about. I don't feel like I'm missing out on much if anything but I won't know without using another platform. I'm so happy with my windows phone that I figured even if I hated another platform I still have my old phone that works great. I was looking to avoid the instability of android and their sub-par cameras and was waiting to see what the iPhone 6 was going to be. The only reason for me to pay the premium price in my mind was for access to the apps. Now that is limited by ridiculously small storage space. I refuse to pay an additional $100 for 64gb when I will likely only use 18 to 28gb ever. If you're already entrenched in the apple universe I understand why you would rationalize this as being ok, but it's not ok, and instead of offering consumers good choices they've decided to force people into making a choice between two bad options. Now I'm looking to get a Galaxy S5 for $100 on contract. If I end up hating it, I can buy another Windows Phone for $150 without a contract and still have a great experience. With that, I've still spent less than iPhone's 64gb model. Please convince me I'm making a bad choice because I'm no fan of Android...
  • Amen to that brother!! I've been on an off with apple and android over the years and I can say I equally have likes and dislikes about both. I was going to switch back to apple with the 6 but, it looks like that's not going to happen. How can anybody justify 16gb in 2014? Especially, when I have this sub par Sony Experia Z1s with 32gb on board for half the price? I am so pissed because, I wanted one and never really liked samsung, well maybe just touch wiz but, I cannot justify paying that much of a premium. Just my opinion. To each his own.
  • Allyson, Great helpful informative article. The way I see it, if it is marketing to encourage all patrons to buy the 64GB phone, then what would they do with all the 16GB phones nobody bought? I think they're very clever and know that $200 is a price many people will pay, and they know just how many more are willing to shell out $100 for four times the memory. I think that number is more than if they had the minimum at 32, or the second tier at 32. In the end, I think they will sell every phone and every consumer will get what they can afford. Your article did prompt me to upgrade my iCloud storage. Now I just need to figure out how to store my photos on iCloud and have them download to my MacBook and not store on my phone.
  • Agreed!!! Sent from the iMore App
  • I'm getting the 64GB regular 6, probably in space grey. Do you know how much it costs with AT&T Next though?
  • I think the Apple site breaks that down - go to this purchase page on Apple: https://www.imore.com/e?link=https2F2Fc2F4736573FsubId126subId226u253A252Fwww.apple.com252F&token=-iLPl2OA There is a small gray box in the carrier area about Next, click on Learn More and it shows a chart :)
  • I am getting the same exact setup! I am paying $31.50 a month
  • Gonna get a plus in 64 GB to go with my androids. Hopefully it is easy to swap back and forth imessage not withstanding. The price of the iPhone 6+ is a bit more than my 5.5 inch 64GB OnePlus One lol! Posted via my Nexus 5
  • 100 bucks isn't bad for four times that storage, but when adding $100 to the price for the 6 Plus and then another $100 for the storage upgrade, I'm looking at double the price I have paid for an iPhone the past two times. That makes it a difficult decision--Do I go all out and spend $400 for a top of the line phone with plenty of storage, or spend $300 and decide between the 6 Plus with 16gb or the 6 with 64gb? This makes the decision a bit harder! I'm really liking the 6 Plus, but my 5 is always close to maxed out with 16gb.
  • Any intel on when the units will ship if you happen to order tomorrow and make it in the first shipment?
  • It's an absolute joke that they didn't increase the base model to 32gb. But we are talking about apple here. Completely expected as they can reveal next year extra storage as a main feature!
  • What a Rip! Sent from the iMore App
  • Add me to the list of people that are pissed that the base iphone isn't 32 gb. Lame.
  • Me too Sent from the iMore App
  • Here, here!!! Sent from the iMore App
  • As a pack rat who does not like relying on cloud storage for access, I'm getting 128 - I'm leaning towards the plus but still concerned about one handed use.
  • I plan on buying the 128GB iPhone 6 Plus, as I want to carry a LOT more music with me. I also plan to use it for gaming, something my iPhone 5 isn't always best suited for.
  • I too thought Apple was going to do away with the 16GB, and make 32GB the standard. Even if they kept things that way they were I was planning on going with the 32GB this year, simply because I'll be keeping it until next years model comes out. I guess I have no choice but to go 64GB now, well played Apple. Sent from the iMore App
  • With previous iPhone's, your $100 premium over the 16GB base phone would have got you 32GB. Now, for that same $100 premium, you're going to get 64GB and you're upset? Yes, Apple, well played!
  • I am always too conservative with these things. In the past, I've gotten the smallest config that still made sense that I could afford and always regretted it. This time around, I am pulling out the stops and getting the 6 Plus because I don't want to regret getting the smaller sized iPhone and the 128GB of storage so I theoretically won't run out of storage space in the next two years (which is when I will probably agonize over this decision once again). 16 GB has proven way to tight for pictures with my iPhone 5. I may want to take video with this new phone - something I have never really done before. And even though 64GB is way more than I have ever had before on an iPhone, I just don't want to feel like I under-purchased yet again. PS - Great coverage from iMore on all these announcements and specs. Definitely the best coverage of any site.
  • I too was going for a 32GB for my first iPhone but will now be opting for the 64GB, even better.
    Anyone know where I can find the new prices for iCloud storage charges in the UK?
  • You can find them if you scroll down to the iCloud Drive section here. Personally I think 200GB for £2.99 is crazy cheap so I'll probably go with that to start with:
  • Thank-you
  • http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5879 iCloud storage upgrade pricing When you sign up for iCloud, you automatically get 5 GB of free storage. If you need more storage, you can upgrade to a larger storage plan. From your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, or PC, you can upgrade your iCloud storage to a total of 20 GB, 200 GB, 500 GB, or 1 TB. If you upgrade, we'll bill you monthly. If you purchased an annual plan before September 10, 2014, your account was upgraded to a new annually priced plan. If you need to change your storage plan, you must choose from the monthly options. See the monthly pricing per country in the table below.
  • what happened to the 32GB models?
  • The iPhone 6+ is too big for me, it's the 6 or the 5s for me. Since, after 2 years of use of my 16 GB iPhone 4s, I have 8 GB still available, I only need 16 GB. However, if I get a 5s, the 32 GB is only $50 more. I would consider the 6 if I could find a holster I could live with.
  • Why didn't they unveil a 32 gb version!! Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Just preordered the 128 GB iPhone 6 plus yesterday. I mainly use my 64GB iPhone 5 for gaming, taking, storing and editing pics and to watch videos and am almost at full capacity
    I got the plus