Last week we were trying to get the Trello app installed on my partner Rivka's iPad, but the Operating System on her iPad needed to be updated first. Trello - if you're not familiar with it - is a really feature-rich cloud discussion and project communication system, or as they describe it, "collaboration tool" that we are using to discuss a music recording project where some of the participants are thousands of miles apart.
At any rate, we tried to download the iOS upgrade and (after what seemed like a really long time) got a message that there wasn't enough room on the iPad to hold the upgrade (ipsw) file. Since she has me around, Rivka doesn't need to figure out how to deal with this annoying situation herself (or pay Kyle and the crew a pittance to do the upgrade for her). So I'm on duty. Well, iPads are weird things. They save half their data to a cloud (aka someone else's computer) and aren't exactly computers - according to many informed nerds - because the user doesn't have the same access to drives, folders, libraries, OS, etc. as we do on normal laptops and desktops, etc.
An initial search for "free up space on iPad" (or was it "not enough space"?) brought up a thread on the Apple discussion board, where a user explains:
With an iOS device, the “Other” space in iTunes is used to store things like documents, settings, caches, and a few other important items. If you sync lots of documents to apps like GoodReader, DropCopy, or anything else that reads external files, your storage use can skyrocket. With iOS 5/6, you can see exactly which applications are taking up the most space. Just head to Settings > General > Usage, and tap the button labeled Show All Apps. The storage section will show you the app and how much storage space it is taking up. Tap on the app name to get a description of the additional storage space being used by the app’s documents and data. You can remove the storage-hogging application and all of its data directly from this screen, or manually remove the data by opening the app. Some applications, especially those designed by Apple, will allow you to remove stored data by swiping from left to right on the item to reveal a Delete button.
So we emptied a bunch of Facebook, YouTube, Ted Talk data and maybe a few others. Then we looked through her Apps and removed a few of the ones that she and the girls aren't really using anymore - either because they aren't currently applicable or never worked well in the first place (like the World World app).
Then we were able to download the iOS upgrade and install it. While we waited for the download to complete we had me make collaboration comments for both of us through my Trello account. By the time the OS download and install was done, it was time to for us move on to other projects, and a week later we still haven't gotten back to installing Trello. I just asked if she wanted to try and install it now and the look on her face said it all. Maybe another time. One tech nerd per family is probably enough, anyway.
Another one of the music collaboration participant's response to using Trello was, "another app?!?!". Fact of the matter of is, though the Trello website was not iPad-friendly, on an actual computer, using it via the browser interface has been joyous, and I'm also wary of more and more app installations. It's a constant race against obscurity with all these technological devices and we try to keep ours running and relevant for as long as possible. After all, some of the parts for these computers (come on, iPads and iPhones are computers too) are procured via some fairly environmentally and ethically dubious practices.
So maintain, maintain, maintain. Make it a meditation. Or make it an excuse to visit downtown Pensacola and share nightmares with Kyle and crew.