Apple surprised many of us at WWDC 2019 when it announced that a new, dedicated operating system for the iPad would be released in autumn 2019. iPadOS promised to take the functionality of iOS and hone it specifically for the expanded display space and power of its tablet range.

Two years on and iPadOS 15 is launching - iPad owners will be able to install it on Monday 20 September 2021. But which iPads be able to run the new software? In this article we take a look at which iPads are compatible with iPadOS 15.

Which iPads can run iPadOS 15

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.

Many iPads will be able to be updated to iPadOS 15. Here's a full list of compatible devices:

  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (5th generation)
  • iPad Pro 11-inch (3rd generation)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (4th generation)
  • iPad Pro 11-inch (2nd generation)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd generation)
  • iPad Pro 11-inch (1st generation)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2nd generation)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (1st generation)
  • iPad Pro 10.5-inch
  • iPad Pro 9.7-inch
  • iPad (9th generation)
  • iPad (8th generation)
  • iPad (7th generation)
  • iPad (6th generation)
  • iPad (5th generation)
  • iPad mini (6th generation)
  • iPad mini (5th generation)
  • iPad mini 4
  • iPad Air (4th generation)
  • iPad Air (3rd generation)
  • iPad Air 2

This means that all the iPads that supported the original iPadOS in autumn 2019 are still supported by the latest operating system.

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. From time to time people experience difficulties with the first installation of a new operating system, so it can be wise to wait and see.

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, nothing has changed in that regard for the past few years.

If you're looking for an excuse to upgrade your device then there's never been a better time. Apple unveiled new iPad mini and iPad in autumn 2021, plus the iPad Pro was updated in the spring 2021, and the iPad Air in autumn 2020. So you have a huge amount of choice. Read our advice about choosing the best iPad. And for the best prices be sure to check out our Best iPad deals roundup.