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What iPad color should you get: Neutrals or a splash of color?

Ipad Mini 6 Review Back Hero
Ipad Mini 6 Review Back Hero (Image credit: Adam Oram / iMore)

There's more choice when it comes to the color of your next iPad than ever before, and your options are going to vary based on which iPad model you are going for.

While it might seem like a shallow aspect to think about, the color of your device can help to show off your personality or be a purely pragmatic decision. Regardless of how you choose, we're here to help you get the best iPad for you.

Forget about the front

Ipad Mini 6 Review Setup Touch Id

Ipad Mini 6 Review Setup Touch Id (Image credit: Adam Oram / iMore)

Since Apple has now done away with white bezels around its iPad screens, you don't need to factor that in to your buying decision. Black bezels now come as standard across all current iPad lines so you can go crazy with whatever rear chassis color you want and know that, from the front, you're going to get the same experience regardless.

The M1 iMac recently got updated with a white bezel, so it's possible it might make a comeback on Apple's portable devices in the future, for now all the displays are surrounded by a black border.

Silver vs space gray

iPad Pro 2021 review

iPad Pro 2021 review (Image credit: Daniel Bader / iMore)

For a long time, the two constants in Apple's color range have been silver and space gray and that's the case (mostly) across Apple's iPad lineup today. Though the exact meaning of those two hues has changed a little bit from device to device, you're basically getting a light shade of gray or a dark shade of gray, respectively. While these might sound boring to those that prefer bright and vivacious tones, they will be a classy choice to someone else.

Black is almost always the most popular color when it comes to electronics and electronics accessories. And while space gray may not look as cool as "true" black, it'll likely still be the default color for many. That said, lighter-colored iPads can stand out more, especially with brightly colored cases; space gray or silver iPad models tend to let accessories be the star.

Silver and space gray are the only options for the 2021 iPad and 2021 iPad Pro, so you're picking between the two shades there, and they are also two of the options for the iPad Air 4. The notable standout here is the iPad mini 6, which does offer space gray but does not come in silver, eschewing it for the champagne-tinged starlight color.

A bit more color

iPad Air 4 all colors

iPad Air 4 all colors (Image credit: Apple)

If you prefer a pop of color in your devices, then the iPad Air 4 and iPad mini 6 should be your main contenders right now. As previously mentioned, the entry-level iPad and top-end iPad Pro only come in silver or space gray so, if something outside of grayscale is your bag, then you want to look at some other options.

The iPad Air 4 has the most choice when it comes to color, adding sky blue, green, and rose gold hues in addition to silver and space gray options. iPad mini has four colorways: space gray, starlight, pink, and purple.

All of the colors are muted or pastel in nature, and certainly not as bold as the iPhone 13 colors, so don't expect too much saturation when it comes to whichever you pick. For the iPad mini 6 in particular, most of its colors look silver depending on the lighting in the room you're in.

Discoloration vs damage

iPad Air 4

iPad Air 4 (Image credit: Lory Gil / iMore)

A big concern with white, silver, and other brightly-colored products is the chance for discoloration; dark colors have their own issues, too, with casings often showing scratches, chips, and smudges more easily.

Apple spent years figuring out how to make its materials resistant to UV, finger grease, and other typical sources of discoloration. Still, if it's a major worry, there's no harm in sticking with space gray.

On the other hand, anodized aluminum that suffers scratches and scuffs can reveal a lighter under-layer that makes damage more obvious. Again, Apple has used its many years of material science to reduce this, but scratch a space gray iPad deeply enough and you'll reveal that it is really silver underneath. Light color choices are better if this is a concern to you.

Case or no case

Apple's iPads are more durable than ever, but they're still large pieces of glass. We generally recommend that if you plan to use your iPad anywhere you might risk a drop, an iPad case is a good idea. But even if you're planning on locking your iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPad, or iPad mini up the moment it leaves the box, you might still see much of the device's original color.

Though the front is all-black, folio-style cases might still reveal the sides of your iPad which gives your color choice a chance to shine. Going for a clear case will mean that your iPad's chassis is still completely visible while remaining protected.

Alternatively, if you have a really jazzy case already you might want to choose a more plain iPad color to let the case do the talking, or get a silver or space gray iPad so you can accessorize it down the line with whatever case takes your fancy.

Still undecided?

Your first decision — which iPad model to buy — is going to dictate what color choices you have. After that, it's personal preference, so buy what you like and what makes the most sense for your computing habits.

If you prefer a darker color, go space gray; if you want a bit of popping color, choose sky blue, pink, or purple! Everything else is manufactured anxiety. Just close your eyes, picture your iPad in your hand, and carefully look at what color you're picturing. And hey, if you feel any buyer's remorse, Apple offers a pretty comprehensive return policy so you can always try out one color and swap it if you're not feeling the look.

Updated February 2022: Updated for the latest iPad models.