Skip to main content

Apple kicks 16GB to the curb — no more low-storage iPhones

iPhone and iPhone 5s
iPhone and iPhone 5s (Image credit: iMore)

As part of Apple's spring updates across its iPhone and iPad line, it doubled the iPhone SE storage capacity without changing the price. This is fantastic news for 4-inch fans that need 128 GB of storage — you can have it all now. It also means Apple has officially done away with the 16GB storage option for all of its devices (except the iPod line), and the cost of doubling storage hasn't changed. In a world where photos, videos, music, and movies are taking up more space, it's good to see Apple making accommodations for that.

Why would anyone want 16GB of storage anyway?

"Gee, I could get 32GB of storage for the exact same price as the 16GB model, but I just don't need that much storage," said no one, ever. Price is the only reason I can think why a person would ever choose 16GB over a device with more storage.

Now that Apple has made the base iPhone of any model 32GB, every handset is on the same playing field, storage-wise. As an iPhone SE user, it seemed to me that Apple wasn't thinking right when it launched the 4-inch model with a starting size of 16GB of storage. Even though iCloud can reduce the amount of content we store on our devices, it still doesn't take into account such things as apps and books or media we want to download onto our devices for offline use.

One of the great features of Apple Music is that you can download your favorite albums and listen to them without depleting your cellular data usage. But anyone with only 16GB of storage will tell you that that precious space is likely used for such things as pictures.

Now maybe Google will stop making fun of Apple's low storage issues

Remember that commercial where Google spotlights its Google Photos app, which frees up space on your phone? That "Storage Full" pop-up hits a little too close to home for me. I've been on the receiving end of it before. If you only have 16GB of storage on your iPhone, chances are, photos and videos take up a large percent of it.

Critics (and fans) of Apple have been complaining about the 16GB iPhone for a while now. There never really seemed to be a reason to keep it around, especially in today's era of growing storage needs.

The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus started the trend last fall by having the base model start at 32GB. Many iPhone users celebrated the upgrade, but iPhone SE buyers missed out on the storage upgrade only a few months before, much to our chagrin.

It's about time

Though I would have been much happier if the premier iPhone SE started at 32 GB for the same price in March of 2016, it makes sense that the flagship iPhone 7 would get the upgrade first. I'm fairly certain there would be a level of outrage if Apple's entry-level iPhone got there first.

It's been a year since the iPhone SE launched and for some, that means upgrade time. Admittedly, I'm not planning on replacing my iPhone SE this year, but I'm not in a hurry to upgrade my storage right now.

If I had the 16GB iPhone SE, though, I'd be waiting in line on Friday morning for my chance at an upgrade.

In the meantime, I've got my eye on that Product(RED) iPhone 7. That beautiful color is hard to resist!

Are you happy to see the 16GB storage capacity option go the way of the dinosaur? Tell me how you feel in the comments section.

Lory is a renaissance woman, writing news, reviews, and how-to guides for iMore. She also fancies herself a bit of a rock star in her town and spends too much time reading comic books.  If she's not typing away at her keyboard, you can probably find her at Disneyland or watching Star Wars (or both).

  • Of course nobody knows exactly how much Apple's cost is for more memory, but I strongly suspect it has been relatively trivial vs the profit margin. So the 16GB models have existed mostly to increase margin by forcing people to spend for higher amounts. This probably should have happened at least 2 and probably more years ago.
  • Does this mean a new SE coming down the line? It's not going to have mass appeal like the 7 or 7 plus. But, there is a market for it. And, in my opinion, an underserved market. When my dad's LG died last month, I told him about the SE. He had been buying cheap smartphones that died after 6 months or so. He said the SE is perfect for him. He understands my need for the 7 plus, but he doesn't need it. Sent from the iMore App
  • I wish there were plans for a new SE, but I have a feeling we won't really see an upgrade for at least another year (like, March 2018). Though, it's totally possible Apple will add new features to the SE this fall. Maybe a faster processor or better FaceTime camera?
  • I Agree i dont think wr will see an upgraded SE till then what i have now is good and wont need an upgraded SE till then as this one is powerful enough for my needs Sent from the iMore App
  • My iphone SE will be good till 2018 m sure they will have something by then new for us SE owners Sent from the iMore App
  • Best thing about this? I don't have to hear my iphone fanboy friends tell why I don't "need" more than 16GBs, since everything is in the cloud, streaming, etc.
  • Wow, the fanboyism is that real with them, ehh?? I am not wasting my money on extra storage and data to keep uploading and downloading files between cloud and devices. Streaming?? Okay, good luck with that. Half of my transit commute so yet another reason to have the extra storage. Sucks for you to put up with that.
  • I use a 32gb iPhone 7+ as it was given to me. I had to use lots of those cloud services to offload videos and pictures after I made a local export on my computer. it was lots of work setting it up but after that I was happy.
  • Nice hitchhikers guide to the galaxy reference in the title. I bought the 64GB SE because I was worried about storage but I'm looking at it now and I've only used 12GB of it. iTunes Match helps a lot though
  • I am happy with my SE as is till 2018 Sent from the iMore App
  • Same. I was debating if I should up my storage but in actuality, I have had my phone for nearly a year and I have used 6.1 GB, even though I have a 16GB model. If there was a way to delete the iOS update off my phone (without installing it), I'll probably be using less than that actually.
  • I bought a 64GB SE a year ago mainly for the resale value over the 16GB. I have used less than 6GB. Love the phone, I only wish that it was like the 5C, with a non metal back. Personal preference, I don't like to cover up a phone with a case.
  • Yeah I'm with you. Had mine for almost a year too and only used 6GB.
  • The 5S is still available in 16gb.
  • Good riddance! 16GB won't be missed!
  • Yeah! Very happy. New apps every day, music, movies etc 16Gb can't survive. Isaiah Heart.