iPad: The ultimate guide

12.9-inch iPad Pro
12.9-inch iPad Pro (Image credit: Joseph Keller / iMore)

A touch-enabled web reader. An internet TV. And a gaming console. Are you getting it yet? OK, Steve Jobs never said that but what Apple's famed co-founder did say was that there was room between the iPhone and the MacBook for a third category of device. And that device is iPad.

Current models include the second-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro, the 11-inch iPad Pro, the iPad Air 4, the lower-cost 10.2-inch iPad (now with Apple Pencil support), and the smaller, more compact iPad mini 6.

While some consider the iPad market beleaguered, Apple keeps selling them by the tens of millions. More than Macs. More than PCs. More than almost anything else on the planet, except of course, for iPhone.

Choosing your iPad

iPad 2021 in landscape orientations (Image credit: Luke Filipowicz / iMore)

If you're still on the fence about which iPad to buy — or which iPad to upgrade to — Apple's made the choices slightly easier now.

The updated 12.9-inch iPad Pro and 11-inch iPad Pro are identical in everything but display size. Both have 120 Hz ProMotion displays, M1 processors, and support for Smart Connector and Apple Pencil 2.

You have the iPad Air 4, which has often been described as a "pro-lite" model. With Apple Pencil 2 support and the same minimal-bezel design, the iPad Air 4 is a great mid-tier option for the iPad. However, it is a little old at this point and we are expecting Apple to announce a new version pretty soon, so maybe hold off until the newer version arrives.

The 10.2-inch iPad (2021) doesn't have the "pro" display but is the least expensive full-sized iPad Apple's ever made and it even supports the first-generation Apple Pencil. Plus, the front-facing camera got a huge upgrade from previous models, now able to capture 1080p video.

Then there's the small but mighty iPad mini 6, which condenses the iPad experience down to a super portable form factor. This year, the iPad mini got huge updates. With a complete redesign to allow for minimal bezels, Touch ID in the power button, the powerful A15 processor, and a USB-C port, the iPad mini 6 is almost like having a very small iPad Pro.

Of course, there are many things to consider when you're wondering which iPad model you should get. Everything from which colors are available to which storage sizes are available will likely influence your decision.

Using your iPad

Ipad Mini 6 Review Appl Library (Image credit: Adam Oram / iMore)

Just get a new iPad? Then your next step is setting it up and getting started with it. Whether that means configuring it from scratch or restoring it from backup, moving your data over from an iPhone, Android tablet, or PC; or digging into all the features, the fun starts there. Safari, Apple Books, Apple TV, Photos — it's all ready and waiting for you.

Having fun with iPad

iPad Mini 6 Playing Games

iPad Mini 6 Playing Games (Image credit: Luke Filipowicz / iMore)

Setting up your iPad is only the beginning. There's a whole store filled with apps and a world of accessories for you to discover with them — your iPad isn't the limit, there is no limit.

The best iPad apps can keep you on task, help you take notes, keep you on budget, and so much more. Apps really take your iPad experience to the next level, making your iPad the best iPad it can be. Also, don't forget to check out some of the best iPad games either, so when you have some downtime you can unwind.

The best iPad accessories

iPad Air 3 with Smart Keyboard

iPad Air 3 with Smart Keyboard (Image credit: iMore)

After deciding which iPad to buy and finally getting your hands on it you'll want to protect it with one of the best iPad cases for your particular device. We have tons of guides pointing toward cases, screen protectors, and more for your specific iPad so just give our site a search! Also be sure to check out other fun finds like keyboards, car accessories, and tons of others.

More for iPad

With your new iPad, you'll have lots to explore, from the App Store, to increased productivity, to a superb camera, and much more. Enjoy your new shiny tablet!

Updated March 2022: Updated for the latest models of all iPads

Luke Filipowicz
Staff Writer

Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way. 

Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.