So you’ve settled on picking up an iPad, but aren’t really sure how much storage you need?
It’s hard to estimate – you don’t even know for-sure what you’ll put on it yet!
Am I right?
How will you make sure you won’t fill it up within the fist six months and be wanting more space?
The original iPad had just 16GB of space, which seemed ample at the time considering the relatively few apps available and their capabilities at that time.
Today though, 32GB is the minimum size Apple now offers, double that of the original iPad and you can max out at 2TB (2,000 GB) if you want with the Pro models.
Times have changed.
Something to think about – It’s better to save up and buy the iPad that will work the best for you over the next few years. There are other ways to expand an iPad’s storage – iCloud, flash drives, external hard drives and other methods, but it’s an all-around better option to get the storage built into the iPad.
I’ll show you how much storage space common apps use and how many photos or movies you could download and save on each size.
There’s so much an iPad can do, I’ve even made a monster post listing over 30+ tasks the iPad can perform. It can do a lot, but you need storage to keep all the apps and the data they create.
Let’s figure out how much storage size you need in your new iPad.
Your Current Storage Usage And Needs
The first place to start is to take a look at your current iPad storage, or if you don’t have an iPad, look at your phone’s storage. You can find this by:
- Tap the Settings app
- Tap General
- Tap iPhone Storage or iPad Storage
You’ll be able to see your total storage and which kind of files are using the most space. Below, take a look at the apps on your device that are taking up the most space. This will give you a really good idea of what your needs will be for your new iPad, unless you’re planning on using it for something new like video editing or making music.
From the example above, you can see that they are only using a bit of a quarter of the storage space available to them (36GB out of 128GB available).
In this case, I’d recommend a 128GB iPad. They’d be able to have the same apps on it as they do on their iPhone, and still have plenty of unused space for future.
Your Planned iPad Storage Usage
Maybe you have the same situation as the example above, only using a small portion of space on your iPhone, but you’re planning on using your new iPad for art, editing videos, working on your YouTube channel, gaming or making music. Thinking of using your iPad as a DJ workstation? You’ll need space for that.
Some of these apps can take up a good bit of space, like a music app called Gadget 2 taking up almost 0.9GB or a game PUBG: Mobile taking up almost 2GB alone.
I’ll go into detail a bit further on about the app considerations you should take into account depending on what you’re planning on using your new iPad for.
As a basic rule, these are all storage heavy.
- Video Editing
- Music Production
That doesn’t mean that they all need 2TB of storage space, though. Actually, gaming needs different storage space than video editing – they both need a lot of space, but one needs a lot more storage space than the other.
Your Unplanned iPad Storage Usage
If you’re just planning on using your new iPad as an e-reader, email checker and internet browser, there really isn’t much to consider about unplanned storage space use.
Any unforeseen storage space needs will be minor and your iPad will have enough space to absorb them. The space needed will be minor.
If you’re wanting to game on your new iPad, game app developers are frequently updating their games which demand more space. New and exciting games will be developed and they’ll need their own space too.
Video editing is notorious for using a ton of disk space. HD video uses about 1GB per 30 minutes of footage. Typically when you’re making a video, you record a ton of it and then pick and choose the parts you want in your final edit. This means you’ll upload you entire recording from your video camera (or phone) to your iPad, which has to store it all before you can start editing it. Don’t forget, you’ll want to save video editing sessions on your iPad, so those will all have to be saved so you can recall them.
Video chews up memory quick and you should definitely be looking at a higher storage if this is what you’ll be doing.
Music production also takes up space, but it’s not from the audio files. The space-hog for music production is the instruments that make the sounds used in the sequencer. Within the last few years keyboards, synthisizers and effects that were previously a physical piece of hardware used in professional recording studios are being ported to an iPad app. It’s amazing really.
But all these take space. If you have an instrument that really accurately recreates the sound of a concert grand piano, all those piano note sounds have to have an individual sound recorded and stored.
Something else to think about – a lot of instruments that you can download and use on your iPad have expansion packs. These add more sounds to the instrument and can be upwards of 1GB each. Developers are releasing new expansion packs frequently – and you don’t want to delete your previous expansion packs – so you just keep adding them….which chews through storage space quick.
You’ll need space for all of these unplanned things.
What Can You Do With 1GB Of Space?
Ok so let’s take a look at what 1GB (one gigabyte) will do for you. You keep seeing 32GB, 128GB, 2TB – what does all that mean in the real world?
1GB of storage space will hold:
- 230 Songs / 16 Albums / 16hrs of music
- 18,800 Microsoft Word documents
- 3,000 PDFs
- 600 Photos
- 2,800 PowerPoint files
How Much Storage Space Do Popular Apps Use On iPad?
To give you an idea of how much space an app takes, lets check the most popular apps available on the app store.
- Facebook – 280MB
- Zoom – 155MB
- Super Mario Run – 253MB
- Netflix – 96MB
- 8 Ball Pool – 188MB
- TikTok – 440MB
- Word Cookies – 476MB
- YouTube – 270MB
- Solitaire – 310MB
- Instagram – 170MB
- Clash Royale – 202MB
- Candy Crush Saga – 314MB
- Amazon – 136MB
Apple Saves Photos As HEIC, Not JPG On iPad
So Apple used an image format called HEIC (High Efficiency Image Format), and not the more commonly found image format, JPG. This is to save storage space. You can change the default image format to JPG in the settings app.
32GB iPad Storage Is Perfect For..
An iPad with 32GB of storage is a great choice if you love to check your emails, browse the web and read your favorite book with your iPad. Considering you can hold 1,000 books per GB, you’ll be more than future proofed with 32GB at your disposal.
128GB iPad Storage Is Perfect For…
An iPad with 128GB of store is ideal if you know you’ll download some games and a few photo editing apps. You’ll also use it for browsing the internet and checking your emails, but occasionally you’ll edit a photo or create a photo collage and send it to your family or friends. You can also store a few movies on your iPad if you’re thinking of travelling soon.
256GB iPad Storage Is Perfect For…
I think 256GB is the sweet spot for iPad storage.
It’s just the perfect amount of not too little and not too much.
If you’re shopping for a school iPad, I would recommend a 256GB size. It’s enough to store all your school notes and lecture recordings, a few games, music, some movies or TV shows and it leaves you with ample space for unplanned storage needs.
256GB is a bit small for regular video editing, it will work, but you might be needing an external hard drive or a larger iCloud allowance too.
I’d say 256GB is a great size for working everyday iPads that have to wear a few different hats – production machine, entertainment device, life organizer, occasional YouTuber.
512GB iPad Storage Is Perfect For…
Choose an iPad with 512GB of storage if you know you’ll be using your iPad creatively, gaming and school or work. 512GB is an in-between storage option and will allow you to download and edit videos and photos, store your school notes and lecture recordings, game, browse the web and more.
Why would you choose 512GB over 256GB? You’ll be using your iPad as more of a video or audio library, pulling files when you need them. You need to keep a library of video or audio files onboard so you can use them when you want. More space means you have a bigger library, which means you have more options to choose from at your fingertips.
512GB would work if you’re just starting a YouTube channel as you can download and edit your videos right in iMovie or Lumafusion, but if your YouTube channel is more established and you’re producting content more regularly, 512GB isn’t iPad to get. You’ll get frustrated quickly that you have to delete your recordings when you want to reuse them later.
1TB iPad Storage Is Perfect For…
So, 1000GB? That’s a lot of apps! This storage size is absolutely for creatives – namely, video and audio. To create, you really have to have a library of content to select from so you can tweak each element and come up with something new.
Creating a library is time consuming, but it’s also storage space consuming. Maybe you want to download a new instrument to make music in Cubasis on your iPad? It’s 1.5GB and the expansion pack is 2GB. That’s 3GB chewed up before you’ve even started making a song.
3GB doesn’t sound like much when you compare it to 1,000, but consider there’s many instruments available and there are almost unlimited samples to choose from, you can fill your storage space up quickly.
So, don’t get a 1TB iPad if you’re shopping for something to take to school or accompany you on an airplane or road trip. You can fit 250 movies onto a 1TB iPad. That’s a loooooooooong trip!
P.s. if you’re looking for some insanely awesome iPad mounts for your BED check this out.
2TB iPad Storage Is Perfect For…
Ok this is getting crazy – there really isn’t many people that really need 2TB of space on an iPad. Not yet, anyway.
You’d buy a 2TB iPad if you were a hardcore creative – both musical and video. You can store all of your songs and footage right on your iPad and they’ll be ready to use instantly when you need it.
Maybe you travel a lot and want to load up your iPad once or twice a month with a fresh selection of shows and movies? You can do that with a 2TB iPad and it would be ready to entertain at a moments notice.
Consider that most laptops come with a 1TB – 2TB drive, it would be an achievement to fill your iPad completely up with apps, movies, songs, video and more.
Buying Options For An iPad With 32GB Of Space
Only the iPad (not the iPad mini, Air or Pro) comes with 32GB of space.
Buying Options For An iPad With 64GB Of Space
Only the iPad Mini (5th Generation) and iPad Air (4th Generation) come with 64GB of space
iPad Mini 64GB
iPad Air 64GB
Buying Options For An iPad With 128GB Of Space
You get a choice if any of Apple’s iPads – they are all offered with 128GB of storage space.
iPad Mini 128GB
iPad Pro 11″ 128GB
iPad Pro 12.9″ 128GB
Buying Options For An iPad With 256GB Of Space
The iPad Mini, iPad Air and iPad Pro are all offered in 256GB storage space.
iPad Mini 256GB
iPad Air 256GB
iPad Pro 256GB
Buying Options For An iPad With 512GB Of Space
Only the iPad Pro is available with 512GB of space
iPad Pro 11″ 512GB
iPad Pro 12″ 512GB
Buying Options For An iPad With 1TB Of Space
Only the iPad Pro is available with 1TB of space
iPad Pro 11″ 1TB
iPad Pro 12.9″ 1TB
Buying Options For An iPad With 2TB Of Space
Only the iPad Pro is available in 2TB storage option
iPad Pro 11″ 2TB
iPad Pro 12.9″ 2TB
iPad Storage Considerations For An Artist
Artists and graphic designers need storage space so project files can be saved completely and re-opened whenever needed. Is best to keep all your project files and creative assets onboard your iPad and not rely on iCloud or an external hard drive.
I’d recommend a 256GB iPad.
iPad Storage Considerations For A YouTuber
Downloading and editing video is probably one of the biggest ways to eat up storage space on your iPad. Some times you max out the storage space and have to come to terms with the fact that you now need to begin deleting your videos to make room for new content.
An iPad is meant to be mobile, connecting an external hard drive while you’re out and about shooting and editing would be a pain and sort of take away the whole portability of an iPad.
I’d recommend a 256GB or more preferably a 1TB iPad.
iPad Storage Considerations For A Photographer
Photographs can take up a lot of storage space, especially if they’re captured and saved in raw format. Photos don’t take nearly as much space as video, though so you can get away with less storage space on hand. iCloud would be an ideal solution if you’re just going to use your new iPad for photography as you can pull and save your photos to iCloud for cheap.
It’s not super important that you always have your photo library on hand right on your iPad. You aren’t really going to be recalling the photos and re-editing them often, like you would if you made music or YouTube videos.
I’d recommend a 128GB iPad, maybe a 256GB if you’re a professional photographer and want to edit your photos.
iPad Storage Considerations For An Music Producer
Making music can be storage-heavy. Downloading sample packs can be GBs each and instruments and their expansion packs can chew through GBs easily.
Sometimes you just need to find that sound and you’ll search through your sample library. This is where a lot of the storage space is used. You’ll have to keep a library so when you make music you’ve got the ingredients to use for it. It’s like making a meal, you need ingredients before it comes together.
Music programs need the file format of samples to be in .wav, instead of the more commonly used .mp3. Because you need to convert your samples from .mp3 to .wav, it takes up a huge amount of space. WAV format samples can be 3-5 times larger than their .mp3 versions. Considering every single sample you want to use needs to be in .wav, your library can get FAT.
I’d recommend at least 512GB for music production.
iPad Storage Considerations For Business Use
Business and office use is probably the lowest in storage space demands. Spreadsheets, word documents, PDFs, Marking up images and more all take very little space and most are kept in the cloud or on your email server like GMail or Outlook.
I’d recommend a 64GB iPad.
You have a lot of options when you’re trying to decide how much storage space you need on your iPad, from 32GB all the way up to 2TB.
Use your phone and find out what your current storage needs are. Use the App store and check how big the apps you think you’ll use are. Don’t forget about the expansion options too, as an app can look small at first, but when you download the expansions the GBs start disappearing.
There are other options if you do need more space and didn’t buy enough when you first bought your iPad. The easiest is to use iCloud, Apple’s backup and file saving system. It’s pretty cheap at just a few dollars a month and lets you store almost all the files on your iPad in the cloud.
One huge downside to this is that to access your iCloud files you need to be connected to the internet – preferably through WiFi or at least 5G. Because your files will have to be downloaded to your iPad before you can use them, it might get a bit annoying after a while, especially if you can’t find an internet connection.
Another way that doesn’t rely on the internet or Apple’s iCloud is by using a portable external hard drive like a Samsung T5 or T7 USB HD.
You connect this to your iPad via a USBC adapter cable.
Be sure to pick an iPad that will fulfill your needs for the next few years. If all you’re planning is light web browsing and checking your email, a 32GB iPad will be perfect. If you think you’ll start exploring more creative ways to use your iPad, think about an iPad with 128GB or more.