Which iPad Pro should you buy: 11-inch or 12.9-inch?

Professionals of all kinds love the iPad Pro. Whether you're a business professional, a teacher/professor, engineer, or an artist/creative, you've decided the iPad Pro is the best iPad for your particular needs. Now you just need to decide: which size? We're here to help you choose.

11-inch vs. 12.9-inch iPad Pro: Breaking it down

If you are the type of person who cares solely about internal specs, both the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro are the same on the inside. Both feature Apple's M2 chip, which has four performance cores and four efficiency cores, just like the M2 Macs. You can get all of the details in our iPad Pro (M2) review. Let's break down the pertinent specs.

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Header Cell - Column 0 iPad Pro 11-inchiPad Pro 12.9-inch
CostFrom $799From $1099
Pixels per inch264 ppi264 ppi
Weight1.03 pounds (Wi-Fi)
1.04 pounds (Wi-Fi + Cellular)
1.5 pounds (Wi-Fi)
1.51 pounds (Wi-Fi + Cellular)
DisplayLiquid RetinaLiquid Retina XDR
Wide ColorYesYes
True ToneYesYes
Laminated DisplayYesYes
Face IDYesYes
PortsThunderbolt/USB 4Thunderbolt/USB 4
Smart ConnectorYesYes
Rear camera12MP/4K ProRes12MP/4K ProRes
Ultra Wide lensYesYes
LiDAR ScannerYesYes
Front camera12MP True Depth 122-degree FoV, Center Stage12MP True Depth 122-degree FoV, Center Stage
Apple Pencil2nd-Generation and USB-C2nd-Generation and USB-C

They both have an 10-core GPU and 16-core Neural Engine. Also, you get 8GB of RAM on models with 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB storage, but 16GB RAM on the 1TB or 2TB models. Both models support accessories like the Apple Pencil 2, Apple Pencil (USB-C), and the Smart Keyboard Folio. The only real difference between the two is the display, and we don't just mean size.

11-inch vs. 12.9-inch iPad Pro: All in the details

11-inch iPad Pro (2020)

11-inch iPad Pro (Image credit: Bryan M. Wolfe / iMore)

Overall, when it comes to "which iPad should I buy," for the iPad Pros, we think the 11-inch model is the better pick for most people. It's much more lightweight and portable while still providing a ton of power with the M2 chip. With the M2 chip inside, you are getting a powerful iPad gaming machine, as well as a device that is no pushover when it comes to getting work done.

If you get the Wi-Fi + Cellular version, you can even go work anywhere with 5G coverage. And even though it's using the regular Liquid Retina display from the last generation, it's still very capable and beautiful for most people, especially when it comes to watching videos or reading. Plus, since the 11-inch is more compact, it's easier to hold up when reading eBooks or watching movies without feeling wrist fatigue.

iPad Pro 2021 review

(Image credit: Daniel Bader / iMore)

For most people, the 11-inch iPad Pro should be more than enough. However, if you are a serious professional who is constantly dealing with high-brightness and high-contrast HDR content, then the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is the best iPad for you, even more so if you opt for the Wi-Fi + Cellular model with 5G.

The Liquid Retina XDR display was made to deliver extreme brightness, deep blacks, and all of the subtle details that may otherwise be hidden. It's the best way to view and edit high-brightness and high-contrast content, such as HDR photos and videos. If that sounds like what you need, then the 11-inch may not cut it.

The larger screen estate for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro is also warranted if you need a bigger, more comfortable canvas for the best drawing apps for Apple Pencil. The 12.9-inch is also great if you want less cramped keys on the iPad Magic Keyboard or other similar keyboard cases.

11-inch vs. 12.9-inch iPad Pro: Which iPad should you buy?

If you can adjust to smaller, more compact keyboard accessories, don't plan on drawing or handwriting notes too much, and don't work with HDR content, then the 11-inch iPad Pro (2022) should be good enough for you. Especially now that it has the M2 chip, it has plenty of power. It's also a much easier size to take with you, and you won't get tired of holding it. Plus, it starts at $300 less than the 12.9-inch and would be a great complement to any existing setup.

If you need the additional display real estate or highly value the HDR capabilities of the XDR display, then it's worth spending the extra to get the 12.9-inch version for the best iPad experience. You'll also benefit from full-size keyboard accessories, allowing you to transform your iPad Pro into nearly a full-on laptop replacement. 

One thing to keep in mind when buying pricey tech is that these models are both over a year old at this point. Don't let it stop you: these are powerhouse machines that will be amazing for years to come. But with the M3 chip already in several Mac models, we can certain that the M3 iPad Pro won't be far behind.

Christine Chan

Christine Romero-Chan was formerly a Senior Editor for iMore. She has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently part of the Digital Trends team, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.

When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.

With contributions from