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Why You Might Regret Buying a 16GB iPad mini



Tomorrow Apple will be launching the iPad mini, it latest iPad which features a smaller 7.9-inch display, which will be joining the new iPad fourth-generation on shelves just in time for the holiday season. While many have already pre-ordered the new tablet, many others will be heading to stores tomorrow to pick one up. Before doing that though, heed this little bit of advice, otherwise, you may regret the purchase.

Back in March, against my better judgement, I decided to pick up a 16GB third-generation iPad on release day. I made that choice based off of my iPad 2 which also had 16GB of storage space. I figured it would be enough space and I didn’t really see the need to fork over the extra $100.

Read: Nexus 7 vs. iPad mini.

A few months later, I realized that I had made a mistake. The 16GB iPad was not the iPad that I should have bought. However, by then, it was too late. I had already spent the money and since then, I’ve been stuck in a cycle bordering on insanity, where I am constantly having to shuffle content on and off of my iPad.


You may want to think twice about the 16GB iPad mini.

That being said, I am here to make sure that you don’t make a similar mistake with the iPad mini or the iPad fourth-generation.

Why You Might Regret Buying a 16GB iPad Mini

The iPad mini is going to be coming in three different sizes tomorrow, all Wi-Fi only. The smallest of the bunch is the 16GB iPad mini which checks in with a $329 price tag. The next largest, the 32GB iPad mini which is $429 and finally, the 64GB model which is $529. So, besides that smaller screen, the iPad mini costs less than than regular old 9.7-inch iPad.

Unfortunately, deciding on which one to buy can be a little bit tricky, especially for first time buyers. And that’s where my experiences come into play. Here is who might want to reconsider buying a 16GB Wi-Fi only version of the iPad mini.

Power Users

At first, when I first bought my iPad, I wasn’t a power user. But as I slowly started to use it more and more, finding new uses along the way, I found myself using it constantly. With the larger iPad, it was the Retina Display that transformed me into a power user. However, with the iPad mini, it’s going to be the device’s portability that will quickly turn average tablet users to power users.

The iPad mini’s size is going to make it perfect to put inside of a purse, bag or maybe even a pocket for on-the-go use, something that is nearly impossible with the larger 9.7-inch iPad. This kind of portability is going to translate into more content consumption which, in turn, means more downloading and storage space eaten up.

When on the go, users will likely be looking to have the ability to game, listen to downloaded music, read books, and use applications on the iPad mini. Problem is, with 16GB of storage, it’s hard to ensure all of that will be at your fingertips when you leave the house as all of it adds up.

So if you buy a 16GB iPad mini with all of that in mind, be prepared to make some sacrifices in terms of what you have on board when you leave the house.


The iPad mini won’t have a Retina Display but that doesn’t mean that it’s going to be safe from the increasing sizes of apps, and specifically, games. Those buying an iPad with the intention of doing some heavy mobile gaming will want to think twice about the 16GB model. In fact, gaming is one of the main reasons why I regret snagging the 16GB model.

Games are absolutely huge, especially the good ones. Infinity Blade 2, one of my favorite games, takes up over 1GB of storage alone. You want Grand Theft Auto as well? Well that’s another 450MB. So, between two apps, you’ve now managed to take up nearly 2GB of storage space on your iPad.

And sizes aren’t getting any smaller. I recently had to uninstall 12 applications in order to make room for a new game I wanted to play and buy on my iPad. It gets frustrating, trust me, and I would gladly pay $100 to save me from the hassle.


So the iPad mini is portable which means that it’s a perfect companion for traveling. Only it’s likely not going to be if you opt for the 16GB version.

There have been times when I’ve been traveling and wanted to download something but couldn’t because it would require deleting apps that I didn’t want to delete. It doesn’t sound like much but it will drive you nuts in a heartbeat.

The freedom of being able to download at will without stressing out whilst traveling is certainly a luxury that might be worth $100 to many of you.

What to Buy Instead

If you plan on taking the iPad mini out of the house, if you plan on doing more than just reading books, if you plan on gaming, and if you plan on taking it traveling, I suggest buying a device with more than 16GB of storage space. It may seem like enough at first, but very quickly you’ll realize just how fast content will eat that storage space up, especially on a device built for portable like the iPad mini and its smaller display.

There are only two ways that I’d buy a 16GB iPad now. One, if I were to shell out the money for a 4G LTE model (which launch later in November) where I could just stream my content instead of having to download it all. And two, if I knew I’d never take it out of the house, something that at this point is downright absurd to think about.

So, before you go out and buy a 16GB iPad, think about how you might wind up using your iPad. If you have even the slightest inclination that you might take it out of the house, and you can afford more storage, go with either the 32GB of 64GB model.

You probably won’t regret it.



  1. Nick

    11/01/2012 at 2:57 pm

    Adam, perhaps you should just make a sticky thread on the dangers of buying 8GB and 16GB devices, instead of warning us every single time one comes out……

  2. Fernando

    11/02/2012 at 4:09 am

    Here here… I bought a 16 GB iPad (3rd gen) for my wife, only to have her “fill it up” with content in less than a week. She ended up “demanding” more storage space. I ended up getting her the 64GB model, and the 16GB went as an “unsolicited gift” to my mother in law. That’s a hard lesson to learn :-)

  3. Robyn

    11/23/2012 at 4:15 am

    Fernando, but a good result for your mother-in-law!

    Adam, this was a thoughtful blog on which memory size to buy but, like most others on the net, you didn’t tell us how much free space there actually is –*out of the box*. That makes a difference.

    Many of us haven’t jumped to iOS 6 yet, so that’s another reason to know that.

    I discovered the other day that my iPhone 4 has 16gb whereas my iPad 1 has 32gb. Not sure what’s going on, but I have similar apps on both and similar amounts of free space!!

    I do store more podcasts and such on the iPad, but…

    Is there any reason the gb space would differ between iPhone and iPad Mini?

    Finally, another column I recommend on making the space decision is on Cult of the Mac. They break it down by type of user, with different recs even for white vs. black!


  4. Adam Szilagyi

    12/18/2012 at 6:08 am

    I’m also looking into buying an Ipad Mini. After reading the title I thought this post will teach me why I have to choose another product except Ipad.

    It looks like all we know after reading it is that if somebody buy an Ipad just to have one, might fill up all the space after some usage.

    I don’t think anybody will spend this amount of money without knowing why he or she will buy it.

    Next time hopefully we will have some more useful information.

  5. James O'Neal

    01/01/2013 at 10:26 am

    I’m glad I read this article because I would have made a mistake and may have never known it. My yougest son graduates from the Navy PIR (boot camp) 0n January 25th and he gave me his laptop before he left so for graduation/xmas I wanted to buy him an Ipad but was struggling with what would be best. Now I know the mini would be better for him in A-school after boot camp but I also know to go with 32 or 64 Gb vrs 16. I know he likes to game a little but loves music and videos so thank you for the insight.

  6. David

    02/13/2013 at 8:46 pm

    Hi guys you need to know airstash product in order to solve storage problems on your apple devices…

  7. Sartly

    04/21/2013 at 1:49 pm

    Actually I regret spending more money extra storage when I don’t really need it. I spend $100 more on the 32Gb when I could have save $100 on got the 16GB

  8. Matt

    06/13/2013 at 4:26 pm

    Thanks Adam that was very informing since I was looking at the I-pad mini for my birthday!!πŸ‘ΎπŸ“±πŸ‘ΎπŸ“±

    • Matt

      06/13/2013 at 4:34 pm

      Adam, what would be a good place to get it best buy, apple,future shop,Walmart or staples?????????????

  9. Bob Johnson

    06/23/2013 at 4:40 am

    Best Buy gives you a couple of weeks to return items if you’re unhappy. I bought my IMac, Macbook, iPad 3rd Gen. there…. I do suggest it for buying computers and related gadgets.

  10. jonah montgomery

    07/22/2013 at 3:53 am

    Yeah I got the Ipad mini 16 Gb But I didn’t care Since I Got it for a present. But I was downloading Movies and music to the device when I first got It And apps I used it carefully And used up all my space but I put a lot in for 16 gb unlike 8 which you can put only 1 movie on it or so. But any ways I got the Ipad usb adapter which I id searching in order to bump my storage up And shockingly I did With a 64 gb usb ,yes you have to walk aroung with it on your device but I tape it on and get to watching movies on the go and music and that wireless 150 dollar Usb drive is a rip of I payed 40 dollars for a Usb adapter and 64 gb Micro sim card Works like a charm so there is one downside which is you having to tape it to the ipad but for me theres no problem

  11. Gregory Movsesyan

    04/30/2014 at 12:22 am

    Too late for me :), just bought the IPad mini 16 gb and hope to get most out of it, will keep eye on storage limit!

    Useful article therefore!

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