Can you increase the size of the storage in an ipad?

Updated February 21, 2017

The iPad contains no user-upgradeable parts, so you cannot increase its storage size. However, there are several ways to make your storage more versatile on the iPad. Cloud storage and file sharing with your computer can expand the amount of data available to you on the iPad. But you may also find that you need less storage than you think, as iPad applications take up less space than standard computer software.

Virtual storage

The iPad is compatible with most major cloud storage services, such as iDisk, Dropbox, SugarSync and Apple's new iCloud. Most of these services offer 2GB to 5GB of free online storage, plus paid storage options for up to 500GB with some services. These services offer free iPad apps to manage your documents directly from the iPad, although they require a computer to store the files as well. With this type of storage, you download only the files you need and store them on your iPad. When you download more than your service's cache allows, the excess files will remain in storage online for later access but will be deleted from the device's storage to maximise your active working space.

Computer syncing

High-definition movies and television shows take up the most storage space compared with other types of files. You can work within your iPad's storage constraints by storing these items on your computer and syncing only those items you need most to your iPad. You may not be able to keep your entire video library on your iPad, but you can load a several items to watch during the week, and then exchange old movies for new ones as you back up and sync your iPad on a weekly basis.

External storage devices

Apple offers a camera connection kit for the iPad that you can use to connect your digital camera to transfer photos to the iPad. This kit also contains an SD card reader. If you need extra storage for photos, you can keep them on SD cards and plug the card reader into the iPad whenever you want to view the photos that aren't currently on your hard drive. As of the time of publication, the only external hard drive compatible with the iPad is the HyperDrive, which stores your extra documents as if they were on photo cards and requires the camera connection kit to work. Apple does not guarantee support for this device on the iPad.

Choosing a storage size

As of the time of publication, you can get the iPad in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB storage sizes. The smallest one may be too small if you plan to keep a library full of movies, television and high-resolution photos on your iPad, or if you need to work with large presentation files such as Keynote or PowerPoint files that include embedded videos. For the typical user, 32GB is plenty to store your apps, books, music, documents, a moderate photo album and a few movies and shows. If you anticipate needing more than this, the lack of true expandability means you should consider the 64GB iPad. The best way to determine an iPad size is to check your computer to find the file sizes for the items you'll need on the iPad. If the total capacity of these items is larger than 64GB, you will need to use an external storage method as an alternative to increasing the iPad's capacity.

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About the Author

Anne Hirsh has been writing and editing for over 10 years. She has hands-on experience in cooking, visual arts and theater as well as writing experience covering wellness and animal-related topics. She also has extensive research experience in marketing, small business, Web development and SEO. Hirsh has a bachelor's degree in technical theater and English and post-baccalaureate training in writing and computer software.