Does the iPad 2 Have a Retina Display?

How good is the second Apple tablet's screen?

The 9.7-inch iPad Pro
The 9.7-inch iPad Pro has a True Tone display, which is even better than a Retina Display.


The iPad 2 does not have a Retina Display.

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 Retina Display on a 9.7-inch iPad has a resolution of 2048x1536, but the iPad 2's screen resolution is 1024x768.

The primary way of measuring the density of pixels on a screen is called 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 2048x1536 resolution gives it 264 PPI. The original iPad Mini is the only iPad since the Retina Display was introduced on the iPad not to have a Retina Display.

Apple introduced the iPad "Air" series of tablets after the 4th generation iPad; this line has Retina displays. You can also find Retina displays in 9.7-inch iPads produced after the iPad 2. The 9.7-inch iPad Pro includes a broader range of colors and a True Tone display, which makes it the best screen for a 9.7-inch tablet.

Can You Upgrade the iPad 2 to a Retina Display?

No way exists of upgrading the iPad 2 to a Retina Display. While Apple performs screen replacements for cracked screens, the internal electronics would not support the higher resolution. It may be as cheap to buy a used or refurbished iPad as it would be to replace a screen, with the benefit of getting a faster iPad out of the process.

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 twenty inches diagonally. 4K support through video-out would be useful when connecting a tablet to a TV or monitor that supports that resolution. But 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 why the original iPad debuted with it. You're getting the same experience browsing the web on an iPad 2 as you would 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, but you would need to study them side-by-side to tell the difference.  

But while having a 1024x768 display will be fine for many tasks on the iPad, streaming movies and playing games are two areas where the Retina Display will Preally shine. 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 it is a noticeable difference.

Gaming tends to be hit or miss. No one will complain about the loss of Retina Display graphics while moving sweets around in Candy Crush Saga. The higher-resolution display certainly looks nice when playing a hardcore strategy game or one of the excellent role-playing games available for the iPad.

Which iPads Have a Retina Display?

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

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

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

Apple introduced the True Tone display with the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. This display also appears in the 10.5-inch iPad Pro and the 2nd-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro. The True Tone display displays a wide range of colors that can also change based on the ambient light.