The best iPad accessories can enhance what is already a hugely impressive tablet, transforming it into a veritable creative powerhouse. They can allow you to get more out of your tablet's potential as a creative device, and simply make it easier and more practical to use. And it's good to remember, as Christmas rapidly approaches, that they also make the perfect gifts for anyone who uses an iPad.
Given the iPad is one of the most popular tablets around, not to mention the most powerful if you have one of the new M1-chipped iPad Pros, it's no surprise that there's a huge range of accessories to use with it. Our guide below aims to make choosing the best iPad accessories with our top choices to accompany the device. We've got cases and covers to keep your precious tablet protected, headphones and speakers to get the best audio output, and stands so you can use your iPad hands free.
We also look at the best styluses, whether you want to use your iPad as a drawing tablet or just to take notes, and the best keyboards because after all, the latest iPad Pros could effectively replace a laptop for some.
If you don't have an iPad yet or you're looking to upgrade to a newer model, see our guide to the best iPad deals – check our guide to the iPad generations if you've lost track of which generation we're on now. If you're going to take your iPad out and about, be clued up on the best power banks out there. For a wider range of options on pens see our full guide to the best iPad styluses or our roundup of the best Apple Pencil deals.
The best iPad accessories available now
iPad accessories: Styluses
There's a very simple answer to the question of what's the best iPad accessory if you want to use your iPad as a drawing tablet. As long as you have an iPad Pro from 2018 or later, or the latest iPad Air (2020) or iPad mini (2021), then the 2nd gen Apple Pencil is hands down the best stylus you can get. It attaches magnetically to the iPad Pro and charges wirelessly while there and features a double-tap sensor that allows you to switch pen styles easily.
Pressure and tilt sensitivity make it great for drawing and illustration because you increase pressure for thicker lines or tilt for shading – and with palm rejection you can do all that while leaning your hand on the screen without it marking your work. For recommendations for what programs to use it with, see our pick of the best iPad Pro apps for Apple Pencil.
If you have a standard iPad, a pre-2018 iPad Pro or any but the latest iPad Air or iPad mini, then the 2nd gen Apple Pencil above won't be compatible with your device. However, fear not, because the original Apple Pencil is still a fine option. It's also pressure and tilt-sensitive, allowing you to easily vary line weight and create subtle shading effects. It lacks some of the Apple Pencil 2's snazziest features like the touch surface for changing tools and wireless charging, and it does have a tendency to roll away since it's completely round, but it still beats most of the options out there.
If you plan to use a stylus only for navigating on your device and taking notes rather than drawing, then you might not want to fork out for the Apple Pencil's above. The Adonit Dash 4 is at least half the price and doesn't sacrifice on style. It still looks respectful paired with the outstanding design of the iPad and it has native palm rejection.
You can use this stylus on any iOS or Android device, so it will serve you for more than just your iPad, and it comes with a clip to keep it upright. It's light and portable and offers magnetic charging and an extended standby time with a battery life of up to 15 hours. All in all, it's a great cheaper stylus for the iPad, or any other device.
If you'll use a stylus only rarely, and only for navigating, then you might want to pay as little as possible. The Griffin Balanced Stylus Pointer is a super-budget stylus that works on all iPad devices, and any other touchscreen device for that matter. It's a simple way to get more control when navigating and even taking occasional notes. It's a passive device, so it doesn't require charging or connecting and it comes with a handy clip so you don't lose it. If you're going to go for a super budget stylus, this is the cheapest we can recommend for a device that still looks fairly smart.
If you want most of the features of the Apple Pencil but can't justify the expense, the Logitech Crayon is a good alternative – this still offers the tilt sensor and palm recognition of the Pencil. It pairs instantly when turned on and features an anti-roll shape so can be set down easily. You lose the pressure sensing and tap features of the Pencil but you save a lot of money too. Be aware: this only works the 6th gen iPads.
iPad accessories: Keyboards
If you have a new iPad Pro (or indeed an older one or even the latest iPad Air), you can give it a more laptop-like feel and turn it into a serious productivity machine with the Magic Keyboard. It attaches magnetically and features a floating cantilevered design so you can set the viewing angle to anything up to 130 degrees, and with a full-size backlit keyboard and multi-touch trackpad it makes your favourite apps even easier to use than before. You also get the Magic Keyboard for the iPad Pro 11 and iPad Air 4th gen (see below).
Here's a not-too-pricy option that can make the standard iPad feel a bit more like a MacBook. The Brydge 10.2 features a full-size keyboard for precise feedback and increased accuracy, with three levels of LED backlighting. Its hinges enable you to angle your iPad at anything between 0 and 180 degrees so that you can get exactly the viewing angle you want, and it also features a full set of dedicated iOS shortcut keys.
The official Apple Smart Keyboard Folio for iPad Pro is another way to turn your iPad into a laptop. It's not as terribly expensive as the Magic Keyboard, but then you don't get the backlit keys or a trackpad, and the keys themselves have a canvas-like finish that makes typing less fluid. That said, you still get Apple-quality design and build and a luxurious finish to the case itself. Everything attaches easily thanks to the Apple Smart Connector, and the case is thick enough to offer protection but slim enough to stay mobile.
While this list is geared towards iPad accessories specifically, if you've got devices from different brands, and don't want to buy a different keyboard for each, you'll want to go for a universal keyboard – the Microsoft foldable keyboard is compatible with iPad, iPhone, Android devices, and Windows tablets. Another great feature is its ability to be paired to multiple devices – switching over to the next device is as simple as pushing a button. Plus, with this being a foldable keyboard, it's easier to store when it's not in use, and nice and portable too.
Logitech has been in the keyboard game for nearly as long as it has existed, which is just one of the reasons this Logitech Slim Folio Case with Keyboard is sold officially on the Apple Store. Bluetooth LE connectivity, complete iPad protection, dedicated iOS shortcut buttons, a stand mode plus a staggering four year battery life make this a winner at that low price.
iPad accessories: Cases and covers
If you're after a cover for your iPad, then it's hard to make a case for anything other than the official Apple Smart cover. It attaches to your iPad magnetically, it protects your screen, it'll turn your iPad on and off when you open and close it, and you can use it as a stand, too. It even comes in a variety of on-trend colours. What more do you want?
Specially designed for the iPad and actually stocked by Apple itself, the slim OtterBox Symmetry Series 360 Folio shows off your tablet while protecting it very well, offering more protection than Apple's own Smart Folio without adding a lot of bulk to the device.
This versatile folio guards your touchscreen then folds out of the way, converting to multiple stand angles for comfortable typing and hands-free viewing. The hard case offers protection against drops and scratches, while the magnets activate sleep and wake modes. With a clear back, your camera and flash are left accessible and there's a place for your Apple Pencil. It's available in two colours. Just make sure you choose the right size for your device.
Want to give your new iPad Pro an extra little touch of class? Cuvr's leather cover could be just what you need. Not only will it sheathe your precious in great-looking, fine-smelling leather, but it also works as a shock-resistant shell and will let you stand your iPad Pro at just about any angle. Available for both the 11in and 12.9 in 2021 iPad, it also features a safe holder for your Apple Pencil.
The Griffin Survivor is a superb way to make sure your iPad stays protected. Yes this isn't the most sleek or attractive case, but then it can go all the places that a pretty case couldn't. This iPad accessory is great for those with children, or anyone leading a hectic life who wants to be able to throw their iPad in and out of bags as they travel around.
The Targus VersaVu case balances portability and protection. It adds little bulk to your tablet but offers protection for up to a four-foot drop. This is thanks to tough reinforced corners as well as a bezel protector for your screen. It comes in a range of sizes, making it suitable for most iPads and you can use it as a stand to prop your iPad up to. There's a hole to display your Apple logo and there's even an integrated holder for your Apple Pencil.
iPad accessories: Headphones
We've rhapsodised many times about Apple's AirPods Pro, and more than two years year after they were first released we still love them to bits. Adhering firmly to the old Apple mantra of 'It Just Works', they're an absolute joy to use; they'll pair to your iPad in under a second, their active noise cancellation is nothing short of miraculous in something so small, and the sound quality (enhanced by the silicone ear tips which also mean they won't fall out) is outstanding. Yes, they're expensive, but actually seem quite reasonable compared with the price of the overear AirPods Max at number 18 below.
The standard Apple AirPods still offer a sound wireless audio experience for anyone who doesn't want to pay the price of the Pro version. They're easy to use – a simple tap to connect and they offer automatic recognition when you pop them in your ears. Also, a tap gets you Siri for voice controls without the need to touch your iPad. You get a 24-hour battery with charges from the case, plus decent audio for music and voice.
In October 2021, Apple launched the AirPods 3 (see prices below). This new iteration falls somewhere in between the 2nd gen AirPods and the Air Pods pro above, offering some of the Pro features such as water and sweat resistance. However, if you're considering paying more for the AirPods 3, it probably makes sense to go all out and get the AirPods Pro for active noise-cancellation.
If you prefer an over-ear option, there is of course Apple's AirPods Max. However, these are a tougher sell as an iPad accessory. While support for high-res audio is limited, Apple's active noise cancellation works even better with a pair of full-size headphones, and the sound quality you get from these is truly exceptional. Not everyone will be convinced its $550 worth of exceptional.
If you've balked at the price of the AirPods Max above but want quality headphones with noise cancellation, then the Bose QuietComfort 35 ii headphones may be the next best iPad accessory to consider. They offer a fantastic way to drown out the world around you with active noise cancellation while giving wireless connectivity and decent battery life. They're are ideal for travelling or at home where background noise can affect concentration. They're comfortable to wear, so you can use them for hours, making them the perfect companion or a long flight.
If you want to go for more subtle in-earphones with a strap but wish to stay wireless and on a budget, the Skullcandy Smokin' Buds 2 are a great option. These buds offer up to six hours of listening before they need a charge. That makes them not only useful at home with your iPad but also great to head out the door for a run with your iPhone, getting you even more for that incredibly affordable price.
iPad accessories: Speakers
Without question, the best iPad accessory for those who want to turn their iPad into a music player is the Apple HomePod mini. Apple launched its original HomePod back in February 2018 as an answer to Amazon's Echo but with a stronger focus on sound. It's since discontinued the original device to focus on this more affordable and even smaller incarnation, which offers incredible sound for its size. Coming in five bold colours, it measures just 3.3 inches tall, yet it fills a room with rich 360‑degree audio that sounds great from every angle.
Add several around the house and people will be able to listen in different rooms and can call on Siri for assistance. You can call on Siri from a distance, even with music on thanks to the four microphone design. You can hook it up to your iPhone too, and you'll be able to use Apple Music Voice to request any track you like.
For a non-Apple alternative, the Bose SoundLink Revolve+ is a powerful yet portable Bluetooth speaker that offers 360-degree sound to fill most rooms. It even comes with Siri support allowing for easy voice controls via your connected iPad. The battery should keep going for 16-hours, while the IPX4 rating means splash and dust resistance to set your mind at ease as you enjoy the high-quality sound.
Sonos started the multi-room speaker revolution and is still leading the way with quality products like the Sonos One. This enables you to connect using your iPad to control the speaker, or any other Sonos speaker in the home, using AirPlay for super simple access. It also supports Siri voice controls and allows you to use two speakers for stereo sound.
Want a waterproof portable wireless speaker that sounds good but doesn't cost a fortune? This little beauty from Sony is just the ticket. The Sony SRS-XB12 is cheaper than the rest of the speakers listed here, but it can still pump out some impressive audio, boosted by Sony's EXTRA BASS technology. Its battery should keep going for 16 hours, it's waterproof, dustproof, sandproof and mudproof, and if you want stereo sound you can simply buy another and pair them. It's a good buy, but Apple's HomePod mini is so reasonably priced, with Siri included, that in most cases the best speaker to go for is Apple's own. Having said that, this would be a great travel speaker if you're using your iPad out and about.
iPad accessories: Stands
The iPad offers so many potential uses that for most the best stand to buy as an iPad accessory will be the most versatile, unless you're really planning on using your iPad for one specific purpose. Twelve South’s HoverBar Duo comes into its own on this criteria since it can hold your iPad pretty much in any position you want. Since it can hold your tablet in portrait or landscape at a range of different angles and heights thanks to its highly adjustable holder, it's a great accessory whether you want to make Zoom calls, connect a second monitor for your Mac, or watch TV and movies. It comes with a weighted desk stand and an overhead clamp, too, extending its utility further.
Despite the name, the Joby GripTight GorillaPod Stand Pro actually fits lots of different iPad types. Thanks to its malleable legs, it can be manipulated to hold the tablet at varying heights and angles – ideal for watching video or (thanks to side-on tilting) FaceTime chatting. It may look a bit unusual, but it's surprisingly strong and the rubber feet hold the unit in place very well. You can even wrap it around a chair back or a pole, for example, to position it just where you need it.
You'll have a hard time finding a better-value stand than this model from AmazonBasics. As the name suggests, it's pretty basic, but it totally does the job; it'll support anything up to a 10-inch tablet (with a maximum weight of 4.9kg), it has multiple viewing angles and a removable rubber pad so it won't scratch your iPad. And at that price it's an absolute no-brainer if all you need is something to keep your iPad upright.
iPad accessories: Screen protectors
We started our list of the best iPad accessories with the Apple Pencil, and it's certainly a wonderful tool for creatives, but it's true that drawing on the iPad's glass surface feels rather false and strange compared to working on real paper or on a (far more expensive) graphics tablet. The Paperlike screen protector can help there. Made with (and by) design professionals and artists, it's created to give the feel of paper under your stylus.
The surface is filled with tiny microbeads that give just the right amount of friction, or bite: enough to feel what you're doing, but not so much that it takes its toll on the Apple Pencil's tip. It's the best way to protect your iPad while also taking your digital art up a notch. Read more with our Paperlike review for more details.
For serious screen protection, you might be considering a tempered glass option (most screen protectors are made from a form of polyurethane). This gives extra scratch and drop resistance. However, they can be nerve-wracking to install. You don't want to get it slightly wrong and end up with a wonky fit or trapped air bubble. Fortunately, Spigen's Glas.tR EZ Fit screen protector makes positioning the protector easy with its foolproof installation kit.