Despite consumers often complaining about the low storage on entry-level iPhone models, Apple’s smartphones offer more storage than Android devices on average.
This is according to a new report from Counterpoint Research, which also found that the average smartphone NAND flash capacity crossed the 100GB mark for the first time in 2020.
The report stated that advancements in cameras, Application Processors (APs), and displays in smartphones have stimulated increased storage demand for videos, images and other multimedia applications.
“Consequently, NAND capacity has shown significant growth in smartphones,” it stated.
According to the research firm’s mobile handset sell-through tracker, there was a significant discrepancy in the average storage on iOS and Android smartphones, with the former offering 140.9GB in Q4 2020, compared to 95.7GB in Android smartphones over the same period.
A major contributor to the difference may be the wide range of budget Android smartphones on the market, many of which offer only 32GB storage.
This compares to the minimum of 64GB offered on Apple’s cheapest smartphone – the 2020 iPhone SE.
However, while Apple has led in the storage department from at least 2014, the report showed that Android was rapidly closing the gap.
Whereas the average capacity on iPhones increased by 5.6% between the last quarters of 2019 and 2020, Android smartphone storage grew by 20.5%.
“The gap between the two groups was approximately 45.2GB in Q4 2020, down from 56.8GB in Q4 2019,” the report stated.
Larger maximum and minimum storage
The researchers said one of the factors which contributed to this was that Apple had stuck to a maximum of 512GB storage on its flagships.
“On the other hand, the biggest Android OEM, Samsung, looked to maximise its storage capacity and launched the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus in 2019 with 1TB NAND,” the report said.
“All this resulted in a lower storage growth rate for iOS compared to Android in 2020.”
Another possible contributor is that leading Android-based smartphone manufacturers such as Samsung and Huawei start their flagship line-ups with 128GB options, while Apple has kept the 64GB option on its latest flagships, including the iPhone 12.
In addition, more mid-range Android smartphones now also offer at least 128GB storage.
“The proportion of 128GB for non-iOS smartphones increased from 26.2% in Q4 2019 to 39.0% in Q4 2020, showing that 128GB was the minimum standard for mid-range and high-end phones,” Counterpoint Research said.
The graph below shows the global average smartphone NAND flash capacity in GB from 2014 to 2020.