As I conjectured back when it was first rumored that the new iPhone 6s would get 4K video recording capabilities, iPhone 6s owners will have a hard time maintaining space if they shoot even a moderate amount of Ultra High-Definition video on a 16GB iPhone 6s.

First and foremost, the 16GB iPhone features about 12 GBs or so of usable storage space. 4K video, while amazing looking, uses 375 MB of storage for every minute of video shot. It doesn’t take a mathematician to quickly discern that 4K video will eat through 12GBs of storage space in relatively short order.

Some simple math shows us that shooting just 32 minutes of 4K video would completely exhaust 12 GBs of storage. Yes, one 32 minute video—one dance recital, one baseball game, one camping adventure—would completely fill up a 16GB iPhone 6s. And that’s assuming that you have nothing else stored on your phone.

What if you don’t normally shoot long form videos? Just thirty 1~ minute videos would almost completely exhaust your storage.

Fortunately, users aren’t forced to shoot 4K video. Apple has made it so that we have the option of switching between 720p at 30fps, 1080p (30 or 60 fps), or 4K at 30fps.

Lesser resolution videos use a lot less storage per minute than 4K videos. Here’s the full breakdown:

• 720p30 = 60MB/minute (1MB/second)
• 1080p30 = 130MB/minute (2.2MB/second)
• 1080p60 = 200MB/minute (3.3MB/second)
• 4k30 = 375MB/minute (6.25MB/second)

Here’s the deal: 16GB iPhones are great if that’s all you can spring for in the money department, just know what to expect when it comes to shooting video. If you want to take full advantage of the iPhone’s new capabilities, I’d highly suggest you opt for a 64GB iPhone 6s if at all possible.

If you plan on using the phone extensively for shooting 4K videos, I’d have to go ahead and recommend a 128GB iPhone. That phone would probably have somewhere in the ballpark of 120GB of usable space, which means you’d be able to shoot 320 minutes (5.3 hours!) of 4K video before exhausting your space.

The 64GB iPhone would get somewhere in the ballpark of 155 minutes (2.5 hours) of 4K video, definitely not shabby, but 128GB is where it’s at for extra-prolific video shooters. Remember, it’s not like you can go and slap an SD Card inside one of these phones. Get as much space as you can reasonably afford.

With all of this in mind, which iPhone will you opt for during Saturday morning’s pre-order frenzy? I shoot a lot of video, but I think 128GB is too much for my shooting habits. I’ll be opting for a 64GB iPhone 6s Plus. Why a Plus? Here’s why the 6s Plus is better for video.

• Dante Arellano

Yo are stupid if buy 16gb iphone

• I wouldn’t say that, maybe that’s all a person can afford. But it’s definitely not advised…4K video or not.

• Cameron

i would still say that because they can get an older model at a larger size.

• blu

But an “older” model will not have 4k video, negating the need for more storage.

• Bobdole

Hi jeff,

FYI it was confirmed by anandtech you can shoot slow mo 720@240 or 1080@120!

375mb for 1080@120
300mb for 720@240

• Dante Arellano

16gb is not enough with or without 4k

• blu

On my current 16 gig phone, I have 2.3 gigs of free space and 8 minutes of video. This is after almost a year of owing the phone, and 5 minutes of that was me playing with the slo-mo feature when I first got it.
I don’t shoot video, so again, please explain why I am stupid for getting a 16 gig phone. It would be stupid for me to spend an extra \$100 for something I don’t need or use.
Now I do agree it is stupid from a consumer viewpoint for Apple to not offer the 32 gig phone as the entry level (as well as stupid for the \$100 price increase of 48 gigs of storage between the 16 and 64).
From a business perspective, it is brilliant. This article proves it, spend the extra \$100 “just in case”. If the base model was 32 gigs, that would not be said. 32 gigs would suit the “average” phone user’s video storage needs (and I admit I am below average in that area 🙂 ).
Then again, I personally don’t see the point of 4k video since I have nothing that plays that resolution (aside from the fact of not shooting much video). And there is the option of 1080p video, which I will probably set my new phone to when I get it. This will give me plenty of space to record the amount of video I need, especially since iOS 9 has a smaller footprint than iOS 8.
For those that shoot a lot of video and want it in 4k, then yes, 64 mb is the minimum you should get.

• eXoguti097

Simple answer for me, my music doesn’t fit in the 12GB available along with my pictures and shared photostreams

• raulortiz318

I was wondering something. With the recent iCloud pricing, it would cost \$48 to get 200GB of storage for one year, which comes out to cheaper than the \$100 charged for onboard storage.

If you have a 16GB iPhone, are you allowed to shoot pictures and video past 16GB if you are using iCloud photo?

I’m not sure how it works if you have to constantly delete the photos you have stored on the device so you can shoot more, or if iCloud handles the management for you.

If you download a lot of apps, this is a moot point, but if its mainly photos and video taking up storage, maybe the 16GB could still be a viable option if using the new iCloud pricing.

• Dante Arellano

Whats iphone 5?

• 5723alex .

If you don’t have the money for 128GB iPhone you have the money for a 4K TV as well.

• Skoven

But at some point you properly will have a 4k monitor… and then your “oversized” 4k videos will be appreciated!

• 5723alex .

At that point you will also have the money for a 128GB smartphone.

• Skoven

That wasn’t really my point… my point was that people SHOULD shoot in the highest resolution possible now (for videos they want to save for a long time) even if they are only able to show 1080p on their monitor right now. At some point the will have a 4k monitor, and regret not shooting in 4k, when they had the chance.

• Apple is stupid for not making it 32Gb minimum. the know very well 16gb is not good enough for these new phones features.

• Rowan09

No they are smart because if you’re taking a lot of pictures and videos 64GB should be your minimum. You can still survive with 16GB but you’ll have to take your videos and pictures off with cloud storage and there’s a ton of them.

• Joey_Z

Again, Apple makes more money by offering 16gb as the entry level phone. They won’t lose people who don’t care storage, and they will basically collect \$100 more from people who would have settled for 32GB by upgrading to 64GB.

• Greg Warren

I wouldn’t call them “stupid” for not making the minimum 32GB. From a business standpoint it’s a very calculated and shrewd move. People will perceive that they get 48GB more for only \$100 extra (or quadruple the storage for \$100 extra). Pick your preferred marketing verbiage.

From a consumer standpoint, it seems very “stupid” because we want more for less. For the record, I have been very critical of Apple for not moving up to 32GB as the base model as well. If they really and truly want to push 4k on us, they need to make 32GB the standard. I believe we will see it in next year’s iPhone 7 revamp.

• Rowan09

Yes and for the 16GB people the up sell is cloud storage. Anyone that has a space issue with media should have cloud storage at minimum.

• Dan

• Rowan09

How by forcing them somehow? I can’t afford a M5 if I own a 5 series, but it’s not BMW’s fault to make sure I can.

• Dan

You can’t possibly defend the fact that they have 16/64/128 instead of 32/64/128. They know most people would be happy with 32, but are obligated to buy the 64 since 16 is not enough in this day and age (Apple knows this all too well). Thus 100\$ in Apple’s pocket. It’s a big win as well since storage is dirt cheap. It’s genius really, but they are b@stards for doing it.

• Joey_Z

But, don’t forget you are getting 64GB for the same price of a 32GB phone previously.

• Rowan09

I agree they should give 32GB as the minimum but what is their reason happiness of cheap people? If someone can afford an iPhone and the plan they can also afford the \$100 for more space or cloud storage. They gave 64GB instead of the 32GB which was a plus for me because that was what I always purchased and genius on their part because if they did make 32Gb the lowest storage I couldn’t go back.

• Dan

Yeah it’s a win for those who would of paid for 32GB I’ll give you that.

• iFLoWx7

The iPhone 6s doesn’t come in 32gb.

• Disqus

What! That’s super un-cool, Apple! How dare you! Pfft and then you have the gall to sell a 64 for the same price as the 32 I bought previously? I got screwed that year! Apple sucks! Because I don’t understand how businesses work! But it’s not my fault! Boo!

• George

If apple can afford to sell the 64gb for the same price as the 32 they can afford to do the same with 16gb and make the standard 32gb.

• Rowan09

They can also afford to give away 1000+ iPhones but why would they?

• George

This is the same shit that happened with cell phone carriers when they were selling 200mbs data for \$30, you cannot be adding all these features and continue selling a 16gb iPhone. Stop defending apple every second you get.

• Rowan09

Maybe you missed the part when I said they should get rid of the 16GB model with a 32GB. Personally I don’t care because I never purchased the 16GB and since they got rid of 32 for 64 I’m great with 64GB. They also sell 8GB phones in 2015 and people buy them right, so if you need more space pay for it. I did not expect Apple to give me the 64Gb for the price of a 32GB but they did and I’m happy they did. Who lied to you? Aren’t most cell phone companies get rid of or limiting unlimited data? Why should they do so when they make the phones faster every year with LTE data? Same issue but I won’t expect the rich guys to worry about a poor guys problem.

• n0ahcruz3

Uhm i know… Lol i guess u didn’t get the joke

• Joey

With 4k video, a 64GB gonna feel like a 16GB. Get the 128GB I’d say!

• Disqus

You missed an ‘is’ in that sentence, Joey. “…64GB IS gonna feel like…”

• Stephaughn Alston

Another thing to keep in mind, if you have iCloud Photo Library enabled its also going to be taking up a lot of space on your Mac as well.

• Joey

• Niko

I guess, it’s time to start buying extra external hard drives. Lol

• Nirvana

16gb is still ok, given app data are loaded on icloud, a few apps that work most for its owner. 1080p is not a bad option

• Nirvana

maybe iPhone 7 would have 256gb internal storage…..hopefully

• I’m with ya, perfect sizes ould be 32, 64, 128, and 256.

• Nirvana

with existing 4k recording capability, I doubt the 32gb would live long.

• Ryan

Typical Apple BS, please just make 32GB the standard with 64 ands 128 as options too. No more 16.

• JulianZH

4k still overrated.

• Skoven

Why?
I’m sure people also felt that 1080p was overrated at first (when 480p was the standard). I wish some of my old digital videos was higher resolution than 480p today.