What kind of storage does iPad have?

The iPad is a line of tablet computers designed and marketed by Apple. iPads come in a range of storage capacities to meet different user needs. The current iPad models offer 64GB, 256GB, and 1TB of flash storage. Older models had lower storage capacities such as 16GB and 32GB.

Storage Options

iPads come in a variety of storage configurations to suit different needs. The storage capacity options available depend on the specific iPad model. The different storage sizes currently offered for iPad models are:

  • iPad mini: Available with 64GB or 256GB storage (Source)
  • iPad Air: Available with 64GB or 256GB storage (Source)
  • 11-inch iPad Pro: Available with 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB storage (Source)
  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro: Available with 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB storage (Source)

The base model for iPad mini and iPad Air comes with 64GB storage, while the base 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models start at 128GB. Most iPad users find the lowest storage configurations adequate for typical use cases like web browsing, streaming media, and light productivity tasks. However, those planning to store large media libraries or work with pro apps may need higher capacities.

Flash Storage

All iPad models utilize flash storage rather than traditional hard disk drives (Source). Flash storage relies on flash memory chips to store data, while hard disk drives use spinning magnetic platters. The benefits of flash storage over hard drives include faster access times, improved reliability, noiseless operation, and reduced power consumption. Additionally, flash storage allows iPads to be more compact and lightweight compared to using mechanical hard drives.

Flash storage is a type of solid state storage. It does not contain any moving parts, which allows iPads to be resistant to physical shocks and vibrations. The flash memory chips store data electronically rather than magnetically, enabling faster read and write speeds. All data on an iPad is stored persistently in flash storage, including the operating system, apps, photos, videos, documents, and any other files.

Storage Usage

The iPad utilizes flash storage for saving all data, apps, media, and files. This internal storage space tends to fill up quickly as users download more apps, save more photos and videos, and store documents and emails. According to an Apple Discussions thread, the top storage space hogs on an iPad are media files like music, videos, photos, ebooks, and email attachments.

An Apple Support article confirms that photos, videos, music, email attachments, documents, books, and large apps can consume storage rapidly. Cached data from apps and websites as well as iOS system files also contribute to filling up available space. The article recommends reviewing and optimizing storage by offloading unused apps and media to free up capacity.

In general, the more apps, photos, videos, music, and media files saved on an iPad, the quicker the internal storage will reach capacity. Regularly managing, optimizing, and offloading files can help maximize usable space.

Managing Storage

With limited onboard storage capacity, properly managing the storage on your iPad is important to maintaining performance and available space. There are several ways to manage your storage to free up space when needed:

– Delete unused apps and large files like videos and photos. To quickly find your largest files and apps, go to Settings > General > iPad Storage to view a breakdown of storage usage and delete anything you no longer need (from source).

– Offload unused apps instead of deleting them to free up space while preserving app data. This can be done in Settings > General > iPad Storage by tapping on the app and selecting “Offload App” (from source).

– Use iCloud, Dropbox, Google Drive or other cloud storage services to store photos, videos, music, documents and other files you don’t immediately need on your iPad. This keeps them available online while freeing up local storage space (from source).

– Connect your iPad to iTunes on a Mac or PC and sync to manually manage files and remove items no longer needed. iTunes allows you to see your iPad’s storage breakdown and decide what to keep or delete.

Cloud Storage

One option for expanding the storage capacity of your iPad is to use cloud storage services. Popular cloud storage providers like iCloud, Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, and Box allow you to store files and documents online and access them from your iPad (1). This can help supplement the built-in storage, especially for large files like photos, videos, and music.

Apple’s iCloud comes integrated with iPadOS and gives you 5GB of free storage. You can upgrade to higher tiers for more space. iCloud syncs your files across devices and backs up your iPad automatically (2). Other cloud services like Dropbox or Google Drive also have iPad apps that let you access cloud storage similar to local storage on the device.

A benefit of using cloud storage is that you don’t have to manually manage storage space on your iPad. Files can be safely stored online while still being accessible on demand. This makes the iPad’s storage constraints less of an issue. However, you do need an internet connection to view or edit cloud files.


(1) https://www.lifewire.com/cloud-storage-for-ipad-4111276

(2) https://www.lifewire.com/do-you-actually-need-an-ipad-4066058

External Storage

The iPad does not have a built-in SD card slot or other expandable storage options. However, there are some ways to add external or expandable storage to an iPad using accessories and adapters (The New Ipad Expandable Storage | Page 2 | Apple iPad Forum).

One option is to use a wireless storage device like the SanDisk iXpand Flash drive. This flash drive has a lightning connector on one end that plugs into the iPad’s charging port. It also has a USB connector to plug into a computer. The iXpand app allows you to access and manage files on the flash drive from the iPad. This gives you expanded storage beyond what is built into the iPad (SanDisk iXpand Flash: Bring extra storage to your iOS …).

Another option is a lightning to SD card reader adapter. This allows you to plug in an SD card and access the files on it. However, these SD cards have to be formatted and managed through a computer rather than directly from the iPad.

While the iPad does not have true expandable storage, accessories like portable flash drives and SD card readers can add more external storage for things like photos, videos, and documents.

New Models

According to recent rumors and announcements, Apple is planning to introduce storage upgrades in upcoming iPad models. Most notably, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted that the 2022 iPad Pro would start with 128GB of storage rather than 64GB. This indicates Apple may be responding to user demand for more baseline storage in pro-level iPads.

Additionally, 9to5Mac reported leaks suggesting the next-generation 10th generation entry-level iPad could also move to a 128GB minimum configuration when it debuts later this year. With iPadOS 16 bringing Stage Manager multitasking to more models, increased storage could help support optimal performance with that feature.

While Apple has not officially confirmed these rumors, the pattern aligns with steady increases in minimum storage tiers over time. For example, the original 2010 iPad launched with 16GB base storage. If the rumors prove accurate, doubling to 128GB entry-level storage for new 2022 models would follow Apple’s trend of gradually expanding iPad storage capacities to meet growing user needs.


When it comes to storage, Apple’s iPad models offer competitive options compared to other leading tablets like Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S series and Amazon’s Fire tablets. The latest iPad Pro models come with up to 2TB of storage 1, while the iPad Air provides up to 256GB. The base iPad model starts at 64GB. In contrast, the top-end Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra peaks at 512GB 2, and even the largest storage capacity on Amazon’s Fire HD 10 Plus is 64GB 3.

For customers needing ample storage for apps, media, and documents, the iPad Pro clearly leads among top tablets. The 1TB and 2TB options on the iPad Pro far exceed what’s available on any Samsung, Amazon, or other brand of tablet. Even on the lower end, the regular iPad’s minimum 64GB matches the max storage on Amazon’s tablets. For power users, creatives, and professionals, the iPad Pro models with expansive storage deliver unmatched capacity and performance.


In summary, the storage capacity on iPad models ranges from 64GB on older models up to 2TB on the latest iPad Pro. All iPads utilize flash storage, which offers fast performance. While storage is fixed and cannot be expanded, iPadOS provides tools to manage storage usage and optimize space. Users can view storage availability, offload unused apps, and turn on cloud services like iCloud for additional capacity. Overall, most iPad users should ensure they choose a model with adequate built-in storage for their needs. Power users may require maximum storage, while casual users can likely manage with 64-128GB. Understanding how iPad storage works allows users to make informed purchase decisions and properly maintain their device.