As the family’s tech authority, I frequently get this question:
“What iPhone should I buy?”
The answer is easy, but most people don’t listen. For the family reading this, do yourself a favor and read this twice before making the decision.
1. Buy one with the biggest amount of storage you can afford.
The most important feature you should be shopping for is storage. Most of the people I come across use their phone as their primary camera. That means it’s jammed with photos. I mean *jammed* like 2 to 4 GB of photos. When you have a 16GB phone and the OS/core apps take 2GB-ish, that means almost 20% of your phone will be photos–more if you take videos. The speed of the iPhone 5S is meaningless to 90% of the users out there and the fingerprint sensor is “first generation” so skip that for now and wait for the 2 year upgrade to get the much better version of what’s out there now.
2. Buy it outright if you can afford it.
It’s expensive to do it but you should buy the phone outright without the burden of a contract. That will allow you to move between carriers and/or upgrade more often if that’s your thing. Don’t buy into the carrier’s “upgrade once a year” plan–it’s a money trap.
3. Buy iCloud storage that matches the amount of your device, maybe more
If you have a 16GB device, buy iCloud storage equal to or greater than the device so that would be 10GB additional for $20/year. That will ensure all of your photos are stored at Apple in case your device is stolen. It’s cheap and easy to do right from the device.
4. Buy iTunes Match if you have a music collection.
Adding iTunes Match ($24.95/year) ensures your music is safe, just like iCloud for your photos. Even better, your Music app will show your iTunes library of music, but without actually storing it on the device. Want to listen to a song? Tap it and it streams from the cloud. You can even flag songs to be stored on the device.