With so many great uses for the iPad, it can be easy to feel the constraint of limited storage space, especially for those with the 16 GB model. But many of us use up more space than we actually need, keeping apps long after they've begun collecting digital dust and using our iPad to store all of our music as if it were a big iPod. Here are a few tips that will help keep your iPad lean and ready for more:
Turn Off Automatic Downloads
One interesting feature of iOS is the ability to automatically download new apps, music and books purchased on the same iTunes account. This means your iPad can download the app just bought on your iPhone automatically. At times, this is a handy feature, especially if you are the only one using your iTunes account. But if you aren't the only one in your family using an iPad or iPhone, and everyone is hooked into the same account, this 'feature' can turn ugly. More importantly, it can waste precious storage space. So it is best to hit the iPad settings and turn off automatic downloads, which is located in the App Store and iTunes settings. Get detailed instructions on turning of automatic downloads.
Delete Apps You No Longer Use
One of the best features of the App Store is the lifetime membership you gain anytime you purchase an app. Whether your a downloading it to the same device or installing it on a brand new device, you will always have the option to download any previously-purchased apps so long as you are using the same Apple ID. This means you can buy one app and download it to multiple devices (including the iPhone and iPod Touch for apps that support those devices), but more importantly, you can feel free to delete any apps knowing you can download them again.
If you are running low on space, a simple purge of apps that you no longer use can go a long way toward freeing up enough storage. Want to find out which apps are taking up the most space? You can see which apps are the biggest storage hogs by checking your iPad usage under the general settings in the Settings app. Find out how to check your usage.
Install Dropbox for Photos and Documents
One great way to have access to your photos without having them take up space on your iPad is to keep them on the cloud. Dropbox offers up to 2 GB of free storage, and not only does it make a great way to gain access to photos and other documents, it's also a great way to transfer files from your iPad to your PC. How to setup Dropbox on the iPad
For those that need even more space, you can either purchase additional storage or go with an external hard drive that supports the iPad. The Seagate Satellite is designed with mobile devices in mind, allowing you to connect and stream media over Wi-Fi. And with 500 GB of storage, you can store up to 300 HD movies on the drive, which should be plenty of space to hold most movie collections.
Enable Home Sharing for Music and Movies
If all you want to do is stream music and movies, there's really no need to use up precious storage space on your iPad or go with an expensive solution like an external harddrive. Home Sharing will allow you to share music and movies from your iTunes library to your iPad, which essentially turns your PC into external storage for your iPad. The only prerequisite is that you must have your PC turned on with iTunes running and you must stream over Wi-Fi.
And because we mostly use our iPads at home, this makes home sharing a great way to save a ton of space on the iPad. Your entire movie and music collection can be at your fingertips without taking up space on the iPad, and if you do want to watch a movie while on vacation or listen to some music while on the go, you can load a subset of your collection on your iPad. How to Set Up Home Sharing on the iPad