Offline Caching Limits for the iPad

Written by anne hirsh
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Offline Caching Limits for the iPad
Alter cache settings from within each app to optimise offline iPad use. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

Your iPad's storage space is subject only to the hardware limits, but individual apps may place limits on your stored items within those apps. Any apps that connect to the Internet but store data offline have a cache, such as Dropbox, Documents to Go, QuickOffice, GoodReader and other productivity apps. Removing items from the cache will not delete them from online storage, but will require you to download them to your iPad again the next time you want to view them.

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iPad Storage

The iPad stores data within individual apps rather than in a file system accessible to multiple programs, the way a computer does. This means each app can have its own settings for file storage, including organisation systems and cache size. Apps that use temporary cache systems to store your online files offline generally have a default cache limit and alternative user-set limits. The app developer controls this programming, not Apple or the iPad native software.

Adjusting Cache Size

Locate the "Settings" or "Tools" function in your app that uses a cache. This usually requires tapping a wrench or gear icon. You may need to tap an "Advanced" button or "Cache" button to access the cache settings. Tap any text to do with "Cache" or "Local storage" to launch more options, or try tapping a sideways arrow next to your cache setting listings. Some apps have preset cache limits to choose from, such as 100MB, 200MB and 1GB, while others may offer a field for you to enter your own amount. If the cache values listed are too low for your needs, contact the app developer to request increased cache sizes. Contacting Apple will not solve the issue unless Apple created the app. If you cannot find any cache or local storage information, the app may use any available storage space for your temporary files. Contact the app developer to find out information on a specific app.

Over-Limit Cache Issues

Some apps require you to manually clear the cache when it gets full, while others will automatically delete cached data to create space for active data. If you receive error messages such as one saying a file is too large, enter your settings for that app and clear the cache using the on-screen tools provided. Generally, this requires tapping "Clear cache" or "Delete temporary files." In some apps, this is not enough. You must also restart the app or even the iPad. If you continue to receive file size or other errors in that app, press the home button, and then double-click it to launch the multitasking pane. Press and hold on the app that's causing the issue, then press the "-" to close it. Press and hold the sleep/wake button, and then slide the power-off slider that appears. Once you restart your iPad after the complete shutdown, your cache should be clear and you can download new files.

Considerations

No matter how you choose to set your iPad app caches, they are all subject to your available storage space limits. If you use a 16GB iPad and only have 2GB of space available, you cannot download any file larger than 2GB, no matter which app you use. Downloading files in one app will not clear the cache in another app to allow you more space, even if the second app will automatically delete files to add space when you download within that app.

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