iPhone 12’s biggest weakness — it’s not the missing charger

iPhone 12
(Image credit: Future)

Our iPhone 12 review and iPhone 12 Pro review are in, and the overall verdicts are very positive. You get a fast A14 Bionic chip that blows away the Android phone competition, a sturdier Ceramic Shield display, 5G and excellent cameras on both models.

But the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro also have their share of weakness. We’ve told you about the iPhone 12’s relatively short battery life over 5G, and you’ve probably already heard that you don’t get a charger in the box. But neither of these drawbacks is as bad as this annoying Apple decision. 

The iPhone 12 comes with just 64GB of storage for its starting $799 price ($829 unlocked). That’s a paltry amount for such a high-end phone. Yes, stepping up to 128GB costs just $50 more, but you would be hard pressed to find another flagship phone that skimps like this.

The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE, for example, starts at $699 and comes with 128GB of storage standard. Plus, there’s a microSD card slot that’s built in, so you can expand up to 1TB if you want to. The Galaxy S20 FE also happens to give you a telephoto lens, something that’s reserved for the pricier $999 iPhone 12 Pro, but that’s another story.

How about the best cheap phones? The Google Pixel 4a, which costs only $349, also ships with 128GB. That’s double the storage for less than half the cost of the iPhone 12. 

I’ve been using the iPhone 11 Pro Max for a little over a year, and I’m currently using 83.2GB of its storage. The biggest hog for me is games. Fortnite — which you can’t even download right now due to a feud between Apple and Epic Games — takes up a whopping 9.59GB on its own. 

The $349 Google Pixel 4a has double the storage of the $799 iPhone 12.

Other titles I’ve downloaded from Apple Arcade run in the 2GB to 3GB range. That might not seem like a lot, but it is when you’ve downloaded over a dozen of them. My Photos currently takes up 1.62GB and Spotify about 1.2GB with the tunes I’ve downloaded. 

The good news is that you can easily see which apps are taking up the most room on your iPhone 12 under iPhone Storage in settings. And when you’re there, you can do a couple things to free up more space. This includes automatically enabling the iPhone to offload unused apps. In my case I could save 29GB.

You can also review large attachments you’ve received in the Messages apps, including photos and videos, and delete them on the spot. However, I found I wanted to keep most of them.

My strong recommendation is to spend the extra $50 to get 128GB of storage on the iPhone 12. And if you play tons of games and plan on capturing a lot of photos and videos, spend the extra $150 to jump up to 256GB.

You’re likely going to have the iPhone 12 for at least a few years, and you can’t add storage after the fact like you can a charger.

Mark Spoonauer

Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.