If you currently own an iPad or are considering purchasing an older one, such as a refurbished model, in order to save money, it is important to determine how long it will continue to support apps and services. Apple typically does a good job of supporting older versions of its products by providing updates for iPadOS or ensuring security updates are available. However, there may come a point when an iPad can no longer be updated to a secure version of iPadOS, which could result in certain apps and websites becoming inaccessible and potentially putting your data at risk.
This guide offers a brief overview of the expected lifespan of an iPad.
What versions of iPadOS does Apple provide assistance for?
The most important factor is if Apple will release an update to the iPad’s operating system in the event of a security vulnerability. Although new features are only included in updates for the current iPadOS version, security updates are still provided for older versions to ensure the security of older iPads.
New versions of the operating system are regularly released to improve security by updating the code and closing any vulnerabilities that could allow hackers or malware to infiltrate the system. These updates are referred to as “point releases” and are denoted by numbers such as 16.1, .1.1, 2.1, etc. They make minor refinements to the operating system and address any security concerns.
While full iPadOS updates often require system resources that can be too much for older devices, security updates work under the hood and can usually keep an older model going for years after the point where it can receive a new version of iPadOS.
In essence, the most crucial factor in determining the lifespan of an iPad is the availability of security updates. When these updates are no longer provided, it is not recommended to keep using the device as it may be at risk of being targeted by hackers.
At the moment, iPads running the listed versions of iPadOS are eligible for security updates.
iPadOS 17 (launched September 18, 2023)
The latest version of iPadOS, 16, was released in September 2023.
The latest version of iPadOS, released in September 2023.
It is worth mentioning that iOS 12, which is compatible with certain iPad models, received its most recent update in January 2023. However, we do not anticipate that these devices will continue to receive updates in the future.
Although iOS 12 is being discussed, it is recommended to consider that any version before iPadOS 15 is no longer receiving security updates. This puts your iPad at risk for potential security vulnerabilities if it cannot support iPadOS 15.
It is possible that Apple may discontinue support for iPadOS 15.
What version of iPadOS am I able to use?
It is important to determine which version of iPadOS your iPad is compatible with, in order to determine if Apple will continue to provide security updates for it.
The previous iteration of iOS was compatible with multiple iPad models and the iPhone.
The first generation of iPad Air was released in 2013.
The second and third generation of the iPad mini were released in 2013.
In January 2023, Apple released a security update. There are no anticipated additional updates for this version.
The year 2021 saw the release of iPadOS 15, with its most recent update in September 2023. This operating system is compatible with models that were sold before the launch of iPadOS 16, as older versions cannot be run on these iPads.
iPad Pro (all models) – from 2015
The iPad Air (2nd generation and beyond) was released in 2014.
The iPad starting from the 5th generation in 2017 and beyond.
The iPad mini, starting with the 4th generation released in 2015.
The iPads compatible with the 2022 version of iPadOS are listed below.
All models of the iPad Pro have been available since 2015.
The iPad Air (3rd generation and beyond) was released in 2019.
The iPad released in 2017 or later (5th generation or newer).
The iPad mini (5th generation and onwards) was released in 2019.
iPadOS 16 no longer supports iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4, which were supported in iPadOS 15.
The current operating system for iPads is iPadOS 17. It is compatible with the following models of iPads:
The iPad Pro 12.9 has been released in fourth, third, and second generation models since 2017.
The iPad Pro 11 is available in three generations – 3rd, 2nd, and 1st – starting in 2018.
iPad Pro 10.5 – from 2017
The iPad models 10th, 9th, 8th, 7th, and 6th generation were released in 2018.
The 5th and 6th generation of the iPad mini were released in 2019.
iPad Air (5th, 4th and 3rd gen) – from 2019
The latest update of iPadOS, version 17, no longer supports the 2016 iPad Pro 9.7-inch (with an A9X chip), the 2015 iPad Pro 12.9-inch (1st generation) (also with an A9X chip), and the 2017 iPad (5th generation) which uses a slower A9 processor.
Which iPads do not receive updates?
Although certain iPads may be able to operate on iOS 12, which received a security update in January 2023, we recommend avoiding any iPads that do not have a version of iPadOS approved by Apple.
As these iPads are not compatible with iPadOS 15, we deem them to be unsupported.
The initial release of the iPad Air was in 2013.
iPad models released in 2012 or earlier (up to 4th generation)
This is referencing the iPad mini (3rd generation and prior) from 2014 and earlier.
If iPadOS 15 loses support from Apple, we can include it in the list of iPads that are no longer supported.
iPad Air 2 – 2014
iPad mini 4 – 2015
We suggest refraining from purchasing any of the iPads mentioned above.
Which iPads are compatible with updates?
While Apple continues to support iPadOS 15 with security updates, the following iPads will be on the supported list:
The iPad Pro has been available in all models since 2015.
The iPad Air (2nd generation and beyond) was released in 2014.
The 5th generation and newer models of iPad – released in 2017 and beyond.
The iPad mini (4th gen or newer) – released in 2015
What is the duration of Apple’s support for iPads in terms of security updates?
One model that is still supported by Apple is the iPad Air 2, which was first released in 2014. Despite its age, it received the iPadOS 15.7.9 update in September 2023, allowing it to continue functioning for almost nine years. The iPad mini (4th Generation), released in 2015, also received this update.
In January 2023, Apple updated iOS 12, allowing for the inclusion of the original iPad Air (2013), iPad mini 2 (2013), and iPad mini 3 (2014) in our list of supported devices. However, we do not recommend using these devices.
In January 2023, Apple provided security updates for iPads that were ten years old. However, in September 2023, the company released a security update that could be used on the nine-year-old iPad Air 2.
Upon examining the aforementioned list, it becomes apparent that the majority of iPads receiving support from iPadOS 17 were released in 2017 and 2019. The iPad Pro, however, stands out as the only model with extended support.
What is the duration of Apple’s support for iPads?
There is an additional consideration to take into account when determining if an iPad is compatible or not. While security updates are crucial for protecting against malicious intentions, it’s also important to consider if the device can be repaired if something goes wrong.
Apple transitions its discontinued products into the Vintage list after five to seven years. After approximately seven years, these products are then designated as Obsolete.
Previously deemed Vintage by Apple, the possibility of obtaining replacement parts in case of need is already slim. However, when a product is deemed Obsolete, obtaining replacement parts is not possible.
If it has been five years since Apple discontinued selling an iPad, it is unlikely that you will be able to obtain replacement parts in case of any malfunctions.
The items that are classified as vintage or obsolete are listed down below.
iPad Air 2
iPad mini 2
iPad Pro with a 9.7-inch display
The 12.9-inch iPad Pro.
iPad 5th generation
Original iPad Air
Original iPad mini
iPad mini 3
iPad 2nd generation
iPad 3rd generation
iPad 4th generation
Although Apple provides security updates for all iPad Pro models, the first versions are now classified as vintage.
It is expected that with the release of iPadOS 17, the following iPads will no longer be supported as they are already considered outdated:
The first generation of the iPad Pro, released in 2015, has a screen size of 12.9 inches.
The first generation iPad Pro, with a screen size of 9.7 inches, was released in 2015.
iPad (5th gen) – 2017
What is the average lifespan of an iPad?
Based on the examples mentioned, it appears that software security for iPads can last up to nine years after its initial release. However, this may not always be guaranteed.
Apple only deems a product as vintage after it has not been sold for five years. As a result, customers can anticipate receiving support for at least six years (assuming the product was sold for one year – though Apple has been known to continue selling products for longer periods). This may explain why Apple continued to provide support for iOS 12 until January 2023.
The other factor to consider is hardware, which can be unpredictable as parts can wear out or malfunction. If your battery suddenly starts to perform poorly, you will need to be covered under the one-year warranty in order to have it fixed at no cost. However, Apple does offer a battery replacement service for $99/£99, which can extend the lifespan of your hardware for a considerable amount of time (up to five years after Apple stops selling the product).
Apple provides maintenance and replacement parts for various older models of iPads for a fee. According to the company’s website, individuals who own iPhone, iPad, iPod, Mac, or Apple TV products can seek service and parts from Apple-authorized providers, such as Apple Store locations and Independent Repair Providers, for a minimum of five years from the date the product was last sold by Apple. This is further clarified later in the text, stating that iPads can be repaired for up to seven years after they were last sold by Apple. To determine if your iPad is eligible, you can simply search for the date it was discontinued by Apple.
An iPad that has been in use for ten years is certainly durable, however it may not be as enjoyable or efficient as a new one. Therefore, we recommend checking out our iPad buying guide to see the current options available. After all, you may be using it for a significant period of time.
We also have information on the duration of Apple’s support for iPhones and Macs.