How to get more storage space for your tablet

Always running out of space on your tablet? Whichever you use, here are some easy ways to get more storage space.

People use tablets for different things. Some browse the web, others read their email and some use it as an entertainment device.

If you listen to music, watch movies, take photographs and download apps to your tablet, there’s a high chance your tablet's hard drive will quickly become full and you won’t be able to download anything else. In which case, you'll be wanting some more storage space...

[Read more: Cloud computing and the cloud - explained]

How much storage do you need?

If you’ve yet to choose a tablet or are planning on upgrading soon, it’s worth considering how much storage you need. As a rule, it's best to have more than less storage, so if the price difference is small, go for the higher capacity device.

As we said above, if you are planning on download lots of apps, music and movies, then you may find that you soon reach your maximum storage capacity, so it might be better to opt for a tablet with more storage in the first place. 

However if you are just using your tablet for emailing, browsing and the odd app download, a tablet with a smaller capacity may be enough.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that depending on the manufacturer, tablet storage quoted and the amount of storage space actually available can be very different. Some storage is taken up by the operating system and pre-installed apps that you can’t delete, for instance the Amazon Fire HD6 has 8GB storage, but only 5GB is usable.

Free up storage

Start by spring cleaning your tablet and removing the apps and files you don’t use. You’ll be surprised how much space they take up.

Apple iPad: Find out how to check your storage

Android: On a tablet running Google’s Android operating system, go to Settings - Storage - Free up space. Select the tick box next to the item you want to remove and tap Free up.

Android steps may vary depending on the Android version or tablet manufacturer.

Expand with hardware

1: Memory card

Your Android tablet may have a slot for a memory card. The advantage of using a card is that you can keep it in your tablet and use to store content and apps.

Memory cards are incredibly cheap nowadays - a 16GB card is around £6 and a 32GB card can cost as little as £10. Different tablets support different sizes of memory card, so check out the manufacturer’s website before you buy.

2: Invest in a card reader

A wireless portable card reader is a good solution if you don’t have a card slot on your device, but want to access extra content such as movies, photos and videos.

The Kingston MobileLite Wireless enables tablet users to access extra content stored on the memory card wirelessly via a dedicated app.

Three users can stream content from the device simultaneously, making it a good choice for storing and watching a movie.

3: Storage drive

A storage drive is a good way of backing up things that you don’t use every day. Photographs, for example, take up quite a lot of storage space, but it’s likely you won’t want to look at them all that often. 

Plugging in a portable drive enables you to quickly transfer photographs and free up storage space. A portable hard drive is a good place to store music and movies you don’t want to keep on your tablet.

BT Shop has a range of storage options. 

Very few tablets have a full size USB port, so you’ll need to invest in a Micro USB-to-Female USB adaptor with On The Go (OTG) support. They are available from eBay, but when buying from eBay check feedback and email the seller with any questions concerning device compatibility. Before you start bidding you’ll need to check if your Android tablet supports OTG - we used a free app called USB OTG Checker to verify this.

If it doesn’t support OTG, you’ll need to unlock, or root, your device. However this can be complex and often invalidates the manufacturer’s warrantly, so you may find it easier to consider wireless storage solutions instead.

4: Wireless storage

If you don’t want to mess around with cables or formatting, or if you’re an Apple iPad owner (the iPad has a proprietary port), a wireless storage drive will be more convenient.

A wireless hard drive like the WD My Passport Wireless Pro is a good alternative, where you can store music, movies and photos and access them via a dedicated app.

Cloud storage

The advantage of using the cloud to store things is that you aren’t using storage space on your tablet. Instead your files are stored on remote servers, commonly known as the cloud.

Cloud storage has other advantages. Many devices enable you to set up an automatic backup so you don’t have to worry about remembering to copy your files manually. Additionally, in the event you lose your device, you’ll be able to restore your files from backup.

There are a number of cloud storage providers that offer space without charge.

1: BT Cloud

BT Cloud is exclusively available for free to all of our BT Broadband and BT Infinity customers. Depending on your broadband package, you’ll get 10GB, 200GB, or 1,000GB for free.

BT Cloud can be used to store photos, music and documents.

You can access BT Cloud from any device with a browser, or via the BT Cloud app which is available for Android, Apple and Windows Phone phones and tablets, using your BT ID. From there you can share your content with family and friends.

Turn on automatic back-up on a tablet by going to the app menu, selecting Settings – Automatic Backup and turn the toggle On. On a tablet or phone you can choose to back-up Pictures and Videos. On a PC or Mac, you can also back up desktop folders, music and documents. Check out the video above to find out more.

Find out more about BT Cloud.

2: Apple iCloud: Apple Pad and iPhone users get 5GB of iCloud storage free with their devices, find out more.

3: Google Android: Google offers users 15GB storage across Google Drive. 

Users of Android tablets can turn on automatic backups to back up app information, settings and wi-fi passwords by heading to Settings - Backup - Back up to Google Drive. 

[Read more: Get storage space for free with BT Cloud]

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