Apple surprised many of us at its WWDC event in June 2019 when it announced that a new, dedicated operating system for the iPad would be released in autumn 2019. iPadOS promises to take the functionality of iOS and hone it specifically for the expanded display space and power of its tablet range.
So, will your device be eligible for this new software? In this article we take a look at which iPads are compatible with iPadOS and how you can get it today.
iPads that will get iPadOS
Apple has always worked hard to encourage users to upgrade their iPhones and iPads to the latest version of its OS, and generally tries to extend compatibility to a good range of older devices. Rumours were that for iPadOS the majority of compatible iPads would be of the Pro variety, but this has proven to be false as there are several non-Pro models on the list.
Here are the iPads confirmed to receive iPadOS from autumn 2019:
- 12.9in iPad Pro third generation (2018)
- 12.9in iPad Pro second generation (2017)
- 12.9in iPad Pro first generation (2015)
- 11in iPad Pro (2018)
- 10.5in iPad Pro (2017)
- 9.7in iPad Pro (2016)
- iPad 10.2in (seventh generation, 2019)
- iPad 9.7in (sixth generation, 2018)
- iPad 9.7in (fifth generation, 2017)
- iPad Air (third generation, 2019)
- iPad Air 2 (2014)
- iPad mini (fifth generation, 2019)
- iPad mini 4 (2015)
Should I upgrade to iPadOS?
If your device is compatible then it seems like a very good idea to upgrade. You may want to give it a few months after the initial release before doing so, just to let the kinks get smoothed out, but after that it should be an essential move.
iPadOS isn't just a renamed version of iOS. Instead, it improves iPad-specific features such as Split View and Slide Over, while also giving you the ability to pin widgets to your Home screen and many other things. For a full overview of the new features read our iPadOS guide.
How can I get iPadOS?
If your iPad is included in the list above then you should receive a notification when the update is available. To install it, simply go to Settings > General > Software Update then choose the Download and Install options.
Apple also offers a Beta Software testing program where you can try out the upcoming releases of iPadOS, macOS, iOS and tvOS before they go on general release. If you want to participate in the program then take a look at our How to get the iOS 13 beta guide, which applies equally to iPadOS.
What if my iPad can't get iPadOS?
If you were hoping that you might be able to update an older iPad, perhaps an iPad mini 3, to iPadOS, or even iOS 13, you'll be disappointed: there is no iOS update for you.
While it will be sad to miss out on some of the exciting new features coming in iPadOS, there's no reason to rush straight to the Apple store. If you're happy with how your iPad works at the moment, then nothing will change. You'll still be able to do everything you do now and Apple will continue to release security updates so that your device remains protected.
Of course, if you're looking for an excuse to upgrade your device then there's never been a better time. Apple recently unveiled the iPad Air (2019) and iPad mini (2019) to compliment the existing iPad (2018) and iPad Pro 11in (2018) and iPad Pro 12.9in (2018), so you have a huge amount of choice.
Add to this the rumours of potential new iPads in the coming months and it's going to be hard to narrow down your selection. If you need a little help then read our iPad buying guide and Best iPad deals roundup.