iPad Usage: Where Did All My Storage Space Go?

Track down the data-hungry apps and free up space

While newer iPads have plenty of storage space (entry-level models have 32 GB), it's easy to fill up your tablet with the wide assortment of productivity and entertainment apps available. If you have an older tablet with only 16 GB of storage, you'll run out of space even faster.

The iPad's storage settings can tell you what apps are taking up the most storage space and show you how much space photos and videos are using. Then, it's easier to clear storage on your device.

These instructions apply to iPads with iOS 11 or later.

How to View and Clear Storage on Your iPad

It's easy to check out how your iPad storage is allocated and then clear up some space.

  1. Open your iPad's Settings app and tap General.

    iPad settings with General highlighted
  2. Tap iPad Storage.

    iPad settings with "iPad Storage" highlighted
  3. The Storage section shows how much space is used with both a number and a color-coded bar chart.

    iPhone storage settings with storage usage and graph highlighted

    It may take a few seconds for the iPad to calculate and categorize its storage.

  4. Below the overview, you'll see recommendations for clearing space. Some options include reviewing downloaded videos and large attachments.

    iPad storage settings with Recommendations highlighted

    You may also see a recommendation to upload photos to iCloud.

  5. Under the recommendations, you'll see a list of apps installed and how much space each takes up. The larger ones are on top.

    iPad storage settings with app space taken up highlighted
  6. Tap an app on this list to get more detailed information, such as the app size and data. Apps like Messages also include the space used for attachments. The Documents section contains a more detailed breakdown of the app's storage usage.

    iPad Messages app storage details with Documents highlighted
  7. To delete an app you don't use, tap it and then tap Delete App. To delete an app but keep its data intact, select Offload App.

    iPad storage Chrome app settings with "Delete App" and "Offload App" highlighted
  8. To reinstall an app you offloaded, go back to this screen and tap Reinstall App.

    iPad storage settings Chrome app age with Reinstall App highlighted

More Tips to Free up Storage Space

One easy way to free up storage space is to install Dropbox, Google Drive, or another cloud storage service. You can then move some of your photographs or home videos to the cloud drive. When you want to watch videos, stream them from your online storage without taking up space on your iPad.

Stream music and movies you purchased on iTunes from your desktop or laptop PC using Home Sharing. You'll need to enable Home Sharing on your home PC for this to work.

To save more space, consider using a streaming music service like Pandora, Apple Music, or Spotify instead of keeping full song downloads.

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