How much free storage space does your smartphone really have?

The box might say that your smartphone comes with 16 gigabytes, 32 gigabytes or whatever of storage space, but how much actual free storage space will you have on your shiny new smartphone?

The box might say that your smartphone comes with 16 gigabytes, 32 gigabytes or whatever of storage space, but how much actual free storage space will you have on your shiny new smartphone?

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Apple is currently facing a lawsuit over the amount of space that the iOS 8 update takes up on iPhone, iPads, and iPods . The complaint claims that iOS 8 can occupy more than 23 percent of the storage available on some devices, and further goes on to claim that upgrading devices from iOS 7 to 8 can cause users to lose a further 1.3GB of storage.

Apple has deep pockets, a factor that makes it a target for such lawsuits, but how much free space do other smartphones leave users with?

As it turns out, finding the answer to this question is not as easy as it perhaps should be. While review sites invariably state the storage capacity of a smartphone, I couldn't find any that made a point of highlighting free space. And I can understand why, because the same handset offered through different carriers will have differing volumes of bloatware installed.

What I did come across was this piece by UK consumer watchdog Which, dated January 2014. It looked at the free space offered by eight different 16GB handsets.

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Which

According to the study, the Apple's iPhone 5c topped the list with 12.6GB of the 16GB being free, with Google's Nexus 5 coming in second with 12.28GB, and the iPhone 5s coming in third with 12.2GB.

At the bottom of the list with only 8.56GB of the initial 16GB free was the Samsung Galaxy S4.

According to the lawsuit against Apple, the iPhone 6 Plus has 12.7GB free, while the iPhone 6 has 13GB free, which means that these two handsets would top the listing.

"The reality is every phone has to sacrifice some of its internal memory to the operating system,' Which wrote, "they never live up to the sales talk of 8,16 or 32GB. But many manufacturers further stuff their phone with pre-loaded apps, skins and bloatware. And no phone has more piping, braiding and frills than the Samsung Galaxy S4."

The problem is made worse by the fact that many high-end smartphones do not offer a micro SD card slot to allow the user to expand the storage, a move that enables the manufacturer to put a premium price tag on higher-capacity models.

The fact that topping the list are iPhones and Nexus devices highlights how delivering a smartphone unencumbered by bloatware offers a real and tangible benefit to the end user. Bloatware costs gigabytes, which in turn costs money.

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