How to add extra storage to the iPhone 8, 8 Plus, X and earlier models

Apple’s latest iPhones still don’t support microSD memory cards, to expand the internal storage and accomodate your ever-growing photos, music and movie collection. However, if you’re desperate for space, never fear; you can still boost your iPhone’s storage space in a couple of cunning ways.

We rather like the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, which provide some admirable updates over last year’s iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. Yet all of these flagship handsets suffer from one all-too-familiar omission: the absence of a microSD memory card slot. That means you can’t slip in a microSD card to expand the on-board storage, as soon as you’re running low on space.

The cynic inside of us says that Apple doesn’t add this feature so users are forced to stump up more cash for the higher storage models, if they want to carry around a lot of apps, or shoot endless videos using the iPhone’s camera. Of course, the more recent iPhones do at least pack a minimum of 64GB of space. That’s enough to comfortably carry around a decent media collection, as well as lots of snaps and home movies.

Of course, if you have an older iPhone, you might be stuck with as little as 16GB or 32GB of storage space, a large chunk of which is used up by Apple’s own iOS software.

Don’t panic if your iPhone’s storage is filling up fast, though. You don’t necessarily have to stump up for a new handset as you can expand your available space in other ways.

Here’s our pick of the best external storage solutions and cloud storage ideas for your iPhone, from the 8 and 8 Plus down to more basic, older models. These solutions will even work for iPads, if your Apple tablet needs a space boost.

For other iPhone guides, including our complete iPhone tips, tricks and best hidden features, check out our comprehensive iPhone hub.

How to expand your iPhone’s storage: Plug-in Lightning flash drives

One of the quickest and easiest ways to boost your Apple handset’s space is by bagging yourself a Lightning flash drive, which plugs directly into the iPhone’s charging/data port. This will instantly add extra storage, which can be used to copy files to and from your humble blower.

One of our favourites is the tiny and super-light SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive. This is like a USB key (in other words super-tiny and light), with a built-in Lightning connector to slot straight into your iPhone. No messy cables or other bits required.

You get a choice of between 16GB and 256GB of storage, with prices starting at just £29.

Read next: How to copy music files to and from your iPhone

How to expand your iPhone’s storage: Wireless drives

If you don’t want to mess around with cables, you can check out a WiFi-based storage solution instead. These drives broadcast their own secure WiFi network, so they’re super-easy to connect to, while no one else can view your private files. These are particularly handy for travel, as you can simply stash them in the bottom of your bag and connect your iPhone to them at any point, without any fumbling required.

One example is Seagate’s Wireless Plus drive, which comes with either 1TB or 2TB of storage for £120/£160. This external drive is a decent portable device for taking on trips as it’s quite slim and light. You can transfer files back and forth from your iPhone, while the Wireless Plus can even stream three different HD films to three different portable devices, to keep everyone in your clan happy.

Buffalo’s MiniStation Air 2 is another solid choice, offering up to 1TB of extra storage for carrying around a massive media collection.

How to expand your iPhone’s storage: Cloud storage

Another solution to your storage issues could involve looking to the cloud. Apple offers its own iCloud service, which can back up your important files and be called upon at any time, as long as you have a data connection. Of course, when transferring big files, you’ll want to connect to WiFi to avoid a massive data charge.

Check out our complete guide to the iCloud for all you need to know.

The likes of Google Photos also offers a very generous amount of free online storage for backing up all of your snaps and home movies, which means you can clear them off your iPhone almost as soon as you’ve taken them.

Interested in buying the iPhone 8 or 8 Plus? O2 is offering Apple’s latest smartphone and its super-sized sibling right now on contract in the UK. Find out more about O2’s iPhone 8 plans here and iPhone 8 Plus plans here.