16-inch MacBook Pro (2019)Source: Rene Ritchie / iMore

Best answer: The amount of storage to buy on your new laptop mostly comes down to how you plan on using it and price, although not necessarily in that order. Just don't buy the cheapest models available.

What to consider

When selecting new mobile devices, such as iPhone and iPad, I've always followed the practice of not selecting the one with the least amount of storage, nor the one with the most. That decision has served me well over the years. My thinking on computer storage is similar with some added context.

A Mac, unlike a mobile device, is going to spend many years in your possession. As such, you're likely going to accumulate many software titles and files throughout its lifecycle. Therefore, you must have enough storage as your needs inevitably grow. Couple this with how Apple makes it nearly impossible to swap out flash storage on MacBooks post-purchase, your choice of storage is a permanent one that you'll have to live with for a long time.

I've never been crazy about Apple's decisions when it comes to storage. The iPhone 11 Pro series, for example, like previous versions, begins with 64GB, then jumps to 256GB. On the one hand, it's nice Apple offers 64GB for entry-level customers. However, because the company makes it simple and inexpensive to download and enjoy Apple Arcade games and Apple TV+ series, that's probably not enough for most users. Unfortunately, it also decided not to offer the iPhone 11 Pro with 128GB, which I believe would be more than enough for most consumers. Call it the sweet spot. Instead, it offers 256GB, which is likely overkill for many.

The choice

Back to the MacBook Pro, Apple offers the 13-inch MacBook Pro (2020) with 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB, where the 16-inch model comes with 512GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, or 8TB.

I don't believe 256GB is nearly enough for most users and that minimal amount of storage should be avoided.

Sticking with my thoughts about not buying the least expensive model, I would suggest going with 512GB for the 13-inch model and 1TB for the 16-inch model, at the minimum. If money is less of a factor, consider bumping that up to 1TB and 2TB, respectively.

Are you a creative?

If you are a creative or photographer, who needs to store lots of files on your MacBook Pro, by all means, bump up your storage even further. If you can afford it, make the choice. However, if you must decide on more storage or better memory, but not both, go with more memory.

Pick it up

13-inch MacBook Pro (2020)

Perfect size for most folks

When portability is most important, go with the 13-inch MacBook Pro (2020) with at least 512GB.

The best of the best

16-inch MacBook Pro (2019)

Bigger screen, better internals

When bigger is better, check out this model and pick the internals to match your needs. At the minimum, go with 1TB.

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