iPod touch 7 vs iPad mini 5: Which should you buy for your kids?

Child with iPod touch
Child with iPod touch (Image credit: Rene Ritchie)

As a mother who has raised three children, I've seen what does and doesn't work for kids and tech. Handing over your own precious iPhone is a test of nerves while buying your children their own devices is expensive. So, you want to make the right choice. You really can't go wrong with either of Apple's entry-priced offerings. Which one you choose will depend on several factors, including the age of your children, what they'll be doing with the device, and how careful they are with their devices.

If you're not sure your child will handle an electronic device with the utmost care (even after a frustrating video game loss,) I'd pick the less expensive iPod touch 7 as a starter device. If your child is a bit older and more experienced and careful with electronics, the iPad mini 5 is more likely to please.

Know your child

Both devices have a lot to offer. Both are compact devices that are perfect for home or travel. They have a beautiful Retina display and an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera for the budding photographer. Plus, they offer 1080p HD video recording for future YouTubers to hone their skills.

The iPod touch 7 stands out for its substantially lower price point. Plus, it comes with headphones, so you don't have to hear Vamparina and friends. It's tiny, which is great for tiny hands. You get your choice of six colors, which may or may not matter once you put a case on it. But the iPod touch 7 isn't just for little kids; it also makes a great second device for tweens or teens so they can leave their more expensive devices at home. However, if your child is prone to losing things, the iPod touch is easier to lose because of its diminutive size. In fact, my daughter, who is very careful and rarely breaks things, lost her first iPod touch when she left it in a rental car on vacation.

The iPad mini 5 would be my pick for a tween or older child who already has a proven track record of caring for delicate electronic devices. It's definitely a more sophisticated device with a faster processing chip, better front-facing camera, longer battery life, and Apple Pencil compatibility. The iPad mini 5 is a better gaming device as well as better for creating art. You also have the option to purchase a cellular-enabled iPad mini 5, so your child can access the internet anywhere.

One more specification that is important to consider is the amount of storage you need on the device. The iPod touch starts at 32 GB while the iPad mini starts at 64GB. Yes, 32GB will be plenty of storage for games, some music, and a few videos. But if they plan to download and store a lot of videos, that amount will be eaten up pretty quickly. The next storage level available on the iPod touch is 128GB, which will mean a $100 price bump. The iPad mini starts at 64GB of storage, which gives you a bit more wiggle room.

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Header Cell - Column 0 iPod touch 7iPad mini 5
Colors availableSixThree
Capacities available32GB, 128GB, 256GB64GB, 256GB
Size4.86-by-2.31-by-0.24 inches8.0-by-5.3-by-0.24 inches
Weight3.1 ounces0.66 pound
Screen4 inches7.9 inches
Retina displayYesYes
Apple pencil compatibleNoYes
Headphones includedYesNo
ChipA10 Fusion ChipA12 Bionic Chip
Video recording1080p HD1080p HD
FaceTime camera1.2-megapixel7-megapixel
FaceTime video720p HD1080p HD
Cellular model availableNoYes
Video playtime time on single chargeeight hours10 hours

The iPad touch 7 and the iPad mini 5 are two of the best entry-level devices Apple has ever offered. Just about any child would be thrilled to receive either one. The most important thing is knowing your child. Only you can know if he or she is better off with a smaller, less expensive device or if they are ready for a larger, more expensive device.

Karen S Freeman

Karen is a contributor to iMore.com as a writer and co-host of the iMore Show. She’s been writing about Apple since 2010 with a year-long break to work at an Apple Store as a product specialist. She's also a contributor at TechRadar and Tom's Guide. Before joining iMore in 2018, Karen wrote for Macworld, CNET, AppAdvice, and WatchAware. She’s an early adopter who used to wait in long lines on release days before pre-ordering made things much easier. Karen is also a part-time teacher and occasional movie extra. She loves to spend time with her family, travel the world, and is always looking for portable tech and accessories so she can work from anywhere.