What size storage should you get for the MacBook Pro?

Macbook Pro With M1 Chip
Macbook Pro With M1 Chip (Image credit: iMore)

What size storage should you get for the MacBook Pro?

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.Apple M1: 13-inch MacBook Pro (2020) (From $1,299 at Apple)Intel version: 13-inch MacBook Pro (2020) (From $1,799 at Apple)Look at that screen!: 16-inch MacBook Pro (2019) (From $2,399 at Apple)

What to consider

16-inch MacBook Pro (2019)

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

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 the computer's 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.

The choice

How to download and install macOS Big Sur beta to your Mac

How to download and install macOS Big Sur beta to your Mac (Image credit: iMore)

When looking for a Macbook Pro and deciding which storage size you should get, there are a few things to consider.

In late 2020, Apple introduced the first Apple silicon-based Macs. One of these is the MacBook Pro (13-inch, M1, 2020). The storage available on this model differs from the Intel-based models that remain on the market.

With this in mind, Apple currently offers the 13-inch M1 model with 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB, while the four-port Intel model comes with 512GB, 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB. The 16-inch MacBook Pro models comes with 512GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, or 8TB.

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

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

Are you 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 a choice. However, if you must decide on more storage or better memory, but not both, go with more memory.

Bryan M Wolfe
Staff Writer

Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.