iPad mini Is a first generation mini powerful enough?

Cabous

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Nov 7, 2019
2
0
Hi,
I'm considering getting iPad Mini's 2012 (A1432 or A1455) for my kids (aged 9 and 7).

I like the mini's weight as it won't be too heavy on their wrists and the screen size is just right. Everything about the mini for me actually is perfect. For the foreseeable future the tablets will be used for web searches, photos, games and movies/music. They won't be using it at school too much.

So the question is - do you think the 1st generation mini is powerful enough as it has only 500Mb flash RAM? If you wouldn't recommend it - which model would you recommend?
 

Digitalguy

macrumors 6502
Apr 15, 2019
254
167
It's too painful to use, I would recommend the mini 4, but if you don't want to spend more get at least the mini 2... (it's slow too, but much more usable...)
 
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aakshey

macrumors 68000
Jun 13, 2016
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Even the Mini 4 is pretty slow. But anything older is unusable.
 

Digitalguy

macrumors 6502
Apr 15, 2019
254
167
Even the Mini 4 is pretty slow. But anything older is unusable.
I think it all depends on one's definition of slow... Coming from a pro, even a first gen, the mini 4 feels slow but it's otherwise quite usable. My 78 year old mother would probably be ok with the mini 2 and would not mind waiting 5 to 10 seconds for some apps to open (she still uses a 2013 samsung 8in tablet and does not want to upgrade...). But nobody would be happy with the mini 1 crashes, freezes and terrible sluggishness on IOS 9.
 

chrfr

macrumors G3
Jul 11, 2009
8,293
2,589
Hi,
I'm considering getting iPad Mini's 2012 (A1432 or A1455) for my kids (aged 9 and 7).

I like the mini's weight as it won't be too heavy on their wrists and the screen size is just right. Everything about the mini for me actually is perfect. For the foreseeable future the tablets will be used for web searches, photos, games and movies/music. They won't be using it at school too much.

So the question is - do you think the 1st generation mini is powerful enough as it has only 500Mb flash RAM? If you wouldn't recommend it - which model would you recommend?
Pass on these old iPads. They're extremely slow, and app compatibility is an issue because they're limited to iOS 9.
 

*~Kim~*

macrumors 6502a
May 6, 2013
659
100
UK
Mini 2 got 3 iOS versions more than Mini 1, has double the RAM and a better screen which you would want for watching movies. I updated to the Mini 5 after starting to run into app compatibility issues on iPad 3 (also iOS 9) which were getting progressively worse.

Mini 3 is internally the same as the Mini 2, get the Mini 2 if you can and save some money, or go to the Mini 4.
 

Skika

macrumors 68030
Mar 11, 2009
2,901
874
It has an processor from the iPhone 4s, think about that, while it even has to push more pixels. Its just too ancient for today, would not recommend getting it.
 

RevTEG

macrumors 6502a
Oct 28, 2012
976
686
San Jose, Ca
My 3 year old (turns 4 in Februar) uses a first gen mini for streaming kids YouTube And a few games. It’s painfully slow BUT she doesn’t know that. It ”works” for her. However, I wouldn’t go out and buy her that model if hers broke. It was the hand me down, other than that I’d go for a newer model.
 

rui no onna

macrumors 604
Oct 25, 2013
6,868
3,126
The 1st gen Mini really is too slow and crash-prone, plus there are a considerable number of apps that don't work on iOS 9 at this point so I'd say avoid it.

I don't think 7 and 9 year olds would have trouble with the 9.7-10.2" iPads. If going the used route, get the 2017 iPad 9.7" 5th generation (Apple A9) at least.

Black Friday, the 10.2" iPad is supposed to go on sale for $250 so that's what I'd recommend. At that price, you probably won't save much buying a used, older model (unless it's a really old one that performs badly).
 
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Wokis

macrumors 6502
Jul 3, 2012
333
69
Stockholm, Sweden
I have my og mini with iOS 9 laying in my little workshop for whenever I am tinkering/repairing/fiddling with something and want to google what the h* I should do, it becomes the go-to device. It also has the original Flappy Bird installed and working :D

And (aside from Flappy) it is not that pleasant.. web page reloads constantly and safari is quite crash prone as well. Occasionally it gets the job done right and feels almost useful!

I recently got to play with an iPad 2 (same internals as the mini) running iOS 6 and side by side they actually crashed near the same places for me while test-surfing. Which was a revelation of sorts to me because I constantly hear (and recall myself) that iOS 9 is the thing that ruined the mini. But no.. the web just kind of moved on and is expecting more powerful devices, I think.

The YouTube app is still getting updates and seems to work fine, though! Just that it is slow.
 

rui no onna

macrumors 604
Oct 25, 2013
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I recently got to play with an iPad 2 (same internals as the mini) running iOS 6 and side by side they actually crashed near the same places for me while test-surfing. Which was a revelation of sorts to me because I constantly hear (and recall myself) that iOS 9 is the thing that ruined the mini. But no.. the web just kind of moved on and is expecting more powerful devices, I think.
Lol, I did a side-by-side comparison of Safari on iOS 9 (or maybe it was 10?) and iOS 6 on two iPad 4s. Surprisingly, the newer iOS version loaded webpages quicker (likely due to improvement of the JavaScript engine). The older devices really aren't as fast as people tend to remember them to be.

My benchmark comparison was a Core i5-3470, 16GB RAM and 256GB SSD desktop running Windows 7 (still in use). Back when I only had the iPad 2-3, I would often opt for web browsing on the PC rather than iPad because the iPads were so much slower and a lot of websites didn't even work on iOS. iPad 4 and Air were still slower than that PC but not awfully so. The iPad Air 2 was still a bit slower and Pro 9.7 was comparable. Nowadays, the new iPads are actually faster. :p

ARM (Apple in particular) went from Pentium II/III level to faster than mobile and entry-level desktop class x86 in very short time.
 
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Daniel James

macrumors regular
Sep 24, 2019
115
100
United Kingdom
All iPad minis are great but getting an old model now, even for kids is a bit pointless as the device will have aged a bit, it will stop getting updates and fewer apps are compatible. Get a mini 4 because that should get at least iOS 13.

I had a mini 3 and sold it to get a mini 5.
 

Digitalguy

macrumors 6502
Apr 15, 2019
254
167
Lol, I did a side-by-side comparison of Safari on iOS 9 (or maybe it was 10?) and iOS 6 on two iPad 4s. Surprisingly, the newer iOS version loaded webpages quicker (likely due to improvement of the JavaScript engine). The older devices really aren't as fast as people tend to remember them to be.

My benchmark comparison was a Core i5-3470, 16GB RAM and 256GB SSD desktop running Windows 7 (still in use). Back when I only had the iPad 2-3, I would often opt for web browsing on the PC rather than iPad because the iPads were so much slower and a lot of websites didn't even work on iOS. iPad 4 and Air were still slower than that PC but not awfully so. The iPad Air 2 was still a bit slower and Pro 9.7 was comparable. Nowadays, the new iPads are actually faster. :p

ARM (Apple in particular) went from Pentium II/III level to faster than mobile and entry-level desktop class x86 in very short time.
Similar experience, but for me it was not just speed, but also the fact that you got the mobile versions for sites like google, youtube etc. But yes the first gen pro was the first that made me want to browse on the ipad instead of modern laptop and it’s still fast enough to not making me want to reach for a pc (although I tend to use the second gen a bit more). I wouldn’t take the air 2 or the mini 4 over my laptops instead (macbook air or windows ones)
 

*~Kim~*

macrumors 6502a
May 6, 2013
659
100
UK
A point on the app compatibility is that while some apps like YouTube continue to work, that is only the case for as long as the developers don’t cut off the older versions, and provided the app had previously been downloaded prior to the release of a newer version that is not supported by the iPad. When I stopped using an iOS 9 iPad this year, I could still use older versions of YouTube, eBay and Amazon. I gave it to a relative who, with their new Apple ID, could not get these apps as they had never had the app before, so could not force the download of an older version. I tried to force it via iTunes but it no longer works, at least via a Windows machine.
 

rui no onna

macrumors 604
Oct 25, 2013
6,868
3,126
A point on the app compatibility is that while some apps like YouTube continue to work, that is only the case for as long as the developers don’t cut off the older versions, and provided the app had previously been downloaded prior to the release of a newer version that is not supported by the iPad. When I stopped using an iOS 9 iPad this year, I could still use older versions of YouTube, eBay and Amazon. I gave it to a relative who, with their new Apple ID, could not get these apps as they had never had the app before, so could not force the download of an older version. I tried to force it via iTunes but it no longer works, at least via a Windows machine.
You can still download old/last compatible versions of apps for older firmware. Caveat is the app needs to be "purchased" with a newer device first so if the iPad is your relative's only iOS device, then it's a no go.

Mayhaps old iTunes versions might also work (e.g. iTunes 12.6.3).
- - Post merged: - -

Similar experience, but for me it was not just speed, but also the fact that you got the mobile versions for sites like google, youtube etc. But yes the first gen pro was the first that made me want to browse on the ipad instead of modern laptop and it’s still fast enough to not making me want to reach for a pc (although I tend to use the second gen a bit more). I wouldn’t take the air 2 or the mini 4 over my laptops instead (macbook air or windows ones)
I often read/browse in bed lying down on my side so I'd happily take the Air 2 over the laptop. :p

That said, it's usually Pro 10.5 with Pro 9.7 as backup. :D
 
Last edited:

*~Kim~*

macrumors 6502a
May 6, 2013
659
100
UK
I tried to install an older iTunes but it got so far and then realised there was a newer one and failed. Relative doesn’t mind using the browser for eBay and doesn’t watch YouTube videos, so it’s not a big problem, I just thought it was worth pointing out as the OP mentioned movies.
 

rui no onna

macrumors 604
Oct 25, 2013
6,868
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I tried to install an older iTunes but it got so far and then realised there was a newer one and failed. Relative doesn’t mind using the browser for eBay and doesn’t watch YouTube videos, so it’s not a big problem, I just thought it was worth pointing out as the OP mentioned movies.
For reference, I think the downloads from here might work.


Probably need to uninstall the latest iTunes version before installing this one, though. I installed it just last week so I can update my LTE iPad 4 to iOS 10.3.4 for the GPS bug fix. Wanted to keep it on iOS 6 for posterity so I'm sad to see that go. That iPad has apps that have been removed from the app store so I wanted to have iTunes backup and restore as fallback just in case.
 
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Jessica Lares

macrumors G3
Oct 31, 2009
9,205
726
Near Dallas, Texas, USA
Even at iOS 9's launch, the first generation mini didn't support a lot of the newer games coming out because of its A5 chip. So you would install something only to get a blank screen or a message saying it wouldn't work on your device. That probably happens a lot more now.

So i'd say at least aim for a 3rd generation. Even if you have a compatible version of something like Netflix, they can block it from connecting to their servers at anytime. Google could do something similar with YouTube through the browser because a lot of the new web technologies don't support the version of WebKit it has.
 

retta283

macrumors 65816
Jun 8, 2018
1,156
784
Kingman, AZ
Look for a refurb 2018 iPad if you can afford. It will last for sometime and is still supported, unlike the Mini which is already 4 years out of date.
 

ACG12

macrumors 6502a
Jun 9, 2015
708
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If it doesn’t have at minimum 2gb of RAM and an A9 processor, you’re throwing away money. Anything with less is just extremely slow.
 
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Strangedream

macrumors 6502
Sep 15, 2019
399
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Singapore
Probably not, and even if it were powerful enough for certain tasks you'd run into a lot of software limitations (e.g. update not compatible with your version of iOS etc.).