How Long Does an iPad Last?

If your iPad is over five years old, consider an upgrade

You should get at least five years out of a well-maintained iPad. This article will help you decide if it's time to move on from your iPad and offers a couple of reasons why it might be worth keeping, too.

How Many Years Should an iPad Last?

Apple usually supports a new iPad with iPadOS updates for at least five years and often several years longer. Most iPad models hold up well in performance, features, and storage over this timeframe which means that five years is a standard lifespan for any iPad.

You may see more life from a high-end iPad model, such as an iPad Pro with 512GB of storage, than an entry-level model. The improved performance, storage, and features of better iPad models can help future-proof the tablet.

6 Reasons to Replace Your iPad

These problems are likely to push your iPad into retirement.

Your iPad Is Too Slow

It's common for any consumer electronics device to feel slower as it ages. It happens as the base requirements for apps and websites go up over time, asking for more memory, Internet data bandwidth, processing power, storage, and so on.

Your perception can also skew the feel of using your old iPad, as it may start to feel lackluster next to newer and faster devices.

As you know, replacing or upgrading the processor, graphics, RAM, or storage in an iPad is impossible, so you should always try to fix your slow iPad before you replace it.

Your iPad Is Out of Storage

Storage space is often tight on an iPad. Many iPads have just 64GB of storage, and some owners with older iPads may have just 32GB or even 16GB. That becomes unmanageable if you want to use larger apps like games or download large files such as movies.

You can combat this problem with Apple's iCloud storage service. It can automatically upload files to the cloud and then remove them from your iPad, downloading them again only when needed. You can also save storage space on your iPad by deleting podcasts or temporarily removing rarely-used apps.

However, these solutions are temporary, as you can't upgrade the iPad's limited storage. Buying a new iPad with more storage is the only way to solve the problem permanently.

Your iPad Lacks the Latest Features

Most generations of Apple iPad come with a new feature that makes it alluring to owners of older iPad devices. Examples include FaceID, the Apple Pencil, Apple Pay, and 5G mobile data.

Although rarely necessary, these features are often a good reason to buy a new iPad. It's impossible to upgrade an older iPad with features found on a newer model.

You might also choose to upgrade because these features are on other Apple devices you own. For example, you may find the lack of FaceID on the standard iPad annoying if you've become used to having the feature on your iPhone.

Your iPad Is Broken or Not Working Properly

As mentioned, the iPad is not an easy device to upgrade or repair. Even accessing the internals is a lengthy and tedious task.

An iPad's life may end because what seems like a minor repair can't be repaired. Defective Wi-Fi, a cracked Lightning port, or a damaged screen can lead to your iPad's demise.

We recommend taking your broken iPad to an Apple Store or contacting Apple customer support before moving on. Apple can repair some iPad components, thus extending the life of the iPad.

However, Apple's iPad repair pricing can come close to the price of a new device. The cost to replace a base iPad display is $199, which soars as high as $599 for a 12.9-inch iPad Pro. The price to repair an iPad is often less appealing than a replacement.

Your iPad's Wi-Fi or Mobile Data is Obsolete

Nearly everything you do on an iPad will involve connecting to the Internet, so a fast connection is the key to a good experience.

Early iPad models supported the 802.11n Wi-Fi standard, also known as Wi-Fi 4. Though quite capable at the time, it's now two generations behind Wi-Fi 6. Upgrading to a new iPad will significantly improve your experience streaming or downloading large apps or files on a Wi-Fi network.

It's a similar story with mobile data. The first iPad models had optional 3G mobile data. Many mobile data carriers are in the process of shutting down 3G networks, making this feature obsolete. Newer iPad models with 4G LTE should retain support for years, but 5G networks are much quicker when a strong connection is available.

You can't upgrade an iPad's Wi-Fi and mobile data connections, so a new iPad is your only option for moving to a modern Wi-Fi or mobile data standard.

Your iPad Doesn't Support the Latest iPadOS

Apple supports the iPad with new software updates for years longer than Android manufacturers support their tablets, but every iPad will eventually have support removed. It typically occurs between five to eight years after the iPad was released.

Your iPad will still work without the latest version of iPadOS, but it will fall behind other devices. It may not be able to connect with new Apple products, and apps may stop working. An unsupported iPad is less secure as Apple will eventually stop patching security flaws.

Our list of devices compatible with iPadOS 15 will tell you if Apple supports your current iPad.

Reasons You Shouldn't Replace Your iPad

There's many good reasons to replace an iPad, but there's two common reasons that don't hold up.

Your iPad's Battery Life Is Too Short

Many iPad owners choose to replace an iPad as the battery ages. It can be a sensible choice if you're already eyeing a new model, but an aging battery doesn't force you into buying a replacement.

Your iPad has a battery health feature that helps you check the status of your battery. It measures battery health as a percentage of the battery's original maximum capacity. Reduced capacity will become noticeable as your battery health approaches 80 percent of its maximum capacity.

It is possible to replace the battery on an iPad. Apple will replace it for a fee (or for free if the device is still under warranty). The cost is usually $99, which, though not inexpensive, is less than a third of the price of a new iPad. A replacement makes sense unless the iPad is about to become obsolete for another reason.

Apple also has a new self-service repair program for ambitious owners.

Your iPad Is Too Large or Heavy

Apple's iPad line hasn't lost much weight in recent revisions. The base iPad has changed little in the past five years. Other new models, like the iPad Pro 12.9, have pushed size and weight up rather than down. A new iPad won't be much (if any) lighter or thinner than an equivalent older model.

Those hoping for a more portable option only have one choice: the iPad mini. Yet even this device has not lost weight over the years. The size and weight of the 5th-generation iPad Mini are almost identical to the first iPad Mini released in 2012.

An upgrade won't make your iPad a better travel companion.

  • How long does an iPad battery last?

    Your iPad's battery should be good for over 1,000 charge cycles. After that, it should still maintain about 80% of its original capacity. How long it takes to reach that point depends on how often you use it (and therefore how often it needs a charge), but the optimal levels should last at least a few years.

  • How long is an iPad warranty?

    The basic iPad warranty lasts one year. You can also buy an AppleCare+ plan to extend coverage another two years, which includes coverage for two service calls every 12-month period.

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