We carry out a lot of our work on iPad or even iPhones. That’s right, you can write a lot of content on these devices, they have a lot of functionality. But how much space do you actually need? What’s the minimum? Is 32GB a lot of space? Or not nearly enough?

It’s one of those occasions where bigger is almost always better, right? But Bigger means greater cost. And that cost might well be wasted if you’re not going to take advantage of it. So you’re right to think carefully about the amount of space you need. So you’re thinking of getting 32GB, and is 32GB a lot?

32GB storage is plenty for most phone and tablet users storing an average number of applications and data. Capacities of 64GB or higher may be necessary to store large libraries of documents, photos, videos, music, downloads, and/or games. Keep in mind that your OS and apps also consume storage.

The staff I have who write on iPad use it mainly just for that purpose. Compared to photos and videos, our articles, while great, are negligible in size. Besides, most people keep their documents in cloud storage nowadays.

Other than the browser and occasional client files, there isn’t much need for a large amount of storage. But of course, everyone is different, devices are used in so many ways.

Is 32GB a lot?

A frequent blogger who relies on their phone for filming would struggle to get by with only 32GB since video files can get very large. The same goes for the avid music fan with thousands of tracks, or the amateur photographer with thousands of photos.

But if your phone usage is limited to texts, a game or two, some photos, and the occasional funny cat video, then 32GB is more than enough. So let’s look at what 32GB can typically hold…

working on a 32GB ipad
working on a 32GB ipad

How much can 32GB hold?

32GB of storage holds around 250 1-minute videos, or around 8800 photos, or around 10,650 average length songs. Combinations of these require some calculations. A 1-minute video is an average of 130 MB for example. A Photo is an average of 3.6 MB on a 12MP phone camera, while a song is around 3 MB.

And, by songs, I mean those stored locally, not songs held in the cloud via services like Spotify. If they’re in the cloud, then your song collection is only as large as the Streaming App.

Unlike a flash drive, although your device has 32GB of storage. You will not get to use the full 32GB on a phone or tablet …because of the OS and other data.

So, setting aside 12 GB for the OS and apps, the table below gives you an idea of roughly how many photos and songs, and videos, you could fit in the remaining 20 GB.

Songs + photos (Avg. 3.3MB each)Video (Avg. 130MB/min)
500026 minutes
300077 minutes
1000128 minutes
500141 minutes
50152 minutes
0153 minutes
Example ratios of songs and photos to video content on a 32GB device

Maybe you don’t use any – or many of these. So how do you know if 32GB is enough for sure, for your needs.

To help us futher, we need to look at what kind of size various kinds of data take up. then we can combine that with the above.

We’ll just look at some typical apps. Popular apps, that use typical amounts of data …and then a real-world example.

Based on this as a guide, it should give you a much better idea of how much data you’re likely to need and use.

How much data does the OS use?

First off, the Operating system is going to take some space. And it’s going to update, and likely become larger. There’s just no getting away from it.

iOS 14 for example takes up about 2.7GB of space, and as the express quite rightly pointed out, you’ll need to allow for future updates. They recommend allowing about 6GB of space for this purpose and I’m inclined to agree.

And if you think Android is lighter on file size, you’d often be right when it comes to apps – but not the OS. This can take between 4GB and 8GB, sometimes even higher depending on device etc.

Once we’ve allowed for that, we can already see that our 32GB is now reduced to something more around 25GB to 28GB. Not looking nearly as attractive at all now. Ok, let’s look at some typical apps.

For this I’m taking apps on the iOS as examples, but you may well find similar (or possibly smaller) file sizes with Andoid Apps.

How much of the 32GB is used up with Apps?

I’ve listed below some general use apps. These include the most popular apps that many people use worldwide and a couple of examples of apps as extremes. Also remember, it’s not just the size of the app, there is the data that it holds or produces to take into account as well.

App (ios)Installed File Size
TikTok413 MB
Facebook280 MB
Snapchat224 MB
Instagram171 MB
Google Meet167 MB
WhatsApp166 MB
Zoom148 MB
Messenger114 MB
Netflix81 MB
Telegram70 MB
Total1.83 GB
Installed file size of most popular apps

So let’s imagine you installed and used all the above apps, then you would use almost 2 GB just to install them.

That doesn’t take into account the amount of data that they hold, I’ll get into a couple of examples of that shortly.

How many photos can 32GB hold?

You’re likely to fit something in the region of 5000 to 6000 photos on a 32GB device such as an iPad. But that assumes all the 32GB is devoted to photos… which naturally it is not. Taking account of just the required device OS, that number is nearer 4000.

When compared to video, photos (and even music) make 32GB a lot of storage. Even the most enthusiastic photographer would take a while to get to 4000 photos. And likewise with music.

If you’re in danger of getting close to full storage before the device needs renewing anyway, then consider a 64GB. That much space mostly dedicated to photos should keep you going for some time!

naturally, this all depends on what other data you want to store along side your images.

How much video can 32GB hold

Assuming you have around 20GB remaining after the OS and typical apps, this would enable you to add 153 minutes of average video size at 130 MB per minute. Video sizes can vary a lot. Depending on the content, resolution, and other technical factors. But we can average it out.

Needless to say, if Video is your “thing”, then you’re not going to get much mileage out of a 32GB device unless you regularly transfer the files onto another device.

But knowledge is power, and knowing that storage requirements are high, you might even want to consider going for the highest possible storage option, 256GB or more.

There will be a higher cost to pay, but that’s always a factor when considering video.

Real-world example of 32GB storage in use

I count myself as being a typical user, my phone is a 64GB phone. I use many of the same apps as other people. I have an average amount of video footage, the average quantity of photos. In fact, I’m positively dull when it comes to exciting uses with my phone!

That aside, here’s a screen capture of my iPhone storage.

iphone storage screen example

Screen capture of an actual user

I’ve had this iPhone for a few years (yes I know, that’s a long time!).

And I’ve still only managed to use up 39.7GB of storage from the 64GB. That includes the OS too.

In fact, according to this example image, my phone tells me I can retrieve around 8.21GB in unused apps, and also delete 3.6GB of old conversations.

If I wanted to go a step further I could get back an additional 3.92GB in old content within messages too.

Even just taking advantage of the first two options, I could recoup 11.81GB in total. That would bring me well below the 32GB storage we’re talking about.

So is 32GB a lot? It certainly seems to be for me… or is it…

Is 32GB enough for the future

You’ll note that I went above 32GB. So in fact, had I only got 32GB, I would now be accustomed to deleting information from the phone all the time in order to regain the space I needed.

I’d doubtless need to trim down the number of apps I have installed. And generally, just carry out more housekeeping duties.

Maintenance of storage is no bad thing … I hear you say, and that’s true. Once in a while is great. But constant maintenance would start to become quite annoying. Especially if it prevented me from the free-flowing use of my phone.

Playing it safe with 64GB or greater

So for that reason, I’d almost always urge anyone to think ahead. A good rule of thumb I find is to think one level up. If you’re wondering if 32GB is enough – then go for 64GB. If 64GB may not be enough, then go for 128GB.

Go one higher – It’s a good rule.

So if you were to opt for 64GB storage, and take our previous estimates, we can now see the amount of storage your phone can hold…

Songs + photos (Avg. 3.3 MB each)Video (Avg. 130MB/min)
1000052 minutes
6000154 minutes
2000256 minutes
1000282 minutes
100304 minutes
0306 minutes
Example ratios of songs and photos to video content on a 64GB device

If you are concerned about getting too close to 32GB, then the 64GB option suddenly looks a lot better. Given the doubling of capacity, and the worry-free world of not having to manage your storage options, I think opting for 64GB is just a much safer option.

Don’t forget to check out my writing services which we can do on our 32GB tablets!