iPad Size? 32GB or 128GB

Hi everyone!

I’d like to introduce myself. I’m Scott and starting ATP soon. It’s nice to meet you all and have enjoyed reading the posts and comments from everyone on this forum.

One question I have for current students is: What hard drive size do you recommend getting for the iPad?

ATP’s welcome email recommends 32GB. Foreflight’s iPad Buying Guide on their website says “We strongly recommend the 128GB or 256GB models.”

I’m likely going to download additional documents from the FAA, like Advisory Circulars, airport diagrams, etc, so I want to make sure I’ll have enough space for that as well. I’m considering the 9.7" which comes in either 32 or 128GB. I appreciate your thoughts!

Kind regards,

I have the 9.7 128GB with the cellular

It’s great and has more than enough space for the program. It was recommended to me by other students.

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I would get the 128, never hurts to have extra space.


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Thank you both, I appreciate your thoughts!

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Question for Allen: Have you ever/often found that the iPad 9.7" was annoyingly big? I’ve been debating the newest 9.7" vs the Mini, with the two main differences being size and tech-age.

With the Mini being very long in the tooth, its longevity for updates is questionable, however I’ve seen many people lauding its size as the optimum for the GA planes, such as the Cessna which I will be training in at Camarillo.

I haven’t found many people talking about the larger, regular size iPad, so as the owner and user of it, what are your thoughts on the physical size & speed/tech side of things?

I have a friend who graduated Embry that recommended the Mini 4 and was praising it’s size as well. I’m also interested in other opinions though seeing as I’m only 5’6” and he is over 6’0 so his legs are a bit larger than mine haha


I suppose it’s more true to add “or anyone else with recent non-Mini experience at ATP.” I know there are more than just Allen, especially since the ATP recommendation is the 9.7.” I’m sure I’ll be fine with either, just looking for a different experience than the preponderance of those I’ve read with the Mini.

For anyone debating which iPad to get. Let me share this with you…

Against ATP’s recommendation, I got through the program AND 1500 hours as a CFI with a 2nd gen iPad Mini 16G, without cellular. In hindsight, my iPad choice worked, but just barely. I couldn’t have any other apps on it, other than what was required. I wish I would have forked over the money and purchased a 32G with cell.

I do NOT recommend anyone else to try to get away with what I did. At the bare minimum, get 32G w/cell. As for the size, I’d go with the mini, but that’s just my personal preference.

Off topic, but one thing I would also recommend getting is a portable battery for your iPad/phone. A decent one costs about $100, and they are a life saver when you become a CFI or forget to charge your iPad.


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The iPad is a tad bit cramped in the Cessna, but it’s not too big of a problem. More of a small annoyance. On the tech side of things it’s perfect.

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Thank you both, Allen & Tory, for your perspectives and information. I did read many of the other iPad threads found in the forums, and factored in those conversations and opinions as well. That actually led me to consider even the iPad Pro, as apparently it was previously among the recommended models (9.7 Pro previous version, at least).

I decided to go Mini 4 128GB Refurb (thanks for that suggestion, Chris!).

Regarding batteries, I’ve found that having one handy is often a (figuratively speaking) life saver at previous times, so I’ve actually got three battery packs already, varying sizes. You can actually find some very good ones for much less than $100, if you know which brands are good. Amazon has a TON of junk, but if you stick with a few brands like Anker, Aukey, RavPower, and others, there are some good options.

Aukey, in particular, I’ve liked for their port inclusive design. One of the Aukey packs currently offered has two regular USB output ports, a USB-C in/out port, and both lightning and microUSB input. What makes that nice is that petty much no matter what kind of charging port your phone or tablet uses, you only have to carry one cable with you. I have a previous version without the USB-C port, predating its major adoption by cell phones. Most battery packs charge with microUSB only.