Melissa, Owner of Sunny Side Support
What and When to Buy
Okay, so you're thinking about buying yourself a shiny new baby. An iPhone? A new iMac? A pretty little MacBook Air? Exciting! What things should you consider before you pull the trigger, though?
With all of Apple’s devices save the Watch, the most important consideration is storage space. For every other decision that you make, there could be some buyer‘s remorse (like "I wish I had gotten the laptop in a different color" or "my machine is running a little slower than I would like, so I needed more RAM"). If you get the wrong amount of storage, though, you could be turning right around and bringing that new device back to Apple. Or finding out a year after you bought it that it won't meet your needs. Either way, it's a real bummer.
So to make sure that doesn't happen to you, check what you're using ahead of time and plan accordingly. On the Mac, you can verify your storage usage by clicking on the Apple Menu at the upper-left corner of your screen, choosing "About This Mac," then clicking the "Storage" tab.
As you can see from my screenshot above, this gives me two important pieces of info: how large my current drive is (500GB) and how much I'm using (around 236GB). When you're shopping for a new Mac, I'd recommend bumping up to the next drive size if you're approaching 50 percent used space on your current drive. So if the above screenshot represented a client's computer, I'd suggest they move up to a 1TB drive for their next Mac. And it's best to always err on the side of too much space!
For the iPhone and iPad, the same logic applies. Check your current capacity and used space at Settings > General > iPhone (or iPad) Storage.
But now if you're wondering when to buy, then the handiest reference I can give you is the MacRumors Buyer's Guide. That page takes into account how long it's been since devices have been updated so that you can make a decision based on the life cycle of the machine. This'll help you avoid getting an iPhone and then having Apple release a new model shortly thereafter—especially if the new one is faster, cheaper, or has a feature that's to die for. As an example, here's their current recommendation on the 16" MacBook Pro:
They're recommending caution in purchasing since it's been 259 days since the model has been updated. This resource is enormously useful, especially since Apple has so many different devices! Keeping them all straight is a job unto itself.
If you have a question that isn't covered by this article (such as how much RAM you do need to buy), feel free to reach out to us. Ideally, you should be happy with your purchase for years to come! Well, unless you're like us, in which case you want every new thing that comes out, even if your old thing isn't…well…old. Apple product envy is real.