128GB is not enough for an iPhone anymore — here’s why

iPhone 15 Pro
(Image credit: Apple)

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro were announced yesterday. While there are a lot of features to celebrate, one has really been grinding my gears — the fact that Apple still offers a 128GB version.

You see, as companies add more sophisticated-yet-space-consuming features, more storage needs to be a standard. With that in mind, all the new photography features, combined with the A17 Pro’s support for console-quality games like Resident Evil Village is going to stuff that on-board storage so quickly, you’ll be playing that game of deleting files often.

Super-high-resolution — super-high space consumption

iPhone 15

(Image credit: Apple)

The iPhone 15 has joined the Pro and Pro Max in getting a new 48MP sensor, and Apple has expanded its usability too. This includes a new feature called super-high-resolution photography.

Basically, instead of pixel binning to just 12MP (4-in-1), you can now either pixel-bin to just 2-in-1 with a 24MP image, or take a standard photo with all of Apple’s computational photography data in there at a fully fledged 48MP.

iPhone 15 Pro sample photos

Now, given the average 12MP picture will take up 2-3MB of space, it’s logical to assume that it will double to 5-6MB with 24MP, and double again to 10-12MB with the full resolution (this would be with JPEG saving turned on because nobody wants HEIF). Add the automatic portrait mode recognition on top of that — spotting a person and saving depth of field information by default for you to edit the picture after its taken — you could see these numbers increase drastically.

And the situation gets worse with ProRAW capture options, which can be a killer for storage. Apple estimates that a 48MP ProRAW image is roughly 75 MB in size, which is a far cry from the 2-3MB of your standard 12MP pixel-binned image. Then there’s the video recording options with 4K 60 FPS (even if you turn on HDR), ProRes recording and even Log format support in the Pro. 

That 128GB is going to get absolutely rinsed by an average day of photo and video recording, never mind using these features that will brim it quicker than my terrible pint-pouring skills.


iPhone 15 Pro

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple already knows this is the case. How do I know the team knows? iPhone 15 Pro Max doesn’t come in a 128GB configuration — the lowest is 256GB. The support for super-high-resolution photos is going to put an even greater pressure on this limited amount of storage. 

There is a workaround for prosumers, though, as the USB 3 controller on the A17 Pro does allow you to capture content directly to an external drive. But this isn’t a problem limited to just the Pro models, as the standard iPhone 15 has also made the jump to 48MP.

Put simply, the Cupertino crew needs to make 256GB its base storage across the entire lineup next year. I can imagine a lot of people struggling with the on board storage, which could be by design given Apple was quick to tell you about its iCloud+ space options.

Jason England
Content Editor

Jason brought a decade of tech and gaming journalism experience to his role as a writer at Laptop Mag, and he is now the Managing Editor of Computing at Tom's Guide. He takes a particular interest in writing articles and creating videos about laptops, headphones and games. He has previously written for Kotaku, Stuff and BBC Science Focus. In his spare time, you'll find Jason looking for good dogs to pet or thinking about eating pizza if he isn't already.