How to free up space on your iPad

An iPad, one of the best tablets you can buy, is a versatile mobile device that can be used for many tasks. They’re often used for gaming, watching videos on a bigger screen than a phone, productivity (when used with the optional Magic Keyboard or alternative options), creative tasks like drawing and sketching, taking notes, reading, and more. All of these activities can take up a lot of storage space with both apps and files. With iPads, much like iPhones, these devices are limited by the storage capacities they come with: there’s no microSD card slot to add more. This means having to keep a watchful eye on what you keep, so you can avoid the dreaded “storage full” pop-up message.


Oftentimes, most of the things we tend to keep on an iPad could be deleted anyway. So, before signing up for more iCloud storage or investing in an external storage drive to offload content, consider freeing up space on your iPad first. Get rid of files, apps, messages, games, and more that you don’t need. Doing so will not only give you more room for content you want, but it will also help your device run more quickly and efficiently. It can be a cumbersome and time-consuming manual process, but there is an easier way to do this quickly.

First things first, back up the iPad using Finder or iTunes, just in case something important is deleted by accident. If you’re confidently willing to purge, you can skip this step. Then, move on to the digital clean-up using these simple steps.

1. Select Settings spirit General.

2. Go two iPad Storage.

3. It may take a few seconds to fully load, depending on how full the tablet is. Once loaded, a bar chart will appear at the top that breaks down what is taking up how much room, along with a line list for each section that you can review individually.

4. Select Enable beside Offload Unused Apps to have the iPad automatically remove the ones you have not been using.

5. Select Enable beside Auto Delete Old Conversations and remove the ones you no longer need.

6. Select Review Downloaded Videos and remove ones you have already watched or no longer need (you can always download these again if they are from a streaming site that offers offline downloads).

7. Scroll down the list that follows to see how much storage each section and different apps are taking up, and review each one individually from there once you know what is taking up the majority of the space on the device.

8. For apps, look at the “Last Used” date. If it’s from more than a year ago, select the app and choose “Offload App.” This will remove the app from the iPad to open up space but will still retain your data should you decide to reinstall the app at a later date; OR

9. Select Delete App to remove it entirely, including all your data associated with it. If you haven’t used it in a year, chances are you won’t again.

One thing Apple never includes with its iPads, even the latest iPad Air, is expandable memory. This means you are kept to what you have or must resort to using the cloud or external storage devices. But limited storage can also, in a way, be a good thing. It will encourage you to get rid of files, apps, photos, and videos you don’t need.

Try to do an iPad clean-up to free up space once every few months or, at the very least, once a year. This way, when it’s time to upgrade to a new model, you’ll only be transferring over the most important content instead of moving junk from one tablet to the next.

iPad Air 5 (2022)

Apple iPad Air (2022)

The 2022 5th-generation iPad Air is powered by the Apple M1 processor, it supports 5G for the first time, and it comes in an array of beautiful colors.

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