Tips and Tricks: Managing Space While Using Apple Arcade

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I tried Apple Arcade starting day one and I’m already a big fan. There was a really solid list of games available at release and Apple has kept new content steadily trickling out in the month since. For the wide variety and quality of the games, Apple Arcade is worth every penny of $4.99 a month. The one downside of such a service- it can fill up a 64 GB Apple device quickly.

I ran into this today with my iPad Pro, as I have always stuck with the lower memory options on my Apple tablets. I store most of my documents in the cloud and stream video, so I have rarely had any issues with storage. However, with the addition of several new games that clock in at near or over 1 GB thanks to Apple Arcade, I finally got close enough to full to be forced to take some action today.

I was trying to update to iPadOS 13.2 (partially to check into issues that others have reported) and got a notification that I didn’t have enough room to download the new upgrade file asking whether I wanted to Offload Unused Apps to make room. I decided to check things out for myself, and I was within 2 GB of being full. However, once I went to Settings-General-iPad Storage, I had all the tools I needed to clear out some space.

Things are all clear now, but at the time things were still tight, At that time, I was presented with a recommendation on the screen above to delete old downloaded videos. Sure enough, I had 4 videos spread between Netflix and Amazon Prime that had been hanging around for a while. That probably cleared enough space to upgrade iOS, but it was the next step that I think all Apple Arcade subscribers need to take note of.

Most of my top apps this morning were games, but two of them were titles I rarely play. One is GRID Autosports, which is a great game, but I just haven’t put any time into it lately. Another was NBA2K 16. I also had 2K19 loaded, so there was no compelling reason to keep the older version around anymore. There were a few other games on the list that I decided to clean out, as well.

When I tapped on each of these apps, I was reminded that you can manually trigger the Offload Apps feature for any individual app to clear some space.

The advantage here for Arcade users is that using Offload Apps will retain your game saves on your device. As you can see above, these saves rarely take up a lot of room. That makes it easy to hold onto these files for games you’ve enjoyed to make room to try out new games. These files on your device will be backed up in any iCloud or iTunes/on-device saves, so they can be moved from one phone or iPad to another as you upgrade and change devices.

Now, bear in mind that if you have an Apple Arcade game installed on any device tied too your GameCenter account, your saves will be stored on Apple’s servers and can be transferred to other devices via iCloud. However, it is uncertain if or how long they will be preserved for a game if a copy of said game is no longer installed  on any device tied to your account.

So if you decide to move on from some of Apple Arcade’s larger title that you may want to circle back to again someday, using Offload Apps is the perfect way to be absolutely certain that your progress will be preserved long term. This keeps the management of your save data under your control.

James Rogers

I am a Christian husband and father of 3 living in the Southeastern US. I have worked as a programmer and project manager in the Commercial and Industrial Automation industry for over 19 years, so I am hands on with technology almost every day. However, my passion in technology is for mobile devices, specifically Apple's iOS and iPadOS hardware and software. My favorite is still the iPad.

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