The new iPad mini comes with two usable storage sizes. Gone is the 16GB base storage that isn’t practical and in its place is a 64GB iPad mini with an optional 256GB upgrade. This is more storage than you get with the 9.7-inch iPad, and the entry-level option may be enough for most users. Here’s a look at how much iPad mini storage you need in 2019.
Apple charges $150 for more iPad mini storage and there is no good way to add more storage to your iPad mini later. While you can buy some lightning thumb drives, they aren’t practical for most users.
You’ll need to think about how you will use your iPad mini, if you want to stream or keep items on your iPad locally and if you prefer to pay for storage on your iPad or for cloud storage.
Most users will be able to go with the 64GB iPad mini, but if you travel a lot and want your movies, music and files always on your iPad, you won’t need the bigger storage option. If you plan to use the iPad mini at work for a checkout stand, as a kiosk or other option you should go with the 64GB iPad mini.
Here’s a more in-depth look at how much iPad mini storage you need.
How Much iPad Storage Are You Using Now?
Before you go any further, grab your current iPad and check how much storage you are already using. This is easy to see and you even get a breakdown of what the storage is for.
Go to Settings -> Tap on General -> Tap on iPad Storage. Within a few seconds you will be able to see how much iPad storage you are already using, what apps are using it and some tips to use less storage.
In the example above, you can see that I’m using almost 90GB of the 256GB of storage on my iPad. If I don’t want to make any changes I need to buy another 256GB iPad, but if I want to auto delete old attachments in Messages, offload the apps I don’t use and stop keeping 8 movies on my iPad I could get by with the 64GB iPad mini. It would mean a change in how I use the iPad and actively managing storage.
The general rule is to buy an iPad that offers some room to grow. I personally want at least 25% more room in a new iPad than what I am currently using. If you are upgrading from a 16GB or 32GB iPad, the 64GB iPad mini will seem quite roomy.
Do You Need Local Storage or Cloud Storage?
The next thing to consider is if you need a lot of storage on hand all the time, or if you can pay a small monthly fee to keep stuff in the cloud. Photos and videos take up the most room on my devices. Apps and movies are second and third. This is the case on most of the iPads I see when helping friends and family.
Do you need to keep photos or videos on your iPad to quickly edit or share with people? If so you may want to go with the bigger storage size. This is also the case if you travel a lot and you want to keep movies on your iPad to watch on the plane or in a hotel with slow WiFi.
The alternative is to use iCloud to store photos and videos and to rely on streaming movies and music. This is a good option and you can pay just 99 cents a month for 50GB of iCloud storage. This comes with the added benefit of keeping your photos and videos safe in case your iPad breaks.
Who Needs the 64GB iPad mini and Who Needs the 256GB model?
In most cases you will pay for more storage one way or the other. Let’s look at two users to help relate this to the average iPad mini buyer. When we grouped together to buy my grandma a new iPad we got her the lowest storage size available because she only needs more storage for photos and videos. Instead of paying for more storage up front we got her an iCloud subscription and that has her covered. When I bought my new iPad I chose the 256Gb model because I need room to edit 4K video and to bring videos with me locally when I travel.
Casual Users – If you plan to stream most of you media and keep your photos in iCloud, buy the 64GB iPad mini. This is enough room to bring a few movies with you, install Fortnight and other great apps as well as have some breathing room.
Power Users – If you travel, keep a load of movies and TV shows on your iPad or you need to edit a lot of photos or videos then you’ll want to go with the 256GB iPad mini.
Businesses and Kiosks – Most businesses using the iPad mini at trade shows or for waiters and waitresses or in kiosks can go with the 64GB storage option. This has enough room for most apps in these settings and you won’t need the extra storage.