Dr. Mac's Tips for Maximizing and Adding Storage on iPhone and iPad

Dr. Mac’s Rants & Raves
Episode #102

Many readers and friends had problems updating to iOS 8 over WiFi, reporting that their iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch complained that the update couldn’t be installed because it requires at least 5.7GB of storage. If your iDevice only has 8 or 16GB of storage, chances are you saw a similar message. So here is my advice to anyone whose iDevice is full or nearly full:

The easiest way to avoid this issue is to buy an iPhone/iPad/iPod touch with at least 32GB of storage. I’m sorry, but I think Apple does you a disservice by even offering 16GB iDevices. I understand why they do, but I still recommend you avoid them like the plague. Buy an iDevice with as much storage as you can afford because you can’t upgrade an iDevice after you buy it.

If your iDevice is getting full, you can free up space by deleting apps and/or media. Just tap Settings->General->Usage->Manage Storage and a list of apps and media you can delete will appear, sorted by size with the largest item on top for your convenience.

Delete items to make space for the iOS update

If you don't want to delete items or can't delete enough stuff to install an iOS update over WiFi, there is another way: Connect your iDevice to your Mac or PC via USB and use iTunes to install the update. This requires far less free space on your device than updating over WiFi.

Finally, while I said you can’t upgrade an iDevice way back in the second paragraph, recent product introductions make it only half-true today. While you can’t upgrade your iDevice’s internal storage, I’ve been testing several external devices that let you expand your iDevice’s storage. All but one used Bluetooth to expand your iDevice's storage, making them inappropriate for use on an airplane. That's why my favorite, by far, is the SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive.

Next: External iPhone and IPad Storage with SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive

Page 2 - External iPhone and IPad Storage with SanDisk iXpand Flash Drive


Smaller than a pack of chewing gum, it has a USB connector on one end and Lightning connector on the other.

iXpand Flash Drive is barely big enough to hold its USB and Lightning connectors

Connect it to your Mac via USB and it appears on the desktop as a removable disk, to which you copy your media. Disconnect it from the Mac and connect it to your iDevice and the SanDisk iXpand Sync app launches automatically.

The Lightning connector is on a unique flexible stalk for convenience and portability  

In addition to letting you enjoy any media you copied from your Mac, the app also allows you to back up your iDevice’s camera roll and Contacts. Another useful option lets you automatically copy new photos and videos from your iDevice to the drive whenever it’s connected.

The iXpand Sync app makes it easy to use your expanded storage

Other features I like include its tiny size and clever design. For example, it protects both connectors in your pocket or purse and its Lightning connector works with every iPhone and iPad case I tried. Finally, unlike devices that expand iDevice storage via Bluetooth, you can safely use this device on an airplane.

The iXpand Flash Drive is available with 16, 32, or 64GB of storage, with prices starting at $49.99. If your iDevice is nearly full, it’s easier and a lot less expensive than buying a new iDevice with more storage capacity.

And that’s all he wrote…