16GB of storage on an iPad isn’t much at all. In fact, many would say that it’s impossible for an iPad user, but if it’s your only option, here’s how to get by with a 16GB iPad.
We’ve discussed many times in the past about how you just shouldn’t get a 16GB iPhone or iPad, both for the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 5s, as well as the iPad mini and the new iPad Air 2. 16GB usually isn’t enough for a lot of users, and since iOS itself takes up a few gigabytes of space, you’re left with even less storage that you can work with.
Storage size can ultimately be the toughest decision when buying an iPad, especially because of the price difference between the multiple storage tiers, but you also never know exactly how much space you’ll end up using, and the longer you own the device, the more apps and games that you’ll pile on over time.
With that said, it’s important to choose the right storage size for this reason. However, if your budget doesn’t allow for anything better than a 16GB iPad, the decision is pretty easy, but ultimately not the best, and we certainly don’t blame you, as you’ll pay $100 more for the next storage tier up.
In a lot of Android tablets, you don’t really need to think about what storage size to get, mainly because a lot of them come with microSD card slots that allow you to shove in an extra 64GB of storage and call it a day, but the iPad doesn’t have that luxury, so you have to get the storage amount that you want up front.
If you’re stuck with a 16GB iPad, not all hope is lost, and there are a few things that you can keep in mind to make sure that you’re not constantly running out of storage space.
Use the Cloud
If there’s one thing that the iPad is good at, it’s for viewing movies and watching TV shows. Music, movies, TV shows, podcasts, photos, etc. usually take up the most storage on your iPad, depending on how much you have exactly. However, you don’t have to store any of that on your iPad if you take advantage of the cloud.
I’m not talking about Apple’s iCloud specifically, but rather different services that let you stream content or store content in the cloud, such as Netflix, Dropbox, etc.
Instead of storing all of your music on your iPad, consider using Spotify or Rdio to stream your music. If you want to watch a movie or TV show, use Netflix, Hulu Plus, or Amazon Instant Video. As long as you have an internet connection, you have a ton of music and video content at your fingertips that you don’t even have to store on your iPad.
For photos, consider storing them in Dropbox or Google Drive, and when you need to access them, just fire up the Dropbox or Google Drive app and view away. You can even save some for offline viewing.
Again, you’ll need an internet connection to take advantage of apps like these, which is the main drawback for using the cloud, but 95% of the time you can get a WiFi signal almost anymore. It’s usually the other 5% that’s the hardest to deal with, so think about if using the cloud is really your cup of tea.
Audit Your Apps Frequently
Apps themselves don’t take up a lot of space — usually under 200MB a piece for most, but additional data such as cache, history, etc. can add another couple hundred of megabytes to that. Plus, if you intend on having a ton of apps, the storage required can really add up. There are also bigger apps like GarageBand, which can take up almost a gigabyte by itself.
Obviously, the more apps you have, the more storage space is being taken up by these apps as a whole, and I’m sure we’ve all been there before: You download a handful of apps, but never actually end up using them except for maybe a couple of times per year.
These are the apps that you should just get rid of. Every now and then, go through your apps and delete any of them that you haven’t used in a long time, as you’ll most likely never need them again. Doing this can constantly free up space on your 16GB iPad with very little effort.
Stick to Casual & Lightweight Gaming
Games can be one of the biggest culprits of storage hogging, and the iPad is such a great mobile gaming device. However, depending on the game, they can take up anywhere from a couple hundred megabytes, all the way up to several gigabytes.
For instance, graphic-intensive titles like Real Racing 3 and Infinity Blade III can take up several gigabytes a piece, so if you have a 16GB iPad, you may only be able to fit one or two of these games without the storage getting out of control.
However, there are a ton of casual and lightweight games that are just as fun. Tiny Wings, for example, is a really fun high-score game that takes up only 16MB of storage. Furthermore, Heads Up! is a great party game that you can play with friends and family, and it takes up less than 100MB.
Look for these types of games if you have a 16GB iPad, as you can store a ton of them on your tablet and you don’t have to give up mobile gaming altogether by doing this.