Apple has released countless iPad models over the years, and when it comes to the iPadOS 14 operating system, a lot of them were compatible with Apple’s 2020 software update. Long-term update support is something Apple has excelled at for years. For many people, it’s one of the main reasons why they decide to stay within the Apple ecosystem. Whether someone buys an iPhone, iPad, Mac, or any other Apple device, they can rest assured it’ll be supported for years to come.


iPadOS 14 launched in September 2020, and in typical Apple fashion, the update was available for a wide array of different iPad models. In addition to more recent iPads like the 4th-generation iPad Pro, 8th-generation iPad, and 4th-generation iPad Air, iPadOS 14 was also made available for quite a few older iPads. The oldest iPad that could download iPadOS 14 was the iPad Air 2. The iPad Air 2 originally shipped with iOS 8.1 back in October 2014, and six years after its initial release, Apple still updated it to iPadOS 14 in 2020. Apple also released iPadOS 14 for the 1st and 2nd-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro, iPad mini 4, 9.7-inch iPad Pro, 5th-generation iPad, and the 10.5-inch iPad Pro.

Related: Which iPad Models Have A USB-C Port? Here’s The Complete List

iPadOS 16 Is Now The Latest iPad Update

Apple's all-new Freeform app with a hand-drawn mind map on iPadOS 16.2.

At the time of publication, iPadOS 14 has since been replaced by iPadOS 16. The latest version of iPadOS has a few cool tricks not found with iPadOS 14, including Stage Manager for multitasking, the ability to unsend Messages, SharePlay support in Messages, a native Weather app, an improved Mail app, and the new Freeform app, among others. Surprisingly enough, all the same iPads that got iPadOS 14 also received the iPadOS 15 update (even the iPad Air 2). However, Apple dropped support for some of these older models with iPadOS 16 in 2022, specifically the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4.

The oldest iPad that runs iPadOS 16 is the 2015 iPad Pro. In fact, all iPad Pro models are eligible for the iPadOS 16 update. The iPadOS 16 update is also available for the 5th-generation iPad and later, 3rd-generation iPad Air and later, and 5th-generation iPad mini and later. Given that some of these devices are over seven years old, that’s pretty impressive for software support. Most Android tablets offer software updates for a couple of years at the most, with Samsung offering four years of Android OS updates for the Galaxy Tab S8 series. While the older iPad models might not run the latest software as well as the newer tablets, they still continue to receive new features years after launch.

Uses For Older iPads

iPad displaying recipes

Once Apple ends support for an older iPad, it won’t receive any future updates or new features. While that may not be an immediate problem, over time, these iPads may lose support for several apps and services. While it makes sense for iPad users to upgrade their devices once software support ends, there are still plenty of ways an old iPad can be used.

One neat way to use an old iPad is to turn it into a digital photo frame, either by wall-mounting it or placing it on a stand. Make sure it has access to power, and use a digital photo frame app like LiveFrame to display photos stored on the device, cloud storage accounts, and social media. Another great use for an old iPad is to use it as a secondary display for a Mac or for a Windows PC using Luna Display. It can also be given to kids to play games, used in the kitchen as a digital recipe book, or as an e-reader to download and read books using the Kindle app. An old iPad that’s repurposed can continue to function for years, even after software updates end.

Source: Apple, App Store

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