Apple exec: Here's why iPhones have so little storage space

Apple executive Phil SchillerJustin Sullivan/Getty ImagesSchiller doesn’t think that we need lots of storage space.

Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, faced some tough questions about Apple’s productson the latest episode ofApple writer John Gruber’s podcast.

Gruber asked Schiller why Apple continues to make iPhones with storage capacity that often runs out. The cheapest iPhones come with 16GB of storage, which customers often use up.

Schiller says that Apple isn’t going to increase the amount of storage space on iPhones because people are starting to save photos and documents in the cloud anyway.

He said: “The belief is more and more as we use iCloud services for documents and our photos and videos and music, that perhaps the most price-conscious customers are able to live in an environment where they don’t need gobs of local storage because these services are lightening the load.”

A survey carried out by photo app Ice Cream in 2014 found that many iPhone users were regularly running out of space on their phone:

Apple gives you 5GB of iCloud storage for free, but makes you pay for more. Your iPhone will stop backing up to iCloud if you exceed your storage plan.

Despite Schiller’s insistence that local storage is becoming less important, Apple is still trying to reduce the amount of room that it uses on your iPhone. It announced during its WWDC keynote on Monday that its large iOS updates aren’t going to require gigabytes of room anymore. Apple’s updates used to take over 4GB of storage on your iPhone as it updated, but it promised that future updates will only require 1.3GB of space.

Apple is also trying to cut down on the amount of room that apps use on your iPhone. Right now, if you download an app, you download every single version of it. You get the iPhone 4S version, the iPhone 5 version, all of the different devices are bundled into one software package. But Apple wants to put a stop to that with something called “app thinning” that detects which device you’re using and only downloads the relevant files.

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