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How to delete stuff from old iPad but not new iPad?


iPF Noob
Jan 25, 2022
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Searching various places for insights on this, I haven't yet found an answer, as most seem to be iPad/iPhone sync or iPad/iMac sync, so let me ask here.

My old iPad (6th gen) was replaced with a new iPad (latest) using the same Apple ID. The plan is to dedicate the old iPad to a couple specific purposes *BUT* I need to free up significant space on the old iPad (128 GB) to do that.

I am very hesitant to do that because if I delete stuff from the old iPad (photos, videos, apps, etc), I do *NOT* want that same stuff deleted from the new iPad. I don't *NEED* much of that stuff on the old iPad and wouldn't lose sleep if it went away but I do *NOT* want to lose that stuff on the new iPad.

At th same time, there is enough stuff on the old iPad that I *DO* want to keep, where doing a factory reset on the old iPad is not an option.

Can that even be done? If so, how? Thanks!


iPad Fan
Jan 8, 2011
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Milton-Freewater, OR
There are several areas to consider,

Third party apps and files.

You can delete these all you want. It won't affect the other iPad. The possible exceptions are apps that store their files in iCloud. If you just delete the app, you're fine. If you want to keep the app but with fewer files it gets complicated, and needs to be dealt with on an app by app basis.

Apple native app storage.

Photos. If you are not using iCloud Photo, the two devices are independent. Deleting photos from one device will not affect the other. If you are using iCloud Photo Library, and you want to keep the photos in sync, then your best bet is to turn on Optimize iPad Storage. This reduces the number and quality of photos stored locally. Exactly how much it reduces depends on how much storge is left. It adjusts itself.

Music is similar, except it also has the ability for you to see what is currently downloaded and remove it. Also, unlike Photos it will never dowload music just because you downloaded it on another device. Add it to your library, yes, but not download it. There are lots of exceptions. Music is complicated. But, it is also optimized to keep your local storage minimal, unless you do something to override this behavior. Most of the time this is good, but every once in while when your coverages or plan gets cut off you'll find the music you expect to listen to is not available. That's why I have several playlists that are always downloaded.

iCloud or other cloud storage solutions.

Anything you delete from the cloud, any cloud, will be deleted across all devices on the same account. However, not all is lost. Like Photos, many apps that use cloud storage have options about what they store locally and what is only downloaded as needed. iCloud is the least flexible of these, but most apps that use iCloud to store files also have options for local storage. If it matters, you'll have to explore these app by app. Google Drive, One Drive, and DropBox (among others) often have a way to mark files you want to keep local, and all the rest are stored in the cloud. Most often only the recently used files will be stored locally without intentionally marking them for local storage.

If you have any questions about specific apps or file storage please ask. I have a variety of the more common cloud services and use most of Apple's apps to some extent.

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