WiFi vs Cellular, I'm stuck

Discussion in 'iPad' started by Saberon2014, Nov 1, 2015.


Which iPad did you buy?

  1. WiFi Only

    33 vote(s)
  2. WiFi + Cellular

    51 vote(s)
  1. Saberon2014 macrumors member

    Nov 26, 2013
    Buying my 1st iPad here, however I'm absolutely torn, and they've both been sitting in my cart for a week while I change my mind every hour. I plan to keep the iPad 2 years before upgrading.

    2 Year Cost ownership (Canadian $)

    iPad Air 2 64GB WiFi: $659
    iPad Air 2 64GB WiFi + Cellular: $1039 ($799 + $10/mo for 24mo to access my 6GB plan)

    That's a $380 difference which is pretty significant. Yet part of me says $140 more up front isn't much, then $10 a month more is nothing.

    For those of you in my shoes, which one did you go for? Do you wish you would have gotten the other?

    Sorry if this is a common topic, I really appreciate your answers.
  2. jrs22 macrumors 6502

    Aug 1, 2012
    My first three iPads were all full size and wifi only. I never regretted that, as they hardly ever left home unless I was going to be away overnight. I bought a wifi only iPad mini 4 and its so light and small in the apple silicone case and cover that I expect to take it out more. Since I don't have a smartphone I have some regret about not buying this one with cellular. Still, in NYC I'm rarely far from a Starbucks.
  3. jazz1 macrumors 68000


    Aug 19, 2002
    Mid-West USA
    It depends on how often you think you rely on cellular connections. I've been buying iPads with cellular, but I'm careful about not streaming music, and movies. On cellular I use it for mail and to visit web sites (read the New York Times).

    If you don't use the cellular much, and have an iPhone, you can share the iPhone cellular connection with the iPad.

    Forgot to add a cellular iPad would be great with Waze for on the road, or for GPS navigation. Car mounts are available.
  4. rigormortis, Nov 1, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2015

    rigormortis macrumors 68000


    Jun 11, 2009
    the number one reason i tell people to get cellular ipads is for find my ipad. if someone steals you ipad , and it is locked by a passcode. it WILL NOT CONNECT to new wifi networks, unless some other iCloud device has connected it to before.

    also it can't connect to known networks like mcdonalds because the ipad can't click on i agree.

    if you want a wifi only ipad located, you probably shouldn't lock it with a passcode. so that way anybody can use it. anyone can find it, watch your netflix movies and read your email, and connect to any wifi network, and you would be kept up to date on its location at all times

    you left out one possible scenario. you assume you will keep that cellular data connected to your plan for the entire 24 months. you do not have to keep it connected for 24 months, you can add it or delete it as you please

    another reason to get a cellular ipad is it has a real GPS radio in it.

    if your ipad got lost or stolen, and you put it in lost mode, an it actually responded back. the location it would give you wouldn't be as accurate as gps, it would just be a general idea or a best guess depending on some database belonging to apple based on nearby wifi routers or ip addresses.

    i have a cellular ipad. i was paying $40 for 5 gigs for t-mobile for a while. but i got upset that i didn't get data stash, so i just went back to the 200 mb free plan. i didn't sign any contract saying i had to pay $40 for 24 months.

    another scenario you left out is some companies have multi month plans now. t-mobile in the states was offering 5 gigs / 5 months for $10 to new subscribers. AT&T has a $25 1 (or is it two?) gig for 90 day plan. verizon has come on board with its own 60 to 90 day plan

    as i tried to tell someone on another thread, tethering an iPhone to a wifi ipad, does not tell that wifi ipad its location
  5. Saberon2014 thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 26, 2013
    Well in Canada it's a bit different. I can't just cancel or activate the data at my will. I have a "month to month" contract that requires a credit hit and a call to my carrier as if I was to get a new iPhone on a 2 year contract. :/
  6. rigormortis macrumors 68000


    Jun 11, 2009
    really? because its not the primary line, i thought the phone company would allow you to turn on or turn off that ipad
    we don't have any 24 month fixed deals on iPads here, unless you finance it
  7. rigormortis macrumors 68000


    Jun 11, 2009
    i think you should ask yourself is $240 worth it knowing i can locate or wipe my ipad at any time
    and not have to wait around for someone to find it and get lucky and find some wifi network somewhere you connected it to the past

    perhaps you should engrave your name and phone number on the back of it
  8. Saberon2014 thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 26, 2013
    I'm not at all concerned about losing it. I take excellent care of my stuff.

    It's not like a 24mo contract. I can cancel anytime but if I want it again, I have to call and do a credit check etc. It's unfortunate but it is what it is.
  9. Reno Raines macrumors 65816

    Jul 19, 2015
    Since I get hotspot tethering with T-Mobile I do the wifi only as I just connect it to my phone. If you have this ability then I recommend the wifi only.
  10. Saberon2014, Nov 1, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2015

    Saberon2014 thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 26, 2013
    Yep. Have an iPhone 5 I can tether with, and a 6GB a month data plan.
  11. Infinitewisdom macrumors 6502a

    Sep 23, 2012
    That's what I'd recommend too. It used to be that tethering meant going into settings and all that on two devices. These days with iOS and its automatic tethering feature, there's really no real reason to get a cellular iPad unless you really want the GPS in your iPad.
  12. imlovinit macrumors 6502a


    Feb 8, 2012
    For me, wifi only. I don't take my iPad outside of the house much and if I do (say, traveling) it connects to free wifi spots. I just don't want to spend more on something where I could just use my phone instead. I can see paying more if I used it for work but its just a fun/relax device for me.
  13. Genkakuzai macrumors regular

    Jun 13, 2013
    My iPad Air is wifi only, my iPad Air 2 is LTE. To be honest, I was fine with just wifi, since I mainly use my iPads at home, or where there is wifi. If I ever lack wifi I can just share it from my phone.
  14. rigormortis macrumors 68000


    Jun 11, 2009
    Staples has iPad Air 2 cellular and wifi on sale in America for $583. I bought one just now.

    I went in and sure enough it was correct. The sign didn't say cellular was 583 it was just next to a demo model that was.
  15. AFEPPL macrumors 68030


    Sep 30, 2014
    Just tether to your iPhone, i don't see the point or need for cellular in the iPad - its simply another cost and another data SIM..
  16. takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    People vary. You can't just poll to determine these things and you have to decide based on your preferences, priorities, budget, etc. I always get the cellular version so unless your criteria are similar enough to my own that won't necessarily be relevant to you.

    Don't worry so much over it. First hand experience is the best way to answer these things and you have a return period. Take whichever option for a spin and decide for yourself before that period runs out.

    If you really want to collect opinions then don't overlook all the prior threads on the exact same topic. This isn't the first time this wheel has been reinvented by a long shot and each iteration rehashes the same exact stuff as before. Not all hits are directly relevant but feel free to tweak the keywords:
  17. Saberon2014 thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 26, 2013
    The poll was just for my own interests sake, I realize everyone's needs are different.

    Luckily the holiday return policy starts today, all purchases have until Jan 8 2016 to be returned. I confirmed with Apple.

    A year from now, I feel like I may kick my own butt for not spending $140 more. :D
  18. RickTaylor macrumors 6502a

    Nov 9, 2013
    I got the cellular version for the gps. The iPad makes a great gps device, as it cans show more of a map than a phone. It's also handy when I'm somewhere without wifi, but my main motivation was the gps.
  19. ron7624 macrumors 68020


    Oct 14, 2011
    Houston, Texas area
    I always buy cellular. GPS chip for one thing and being connected always is invaluable to me. Not a very explanatory answer, but wifi only to me is a hassle.
  20. garyleecn macrumors 6502a

    Jul 25, 2014
    Wifi iPad and cellular iPad with unlimited data are two completely different things
  21. ron7624 macrumors 68020


    Oct 14, 2011
    Houston, Texas area
    I do not have unlimited data, but always buy cellular. Switch the cellular off and get the T-Mobile 200 mb free. Use in emergencies, like I did yesterday after a tornado ripped down my street. It was a great thing to be connected in the aftermath.
  22. joeblow7777 macrumors 603

    Sep 7, 2010
    Definitely wi-fi only for me. Literally everywhere I need or want to use my tablet has wi-fi. My phone can handle anything I need to do over cellular when I don't have wi-fi, and in a pinch, I can use my phone's cellular connection to create a wi-fi hotspot.
  23. BigMcGuire Contributor


    Jan 10, 2012
    I purchased a WiFi iPad Mini 2 but ended up with an LTE one shipped out. I almost never use the cellular part of the iPad because whenever I'm out and about I have my iPhone - iPad usually stays at home or work. I do have it on my Verizon Plan ($10/mo) and did play Ingress with it for awhile but a cellphone looks a lot less weird when you walk around a park for hours. One day our electric company cut our power for 24 hours for an "upgrade" - realized how cool it was I could use my iPad without having to "tether" on my iPhone. So, it's not bad but honestly I rarely use the cellular part. (Probably helps I have FIOS at work and home). But yeah, I've always purchased WiFi and my next iPad will be WiFi only assuming they don't send me an LTE one like they did last time.
  24. ziggo macrumors 6502


    Jul 11, 2008
    Haven't owned a Cellular iPad since he first generation and haven't needed it to be honest.

    I'll be going with WiFi
  25. rigormortis, Nov 1, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2015

    rigormortis macrumors 68000


    Jun 11, 2009
    i went to staples. they had the ipad air 2 cellular with 64 gb for 583. but it was limited to space grey only. so i ended up taking it back and going to target and got one for 590 , this includes the 10 % cartwheel coupon and the 5% red card discount.. this cellular version goes for 729, i think i got a great deal. so you do have a choice, you could the cellular one on sale and just choose not to activate it. the only other place i could find a cellular one for that cheap was walmart for 654 but they were out of stock. targets price match guarantee would not be honored if it was a different color.

    I'm just using the 200 mb free ipad plan from t-mobile here. thats all you need for find my iPhone
    if your ipad really gets lost, you could always add more data to the plan. i have everything turned off
    except for safari

    i saved $139 on a cellular ipad and got a data plan for $0 a month. and i cant believe so many people don't like the cellular model and are happy with wifi.

    i think getting cellular for 139 less or 39 less then a wifi only ipad and a $0 data plan puts a nail in the coffin of wifi only tablets. the whole argument is so moot.

    please start arguing about the $280 difference between wifi ipad pro and cellular ipad pro. that argument would be a good debate, this ipad air 2 argument is dead, because they are on sale

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