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Does the Apple iPhone 7 32GB offer much slower storage?

by Mark Tyson on 13 October 2016, 12:31

Tags: Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)

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Apple implemented a popular and sensible upgrade with the launch of the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. It doubled the minimum amount of built-in storage from 16GB to 32GB. This minimum capacity uplift was implemented in the still-for-sale iPhone 6S range (and all the currently for sale iPad models, without price rises) but the iPhone SE is still sold with a scant 16GB of storage.

The new Apple iPhone 7 is available with 32GB, 128GB or 256GB of built-in storage, with each capacity uplift costing the buyer an extra £100. This pricing method applies to both the iPhone 7, starting at £599 and the iPhone 7 Plus, starting at £719.

Apple has previously been accused of price gouging for the extra built-in memory. The built-in storage on an iDevice is an important purchasing consideration for those that like to store and capture photo and video content (or music libraries, or many apps/games) on their smartphones, as you can't just pop/swap an SD card. But what if you learnt that the lowest capacity iPhone was also a lot slower to save and load apps and data from storage?

According to tests by mobile centric site GSM-Arena, the iPhone 7 models with 32GB of storage are up to 8x slower in disk operations than those with 128GB of storage. The tester used the freely available Basemark OS II benchmark and Pass Mark to assess the storage performance on an Apple iPhone 6s Plus 64GB, an iPhone 7 128GB, and an iPhone 7 Plus 32GB and collected the following data:

Storage test

Apple iPhone 6s Plus 64GB

Apple iPhone 7 128GB

Apple iPhone 7 Plus 32GB

Basemark OS II Memory




PassMark Disk Mark




PassMark Storage Write




PassMark Storage Read




5min 4K video copy





Above you can see the new iPhone 7 Plus 32GB fares worse than a previous gen smartphone (with 64GB of storage). It is also much slower than its 128GB brother in these disk benchmarks. GSM-Arena didn't have access to more than one 32GB iPhone 7/Plus for comparative testing or to assess whether its model had some kind of fault. However, it asked readers to confirm its results in the comments. Looking through them, I found most but not all owners of the 'affected' model claiming similarly dire Basemark and PassMark results. A couple of users of the 256GB version boasted the fastest storage benchmarks of them all.

We have seen many a time in computer SSDs that smaller capacity units suffer in performance compared to higher capacity brethren. It's hard to know if it is a similar effect (due to having fewer memory chips operating in parallel) in the Apple iPhone 7 32GB models, or that the storage hardware/interface is otherwise different.

HEXUS Forums :: 13 Comments

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For apple fanatics this is still great news.
As these are benchmarks rather than real world usage, is it likely that anyone will notice in real use???????????………I think not.
More memory chips so more channels and more parallelism?
When MS decided to use different SSDs on the Surface pro 4 models people freaked out over the speed difference. When apple does it… free pass. Grrrr
As long as they don't explode in your pocket, I'm sure most don't really care.

Although it is will be handy for me to know for the future.