PadGadget’s iPad Tips: What to do When an App is Too Big to Download

Not Enough Space to Download AppWelcome back to another edition of PadGadget’s iPad Tips. Each week, we offer tips, tricks, and tutorials to help you get the most out of your Apple tablet. Last week, we explained the basics of app organization. Did you clean out your app folders and get rid of unused games?

This week, we are going to walk you through what to do if you don’t have enough room on your device to download an app. This works the same way for updating large apps.

Have you ever tried to download an app and discovered that you don’t have enough room on your iPad to add it? The message reads something like this: “Cannot Download – There is not enough available storage to download ‘XYZ App.’ You can manage your storage in Settings.”

If you are trying to update an app that is very large, you may see a similar message. The fix is the same for both situations.

If you see that an app is 1.9 GB, but you know you have at least 3GB of storage on your device, you may be wondering why you can’t download the app. It is not because something is wrong with your iPad. It is because the listed size of the app is the compressed size. While the file is being installed, it is uncompressed and needs at least twice as much room to download to your device. Once the download process is complete, it will revert back to the compressed size.

If you come across this problem, the obvious solution is to get rid of some apps. I come across this problem at least once per week. Being an app reviewer, I have a lot of apps on my iPad and download a lot more every week.

To manage your apps, go to your Settings app and select General. Then, select Usage. You will see all of your apps, organized by size. One quick way to free up storage is to delete apps that are really big. You can also remove some data from apps that are taking up a lot of space without having to delete the entire app. For example, you can delete some unnecessary PDF files from GoodReader.

App Storage Management

But what if you don’t want to delete the biggest app? For example, my biggest storage hog is my native Photos & Videos app. I couldn’t delete it, even if I wanted to.

Another way to get an app onto your device is to download it directly through iTunes onto your computer and then sync your iPad. Once the app is downloaded from the App Store, it won’t take up as much space to get it onto your device. You do need to have the amount of space that the compressed app takes up.

To add an app through iTunes, first download it directly onto your computer by selecting the “Buy Now” button while in iTunes on your computer. Then, connect your iPad to your computer using the USB connector cable. Once your iPad is synced, go to the device’s apps section in iTunes.

You will see a list of apps on the left side of the screen and a screenshot of your iPad on the right side of the screen. Find the app you want to add to your iPad on the left side. You can organize the apps by size, name, type, date downloaded, and category. You can also do a manual search for a specific app.

iTunes App Summary

When you find the app you want to add to your iPad, select the “Install” button. It will change to read, “Will Install.” To complete the installation, select “Apply” from the tab at the bottom of your iTunes.

As long as you have the required amount of space, you will be able to download the app. For example, I had 1.97 GB of space left on my computer and was able to install an app that was 1.87 GB.

Now you know what to do if you can’t download an app because you don’t have enough free space on your iPad. Remember, apps need about twice as much space as their listed size in order to download directly onto your iPad.

About Lory: Writer of all things app related, traveler of the space-time continuum, baker of really great cookies. Follow me @appaholik