The most effective iPad to purchase in 2024

Editor’s word: In line with a latest report from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, Apple plans to introduce a number of new iPads on the starting of Might, together with an OLED iPad Professional with Apple’s M3 chip and each an 11- and 12.9-inch iPad Air. If you happen to’re trying to decide up certainly one of Apple’s newest iPads — or a reduced older mannequin — it’s one thing to think about.

Apple’s iPad lineup has gone from a single simple choice to a sprawling array of various sizes, costs, choices, and generations. Proper now, Apple sells six distinct iPads in 4 classes. That may make selecting the most effective iPad in your wants difficult — particularly when you think about how comparable so most of the fashions are.

However with somewhat steering and a few consideration of why you’re planning to purchase an iPad and what you plan to make use of it for, you possibly can navigate Apple’s lineup with ease. I’ve spent years utilizing numerous iPads for each leisure and work and have examined all the present and up to date fashions to know what they’re greatest suited to. 

Out of the field, any iPad gives a superb transportable video or movie-watching expertise; entry to a wide selection of apps and video games by way of the App Retailer; the power to learn ebooks, paperwork, and net articles on a brilliant comfortably sized display; and talk through e mail, messaging providers, or video calls. With equipment like Apple’s Sensible or Magic Keyboard or the Apple Pencil, an iPad can function a drawing pill or a productiveness gadget, even perhaps changing a laptop computer for some folks.

The large secret right here is that, with a couple of minor exceptions, any present or recent-model iPad you purchase is able to doing all the pieces some other iPad within the lineup can do. Every thing from the lowly ninth-gen base mannequin iPad to the iPad Mini and all the way in which as much as the most important iPad Professional 12.9 runs the identical software program and the identical apps. iPadOS 17, the newest replace for the iPad, is accessible on gadgets relationship again to 2017 and runs on any iPad you’re probably to purchase at this level, save for the fifth-gen base iPad.

Nonetheless, there are nuances between the fashions that make them higher suited to totally different wants. On this information, I’ve suggestions for the most effective iPad for almost all of individuals, the most suitable choice in case you’re shopping for an iPad for youths, the most effective mannequin for getting work finished or creating digital artwork, and the most effective iPad in case your most important aim is to make use of it for studying. However once more, these dividing strains usually are not partitions, and you should use any of the iPad fashions to perform the identical issues as some other. (Although I personally wouldn’t need to write a novel on an iPad Mini.)

Earlier than I get into the suggestions, there are some issues to concentrate on in relation to pricing. Apple doesn’t make numerous modifications between iPad generations, and the processing energy in any latest iPad has a lot overhead that it might simply work for years with out feeling gradual or sluggish. Apple additionally has a robust observe report of supporting the iPad for a few years with software program updates, so even older fashions can profit from the vast majority of new options. Which means you possibly can usually discover wonderful choices on secondhand, open-box, and refurbished iPads that save some huge cash and nonetheless provide an up-to-date, performant expertise.

If you happen to’re debating between, say, an iPad Air and an 11-inch iPad Professional, a refurbished prior mannequin 12 months Professional would possibly find yourself costing lower than the present Air whereas offering a couple of additional perks that aren’t accessible on the lesser mannequin. There are additionally frequent gross sales on new variations of the latest iPad fashions, sometimes round when new iPads are introduced within the spring and fall.

You should use this logic throughout the lineup, so it’s value exploring the accessible choices. The refurbished market modifications too regularly for me to make particular suggestions on this information, so all the pieces right here is predicated on the brand new, full retail price. However I’ve personally purchased a number of refurbished iPads over time and have by no means regretted not having the newest and best mannequin.

The most effective iPad for most individuals

The iPad Air standing on a red table in front of a white background.The iPad Air standing on a red table in front of a white background.

The newest iPad Air retains the iPad Professional-esque redesign of the 2020 mannequin however does away with the A14 Bionic processor in favor of Apple’s quick M1 chip. It additionally is available in certainly one of 5 colours and boasts a 12MP front-facing digicam with help for Apple’s Heart Stage function.

Display screen: 10.9-inch, 2360 x 1640 decision 60Hz LCD, absolutely laminated / Processor: Apple M1 with 8GB RAM / Storage: 64 or 256GB / Port: USB-C / Mobile: 5G (non-compulsory) / Audio system: stereo / Suitable equipment: Apple Magic Keyboard, Apple Sensible Keyboard Folio, Apple Pencil (second-generation), Apple Pencil (USB-C)

For most individuals, the most effective iPad to purchase is the midrange iPad Air, which begins at $599. Launched in 2022, the fifth-generation iPad Air gives a brilliant 10.9-inch high-resolution show, extraordinarily quick efficiency due to its M1 processor, a contemporary design with even bezels across the display, and wonderful audio system. It’s appropriate with the identical keyboard and stylus equipment because the iPad Professional, so it might work properly as a small laptop-like gadget or digital notepad / drawing pill. The Air is available in a wide range of colours, together with blue, pink, purple, gold (which Apple calls “Starlight”), and darkish grey.

If you happen to’re shopping for an iPad with the intention to make use of it for 5 or extra years between upgrades, the Air is good. Its processor is newer and extra highly effective than what comes within the base ninth-gen iPad, which implies it is going to preserve its efficiency longer and can probably have somewhat bit longer software program help. The Air’s display can also be nicer to take a look at and use than the usual iPad’s, and the accent scenario is significantly better. It’s definitely worth the added price — if you intend on utilizing the iPad loads and for a very long time. Extra informal patrons will need to follow the price range choice under.

The iPad Air could be paired with Apple’s Magic Keyboard to show it right into a small laptop computer substitute for productiveness work.
Picture: Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

The Air’s middle-of-the-pack dimension is what most individuals consider in relation to iPads as a result of it’s near what the unique iPad was when it got here out approach again in 2010. It’s considerably bigger than a telephone and gives a greater video-watching, studying, and multitasking expertise, however it’s not almost as giant as a laptop computer show, so it’s simpler to hold round or maintain when lounging on the sofa. The scale makes it simple to transition from studying in portrait orientation to knocking out an e mail in panorama mode. The display is brilliant sufficient to make use of outdoor. It additionally covers a large colour gamut with correct replica, has no air hole between the glass and the panel, comes with an antireflective coating, and helps Apple’s automated True Tone colour adjustment. 

You’ll be able to equip the Air with 64 or 256GB of storage. The leap to 256GB prices $150 (at Apple’s common retail worth), however it’s worthwhile in case you plan to hold on to this iPad for a number of years. Extra storage gives extra room for apps, video, video games, or no matter different paperwork you need to retailer on it. You can too go for 5G connectivity so you’ve got an always-on connection for $150 (plus service prices).

The Air’s design is similar as that of the iPad Professional, with a squared-off aluminum again and sides and evenly proportioned bezels round its complete show. The front-facing digicam is on the quick edge, which makes portrait-orientation FaceTime calls nice. However if you’re holding the iPad Air in panorama orientation, the digicam feels prefer it’s within the improper spot, and Apple’s software program methods to right it usually are not at all times probably the most convincing. (Apple has addressed this downside with its lower-tier Tenth-gen iPad by shifting the digicam to the longer edge, however it has not but finished so for the remainder of the lineup.)

It doesn’t have a house button, so that you navigate iPadOS utilizing gestures, like on a contemporary iPhone. It doesn’t have Face ID; as an alternative, its Contact ID fingerprint scanner is constructed into the sleep / wake button for straightforward login and buy authentication. The Air’s stereo audio system (one on the left and proper facet, when held in panorama orientation) are loud and clear and work nice for film or video watching. There’s no headphone jack, however you possibly can plug headphones into the USB-C port utilizing an adapter (not included) or pair Bluetooth headphones for a extra non-public listening expertise.

The Air’s versatility is aided by the truth that it helps each Apple’s Sensible Keyboard Folio and the trackpad-equipped Magic Keyboard — the identical keyboards that work with the iPad Professional. The keyboard equipment are costly (the common retail worth of the Magic Keyboard is $299, half the price of the iPad itself), however they do make it doable to get actual work finished, particularly when on the go. The Air additionally helps Apple’s second-generation Pencil ($129 retail, typically on sale for much less) and the brand new Apple Pencil with USB-C ($79 retail) for writing and drawing, each of which might magnetically snap to the facet of your pill for storage. That mentioned, solely the second-gen Pencil helps wi-fi charging.

There are some concessions with the Air in comparison with the dearer 11-inch iPad Professional. It doesn’t have Apple’s 120Hz ProMotion expertise within the display, so scrolling on it isn’t fairly as easy. The twin stereo audio system are wonderful, however the Professional has 4 audio system which are even higher. The non-compulsory 5G connectivity doesn’t help the ultrafast (and ultra-rare) mmWave networks that the Professional does. The Air’s M1 processor is nice; the Professional’s M2 processor is even quicker (although you’re unlikely to note a distinction between them in follow). And the Air’s USB-C port is proscribed to slower information switch speeds in comparison with the Professional’s. However these variations are minor. The vast majority of folks shopping for an Air is not going to miss them and are higher off saving the $200 or so distinction between the fashions.

Learn my overview of the iPad Air.

The most effective price range iPad

Additionally the most effective iPad for youths

A 9th gen iPad on a wood table viewed from the top downA 9th gen iPad on a wood table viewed from the top down

Apple’s entry-level iPad from 2021 has a ten.2-inch display, an A13 Bionic chip, and a 12MP entrance digicam that helps Apple’s Heart Stage function. It’s additionally appropriate with the first-gen Apple Pencil and the Sensible Keyboard and is the one iPad that also has a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Display screen: 10.2-inch, 2160 x 1620 decision 60Hz LCD / Processor: Apple A13 / Storage: 64 or 256GB / Ports: Lightning, 3.5mm audio / Mobile: LTE (non-compulsory) / Audio system: stereo / Suitable equipment: Apple Sensible Keyboard, Apple Pencil (first-generation)

For these trying to spend a bit much less, the most effective price range iPad is the ninth-gen iPad mannequin. The most cost effective iPad Apple at present sells, the ninth-gen iPad begins at $329, although it may be regularly discovered on sale for about $250. Because of its cheaper price and some different options, this mannequin can also be a great iPad for youths.

I’ll allow you to in on somewhat secret: a child might be pleased with actually any iPad you hand them. And since children are likely to not be probably the most delicate with issues, the most cost effective choice (plus a rugged case) is at all times the most effective guess. You, as a dad or mum, will nonetheless need it to be up to date to present software program and safety patches, so it’s necessary to keep away from one thing that isn’t supported anymore. The ninth-gen iPad ought to nonetheless obtain updates from Apple for years to come back.

The ninth-gen mannequin has the standard iPad look, with bigger bezels across the display and a house button (with Contact ID biometric authentication). Although it appears a bit dated at this level, it’s nonetheless a really succesful gadget and may run the identical software program and video games because the dearer fashions. The A13 processor inside continues to be very quick, regardless of having first been launched in 2019, and the ninth-gen gives the identical 64 and 256GB storage choices because the Air.

The ten.2-inch display is somewhat smaller than the ten.9-inch show on the Air or Tenth-gen iPad, however it’s nonetheless spacious sufficient for split-screening apps and is sharp and brilliant. There’s an air hole between the glass and the show, and it lacks the antireflective coating discovered on pricier fashions. Pickier patrons will discover this stuff, however at this worth, it’s laborious to complain about. The display continues to be simply as aware of faucets and swipes as some other iPad show.

The ninth-gen iPad excels at all the basic iPad use circumstances: watching movies, enjoying video games, studying books or articles, and entertaining children. It will possibly, in fact, run productiveness apps, and it helps Apple’s split-screen and multitasking options (apart from the brand new Stage Supervisor windowing choice), however it’s not the iPad I’d select if I had been planning to make use of it day by day for work on account of its smaller, much less featured display and weaker accent choices. 

It isn’t appropriate with Apple’s trackpad-equipped Magic Keyboard (although you possibly can pair a separate trackpad to it simply positive) however as an alternative works with the older fabric-covered Sensible Keyboard that folds. The Sensible Keyboard is okay for infrequent use, however it’s very costly relative to the price of the iPad itself ($159), and in case you’re planning on doing numerous typing and productiveness work, it’s in all probability value stepping as much as one of many higher-end iPad fashions that has higher accent choices.

The ninth-gen iPad is the one mannequin that also has a 3.5mm headphone jack, which makes it simple for youths to make use of with wired headphones.
Picture: Dan Seifert / The Verge

Equally, the ninth-gen iPad works with Apple’s older first-generation Pencil as an alternative of the second-generation one which was launched in 2018 (or the Apple Pencil with USB-C). It really works positive as a stylus for writing and drawing on the display, however there’s nowhere to retailer it if you’re not utilizing it until you purchase a third-party case, and charging it requires plugging it into the iPad’s Lightning port, which is awkward and clumsy.

That is the one present iPad that also has a 3.5mm headphone jack, which makes it simple for youths to plug in wired headphones. It’s additionally the one iPad that also makes use of a Lightning port for charging as an alternative of the newer USB-C sort port.

Regardless of its older design and equipment, the ninth-gen iPad gives a surprisingly good expertise for its worth. In my testing, it by no means lagged or slowed down once I was utilizing it, the display is sharp and colourful, and it’s snug to carry for lengthy stretches of time.

The most effective iPad for work

Additionally the most effective iPad for creating digital artwork

A 2022 Apple iPad Pro in a Magic Keyboard case on a wooden desk.A 2022 Apple iPad Pro in a Magic Keyboard case on a wooden desk.


Apple’s newest iPad Professional comes with the quicker M2 processor and helps Wi-Fi 6E however in any other case shares the identical design as its predecessor. The bigger 12.9-inch mannequin sports activities a higher-quality Mini LED panel than the 11-inch model.

Display screen: 12.9-inch, 2732 x 2048 decision 120Hz Mini LED / Processor: Apple M2 with as much as 16GB RAM / Storage: as much as 2TB / Port: USB-C Thunderbolt 4 / Mobile: 5G mmWave (non-compulsory) / Audio system: quad / Suitable equipment: Apple Magic Keyboard, Apple Sensible Keyboard Folio, Apple Pencil (second-generation), Apple Pencil (USB-C)

If you’re a capital-S Severe iPad Consumer and wish the most effective iPad for getting work finished and even to switch a laptop computer, then you must simply purchase the top-of-the-line iPad Professional 12.9. That is additionally the most effective iPad for digital artists, because it has the most important canvas to attract on and helps Apple’s second-gen Pencil with additional options not discovered on different iPads.

The most important iPad Apple sells, the 12.9-inch mannequin can also be the costliest, beginning at $1,099 new. Mix it with the Magic Keyboard ($349) — a should in case you plan to be productive on it — improve the storage to one thing roomier than the bottom 128GB (I like at the least 256GB), and maybe add mobile connectivity, and also you’re at $1,748, properly above the price of a MacBook Air with the identical quantity of storage. Shopping for the 12.9-inch iPad Professional is a dedication to getting extra from an iPad than the common consumer.

Shopping for the 12.9-inch iPad Professional is a dedication to getting extra from an iPad than the common consumer

The 12.9-inch Professional rewards you with a extra expansive show for juggling a number of apps, particularly in case you use the Stage Supervisor windowing function. It additionally has the most effective display on any iPad, with its Mini LED expertise, offering searing brightness, deep blacks, and wealthy colours. Consequently, it’s the most effective iPad for watching films on, although I wouldn’t purchase it only for that.

As great as that 12.9-inch display is, it holds this mannequin again if you need to simply use it as a pill for laid-back studying or looking. It’s a lot clumsier to carry in a single hand than the smaller iPad fashions, and its 1.5-pound weight will get tiring after some time. Consequently, many iPad Professional 12.9 homeowners discover they don’t find yourself taking it out of the Magic Keyboard case fairly often.

The M2 processor contained in the iPad Professional is similar one you’d get in a MacBook Air, and it’s extraordinarily succesful. Fashions with 128 to 512GB of storage include 8GB of RAM; the 1TB and 2TB fashions are geared up with 16GB of RAM. If you happen to’re a photographer or video editor on the lookout for one thing light-weight to do on-the-go modifying with, the iPad Professional actually has the {hardware} chops for it. However you’ll need to make certain the software program you need to use is accessible — most desktop modifying software program is just not accessible for the iPad or lacks options in comparison with its desktop counterparts.

For common productiveness, akin to writing, e mail, spreadsheets, looking the net, and extra, the iPad Professional is excellent. However once more, you’ll need to make certain it helps the apps you need to use and that the iPad variations of the apps have the options you need. It’s not at all times assured that they are going to have the identical options as their desktop counterparts. iPadOS additionally requires doing issues in a different way than you may be used to on a desktop working system, particularly in relation to managing and sharing information.

Digital artists will recognize the 12.9-inch iPad Professional’s bigger display when creating artwork.
Picture: Dan Seifert / The Verge

Digital artists will recognize the 12.9-inch mannequin’s bigger show. A brand new function launched with the 2022 mannequin permits you to preview line strokes or choices with the Apple Pencil earlier than you place them onto the display. (Apple calls this “hover.”) There are all kinds of drawing and portray apps for the iPad as properly.

Lastly, there are some quality-of-life issues that Apple reserves for the Professional fashions. Essentially the most vital one is Face ID. You don’t have to scan your fingerprint or sort in a PIN to unlock the iPad Professional; you simply have to take a look at it. As with the iPhone, it really works extraordinarily properly, and it’s laborious to surrender when you’ve gotten used to it. One other is the iPad Professional’s quad-speaker system. It’s louder, fuller, and simply total better-sounding than the dual-speaker techniques on different iPads. 

Most individuals don’t want all the options of the newest iPad Professional, which makes shopping for an older model a compelling choice. The 2021 mannequin is nearly equivalent to the 2022 model, save for its processor (the M1 as an alternative of the M2) and lack of hover function with the Apple Pencil. There’s additionally an 11-inch model of the iPad Professional, which has a lot of the similar options however lacks the Mini LED show. (It has a extra customary LCD panel.) At full costs, the iPad Air is a greater choice than the 11-inch Professional, however in case you’re capable of finding a prior-year mannequin refurbished or on sale, then it may be the one to go along with.

Learn my overview of the iPad Professional.

The most effective iPad for studying

Apple’s revamped iPad Mini ditches the house button and opts for a bigger edge-to-edge show. It additionally comes outfitted with a quicker processor, help for USB-C, and a top-mounted energy button that moonlights as a Contact ID sensor.

Display screen: 8.3-inch, 2266 x 1488 decision 60Hz LCD, absolutely laminated / Processor: Apple A15 / Storage: 64 or 256GB / Port: USB-C / Mobile: 5G (non-compulsory) / Audio system: stereo / Suitable equipment: Apple Pencil (second-generation), Apple Pencil (USB-C)

If you wish to purchase the most effective iPad for studying, whether or not that’s ebooks, comics, or articles, then you can purchase the iPad Mini. The smallest iPad Apple sells, the $499 Mini is successfully an iPad Air with a smaller display that’s simpler to carry in a single hand.

Actually, “it’s a smaller iPad Air” sums up most all the pieces in regards to the iPad Mini. It has the identical common look and design, the identical compatibility with the second-generation Apple Pencil, and the identical cameras. It simply has a smaller show and weighs about 36 p.c much less.

That makes the iPad Mini far more snug to make use of as a private studying gadget. It’s additionally simpler to slide right into a jacket pocket or bag for some studying on the go. The Mini gives entry to many extra studying sources than a Kindle, although it might’t match the battery lifetime of Amazon’s e-reader. You may be tempted to get a Mini for a child on account of its smaller dimension, however I’d nonetheless suggest the ninth-gen iPad as an alternative as a result of it’s a lot cheaper, and children could have extra enjoyable with the bigger display anyway.

The iPad Mini is a shrunken-down model of the iPad Air

You’ll be able to, in fact, run all the similar apps and use the iPad Mini for watching video, however its smaller dimension is best suited to watching TikTok or YouTube movies than feature-length films. That is the one iPad that Apple doesn’t make a keyboard accent for, and it’s apparent why: it’s simply too small to actually be snug to sort something of size on.

However it’s appropriate with the second-generation Apple Pencil, and its dimension is sweet for digital note-taking. Pair it with a paper-type display protector, and the iPad Mini would possibly simply substitute a pen and paper pocket book for you.

Apple launched the present iPad Mini in late 2021, and it usually goes a very long time between updates on this mannequin. That does make it tougher to purchase an older model of the Mini than different iPads, however since this has been out for fairly a while, there are sometimes gross sales and reductions to be discovered.

Learn our overview of the iPad Mini.

Replace April ninth, 1:03PM ET: Up to date to mirror the newest iPad rumors and deal pricing. Sheena Vasani additionally contributed to this submit.

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