Best iPad for Kids iMore 2020
Most iPads look the same; throw in the various price points, and suddenly, it gets confusing. The 2019 10.2-inch iPad is currently our favorite Apple tablet for kids, although we've gathered other noteworthy models to help you choose the one that fits your needs best.
- Best Overall: iPad (2019)
- Runner Up: iPad Air (2019)
- Best for Portability: iPad mini (2019)
- Best Value: iPad (2018)
Best Overall: iPad (2019)
When the seventh-generation iPad arrived in November 2019, it became the first Apple tablet with a 10.2-inch display. Like its predecessor, this model is a great choice for anyone looking for a great tablet for less. For children, especially, the larger display is great for gaming, watching videos, and doing school work.
When looking at the latest iPad, it's important to note that many of the features on the more expensive (see below) iPad Air 3 are also available here. The similarities include the same 8-megapixel back camera with f/2.4 aperture and 1080p HD video recording with slo-mo video support for 720p at 240 frames per second (FPS). Both models also include Apple's second-generation Touch ID fingerprint sensor built into the Home button. Battery life is also similar; up to 10 hours of surfing the web and watching a video.
Why shouldn't you consider the iPad versus the iPad Air 3? The cheaper model offers a slower A10 Fusion chip compared to the A12 Bionic chip with Neural Engine found on the iPad Air. Additionally, the iPad only provides storage up to 128GB, versus up to 256GB. For most kids, however, we recommend the cheaper of the two.
- Excellent price
- Apple Pencil support
- New display size
- Limited storage options
- Internals are aging
Apple Pencil support for much less
Just look at how much you can get for much less than you would pay for other tablets.
Runner Up: iPad Air (2019)
The third-generation iPad Air launched in mid-2019 and features a 10.5-inch display size previously found on the smaller of the two discontinued 2017 iPad Pro models.
With this model, you get a larger display (10.5-inches versus 10.2-inches), an advanced chip, and more available storage than our overall pick for kids. Unlike the iPad, the iPad Air has a fully laminated display with anti-reflective coating. It also includes a wide-color (P3), True Tone display. The newer tablet also has a better front-facing camera and supports a Smart Keyboard.
For these extras, you'll pay around $130 more at each price point. The iPad Air is a nice step up from the iPad. However, we're not sure the extras are necessary for most kids.
- More available storage
- Latest internals
- Screen with anti-reflective coating
- No Face ID
- Pricey compared to iPad
Do you feel the Air?
Apple's newest iPad Air s packed with features not available on our recommended model. Expect to pay extra, however.
Best for Portability: iPad mini (2019)
On the day Apple revealed the third-generation iPad Air, it also introduced the first new iPad mini since 2015. Weighing just 0.68 pounds, the latest iPad mini, includes nearly everything you can find on the latest iPad Air, but in a smaller body.
The 7.9-inch tablet has the same A12 chip for better performance, a True Tone display, first-generation Apple Pencil support, and also comes in 64GB and 256GB storage capacities. The only thing it's missing is a Smart Connector.
Don't confuse a smaller screen size with spending less, however. We've included the iPad mini on this list for one simple reason; if you're looking for a 7.9-inch iPad, it's the only game in town. Expect to pay around $100 less than the equivalent iPad Air and $70 more than the iPad.
- Much like the iPad Air, but with a smaller display
- Easier to carry than other models
- Storage up to 256GB
- Pricey for its size
Best for Portability
The small one
When convenience and portability matter, consider the 7.9-inch iPad mini.
Best Value: iPad (2018)
When this sixth-generation iPad arrived in March 2018, it became the first non-iPad Pro model to support Apple Pencil. Given the price difference between it and the more premium iPad offerings, this was and continues to be a big deal. Perhaps the last Apple iPad to feature a 9.7-inch display, the iPad offers plenty of great features that make it our budget choice for kids even though Apple no longer sells the model itself.
When looking at the older iPad, it's important to note that many of the features on the newer iPad Air 3 are available here. The similarities include the same 8-megapixel back camera with f/2.4 aperture and 1080p HD video recording with slo-mo video support for 720p at 240 frames per second (FPS). Both models also include Apple's second-generation Touch ID fingerprint sensor built into the Home button. Battery life is also similar; up to 10 hours of surfing the web and watching a video.
Why shouldn't you consider the iPad (2018) versus the iPad Air 3? The older model offers a slower A10 Fusion chip compared to the A12 Bionic chip with Neural Engine found on the newer one. Additionally, the 2018 version only provides storage up to 128GB. It could also prove difficult to find new on the market.
Renewed products are not Apple certified, but have been inspected and tested by Amazon-qualified suppliers. These products come with the 90-day Amazon Renewed Guarantee.
- Great battery life
- Supports iPadOS 13
- Last 9.7-inch model?
- Renewed, not new
First regular iPad to support Apple Pencil
You can save big money on this iPad, which is officially retired but is still available at some retailers.
If you're in the market for an iPad for your child, you'll quickly notice there's a wide selection from which to choose. Our advice is to go with the newest regular iPad model. Yes, there are better tablets out there. However, this is the one where you can get the most for much less.
The latest iPad features a 10.2-inch display, Apple Pencil support, and adequate storage for most kids who play games. Keep in mind, however, that its externals are aging, which means it could get replaced before the end of 2020. Regardless, happy shopping!
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Bryan M. Wolfe is a dad who loves technology, especially anything new from Apple. Penn State (go Nittany Lions) graduate here, also a huge fan of the New England Patriots. Thanks for reading. @bryanmwolfe
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