Phil Schiller, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing at Apple Inc, speaks about the live photo capability for new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus / Reuters

The new photo and video features are exciting — but also take up a lot of space

Apple’s new camera features might one of the main reasons to upgrade to the iPhone 6s — but they might quickly fill up the phone.

Improvements to the camera — including Live Photos, which captures video either side of a picture to make a moving image, and a video camera that records in 4K — were one of the two big updates to the iPhone 6s, along with the pressure-sensitive 3D Touch display. But Apple didn’t improve the size of the storage in the cheapest phone, leaving many worried that their new handsets are going to run out of space quickly.

Many were already disappointed when it emerged that Apple would continue to sell the 16GB iPhone as its cheapest model — as storage gets cheaper, and the amount of media saved on phones become bigger, it was hoped that Apple would choose to upgrade the space. But Apple has said that it hopes people will move to storing their data in the cloud, instead.

The 4K video that the back camera will now shoot is far more detailed than the 1080p found on the iPhone 6, meaning that it will also take up much more space. A one minute video will take up 375MB of space in 4K, for instance — meaning that the cheapest 16GB iPhone 6s would be full in just 40 minutes, if there was nothing else at all in the phone’s storage.


The Live Photos tool allows pictures to move around, by taking 1.5 seconds of video either side of the still. But that too means it will generate much more data, and the new pictures will take up twice as much space as a normal photo.

Both options can easily be turned off through the phone’s settings.

Apple might also suggest that users instead put pictures into its iCloud Photo Library, the relatively new cloud image storage tool that puts pictures in the cloud rather than on the phone.

The company has also added new features to iOS 9 which should make it easier to set more space aside for photos and videos. A new technology called App Thinning, for instance, means that iPhones will only download the parts of software that they need — so that phones won’t get full up with versions of apps that they can’t use.