How to Free Up Storage Space on an iPad

Introduction

As you use your iPad, files and apps will eventually accumulate, leaving you with less free space for new content. Once you know how much available storage you have, you can use various methods to free up space on your tablet such as uninstalling apps, using iCloud or other cloud storage providers, and external storage.
Various iPads

How Do I Know I Need More Storage?

Your iPad will actually let you know when it's short on space. It will alert you with this message.
iOS storage full

1 Delete Apps to Free Up Space on Your iPad

To remove an app:

  1. From your main screen, locate the app you wish to remove.
  2. Lightly touch and hold the app until it jiggles or vibrates.
  3. Tap X in the upper-left corner of the app.
  4. Tap Delete.
    iOS showing app being removed.

2 Manage or Upgrade iCloud Storage

To manage storage space for iCloud

  1. Go to Settings.
    iOS Settings.
  2. Select your Apple ID to open your Apple ID settings.
    Selecting your Apple ID
  3. Select iCloud to open your iCloud settings.
    Selecting iCloud
  4. You should see an overview of your current iCloud storage. Select Manage Storage to proceed.
    iCloud settings highlighting the manage storage option.
  5. A similar overview of iCloud storage will appear. Underneath this overview will be a list of apps that are consuming the greatest amount of storage space on your device. You can select one of these apps to manage data as you see fit.
    iCloud manage storage screen displaying app storage information.
  6. If after evaluating your device's storage usage, you feel that upgrading your iCloud Drive's storage capacity would be best, select Change Storage Plan to explore additional storage options.
    iCloud manage storage screen highlighting the change storage plan option.
  7. Select a Storage Plan that works best for you and your devices. It can be purchased directly from your device and will immediately expand your iCloud Drive's storage capacity.
    iCloud change storage plan screen.

3 Set Up and Use Cloud Storage

Cloud storage allows you to store your important files securely online, allowing you to free up space on the device you uploaded them from. There are multiple cloud storage providers, some will work better for your needs.

Google Drive
Google Drive
  • File storage and synchronization service, from Google.
  • Works well if you're already using Google's other services such as mail, or hardware such as Android phones or Chromebook laptops.
Microsoft OneDrive
Microsoft OneDrive
  • File storage and synchronization service, as well as authentication services for Windows.
  • Closely integrated to Windows 10, and Microsoft Outlook.
Apple iCloud
Apple iCloud
  • File storage, synchronization, as well as settings and messaging integration for Apple products.
  • Closely integrated to Apple's Operating systems such as macOS and iOS.

4 External Data Storage Options for iOS

At first, iOS devices like iPhones and iPads couldn't connect to any external devices. Now, providers have managed to create storage options that utilize your Lightning Port. Keep in mind while the storage device is connected to the Lightning Port, you cannot use that port.

Lightning Flash Drives

A lightning flash drive
  • A Lightning flash drive normally has one side for the Lightning port and the other for a USB port to connect to your computer.
  • To use your Lightning flash drive, connect it to your iOS device's Lightning (charge) port.

External Hard Drive

A WD MyPassport external harddrive

  • External hard drives typically offer the largest amount of storage space for the money, and easily connect to your device via  a USB to Lightning port adapter.
  • There are both portable and larger form factor external drives on the market. The difference is not only in their size, but larger external hard drives usually require external power, while portable drives only require a USB connection. Keep this in mind if you would like your external drive to be portable.

SD or Micro SD Card

A 32GB microSD card
  • Your iOS device will need an adapter in order to access a SD or Micro SD card slot. While this type of storage does not typically afford the same amount of space as the other options listed, its ultra-compact form factor can still be very desirable for removable storage.
    MicroSD adapter
  • To use this type of storage, simply insert the SD card into the available slot.
  • The card itself can only be inserted into the slot in one way. These card slots are typically spring-loaded, and the card should click into and out of place.

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As you use your iPad, files and apps will eventually accumulate, leaving you with less free space for new content. Once you know how much available storage you have, you can use various methods to free up space on your tablet such as uninstalling apps, using iCloud or other cloud storage providers, and external storage.
Various iPads

How Do I Know I Need More Storage?

Your iPad will actually let you know when it's short on space. It will alert you with this message.
iOS storage full

To remove an app:

  1. From your main screen, locate the app you wish to remove.
  2. Lightly touch and hold the app until it jiggles or vibrates.
  3. Tap X in the upper-left corner of the app.
  4. Tap Delete.
    iOS showing app being removed.

To manage storage space for iCloud

  1. Go to Settings.
    iOS Settings.
  2. Select your Apple ID to open your Apple ID settings.
    Selecting your Apple ID
  3. Select iCloud to open your iCloud settings.
    Selecting iCloud
  4. You should see an overview of your current iCloud storage. Select Manage Storage to proceed.
    iCloud settings highlighting the manage storage option.
  5. A similar overview of iCloud storage will appear. Underneath this overview will be a list of apps that are consuming the greatest amount of storage space on your device. You can select one of these apps to manage data as you see fit.
    iCloud manage storage screen displaying app storage information.
  6. If after evaluating your device's storage usage, you feel that upgrading your iCloud Drive's storage capacity would be best, select Change Storage Plan to explore additional storage options.
    iCloud manage storage screen highlighting the change storage plan option.
  7. Select a Storage Plan that works best for you and your devices. It can be purchased directly from your device and will immediately expand your iCloud Drive's storage capacity.
    iCloud change storage plan screen.

Cloud storage allows you to store your important files securely online, allowing you to free up space on the device you uploaded them from. There are multiple cloud storage providers, some will work better for your needs.

Google Drive
Google Drive
  • File storage and synchronization service, from Google.
  • Works well if you're already using Google's other services such as mail, or hardware such as Android phones or Chromebook laptops.
Microsoft OneDrive
Microsoft OneDrive
  • File storage and synchronization service, as well as authentication services for Windows.
  • Closely integrated to Windows 10, and Microsoft Outlook.
Apple iCloud
Apple iCloud
  • File storage, synchronization, as well as settings and messaging integration for Apple products.
  • Closely integrated to Apple's Operating systems such as macOS and iOS.

At first, iOS devices like iPhones and iPads couldn't connect to any external devices. Now, providers have managed to create storage options that utilize your Lightning Port. Keep in mind while the storage device is connected to the Lightning Port, you cannot use that port.

Lightning Flash Drives

A lightning flash drive
  • A Lightning flash drive normally has one side for the Lightning port and the other for a USB port to connect to your computer.
  • To use your Lightning flash drive, connect it to your iOS device's Lightning (charge) port.

External Hard Drive

A WD MyPassport external harddrive

  • External hard drives typically offer the largest amount of storage space for the money, and easily connect to your device via  a USB to Lightning port adapter.
  • There are both portable and larger form factor external drives on the market. The difference is not only in their size, but larger external hard drives usually require external power, while portable drives only require a USB connection. Keep this in mind if you would like your external drive to be portable.

SD or Micro SD Card

A 32GB microSD card
  • Your iOS device will need an adapter in order to access a SD or Micro SD card slot. While this type of storage does not typically afford the same amount of space as the other options listed, its ultra-compact form factor can still be very desirable for removable storage.
    MicroSD adapter
  • To use this type of storage, simply insert the SD card into the available slot.
  • The card itself can only be inserted into the slot in one way. These card slots are typically spring-loaded, and the card should click into and out of place.
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