Modern iPads have plenty of storage space for most people, but if you buy a smaller model now, can you add iPad storage later? The short answer is “no,” but that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the story. There are some ways you can extend the practical storage space you have to work with on your iPad — here’s how.

While Apple has never offered the option of SD card storage expansion in its devices, you are no longer completely stuck when the free space on your iPad runs out. These are some practical options you can use to get a little extra breathing room.

External storage options


As of the advent of iPadOS, iPads now have proper support for external hard drives, flash drives, and basically any USB-based storage device in a compatible format. This means you can keep media files and other types of non-app data on cheap external storage and save your fast internal space for applications and crucial info only. Since iPadOS now has a robust file manager app, moving files to and fro is dead easy.

Cloud storage options

With broadband so abundant these days, using cloud-based storage is a real option. Apple itself offers its iCloud service, which is the best option, thanks to its deep integration with iOS. You can move photos, videos, and other space-hogging data from your device into the Apple cloud and have more room for apps or Netflix downloads. When you need those files in future, you can just download them again. While the 15 GB you get free with every Apple ID may not be much, the cheapest paid iCloud tier (50 GB) only costs 99 cents a month.

There are plenty of great third-party options as well. Dropbox is the obvious choice here, but Google and Microsoft will also let you buy oodles of storage through OneDrive or the Google Drive app.

App offloading

iPadOS also offers a feature known as app “offloading.” This essentially deletes the generic app data from disused apps, leaving the icon and your personal settings and information. When you want to use the app again, you’ll have to download the main chunk of the software again, but once done, you can continue exactly from where you left off.

‘Add’ iPad storage by upgrading

Apple charges a significant premium for its incremental internal storage bumps. On the other hand, it also uses fast, robust, and high-quality solid state storage in its devices, which goes some way toward justifying that. If all else fails, you can always sell or trade in an older iPad that’s a bit short on storage space and upgrade to a newer model with more space. Be sure to check out 9to5Toys for the latest iPad deals!

In the past, buying a smaller storage option may have turned into a rather expensive mistake, but thanks to iPadOS advances and much better internet bandwidth, picking the cheaper models is no longer the dead end it may have been in the past.

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About the Author

Sydney Butler

Sydney Butler is a writer and researcher looking at how technology affects us, how people can live with technology and the implications of a Transhumanist future. You can get in touch at . Follow him on Twitter at @GendoWasRight