Does the iPad 2 Have a Retina Display?

How good is the second Apple tablet's screen?

The iPad 2 does not have a Retina display.

The resolution of the iPad 2's 9.7-inch screen is 1024 by 768 pixels. The primary measurement of pixels on a screen is pixels-per-inch or PPI. The PPI of the iPad 2 is 132, which means it has 132 pixels per square inch.

The Retina display debuted with the iPad 3, which has the same screen dimension, measuring 9.7 inches diagonally, but its 2048-by-1536-pixel resolution gives it a PPI of 264.

Apple's Retina display is a screen with a resolution so high that the human eye can't distinguish individual pixels when the screen is at an average viewing distance.

The 9.7-inch iPad Pro
 Apple

Can You Upgrade the iPad 2 to a Retina Display?

No way exists to upgrade the iPad 2 to a Retina display. While Apple performs screen replacements for cracked screens, the internal electronics of the iPad 2 don't support the higher resolution.

Apple has added the iPad 2 to its vintage and obsolete products list. Apple can no longer service the iPad if it requires new parts. Because of California's legal requirements, Apple must offer some level of service for the iPad 2 until 2021.

Which iPads Have a Retina Display?

The Retina display made its way to the iPad in 2012 with the iPad 3. The original iPad Mini is the only Apple tablet introduced since the iPad 3 that doesn't have a Retina display.

Here's a full list of iPads that feature the Retina display:

  • iPad 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th generations
  • iPad Air original, 2, and 3rd generation
  • iPad Mini 2, 3, 4, and 5th generation
  • iPad Pro (all models)

Apple introduced the True Tone display with the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. The True Tone display displays a wide range of colors that can change based on the ambient light.

Do You Need a Retina Display?

Apple's introduction of high-resolution displays on the iPad and iPhone started a trend in the smartphone and tablet industry. Tablets are now available with 4K displays, which is overkill on a tablet that measures less than 20 inches diagonally. 4K support through video-out might be useful when connecting a tablet to a TV or monitor that supports that resolution. Still, you would need to hold the tablet up to your nose for it to make any real difference on a smaller device. 

Most websites use a 1024x768 resolution, which is the primary reason the original iPad debuted with it. You get the same experience browsing the web on an iPad 2 as you experience on a newer tablet, although a newer iPad might load the website faster. The writing on the screen might be slightly smoother as the font takes advantage of the higher resolution.

While having a 1024x768 display is fine for many tasks on the iPad, streaming movies and playing games are two areas where the Retina display shines. The iPad 2 falls a little short of 720p resolution, but with a Retina display, you can stream 1080p video from Netflix. It's hard to call this a monumental issue considering the relatively small screen size, but the difference is noticeable.

Gaming tends to be hit or miss. No one complains about the lack of Retina display graphics while moving sweets around in Candy Crush Saga, but the higher-resolution display certainly looks good when playing a hardcore strategy game or one of the excellent role-playing games available for the iPad.