iPad Storage for Students: Is 64GB the Right Choice?

Last Updated: July 28, 2023By
Person using ipad for projects

Choosing the right iPad with appropriate storage is crucial, especially for students who heavily depend on this device for their academic tasks. With myriad storage options available, making a selection might seem overwhelming.

The purpose of this blog is to shed light on one specific question that often bounces around in potential buyers’ minds: Is 64GB enough for an iPad, particularly for a student?

We dive deep into this topic to offer a comprehensive understanding of iPad storage, focusing on the 64GB variant. We will dissect the amount of available space on a 64GB iPad, consider typical apps and files students use, and evaluate the potential of cloud services.

Understanding iPad Storage

iPad storage refers to the internal capacity of the device to hold all your data, which includes apps, documents, photos, videos, music, and the operating system itself. It is like a virtual cupboard where you can store everything you need for your digital life. 

iPad storage comes in different sizes, typically starting from 32GB and going up to 2TB.

The Role of Storage in iPad’s Performance

Contrary to common belief, the storage capacity of an iPad doesn’t directly influence its performance in terms of speed and responsiveness. Those aspects are more associated with the device’s processor, RAM, and graphics.

However, as your storage starts filling up, you may notice a decrease in performance. This is because some free space is needed for temporary files, app updates, and iOS updates.

So, an almost full iPad might face difficulties with these tasks, indirectly affecting the overall user experience.

Various Storage Options for iPad

Apple provides various storage options to cater to the differing needs of its users. For most iPad models, these options range from 64GB, 256GB, 512GB, and go up to 1TB for higher-end models like the iPad Pro.

Each of these storage tiers has its own merits. A 64GB iPad might be enough for someone who primarily uses it for browsing, reading, and streaming, while higher storage, like 256GB or 512GB, is suitable for more storage-intensive tasks like video editing, large games, or maintaining a vast offline media library.

Breakdown of a 64GB iPad’s Usable Storage

Understanding the breakdown of a 64GB iPad’s storage is crucial. While the label says 64GB, it’s important to realize that not all of it is available for your use.

The Impact of iOS and Preinstalled Apps on Available Storage

Before we explore how much storage you actually get with a 64GB iPad, it’s crucial to note that not all of that storage is available for your use. A significant portion is already used up by the iPad’s operating system (iOS) and preinstalled apps.

The iOS system takes up about 5-7GB of space, but this can fluctuate with different updates and models. Apple’s preinstalled apps like Safari, Mail, Messages, and various utilities and services also occupy some space.

Although you can delete some of these apps to free up space, many are essential for the iPad’s functioning and can’t be removed.

Estimating the Usable Storage on a 64GB iPad

So, how much storage do you have left on a 64GB iPad?

After accounting for the iOS and preinstalled apps, a 64GB iPad typically offers around 56-58GB of free space for users to install additional apps, save documents, photos, videos, and other data. This might seem like a significant reduction, but it’s the reality of purchasing any device – a part of the storage is always reserved for system use.

Keep in mind that these figures are approximate, and actual available storage can vary slightly depending on the specific iPad model and the iOS version it’s running.

The crucial question now is – is this amount of storage enough for a student’s needs? To answer that, let’s first understand the typical storage needs of a student.

Analysis of a Student’s Storage Needs

Knowing how much storage a student typically needs can provide better insight into whether a 64GB iPad will be sufficient. The storage needs of a student can vary greatly depending on the individual’s academic and personal usage.

Typical Apps and Files Students Use

1. Academic Apps

For any student, a significant portion of iPad storage will be occupied by academic apps. These might include PDF readers for textbooks, note-taking apps like Notability or GoodNotes, assignment and schedule managers, and online learning platforms like Google Classroom or Zoom.

These apps are relatively lightweight, often not exceeding a few hundred megabytes each.

2. Multimedia Apps

Students also typically have various multimedia apps installed. These may include streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Spotify, social media apps such as Instagram, Snapchat, or Facebook, and possibly a few games for relaxation.

The storage taken by these apps can greatly vary. While the apps themselves don’t take up much space, the downloaded content (like offline music, movies, or games data) can quickly add up.

3. Other Apps and Files

In addition to the above, students might also have several productivity apps, news apps, fitness apps, or hobby-related apps, each consuming a certain amount of storage. Personal files such as photos, videos, music, and downloads also contribute to the storage use.

Data Size of Common Student Files

The files most commonly used by students, such as PDFs, Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, or Excel spreadsheets, are generally not very storage-intensive, often ranging from a few kilobytes to a few megabytes.

However, larger projects, especially those involving multimedia elements or complex software, can take up a significant amount of space.

Understanding the Impact of Cloud Services

Many students now leverage the power of cloud services like iCloud, Google Drive, or Dropbox to store their documents, projects, and files. Using cloud storage can significantly reduce the storage demand on the iPad itself, as these files can be accessed on-demand over the internet rather than being stored locally.

However, it’s important to note that a stable and reliable internet connection is necessary to access cloud-based files.

Case Studies: Is 64GB Enough?

Woman using ipad

To better understand the feasibility of a 64GB iPad for students, we will look at three case studies: a high school student, a college student, and an art or design student. Each represents a different set of needs and usage patterns.

High School Student Case Study

A high school student typically uses their iPad for note-taking, homework, research, and occasionally, multimedia consumption. Their app roster might include a few educational apps, a PDF reader, note-taking apps, and maybe a couple of games and social media apps.

Based on these needs, a 64GB iPad should suffice for most high school students. The bulk of their files (notes, assignments, textbooks) won’t occupy much space. Any multimedia content can be streamed, and photos or other personal files can be stored in the cloud to save space.

College Student Case Study

A college student’s usage might be more intense. In addition to the needs of a high school student, they may have specific apps related to their major, more extensive multimedia needs, and potentially larger files for projects or research.

They might also use their iPad more for personal entertainment, with more games, movies, or music stored on the device.

For a college student, a 64GB iPad can still work, but they might have to be more mindful of their storage usage. Regularly clearing unnecessary files, limiting offline multimedia content, and maximizing cloud storage can help ensure they don’t run out of space.

Art or Design Student Case Study

Art or design students might have the highest storage needs. Apps for graphic design, video editing, or 3D modeling can take up substantial space, and the files they create can be sizeable as well.

They might also have a more extensive collection of personal photos or videos for inspiration or reference.

For these students, a 64GB iPad might be restrictive. They would likely be better off with a larger storage model to accommodate their more intensive storage needs.

Other Factors to Consider When Choosing iPad Storage

While a student’s immediate storage needs are a crucial determinant in choosing the right iPad, there are other factors that should be considered for a well-rounded decision.

Longevity and Future Proofing

One important consideration is the anticipated lifespan of the device and its ability to meet future needs. Technology advances rapidly, and apps are continually updated, often becoming more storage-intensive over time.

Additionally, as students progress through their academic journey, their coursework might demand more sophisticated software and larger files. Therefore, it might be wise to opt for larger storage to “future-proof” the device and ensure it continues to meet their needs for years to come.

Budget Considerations

The price is undeniably a significant factor for students when purchasing an iPad. Larger storage options are more expensive, and students need to balance their storage needs against their budget constraints.

A 64GB iPad might be a more economical choice, particularly if the student can effectively leverage cloud storage services and does not intend to store much multimedia content on the device.

Personal Usage Habits

Every student has unique usage habits, and these greatly impact storage needs. Some might be heavy multimedia consumers, with a large collection of offline movies, music, or games.

Others might frequently use high-storage-demand apps for hobbies or personal projects. These habits should be taken into account when deciding on iPad storage.

Conclusion: So, Is 64GB Enough for an iPad?

In answering the question of whether 64GB is enough for an iPad for a student, the verdict isn’t clear-cut. It largely depends on the specific needs, usage habits, and future requirements of the student.

For high school students or those with moderate usage patterns, who mainly use their iPad for note-taking, reading, research, and a bit of multimedia consumption, a 64GB iPad could serve their needs quite well. With efficient use of cloud storage and regular management of stored files, they can comfortably use the device for their academic requirements and some personal use.

However, college students with a broader range of academic and personal needs, or those who anticipate needing more advanced, storage-intensive software for their courses, might find a 64GB iPad limiting. The same goes for students in the creative fields like art or design where software and project files can take up considerable space.

Budget constraints are also a key factor. A 64GB iPad is undoubtedly more wallet-friendly, and for many, the savings could outweigh the benefits of more storage, especially if they can utilize cloud services effectively.

Lastly, future-proofing should be a consideration. A device with more storage might stay compatible with app updates and changing needs for a longer period, providing more value in the long run.