Does an iPad Have a Hard Drive?
By Steve Lander
The iPad doesn't have a hard drive; it has the same flash memory storage that solid-state drives use. For businesses that need to store data on their iPads, the lack of a hard drive shouldn't be a problem. Between generous storage for documents already on the device and the ability to access cloud-based drives as well as some network-attached storage units, the iPad can access your critical data.
IPads come in four different capacities -- 16GB, 32GB, 64GB and 128GB -- as of early 2013. The flash memory on the iPad is soldered inside the device and is not designed to be upgraded or changed by the end user. As such, it's best to buy an iPad with more storage than you think you need, just in case.
Camera Connection Kit
If your business needs to send people out in the field with photos or video, consider Apple's workaround to the iPad's lack of a hard drive. The Camera Connection Kit sold by Apple allows you to load photos or videos from an SD card or a USB flash drive onto the iPad. Other types of files can't be transferred through the kit, so its use as a hard-drive substitute is limited.
If your business uses a network-attached storage device as a hard drive for all the users on your network, you may be able to use it with your iPad. Some NAS manufacturers are now offering apps that allow you to connect over the Internet to the NAS directly from your iPad. If that's not an option, you may be able to access it by using Remote Desktop software to log in to a computer on the network that has access to the files.
Public cloud storage systems like Dropbox, Google Drive or SkyDrive can also serve as hard-drive substitutes for the iPad. These services have apps that allow your iPad to connect to them to upload and download files. The fact that the cloud-based drive can also be integrated with your desktop or laptop computer as well as with your smartphone makes it even convenient to use.
Information in this article applies to fourth-generation iPads running iOS 6. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.
Steve Lander has been a writer since 1996, with experience in the fields of financial services, real estate and technology. His work has appeared in trade publications such as the "Minnesota Real Estate Journal" and "Minnesota Multi-Housing Association Advocate." Lander holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Columbia University.