Apple's iPad model list just keeps growing with the recent launch of the fifth genration iPad Pro. They're undoubtedly some of the best tablets on the market, with powerful chips, gorgeous Retina displays, and tons of functionality. The only problem is deciding which one is right for your needs when there are now so many choices to make, from screen size to storage space and performance. And that's before you get to the question of accessories, such as selecting the best iPad stylus.
If the wealth of options feels overwhelming, our buying guide will help strip away the confusion and make everything clear. We've gone through the complete iPad model list to pick out the key features of each device. Read on to find out which is the best iPad for you. Once you've made your choice, head over to our list of the best iPad deals to see how much you could save.
iPad model list for 2021
Available from May 2021, the iPad Pro 5th generation is the newest addition to the iPad model list, and it comes with a fair few improvements in terms of performance.
The newest iPad Pro has an eight-core M1 processor, which is the same chip behind the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini. That means improved graphics performance – 1,500 times faster according to Apple. The new iPad Pro also supports Thunderbolt 3, USB4, eSIM support and global 5G coverage at speeds of up to 4Gbps.
The camera's also been souped up. An ISP and LIDAR scanner promises to capture more detail in low-light conditions, while the ultrawide 12MP camera offers a 120-degree field of view. It also features Center Stage, a feature that pans automatically to follow you during video calls.
If you want the best performance in an iPad Pro and can spare the cash, this model is worth holding out for.
If you can't wait for the 5th generation iPad Pro, or don't want to pay the price on launch, the iPad Pro 4th generation is still a great option for professional creatives who need a tablet to work on.
Despite carrying a less powerful chip than the latest iPad Air, it has some advantages, such as built-in Face ID. The iPad Pro comes in a large 12.9in version, as well as the 11in, which allows extra space for design work when paired with the second generation Apple Pencil. It also comes with larger storage options than the iPad Air, going right up to 1TB.
The 2018 iPad Pro has been left in a bit of an awkward position now that two newer versions of the iPad Pro have joined the iPad model list. It's certainly still very powerful – the A12Z Bionic in the 2020 model is basically a slightly modified version of 2018’s A12X, so you don't lose much in that sense. Like the 4th generation model, it also comes with up to 1TB of storage and has a large-screen option perfect for creative work.
Considering there's not such a difference in price with the later models, this 2018 version of the iPad Pro now seems rather expensive for what you get, but it's worth bearing in mind if you spot a good deal.
This entry-level iPad remains the best point of entry into Apple's tablet ecosystem if you don't want to break the bank. You get everything you need for the core iPad experience, including Apple Pencil support (see here for Apple Pencil alternatives), a powerful processor and a great Retina display, all for the most affordable price on this iPad model list.
The 10.2in screen size puts this model in the Goldilocks zone between the bite-sized iPad mini and the large-scale 12.9in iPad Pro, making it ideal for media consumption without it becoming unwieldy. It might already start to look a little outdated, but there's no doubting its capabilities.
The seventh generation model of the iPad released in 2019 is another good option to consider if you're on a budget. It has almost exactly the same package as the eighth generation version, including Apple Pencil support, the same storage options, the same camera, Touch ID and more. The only real difference is the processor, which is the older A10 Fusion chip. You might notice the difference if you want to do more demanding tasks, but if you just need a simple, affordable tablet, you won't go far wrong with this iPad model.
With the fourth generation iPad Air, Apple took the entry-level iPad and dialled everything up a notch. This tablet is fitted with the A14 Bionic, Apple's most advanced tablet chip until the fifth generation iPad Pro, and it works with the second generation Apple Pencil, which magnetically charges by snapping to the edge of the iPad. It also supports the Magic Keyboard case with trackpad.
The Home button has been eliminated, with Touch ID located in the power button, allowing the bezels to be slimmed down. That all combines to make the iPad Air a top-of-the-line Apple tablet for those who want it all.
The 2020 iPad Air is a great piece of kit, but it's not exactly cheap. The 2019 third generation iPad Air offers a cheaper alternative with a 256GB storage option. However, we'd generally recommend the seventh or eighth generation of the entry-level iPad as the best option for those on a budget.
If you find most iPads are too large for your needs, the lightweight iPad mini is probably the solution you're looking for. Its 7.9in display makes it the most compact of any iPad, and its light enough to easily pop into a bag to take on your travels. Think of this tablet as a more capable Kindle or Kobo for reading or watching content on the go, although it has the iPad's A12 chip so its performance is by no means weak. It doesn't work with any of Apple's keyboard cases, but it is compatible with the first generation Apple Pencil.
Older iPad models
Older iPad Pros
- iPad Pro (3rd generation, 2018)
- iPad Pro (2nd generation, 2017)
- iPad Pro (9.7-inches, 1st generation, 2016)
- iPad Pro (12.9-inches, 1st generation, 2015)
- iPad (2018, 6th generation)
- iPad (2017, 5th generation)
- iPad (2012, 4th generation)
- iPad (2012, 3rd generation)
- iPad (2011, 2nd generation)
- iPad (2010, 1st generation)
Older iPad Airs
- iPad Air (2014, 2nd generation)
- iPad Air (2013, 1st generation)
Older iPad minis
- iPad mini (2015, 4th generation)
- iPad mini (2014, 3rd generation)
- iPad mini (2013, 2nd generation)
- iPad mini (2012, 1st generation)