iPad How is the iPad Air 1st gen holding up in 2018?


macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jun 8, 2018
Kingman, AZ
Been looking at getting a cheap iPad to run iOS 12, the Air 1 is the oldest and cheapest. How does it perform on iOS 12?


macrumors 6502
Jun 11, 2009
I found iOS 12 to really speed up and improve my iPad Air 1. Was still easily usable for all functions. Recently just given it to my dad after I upgrade to the new iPad Pro.


macrumors 6502a
Feb 23, 2016
Been looking at getting a cheap iPad to run iOS 12, the Air 1 is the oldest and cheapest. How does it perform on iOS 12?
I have an Air 1 running iOS 12 and i'm really pleased with the way it runs, no complaints. That said if you are looking to buy an iPad, skip the Air 1 and buy yourself the 2018 iPad. I picked up the latest 2018 iPad for $249 on Amazon. It performs better than the Air and is a great value if you can get it on sale.


macrumors G3
Jul 11, 2009
Been looking at getting a cheap iPad to run iOS 12, the Air 1 is the oldest and cheapest. How does it perform on iOS 12?
A 2017 entry-level iPad is going to be a much better value even if it costs a little bit more, but there probably won't be much difference in price.


Nov 22, 2011
East Coast USA
I just sold mine after 5 solid years of ownership. Don't need two iPads and didn't want to pay for Red Dead 2 so Game Stop gave me 75 cash for it lol..

Battery life on mine was still epic, it could go for days on full brightness.

Safari lags but will most certainly get the job done. Youtube app works great, same with Google search etc.

I also ran Djay Pro which worked just as good as my new 12.9" imo.

If you can score one cheap I say buy it!
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macrumors regular
Oct 30, 2018
I did have an iPad Air (1st Gen) till several months ago. iOS12 did improve the speed quite a bit, however it would very much depend on what you will be using it for.

E.g browsing is fine. Light photo editing should be fine as well. More complex (resource intensive) photo editing (e.g. on Affinity Photo or other software), 3d gaming etc. might be an issue. Apart from that the startup time was killing. Clicked nearly 1.5 minutes in the end. :(

Apart from that, I had it since release and, in the end, the battery didn't last longer than several hours before charging was required. If you need 6-8 hours of battery, I would test this.

The new 6th Gen iPad (2018) might be a better option for you. Or wait till the 2019 version.
Last edited:

Silver Idaten

macrumors 6502a
Jul 31, 2015
Stratford, CT
The Air 1 had what seemed like a consistently garbage display, maybe it was just me but all of them seemed half yellow and half white, and it was very noticeable. I don’t mean the very particular ridiculous people that whine about their iPad being too yellow, I mean you look at it and you can clearly see half is yellow and half is white.

I’d get a 2018 iPad instead, the WiFi versions are all on sale and you could probably get a 128GB one for just above $300.


macrumors regular
May 28, 2003
My main iPad is an Air, I don’t use it much at all because I’ve been on my XS Max but coming back to it it feels very slow in most tasks. It does them all fine, just painfully slow when compared to the modern phones, even simple things like loading webpages. I’m on the most up to date iOS 12 and now it’s left as a Sonos remote and not much else.
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