Can You Upgrade the Hard Drive on an Apple iPad?

Written by anne hirsh
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Can You Upgrade the Hard Drive on an Apple iPad?
The iPad's solid body does not allow user upgrades. (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

The iPad uses solid state storage rather than the typical computer drive. Three storage size options are equivalent to the hard drive on your computer. Once you purchase a 16G, 32G or 64G iPad, that is the amount of storage you have to work with for duration of that iPad's use. However, the storage limits are not as confining as they may seem, and there are ways to work around those limits so a 64G iPad can suit most user's needs, even with large amounts of data on the iPad.

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Storage Consumption

One reason computers have large hard drive storage capacities, often in the multiple hundreds of gigabytes, is that computer software takes up more storage than iPad software. Mobile apps are designed for the iOS operating system, which takes up a small portion of your iPad's storage space. These apps are more single-focused than standard computer software, and may lack some extra features, but they take up little room on your iPad. This leaves most of your iPad's storage space available for music, documents, photos and the highest space consumer, video.

Extra Storage in Cloud

Several popular cloud storage providers offer free iPad apps in the App Store. Apple's iDisk, along with Dropbox, Box dot Net, SugarSync and other cloud storage services let you store your files, including music, photos and videos in most cases, online. When you want to access one of these items, you can download it to your iPad in a few taps, then remove it from your iPad's storage when you are finished, allowing room for other items while the file remains accessible in the cloud. Free versions of these services can add 1 G to 5 G of extra storage, while some cloud services offer paid versions that let you access hundreds of gigabytes of online storage from your iPad.

iTunes Storage

If your cloud service can't handle video formats or you simply don't like relying on Internet connections to increase your iPad's ability to offer you the items you want on the go, you can use iTunes on your computer. It serrves as a kind of external hard drive, shifting groups of files, songs or videos onto your iPad for the day's or week's use, then shifting those files off and new items on as you tire of your current selection.

iPad Benefits

Although the lack of user upgrades may seem like a drawback, especially to PC users who are used to do-it-yourself improvements, the iPad's sealed body can be an asset. The inability to tamper with the iPad's internal workings helps ensure that the hardware and software work together as they were designed to do, reducing the risk of bugs or glitches due to conflicts between the hardware and software. In addition, because users cannot add or change the iPad's hardware, many airport security stations do not require travellers to remove the iPad from their bags for inspection.

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