Apple iPhones come with a fixed amount of storage, which if you love your music, movies, games and photos, may not be enough.
Unless you’re ready to upgrade (the new iPhone 6s comes with up to a whopping 128GB of storage space), you could find yourself struggling to store all your stuff. So check out these simple ways to expand your iPhone storage:
1. Wireless hard drive.
If you want physical storage but don't want the wires, try a wireless hard drive or wireless USB drive. These are definitely the most economical option if need a lot of storage. They create their own Wi-Fi network and you can connect your iPhone to that network to access the contents on the drive.
2. Wireless readers.
Wireless card readers, also known as media streamers or media hubs, are pocket-sized devices that connect via Wi-Fi to your iPhone (like a wireless hard drive).
Unlike a wireless hard drive, wireless media streamers give you a bit more flexibility because you can convert your memory card, flash drive or hard drive into a wireless media sharing hub for all your devices. For example, instead of popping a microSD card into your iPhone, you just put it into the wireless reader.
It also acts as a Wi-Fi hotspot, allows file transfers between devices and has a 3,000mAh battery, which can also power your device if it needs a boost.
Tip: Make sure your wireless reader has a ‘pass-through’ option, so your device stays connected to a Wi-Fi network while it’s connected to the reader. Otherwise it's a hassle to disconnect and reconnect all the time.
3. Lightning drives.
Lightning drives aren’t wireless. They’re similar to USB flash drives for your computer but they plug into the Lightning port on your iPhone.
Many of these drives come with dual ‘tips’ - one Lightning and one USB tip. This gives you more flexibility because you can connect the Lightning drive to your iPhone and your Mac or PC to manage your files.
If you have a file on your iPhone that you want to offload to the drive, you can connect the Lightning drive, move the file over using the supplied app, and then connect the drive to a computer to view the file.
4. Mophie Space Pack
The Space Pack is a battery case with built-in storage for the iPhone. The memory is integrated inside it and it connects to the iPhone via the Lightning port (similar to a Lightning drive). You can easily manage your files and access or move them to the Space Pack to free up the internal storage on your iPhone.
5. The cloud
This may be the easiest way to backup, store and manage your files. Unlike the hardware solutions, “The Cloud” doesn't require you to attach a drive into your phone's Lightning port or connect to an external device’s Wi-Fi network. It’s just like using any other app on your iPhone.
For photos, Flickr advertises 1,000GB of free cloud storage. According to Flickr, this is the equivalent of 500,000 photos. But if you need to store lots of different files, like videos, documents and PDFs, you could use Cloud services such as Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, or Apple's own iCloud. See our full guide for more info on Cloud storage options.
Tip: Don’t forget, with Cloud-based solutions, you’ll be accessing the internet over a Wi-Fi connection or a 3G or 4G network, so be mindful of how much data you’re using. Check out our All-you-can-eat data plans for peace of mind.
6. Your own personal cloud.
You may not want to put sensitive or critical information on The Cloud, so why not host your own? All you need is a network attached storage (or NAS) drive, which you plug into your router. You can then access files on your iPhone from any device on or off your home or office Wi-Fi network. Unlike a standard hard drive that can only connect to one PC or Mac at a time, NAS drives can be accessed by multiple devices.
Tip: If you're trying to access the contents of your NAS drive remotely, you'll need a good Wi-Fi network with fast upload speeds, especially if you're storing and accessing video files.
You may not be able to insert a microSD card into your iPhone, but there are a plenty of options for increasing your iPhone’s storage space. And if all else fails, why not get your hands on the new iPhone.