Apple makes some of the best tablets on the market, with incredibly powerful chips, gorgeous Retina displays, and tons of functionality. The problem, though, is picking which one is right for you. There are so many choices to make – screen size, storage space, how to find the best iPad stylus, and more – that choosing can at times feel overwhelming.
Our buying guide will strip away the confusion to make it clear, and to help, we have delved into the complete iPad model list and picked out the key features for each device. Not sure which iPad is right for you? Read on to find out. And once you have made your choice, we have all the best iPad deals to help you save money.
The iPad Pro is, as the name suggests, aimed at professional users who need to use it to complete serious work. Despite having a less powerful chip than the iPad Air, it has some advantages, such as built-in Face ID. The iPad Pro also comes in a large 12.9in version, as well as the 11in, which gives you extra space for design work when paired with the second generation Apple Pencil. As well as that, it has the largest storage options of any iPad, going up to 1TB. It will cost you an arm and a leg, though, so make sure it is right for you before you buy.
The 2018 iPad Pro is in a bit of an awkward spot. It is still exceptionally powerful – the A12Z Bionic in the 2020 model is basically a slightly modified version of 2018’s A12X, so you do not lose much there – it offers the most storage of any iPad, and has a large-screen option perfect for your creative work. But it is still awfully expensive, and for only a little more you can get the more modern 2020 iPad Pro with double the base storage. If you find a good deal and can save a hatful of cash compared to the more recent model then it might be a viable option, though.
The entry-level iPad is the best way to get into Apple's tablet ecosystem if you do not want to break the bank. You get everything you need for the core iPad experience – Apple Pencil support (see here for Apple Pencil alternatives), a powerful processor, a great Retina display – for the most affordable price of any iPad. Its 10.2in screen size also puts it 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 ever being unwieldy. Its looks are a little old-fashioned, but there is no doubting its capabilities.
Looking to save even more money on the iPad? Try the seventh generation model, released in 2019. You still get 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. In fact, the only difference is the processor, which is the older A10 Fusion chip. Just be aware that if you want to do more demanding tasks, you will likely notice the difference. If you just need a simple, affordable tablet, though, you will not go far wrong with this iPad model.
With the latest iPad Air, Apple took the entry-level iPad and dialled everything up a notch. It comes outfitted with Apple's most advanced tablet chip, the A14 Bionic, it works with the second generation Apple Pencil that magnetically charges by snapping to the edge of the iPad, and it 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 the top-of-the-line Apple tablet for people who want it all.
The latest iPad Air is a great piece of kit, but it is not exactly cheap. If you want to save some cash, the eighth generation iPad would usually be your go-to alternative. Not only is it remarkably similar to the third generation iPad Air in terms of specs, but it is much easier to get hold of as it is a current model. That said, the third generation iPad Air has a larger 256GB storage option, so if you see it on sale it might be worth a punt. Other than that, stick with the entry-level iPad.
If most iPads feel a bit too large for you, the iPad mini will be right up your street. Its 7.9in display is the most compact of any iPad, so it is great for popping into a bag and taking on your travels. Think of it as a more capable Kindle or Kobo for reading or watching content on the go. It has the same A12 chip as the iPad so is not weak by any means, although it does not work with any of Apple's keyboard cases. You can use the first generation Apple Pencil with it, though.
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)