iPhones and iPads come with varying amounts of space available; iPads offer powers of two from 16G to 128G and the price difference between them offers a substantial amount of other software and services one could afford by saving money on hardware.

What space usage motivates the usage? If there's a 90% full iPad at any amount of storage, what does the bulk of the usage come from? (I'd imagine media like music, photo and video shooting, etc but would rather hear from experts with some experience) Perhaps this is just careful developers at work, but you can get a lot of apps and still see very little space being used so I don't see why I would need anything more than 16 GB with my level of experience.

I'm looking for people with experience running an iOS device at more than 75% full for several months to explain what they've learned and perhaps explain whether they can live with the devices they initially bought or how they would take their current experience to select a new device.

  • I wanted to step in and let the community know we'll watch this. Yes, hardware shopping questions are generally bad, but there is a lot of room for people with experience to teach and explain how the different hardware sizes either do or do not affect their productivity. Let's talk on Ask Different Meta if anyone has heartburn leaving this open for a few weeks to see what sort of answers we can get.
    – bmike
    Sep 9, 2013 at 2:02

3 Answers 3


My 64GB iPhone has several hundred apps on it, mostly games, about 9GB of photos/personal videos, 3GB of music, and ~5GB of free space right now. I do have to prune from time to time but it's not too bad.

My 32GB iPad on the other hand...I really wish I had bought the 64GB (the largest at the time). I am constantly having to juggle what games/apps are on there, and that's really what's taking the majority of the space. iPad-specific apps can get huge...even universal apps can. I've seen several 1GB+ games, and have a bunch that are in the 250MB to 500MB range. I have only a fraction of my photo library on there, and no music or videos to speak of.

I am excited by the idea of a 128GB iPhone possibly being introduced Tuesday, and when I have saved for a new iPad I will get at least the 64GB model.



I have both an 32GB iPhone 4 and a 64 GB iPhone 5. Top 3 reasons I bought a larger capacity phone were to keep:

  1. songs (including music videos) to listen when I'm driving (plugged-in to my car audio system), and whenever I need to wait (airports, etc).
  2. photos as I use my iPhone as a convenient easy-to-reach camera.
  3. apps and their documents (especially Pages, Numbers, and Keynote) so I can edit them whenever I have some time.


I have the 64 GB iPad. Top 3 reasons I bought the larger capacity tablet were to keep:

  1. movies so I can watch while waiting.
  2. (video and audio) podcasts that are set to auto-download so they're available when I want to view/listen to them.
  3. ebooks.

My iPhone 5 is 32gb and I generally keep it around 2-5gb free. Using iTunes match and also have a dedicated iPod classic for the car so music only takes up local space on a temporary basis. The bulk seems to be apps or apps that store heavy media data. Pics/camera vids is about 5gb, mainly because I still have pretty much everything from my first iphone 3G and 4 still stored on it. And with every upgrade I have doubled the storage!

Back when pc hdds came in 40MB flavors, they used to say "the more space you have, the more you use." I've found the same holds true for countertops and closets. Now desktop hard drives have become affordable enough to buy way more than most personal users need (unless you want ssd) ; but we're back into the pushing-the-limits stage with phones and tablets.

My thoughts (i don't have any hard data here, just thinking) en the iPad/iPhone storage disparity are:

  • More feature-rich apps that take up more space

  • People use iPad more for watching hd media, which need more pixels and therefore more storage.

  • Games with better graphics that take up more space. Especially on newest ipad display.

  • more often used for things like Photoshop, garage-band, video editing. Storage-hungry apps like that are better suited to the iPad form-factor and screen-size.

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