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macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 14, 2012
What are the differences between the iPad Mini with Retina Display with and without Cellular?

The obvious differences of the cellular model are as follows:
- Cellular Services
- Location Services (GPS, Glonass)
- 10g heavier
- Plastic-covered opening on the back

But what I am interestes in, is whether the Cellular model has any shortcomings compared to the Wifi model like the following questions:
- Does it consume more energy (even when not actively using cellular)?
- Does it run hotter?
- Any other differences in daily use?

I am currently contemplating whether to buy the cellular variant or the wifi variant. I'd lean to the cellular variant mostly because of the GPS. On my old iPad I have never needed cellular, but GPS would have come in handy some times (as I don't own a GPS smartphone). I am just not sure if I need GPS that much to pay that much more, especially if I have to deal with other shortcomings of the cellular version (heavier, maybe shorter battery life, ...).


macrumors 68040
Jun 27, 2010
Plano, TX
Having had both over the years I have not seen any difference in heat or energy consumption between the two.

There also does not seem to be a difference in those two factors when the cellular is turned on or off.

Brian Y

macrumors 68040
Oct 21, 2012
Celluar doesn't really use *that* much more battery.

If you turn cellular off, it will consume no extra battery life at all. For comparison, my Retina Mini was left on standby with cellular and wifi both switched on (and an active sim card in it) and after 7 days had 57% left. Probably a bit less than you would get from a normal one, but still perfectly acceptable IMO.

Battery life while using it doesn't make that much difference either IMO. Apple state you get 1 hour less using cellular than wifi (9 vs 10 hours). However I've used my mini all day on a mixture of wifi and cellular for about 12-13 hours before getting the first low battery warning.

Heat - no difference at all.

Either way, I think the convenience of having internet access everywhere outweighs a tiny loss in battery life.


Jul 18, 2013
The only difference I have ever noticed with the cellular model over the WiFi is with the carrier I have used on the cellular models.

AT&T and Verizon tended to drain my battery over a day and that is because I have always had poor coverage with them.

Switching to T-Mobile extended my iPads battery and my Nexus 7s battery life to well past two days.

I have also confirmed this on numerous iPhones and a Nexus 4.

Since moving to T-Mobile, I keep WiFi off 24/7.


macrumors 68000
Sep 5, 2013
Oregon, USA
Yeah, the 'losses' are only incurred while using the cell system. Which can be turned off completely and when on, give a set of capabilities unavailable without it. The only negative is cost.
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