Figures reveal the surprisingly long life of old iPads— 67% of owners keep or pass on their old devices

iPad Air with M2 chipset
(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future)

Have you recently upgraded to a brand-new iPad Pro or iPad Air? Chances are, you haven’t chosen to trade your old one in, according to the latest figures.

As published by CIRP (Consumer Intelligence Research Partners), “In the twelve months ending March 2024, 67% of repeat iPad buyers kept an old iPad.” According to its stats, 31% of iPad owners chose to give it to family/friends and 36% chose to keep it. To round out the rest of the group, 23% lost their iPad or had it stolen/broken, 6% chose to sell it, and a mere 3% chose to trade it in. 

These figures are especially surprising when you compare them to iPhone data. By comparison, 11% of iPhone owners gave their old one to family/friends, 30% chose to keep it, and 6% had it stolen, broken, or lost. Taking up by far the biggest figure for iPhone users is trade-ins, which account for 42% of what iPhone purchasers did with their old iPhones. 

Why do fewer people trade in their devices?

The iPhone 14 Pro Max, the latest iPhone you can trade in, will get you over $600 dollars right now, and the latest iPad Pro will get you almost $500. Given their launch prices, these aren’t hugely dissimilar figures. However, it’s worth noting that iPhones have an Upgrade Program, which allows customers to update their iPhones every single year for the next model. If a customer got the iPhone 15 on launch day and wanted the iPhone 16 when that comes out, the next best iPhone, they could get it without any extra charges. Apple’s much greater emphasis on trading in iPhones could account for part of this discrepancy. 

As well as this, iPads aren’t on a yearly update cycle — they don’t have the same hype that iPhones have and customers aren’t always clamoring to get the latest and greatest device, An iPad can be placed in a living room and anyone can use it for casual scrolling and watching videos. An iPhone doesn’t quite have the same utility. It can’t really be a shared device and, given how important phones are for everyday life, it can be hard to just lend an iPhone to someone. An iPad on the other hand, can be borrowed for a few days or weeks without any real complications. They are also good devices for students and children, which don’t require the commitment of a phone contract and SIM. The best iPads for students can be achieved second-hand quite easily now. They are good devices to lend a family member or a friend. 

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James Bentley

James is a staff writer and general Jack of all trades at iMore. With news, features, reviews, and guides under his belt, he has always liked Apple for its unique branding and distinctive style. Originally buying a Macbook for music and video production, he has since gone on to join the Apple ecosystem with as many devices as he can fit on his person. 

With a degree in Law and Media and being a little too young to move onto the next step of his law career, James started writing from his bedroom about games, movies, tech, and anything else he could think of. Within months, this turned into a fully-fledged career as a freelance journalist. Before joining iMore, he was a staff writer at Gfinity and saw himself published at sites like TechRadar, NME, and Eurogamer. 

As his extensive portfolio implies, James was predominantly a games journalist before joining iMore and brings with him a unique perspective on Apple itself. When not working, he is trying to catch up with the movies and albums of the year, as well as finally finishing the Yakuza series. If you like Midwest emo music or pretentious indie games that will make you cry, he’ll talk your ear off.

  • Just_Me_D
    I have an original iPad Pro at the office and its battery life is insane. My personal iPad Pro has excellent battery life, but it can’t compete with the original in my experience.
  • Annie_M
    My husband is using 3 old iPads... one of which is possibly an iPad 2!!!
  • Wotchered
    I still use my Gen 3 occasionally, works fine for the things it can still do,