The best iPad for 2024: How to pick the best Apple tablet for you

Figuring out the best iPad for you can seem confusing from afar. With the latest refresh to Apple’s tablet lineup, the company now sells three 11-inch tablets and two 13-inch ones, each with key differences in pricing, specs and accessory support. The iPad mini is getting long in the tooth, but still hanging around as well. If you’re looking to buy a new iPad, we’ve tested the latest models and broken down which ones might work best.

Editor’s note (5/14/24): After reviewing Apple’s newest crop of iPads, we’ve overhauled our guide with new recommendations. The iPad Air M2 is now our top pick, while the 10th-gen iPad and iPad Pro M4 slot into our budget and power user spots, respectively. You can check out our reviews of the new iPad Air and iPad Pro for more on those devices.

If history is any indication, expect Apple to update your iPad to the latest version of iPadOS for at least five years, if not longer. The new iPadOS 17 update, for example, is available on iPad Pros dating back to 2017 and other iPads dating back to 2018. How long your iPad’s hardware will last depends on which model you buy and how well you maintain it (if you’re particularly clumsy, consider an iPad case). A more powerful iPad Pro will feel fast for a longer time than an entry-level iPad, but each model should remain at least serviceable until Apple stops updating it, at minimum.

Compared to the 10th-gen iPad, the iPad Air runs on a stronger M2 chip (instead of the A14 Bionic) and has twice as much RAM (8GB instead of 4GB) and default storage (128GB instead of 64GB). It’s also available in two screen sizes, 11 and 13 inches, while the 10th-gen iPad is only available with the former. The M-series SoC gives the Air better long-term performance, plus access to certain iPadOS features such as Stage Manager. Its display supports a wider P3 color gamut, has an anti-reflective coating and is fully laminated. The latter means there’s no “air gap” between the display and the glass covering it, so it feels more like you’re directly touching what’s on screen instead of interacting with an image below the glass. The Air also works with the newer Pencil Pro stylus and a more comfortable Magic Keyboard, and its USB-C port supports faster data transfer speeds.

Starting at $349, the 10th-gen iPad is $250 less expensive than the iPad Air. It has a similarly elegant design with flat edges, thin bezels, USB-C port, and a Touch ID reader. Battery life is rated at the same 10 hours, and both devices have their front-facing camera on their long edge, which is a more natural position for video calls. The cheaper iPad works with the first-gen and USB-C Apple Pencils – which are more convoluted to charge – and a unique keyboard accessory called the Magic Keyboard Folio.

As we note in our screenshot how-to guide, you can take a screenshot on your iPad by pressing the top button and either volume button at the same time. If you have an older iPad with a Home button, simultaneously press the top button and the Home button instead.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at