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ndriver182

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 26, 2007
569
4
I'm looking at possibly picking up an ipad for my wife and I to use casually. Likely just a few apps for video streaming, web browsing and maybe a couple shopping apps. This wouldn't be used for anything serious as we have an M1 MBA and a PC for other things like video editing, photo editing, gaming, etc.

So, I'm thinking of just picking up something used. I was curious what you guys would recommend and how far back is worth going (assuming the ipad condition isn't bad). I was hoping to keep things ~$200 or so, but not sure what kind of experience that would buy.

Thanks!
 

ndriver182

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Jun 26, 2007
569
4
Thanks for the reply! Not super worried about a "cinematic experience" on the ipad. It's just kind of a placeholder kind of device to use when it's convenient. Any features that bumping up the budget a little bit would make a newer model worthwhile in your opinion?
 

Basic75

macrumors 65816
May 17, 2011
1,471
1,545
Europe
Anything with an A9 or more and 4GB of RAM or more should be adequate for such light use. A12 and up will make it fun and should allow for a few more OS updates.
 

CharlesShaw

macrumors 65816
May 8, 2015
1,227
1,645
I agree with the 8th generation recommendation, as Apple still sells them in their refurbished store. Buying from them is closer to $300 than $200 but it would have a new battery, outer shell, and full warranty. And you could return it for fourteen days. [edit: as is later pointed out, the 9th gen can be found on sale new which is a much better deal than the 8th gen refurbished.]

 
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rui no onna

Contributor
Oct 25, 2013
14,132
12,042
Anything with an A9 or more and 4GB of RAM or more should be adequate for such light use. A12 and up will make it fun and should allow for a few more OS updates.

I wouldn’t get A9 now (or even A10). Besides, apart from the 1st gen iPad Pro 12.9, A9 devices only had 2GB RAM.

If I were buying, it would be A12 minimum.

Note, brand new iPad 9th gen often go on sale for $250-260 at Costco, Best Buy, BH Photo, Amazon, etc.
 

macbookm1airlover

macrumors member
Jul 9, 2021
87
71
I agree with what others have said regarding 8th Gen iPad...depending on where you are, swappa.com is a good option as well!
 

FeliApple

macrumors 68030
Apr 8, 2015
2,717
1,474
For light use, anything with an A9 onwards would work (so 5th Gen iPad onwards, 1st-gen iPad Pro onwards). But of course, especially if you plan to update iOS, the newer the better. The 8th-gen iPad sounds like a good option.

The best recommendation, in my opinion, however, is @rui no onna’s. The 9th-gen iPad, today, is the epitome of an iPad for light use. If you can, it’s probably the best choice.

For whatever’s worth, I have a 9.7-inch iPad Pro on iOS 12, and for that use, it is great. I also have an iPad Air 5, but I do the same things with both, and the Pro doesn’t lack anything. For light use, iPads’ longevity is astonishing. Since that’s the case, an iPad 9th-gen should last many, many years.
 
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Digitalguy

macrumors 68040
Apr 15, 2019
3,684
3,509
Thanks for the reply! Not super worried about a "cinematic experience" on the ipad. It's just kind of a placeholder kind of device to use when it's convenient. Any features that bumping up the budget a little bit would make a newer model worthwhile in your opinion?
As I said above, for your casual use the oldest worth buying is the 8th gen, but if you can stretch the budget a little, the main advantage of the 9th gen (mentioned by rui no onna) is more storage for the base model, 64GB vs 32GB (the rest of the differences is not worth considering for your use case and the 2 devices are overall very similar).
 

MajorFubar

macrumors 68000
Oct 27, 2021
1,977
3,497
Lancashire UK
The problem with asking on a tech-centric forum like this is you're going to largely get answers telling you need the latest and greatest, whereas if you randomly canvas what people outside of this bubble are actually using, you'll see a different result.

The only issue with regards to older tech, is Apple's enforced obsolescence. Hardware has been so capable for so long now, that most people don't need to upgrade it. The only way Apple can make most people upgrade is by obsoleting their old tech. They do this by prohibiting you from upgrading to the latest OS, which in turn eventually means currently-available apps will no longer run on your iPad, and mostly you can't download the older compatible versions either. Where it not for that issue, honestly for your 'light-use' cases, you wouldn't need anything newer than a ten year old OG iPad Air. And I know that because your light-use cases are exactly what I was using my OG iPad Air for, until last year when I updated it to an iPad 9. Having upgraded, I noticed absolutely zero real-world difference except it can run the latest OS and therefore can download and use currently-available apps.
 
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Macky-Mac

macrumors 68040
May 18, 2004
3,225
2,185
As I said above, for your casual use the oldest worth buying is the 8th gen, but if you can stretch the budget a little, the main advantage of the 9th gen (mentioned by rui no onna) is more storage for the base model, 64GB vs 32GB (the rest of the differences is not worth considering for your use case and the 2 devices are overall very similar).

I'm using a 5th gen iPad and while it works fine, the limit of 32GB storage is definitely an issue, so I agree with the recommendation for a 9th gen or more recent
 

eRondeau

macrumors 65816
Mar 3, 2004
1,132
321
Canada's South Coast
I was recently faced with the same decision for an iPad to keep at my family's summer cottage. Ended-up getting a new 9G 64GB on sale. I know the battery is original with 100% health (older iPad's might have had sketchy battery replacements) and it's got years of iPadOS updates still ahead. Sure it cost a tank of gas or two more than a used one, but it'll last a decade. No regrets going new.
 

DeepSix

macrumors 6502
Feb 4, 2022
352
255
Fair price for quality. Easy to use, grip is helpful for installing. However drain plug washer not included.
 

WilliApple

macrumors 6502a
Feb 19, 2022
621
795
Colorado
I agree with the 8th generation recommendation, as Apple still sells them in their refurbished store. Buying from them is closer to $300 than $200 but it would have a new battery, outer shell, and full warranty. And you could return it for fourteen days.

Would disagree with this.

The iPad 9 brand new on Amazon is $279.

Would recommend the iPad X tbh for longevity. There is a pretty large gap between A13 and A14.
 

Morrissey

macrumors regular
Mar 17, 2018
182
100
San Diego, California
I´ve got an iPad Pro 12.9 1st Gen, that I use to watch streams and surf casually. All past iOS updates were Ok, run smooth and opened the apps quickly, but iOS 16 made it slow, probably wont receive iOS 17.
 

v0lume4

macrumors 68020
Jul 28, 2012
2,438
5,016
My sweet grandma gave me her 5th gen iPad after recently getting 9th gen iPad. My first iPad in years and I’m really enjoying it. It’s running the old A9 chip. It’s not as fast as my iPhone (A15), but it isn’t slow. The only “limit” I’ve found is having a PiP video while web browsing. Too much for it to handle.

What I’m getting at is anything newer than this should work for you just fine.

If you get a used iPad, do an iTunes Restore on it with a computer. It made a huge difference in the performance of this iPad I’m using now. It was so slow when I got it, but the iTunes restore brought it back.
 
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Night Spring

macrumors G5
Jul 17, 2008
14,394
7,529
I'm still using the original iPad Pro, and it's perfectly fine for casual use. Web browsing, reading ebooks, watching videos, iMessage and email. Obviously not saying you should buy the original iPad Pro, but really, any iPad that fits your budget is fine. I'd like to say that the ability to get latest OS isn't as important as some make it out to be. Older models may get OS updates, but those "updates" often don't include many of the latest features. And what new features my iPad do get, I find that I mostly don't use. So for instance, if you find a good condition used iPad that no longer gets OS updates for under $100, I'd consider grabbing that.
 

HackMacDaddy

macrumors regular
Dec 17, 2019
193
519
Undisclosed
Just for comparison: the iPad Mini 2 is UNUSABLE for Safari webbrowsing. Painstakingly slow, sluggish and some sites don't load properly or react strangely. Forget using tabs.
It is still ok for streaming apps though! Disney, Amazon Prime Video, Youtube, Apple TV+, all work without problems. Kind of slow UI but totally usable. Basic apps also work if they've been around for longer and still offer iOS 12 Versions in the App store. Oh and games work too if not too demanding.
If you can lower your quality standards consider a brand new Amazon Fire HD 8/10 plus when on sale. Surfing and streaming and shopping will work.
 

bodonnell202

macrumors 68020
Jan 5, 2016
2,422
3,152
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
I agree with the 8th generation recommendation, as Apple still sells them in their refurbished store. Buying from them is closer to $300 than $200 but it would have a new battery, outer shell, and full warranty. And you could return it for fourteen days.

Apple refurbished products are great - I've bought a couple macbooks and an iPad from Apple refurbished and they've all been as good as new. In the case of the iPad though personally I'd spend on the 9th gen. Currently refurbished 8th gens are going for $269 with 32 GB of storage, whereas 9th gens are going for $279 with 64 GB of storage. $10 for double the storage, a newer chip (which would hopefully come with an extra year or so of software support) and a few other extras (improved panel and facetime camera) seem more than worth it to me, so that would be my recommendation, but it is a bit more than $200.
 
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Night Spring

macrumors G5
Jul 17, 2008
14,394
7,529
the iPad Mini 2 is UNUSABLE for Safari webbrowsing. Painstakingly slow, sluggish and some sites don't load properly or react strangely. Forget using tabs.
No problems like these on my original iPad Pro. I also have an iPad Air 2 that's even older than the Pro, and that also works fine with the websites I visit.
 

FeliApple

macrumors 68030
Apr 8, 2015
2,717
1,474
I'm still using the original iPad Pro, and it's perfectly fine for casual use. Web browsing, reading ebooks, watching videos, iMessage and email. Obviously not saying you should buy the original iPad Pro, but really, any iPad that fits your budget is fine. I'd like to say that the ability to get latest OS isn't as important as some make it out to be. Older models may get OS updates, but those "updates" often don't include many of the latest features. And what new features my iPad do get, I find that I mostly don't use. So for instance, if you find a good condition used iPad that no longer gets OS updates for under $100, I'd consider grabbing that.
I think iPads’ longevity is wildly underrated for content consumption. To add to that, older iOS versions are also wildly underrated. I, like you, have the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, which is the 1st-gen (do you have that one or the 12.9-inch?), and it runs iOS 12. iOS 12 is the iPad Air 1’s final version, and it works almost perfectly for content consumption. Some websites have a little trouble, but the vast majority work; streaming apps work (if not all of them, the vast majority); iBooks and reading? Flawless; videos, with YouTube? It works; light gaming works, too.

For this light usage, which I would guess that it’s what the most people use iPads for, you can practically use any iPad that runs iOS 12 onwards, and if you want to play it a little safer, we could even say that the iPad Air 2 onwards are perfectly suitable for this purpose. You don’t need an M1 to do that.

Many people believe that you need the iPad to support (or have!) the latest version for it to be able to do anything, and that couldn’t be further from the truth.
 

rui no onna

Contributor
Oct 25, 2013
14,132
12,042
I think iPads’ longevity is wildly underrated for content consumption. To add to that, older iOS versions are also wildly underrated. I, like you, have the 9.7-inch iPad Pro, which is the 1st-gen (do you have that one or the 12.9-inch?), and it runs iOS 12. iOS 12 is the iPad Air 1’s final version, and it works almost perfectly for content consumption. Some websites have a little trouble, but the vast majority work; streaming apps work (if not all of them, the vast majority); iBooks and reading? Flawless; videos, with YouTube? It works; light gaming works, too.

For this light usage, which I would guess that it’s what the most people use iPads for, you can practically use any iPad that runs iOS 12 onwards, and if you want to play it a little safer, we could even say that the iPad Air 2 onwards are perfectly suitable for this purpose. You don’t need an M1 to do that.

Many people believe that you need the iPad to support (or have!) the latest version for it to be able to do anything, and that couldn’t be further from the truth.

The likelihood of getting a used iPad Pro 9.7 still running iOS 12 is very low. Chances are most people just let their devices auto-update.

iPad Pro 9.7 on iPadOS 15 or 16? Not so nice.
 

FeliApple

macrumors 68030
Apr 8, 2015
2,717
1,474
The likelihood of getting a used iPad Pro 9.7 still running iOS 12 is very low. Chances are most people just let their devices auto-update.

iPad Pro 9.7 on iPadOS 15 or 16? Not so nice.
That unusable? All of the complaints I’ve seen hover around battery life issues. People report about 5-6 hours, which is a lot worse than the 10-11 I get on iOS 12, which is significantly worse than the 13-14 I got before Apple forced me out of iOS 9 into iOS 12, but performance-wise iOS 12 is great, and honestly not too far below iOS 9 (I used iOS 9 for three years, and I’ve been using iOS 12 for more than 3.5 years on this device).

Is iPadOS 16 that awful? The latest version I’ve tried on an A9 is iOS 13 on an iPhone 6s, and while it was a lot slower than iOS 12 on the iPad, it wasn’t unusable. Battery life was even worse, though.
 
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Digitalguy

macrumors 68040
Apr 15, 2019
3,684
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That unusable? All of the complaints I’ve seen hover around battery life issues. People report about 5-6 hours, which is a lot worse than the 10-11 I get on iOS 12, which is significantly worse than the 13-14 I got before Apple forced me out of iOS 9 into iOS 12, but performance-wise iOS 12 is great, and honestly not too far below iOS 9 (I used iOS 9 for three years, and I’ve been using iOS 12 for more than 3.5 years on this device).

Is iPadOS 16 that awful? The latest version I’ve tried on an A9 is iOS 13 on an iPhone 6s, and while it was a lot slower than iOS 12 on the iPad, it wasn’t unusable. Battery life was even worse, though.
I don't think she meant it's unusable, but reloads do increase a lot. My 9.7 is on 13.4 and reloads are pretty constant (they were there on 12 but they have increased). iPadOS 14 killed my mini 4, which was still usable on 13. iPadOS 15 increased the reloads even more to the point my 3GB RAM mini 5 reloads a lot more and I decided it will die on 15. iPadOS 16 has increased reloads further (I made a comparison between 2 iPad pro 2018 with the 2 versions).
As for pure speed, anything with at least 3 cores (except maybe the air 2, which was slow even on iOS 12) is still fast on 16, including my 3-core 10.5 pro with A10X. A12 is even faster.
My old 2015 pro was still pretty good on 14 when I sold it, but some say it got slow with 16, probably due to having only 2 cores.
I really don't want to know how the 9.7 pro with only 2GB RAM is on 16...
 
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