Now that the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus have been on the market for well over half a year, users will have had ample time to fill their device’s storage. As your collection of music, movies, videos, photos, apps and files grow on your iPhone, you may find yourself wanting a more expensive model configured with even more storage capacity.
Rather than trading in your existing 16GB iPhone for a larger one with 64GB or 128GB of storage, here are six ways to alleviate your storage woes:
1. BYO-storage with a wireless media streamer
Mobile wireless media streamers are portable devices that operate on battery power and can serve as a wireless drive for your iPhone. Rather than getting a wireless drive, wireless media streamers offer the flexibility for you to expand your storage options in the future.
Many of the devices allow you to either connect your own memory card with an SD or micro SDXC card slot on the device. A few offer the option to connect a USB drive so you can attach a portable hard drive or a USB flash drive.
Essentially, going this route converts your memory card, flash drive or hard drive into a wireless media sharing device. It instantly adds Wi-Fi to your existing storage media in a cost-effective manner, and you can swap between various memory cards or USB drives to further augment or manage your storage in the future as your needs change.
These devices include the SanDisk Connect Wireless Media Drive ($80, £65, AU$103),Verbatim Media Share ($37, £25, AU$47), and Kingston MobileLite Wireless G2 ($30, £20, AU$38).
An upside to having a wireless media streamer is that you can share your content with multiple devices simultaneously. For business travelers, you can work on the same drive as up to eight or ten of your colleagues, depending on how many simultaneous mobile devices your drive allows. You can stream a video on your iPad while your assistant makes changes to a Word document, a partner reviews a PDF and a colleague makes the final edits to a PowerPoint presentation.
2. Cut the storage cord
If you want physical storage but don’t want the wires, you can choose to get a wireless hard drive or wireless USB drive. Wireless hard drives are the most economical for those with big storage needs.
Wireless drives create their own Wi-Fi direct networks, similar to a wireless media streamer, and users can connect their mobile devices to that network to access the contents on the drive.
Like media streamers, many of these drives cap how many devices can simultaneously connect, with some drives supporting five connections and others going up to ten.
Wireless hard drives vary in capacity and costs. Examples include the 2TB Western Digital MyPassport Wireless drive ($199, £131, AU$253). 2TB LaCie Fuel ($220, £145, AU$280), 500GB Seagate Wireless Mobile Storage ($99, £66, AU$126) and 2TB Seagate Wireless Plus($190, £126, AU$242).
For faster speeds and reliability, a wireless solid state drive like the 128GB Toshiba Canvio AeroMobile Wireless ($150, £99, AU$191) is a great option.
There are also wireless USB flash drives. Like the non-wireless counterpart, the 32GBSanDisk Wireless Connect Flash Drive ($40, £26, AU$51) works over USB so you can plug the unit into your Mac and PC to access your files. Once you’re ready to share the files with your mobile device, you can connect your iPhone or iPad to the drive’s Wi-Fi direct network. Users can also offload the contents on their phones to these drives to free up storage.
3. Let Lightning strike
Lightning drives are similar to USB flash drives for the computer. These drives plug into the Lightning port on your iPhone 6 as a USB flash drive plugs into your computer’s USB port.
Many of these drives come with dual tips – one Lightning and one USB tip. This adds flexibility as you can connect the Lightning drives to your iPhone and to 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 you can connect the drive to a computer to view the file.
Examples in this category include the 16GB SanDisk iXpand ($68, £45, AU$87), 16GB Leef iBridge ($59, £39, AU$75) and 8GB Sanho Hyperdrive iStick ($79, £52, AU$100).
If you like the idea of a dual-tipped Lightning drive but would rather bring your own storage with your own microSD card, the Aizbo i-Flash Drive is a good solution.
It has a lower entry price than drives with built-in storage at just $28 (£19, AU$36). You’ll need to provide your own flash storage through micro SDXC cards. If you already have multi microSD cards, the advantage is that you can create an infinitely expandable flash drive by swapping memory cards.
4. Mophie Space Pack: a new storage odyssey
Even though the name sounds futuristic, the concept is quite simple. The Space Pack integrates a solid state drive into Mophie’s battery charging case – it’s a fancy way of saying there’s integrated storage inside a Mophie Juice Pack.
These drives connect to the iPhone 6 via the Lightning port, so it’s similar to the Lightning drives. Users can manage their files via the free Space app to access or move files to the Space Pack to free up the internal storage on the iPhone 6.
The Space Pack is available for preorder at this time, with capacities ranging from 32GB ($149, £100, AU$190) to 128GB ($299, £200, AU$381). At the 32GB price, you’re essentially paying $49 (£32, AU$62) for the storage because the Juice Pack itself costs $100 (£66, AU$127).
5. Take your storage up, up and away
Given how ubiquitous mobile broadband connections are today, the cloud may be the easiest way to backup, store and manage files. Unlike hardware solutions, using the cloud doesn’t require you to attach a drive into your phone’s Lightning port or connect to the device’s adhoc Wi-Fi network, and the cloud experience is like using any other app on your iPhone.
For photos, Flickr advertises 1TB of free cloud storage. Given that the iPhone is one of the most popular photo capture tools on the market, this should be plenty of space to archive and view your entire photo collection. That amount of storage, according to Flickr, is the equivalent of 500,000 photos.
Business users who rely on a mixed assortment of files – including photos, videos, documents, PDFs and more – can rely on any number of popular services such as Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, Google Drive, and more. If your job uses Google Apps or Office 365, you already have a basic OneDrive or Google Drive account, and all you need to do is download the appropriate app(s).
Apple’s own iCloud is a good option as well. For users staying within the Apple ecosystem, iDrive provides integration with the Photos app as well as productivity titles like Pages, Numbers, and Keynote.
With cloud-based solutions, you will be accessing the internet over a Wi-Fi connection or a 3G or 4G network. If you’re on a mobile broadband connection, you’ll be using data on your phone plan, so be sure to budget in how much data access you’ll need in addition to your cloud storage subscription plan.
The downside to relying on a third-party to host your files is that you’re entrusting them with security and reliability. Depending on your business, you may not want to store sensitive or mission critical information on the cloud in case of a breach or if the cloud temporarily goes down.
- Read our guide for the best cloud storage solutions
6. Like your own private island
Rather than entrusting others with your files, you can also host your own cloud. The process is as simple as buying a network attached storage, or NAS, drive and plugging it into your router.
These NAS drives give you the flexibility to access files from any machine 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 systems. If you’re trying to access the contents of your NAS drive remotely, you’ll need a good home or office network with fast upload speeds. This is especially true if you’re looking at storing and accessing video files.
You can get drives with multiple terabytes of storage, and compared to true cloud options, you won’t need to pay a subscription fee for your own cloud. You’ll purchase the drive you want and the capacity you desire and just attach it to your existing home or office router and internet connection.
Examples include the 2TB Western Digital MyCloud ($150, £100, AU$191) and 3TB Seagate Personal Cloud ($170, £112, AU$217). If you’re comfortable changing your router’s settings, the 2TB Apple Time Capsule ($299, £200, AU$381) can be accessed remotely with a third-party File Explorer app on an iPad or iPhone.