Why you shouldn’t buy the 64GB iPhone SE

Apple announced the latest version of the iPhone SE at its event peek performance on March 8, where he also presented the new iPad Air and Mac Studio.

While we’ve been looking forward to any updates to the SE, what’s new this year has been minimal, basically consisting of the move from the A13 Bionic processor to the A15 Bionic (found in the iPhone 13 range), some additional camera modes, stronger glass for the front and back, and compatibility with 5G.

One aspect that unfortunately remains the same is the 64 GB of storage in the base model. Why is that a bad thing? Well, it might make your life a little more stressful, it’ll cost you money in the long run, and it’s just not up to par with equivalent or even cheaper Android phones.

Here’s why you should avoid the 64GB iPhone SE (2022).

Is 64 GB of space enough in 2022?

Before you think we write this just for the clickbait, we are going to make it clear from the beginning that for some users 64 GB of storage will be enough. If you don’t download movies on your iPhone, don’t play much, or don’t want access to your entire music library offlinechances are you’ll be perfectly happy with the iPhone SE (2022) to begin with.

The same goes for those who are content to store their photos and videos in the cloud, downloading them only when and if they need them. So, if that’s your case, do what you want. Otherwise, let’s see how limited storage could quickly become a nuisance.

What storage options are available with the iPhone SE (2022)?

Apple offers three storage options for the new iPhone SE, which are as follows:

  • 64GB: €529 / MXN$11,499
  • 128GB: €579 / MXN$12,999
  • 256GB: €699 / MXN$15,999

You can buy the iPhone SE (2022) directly from the Apple website.

As you can see, it only costs €50 / MXN$1,500 more to buy the 128 GB iPhone SE and we advise you to do so. But if you still need us to convince you more…

How much storage do you really need?

Although it says 64GB on the box, that’s not the actual amount of storage you’ll have access to, as iOS, pre-installed apps, and other system resources require a portion of those gigabytes for the device to work.

In the fine print on the iPhone SE (2022) page of Apple’s website, the following is stated:

“A standard configuration—with iOS 15 and Apple apps that can be deleted—requires approximately 12-17 GB of space. These Apple apps take up around 4.5 GB and you can re-download them from the App Store if delete.”

“A standard configuration uses approximately 12GB to 17GB of space, including iOS 15 with its latest features and Apple apps that can be removed. Apple apps that can be removed use about 4.5GB of space, and you can re-download them from the App Store.”

We don’t know the exact configuration size of the iPhone SE, but at best it’s the 12GB variant which would reduce your storage to 52GB. If it’s the 17 GB, then you have 47 GB left. Sure, you could delete the 4.5 GB of Apple apps, but since most people use them, this might not be the best option.

So, taking an average, we arrive at the figure of 50 GB of actual storage that you can use on your iPhone SE, instead of 64 GB. Still, it’s a good amount of space, isn’t it? It depends on how you use your device.

Series and movie downloads

If you like to watch your favorite series and movies from Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video or other streaming services streaming without using the data, the best option is to download the contents to your device.

But keep in mind that the size of the files can be quite large. For example, Netflix says that HD content takes up about 3 GB per hour. This means that a two-hour movie will take up 6 GB of space on your iPhone SE.

Don't buy iPhone SE 64GB

This means that if you’re going on a trip and want to download a couple of movies and maybe a few episodes of a series, your storage will soon run out. Obviously, you can delete them once you’ve seen them, so it’s not the end of the world either.

song downloads

Obviously, song files are much smaller than video files, but since we tend to download more songs, they can also help reduce space on your iPhone.

On average, a 3-minute song will take up about 2MB, which isn’t much. Albums usually have about 12 songs, so it will take up 24 MB. Again, not a big deal.

If you download ten albums, you will have accumulated 240 MB, which will not be a huge storage expense. If you bump that number up to 100 albums, you’ll be around 2.5 GB. If you have a large collection of music and you want to have it all available at any time, you will occupy quite a few gigabytes just with music.

One way around it is to play the songs from a service like Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer or other. Or, download a selection of albums and not your entire library. This is where limited storage starts asking you to make decisions.

apps and games

Apps don’t usually weigh much, but if you like to download a lot of apps, you’ll have to be careful with your storage space.

For example, TikTok and YouTube take about 250MB each, Twitter and Instagram about 200MB, Amazon about 150MB, and Fantastical about 80MB. This means that downloading those six popular apps will take more than 1 GB of space.

Games are usually heavier, due to their graphical nature. Normal titles usually take up more than 300 MB each, and some much more. In the app store, Minecraft occupies 385 MB, while League of Legends: Wild Rift it weighs in at 3.8GB, so there’s a wide range of file sizes.

Don't buy iPhone SE 64GB

Again, remember that you can always delete games purchased from the App Store and download them again later. There’s also Apple Arcade, which is a subscription service that lets you play a bunch of different games, all of which can be deleted and re-downloaded.

Photos and videos

Photos are similar to songs in that they are typically around 2MB, although this amount can vary depending on factors such as the number of pixels in the image and whether Apple’s HEIC format is used or JPG is preferred, easier to share (which tends to have a larger file size).

The video is where the real problem lies. The iPhone SE (2022) can capture 4K video at 60fps, which offers excellent quality video, but also takes up a lot more space.

Using this feature, even with Apple’s HVEC format that reduces file sizes, is up to 400 MB per minute. That means one hour of video will take up 24GB of storage, which is half of the entire amount available on a 64GB iPhone SE (2022).

If we go down to 1080p at 60 fps, the thing is reduced considerably: 1 minute consumes 90 MB and 5.4 GB the full hour. In short, if you want to record high-quality videos with your iPhone SE, 64 GB of storage will not be enough.

Is iCloud the solution?

The most obvious way to have more storage is to use iCloud, where you can store photos and videos, which are usually the biggest culprits when you run out of space on your mobile.

Obviously, it is not free, as Apple offers several plans:

  • 5 GB of storage: Free
  • 50 GB of storage: €0.99 / MXN$17 per month
  • 200 GB of storage: €2.99 / MXN$49 per month
  • 2TB of storage: €9.99 / MXN$179 per month

For most people, this will help free up space on their iPhone, but only if it’s photos and videos that are causing the problem.

Should you buy the 64GB iPhone SE (2022)?

Actually, it all depends on how you are going to use your iPhone. If you don’t mind deleting apps and games when you don’t use them for a while or keeping your photos and videos in iCloud (at the extra monthly cost), then 64GB is a useful amount of storage.

The real issue is whether you’re willing to do all of this. Shrinking your music library, getting rid of space-hogging apps and files, or keeping an eye on how long you’ve been recording videos can quickly become frustrating, and unlike many Android phones, you can’t add additional storage via a microSD card.

So, before you let yourself be tempted by the cheapest iPhone SE (2022), take some time to think about what you are going to use it for in your day to day and to what extent you want to manage your data so that low storage warnings do not appear. .

To see what other options Apple has to offer, check out our iPhone buying guide, and if you want to save some money, we also recommend you consider buying a second-hand or refurbished iPhone.

Original article published in Macworld UK.