When you’re considering buying a new iPad for yourself or as a gift, choosing the right amount of storage is a big decision. Thankfully, the days of the 16GB iPad (and iPhone) are long behind us. Whether you’re going with the iPad mini, iPad, iPad Air or iPad Pro, it’s not always easy to determine how much storage you’ll need in the future. The temptation to buy more than you could ever use is strong, but potentially not worth the extra cost. That said, apps and games are getting larger in size and with streaming video apps offering downloadable content, storage is more important than ever.
Go Small and Save
Apple’s “entry-level” iPad (the iPad 10.2-inch) lineup starts with 32GB sizing and, for most people, that’s probably more than good enough. First things first, do you have an iPad now? If so, you should check and see how much storage you’re currently using. Select Settings, click on General and then iPad Storage. This number shows you how much storage you’re utilizing. If you’re thinking about buying an iPad and only have an iPhone, the same method applies. This is the best first step to understanding your needs.
Once you’ve identified your current memory status, you’ll know whether you can skip ahead to the larger storage options mentioned below or keep reading. The 32GB and likely the 64GB iPads might be perfect. The good news is that these sizes can still hold a whole lot of apps, games, music, photos and more. You’ll find plenty of space to download the Microsoft Office suite of apps or drawing tools like Pixelmator.
When it comes to movies, it’s worth knowing that downloads from the app store or Netflix can quickly run up space. Consider that a 4K movie is generally between 4 and 5GB per film while 1080p is likely around 1GB. In the case of 4K movies, a 32GB iPad probably isn’t the best solution. If you’re not planning on downloading a lot of films or editing 4K video captured on your iPhone, the 32 and 64GB options are great choices.
Go Big or Go Home
Starting at around $100 more than the base price of the iPad, the 128GB or 256GB size iPads are still a great deal. Considering you can double or quadruple your storage for only $100 more might make this an easy decision for some.
There’s no question that iPad buyers who wish to download tons of games or store their full photo collection should opt for larger sizing. Perhaps you want to edit video on your iPad (and it’s great at this), then you, too, should opt for larger sizes.
In today’s App Store, apps are only getting larger, and it’s a trend that shows no sign of slowing. It was only a few years ago that games above 250MB were rare. Today, games over 1GB are the norm with apps like GRID Racing potentially taking up 4GB or more. Movies like Aladdin from the iTunes store are a whopping 5.3GB in HD format.
The same can be said for travelers wishing to download movies for viewing on the go. As mentioned previously, 4K movies are plentiful on Netflix and the App Store and a single movie can take up a good chunk of space. If you’re a videophile and have to see the latest films or yesterday’s hits, the larger the iPad the better. This ensures that you won’t have to delete additional items off your iPad to make room for a movie.
For the professional iPad users among you, especially those who are looking at graphics-heavy work, you need to consider even larger sizes. The 11 and 12.9-inch iPad Pros come in a whopping 512GB or 1TB! Simply stated, these iPad sizes are for those with the goal of making the iPad Pro a work machine. If app development is in your future, or you’re already in this field, the larger the iPad the better. Developers working on augmented reality games are especially prone to running out of space.
I Still Don’t Know
It’s okay if you still don’t know what iPad size is right for you. There’s no one right answer. Often it’s a little bit of trial and error. The good news is most retailers offer generous 30-day return policies so you can see what fits your needs best. That’s plenty of time to decide which size storage you need as well as your use. If you’re unsure, the best decision is to spend the extra $100 and have future storage availability just in case.
Decisions, decisions! The good news is that every iPad has access to millions of apps, games, and tools in the app store. So no matter what size you choose, there’s plenty of fun to be had. What iPad size do you have and how much are you using? Sound off below.