iPad Usage: Where Did All My Storage Space Go?

Let's Track Down the Space Hogs

Apple has upped the storage on entry-level iPad models, but apps are getting larger. For people with older tablets sporting only 16 GB of storage, it can be difficult to manage that storage space. While deleting a few apps or a game that you never play anymore can be a quick fix, the time will come to do a deep cleaning.

The iPad is capable of telling you what is taking up all of your storage in the Usage section of the iPad's settings. This will let you see which apps are the biggest space hogs and how much room your photos and videos are taking up.

These instructions apply to iPads running iOS 11 or later.

How to View and Clear Storage On Your iPad

  1. Go into your iPad's settings by launching the Settings app.

    The iPad Settings app
  2. Choose General from the left-side menu.

    General heading in Settings on iPad
  3. Tap iPad Storage.

    iPad Storage in General settings
  4. The Storage section shows how much space you're using with both a number and a color-coded bar chart.

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

    iPad Storage report
  5. Below the overview, you'll see recommendations for clearing space. Some options include uploading all of your photos to iCloud, cleaning out the pictures you've recently deleted, and deleting videos or photos you've attached to text messages.

    Storage recommendations on an iPad
  6. Under the recommendations, you'll see a list of all of the apps you have installed and how much space each of them takes up. The larger ones are on top.

    Application storage on an iPad
  7. Tap an app on this list to get more detailed information like the app size and data. Apps like Messages will also include the space it's using for attachments. The Documents & Data section contains a more detailed breakdown of the app's storage usage.

    Documents & Data section on iPad
  8. If you have an app that you don't use, tap on it from the list, and then tap Delete App to remove it from your iPad.

    To delete an app but keep its data intact, select Offload App. One time you'd use this is when you want to uninstall a game temporarily but keep your progress.

    Offload App and Delete App options on an iPad
  9. To reinstall an app you've offloaded, go back to this screen and tap Reinstall App, which will appear in place of "Offload App."

More Tips on Freeing Up Storage Space

One easy way to free up some 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, you can stream them from online storage without taking up space on your iPad.

You can also stream music and movies you've purchased on iTunes from your desktop or laptop PC using home sharing. You will need to enable home sharing on your home PC for this to work. You can also consider going with a streaming music service like Pandora, Apple Music, or Spotify instead of keeping full song downloads.

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