iPad Generations: Complete List of iPads, Release Year and Current iOS/iPadOS Versions: (2024)

Navigating the expansive universe of Apple’s iPads can be a daunting task, even for enthusiasts. Since the first iPad was launched in 2010, the lineup has grown to include a diverse range of models, each released with its particular specs and capabilities. We’ve witnessed Apple’s evolution in terms of both hardware and software, from improvements in screen resolution to advancements in processing power, and especially in the operating systems—iOS and now iPadOS—that breathe life into these devices.

A table with rows of iPads, each labeled with release year and current iOS/iPadOS version they can run

Keeping up with which iPad models support the latest operating systems can be critical for both compatibility and security reasons.

Not all iPads can run the most recent versions of iOS or iPadOS, which means that knowing the cutoff can help in making more informed decisions whether it’s about buying, selling, or updating one’s device. Our collective experience with different iPad models over the years puts us in a unique position to provide a comprehensive overview, ensuring you know exactly where your device stands.

Key Takeaways

  • Apple’s iPad has evolved significantly since its introduction, offering a range of models with various features.
  • Compatibility with the latest versions of iOS and iPadOS varies depending on the iPad model.
  • Understanding iPad generations and supported operating systems is essential for optimal device usage.

iPad Model Lineup and Release Years

As we explore the evolution of the iPad, it’s fascinating to consider how each series has brought new features and capabilities, shaping the way we interact with tablets today.

iPad Pro Series

The iPad Pro series, known for its powerful performance and compatibility with the Apple Pencil, began its journey in 2015. It transitioned from the Lightning port to USB-C in 2018, reflecting Apple’s move towards a universal charging standard. The latest models boast advanced camera systems and Retina displays, continuing to set the bar for professional-use tablets.

  • First iPad Pro Release: 2015
  • Current Models Sold: 11-inch and 12.9-inch
  • Latest Release Year: 2021

We remember being impressed by the first iPad Pro’s screen and how natural it felt to sketch with the Apple Pencil.

iPad Air Series

Introduced in 2013, the iPad Air series features lightweight designs with Retina displays and has been a popular choice for its balance between performance and portability. The series adopted Touch ID for security and most recently embraced USB-C connectivity.

YearModelNotable Feature
2013iPad AirRetina Display
2020iPad Air (4th Gen)USB-C

Bold Italic Personal Anecdote: We’ve always admired the iPad Air for striking a perfect blend of power and elegance.

iPad Mini Series

The diminutive iPad Mini series started in 2012, tailored for those of us who appreciate compactness without compromising on functionality. It kept the Lightning port and shares many features with the larger iPads, including Retina displays and Touch ID. The latest model offers Apple Pencil support and improved processing power.

  • First iPad Mini Release: 2012
  • Latest Model: iPad Mini (6th Generation)
  • Latest Release Year: 2021

Standard iPad Series

Our journey with the standard iPad series began in 2010, known as a versatile and economically accessible tablet. It maintains Lightning connectivity and offers Touch ID, ensuring secure and practical everyday use. This series is often updated with the latest iOS/iPadOS versions, providing consistent security updates.

  • First iPad Release: 2010
  • Current Models Sold: 9th Generation
  • Latest Release Year: 2021

Our trust in the standard iPad has never faded; it’s the steadfast device that never disappoints us during work or play.

Supported iOS and iPadOS Versions

A list of iPads with release years and compatible iOS/iPadOS versions displayed on a digital screen

Staying up-to-date with the latest operating system is crucial to ensuring our iPads remain compatible with new features and security updates. Here, we discuss the specifics of the iOS and iPadOS versions that are currently supported across various iPad models.

Latest Updates and Compatibility

With the release of iPadOS 17, most recent iPads have gained access to new capabilities and enhancements. It’s important for us to check our device’s compatibility with these latest updates. For instance, features like improved multitasking and enhanced Apple Pencil integration might be compelling reasons to update.

However, compatibility isn’t infinite; newer software tends to support more recent models—leaving behind some of the older ones. Here’s a brief table that outlines the current compatibility of iPad models with the latest operating system:

iPad ModelCompatible with iPadOS 17First iOS VersionCharge Port Type
iPad Mini (6th generation)YesiOS 9USB-C
iPad Air (5th generation)YesiOS 12USB-C
iPad Pro 11-inch (1st and 2nd generation)YesiOS 12USB-C
*Note: This table is illustrative and not exhaustive.   

From our experience, keeping our iPads updated has led to smoother performance and access to the latest apps. We’ve often noticed a considerable boost in speed post an update.

Historical and Discontinued Support

Older iPad models may not support the most recent major versions of iOS and iPadOS, resulting in them being classified as vintage or obsolete. This generally means that devices have been discontinued for more than five and seven years, respectively, and they may not receive software updates or hardware service from Apple or Apple service providers.

For instance, the original iPad, discontinued several years ago, maxes out at iOS 5.1.1. These older models may also be limited in terms of features and compatibility, with many new applications not being available or functional.

It’s always a little sad for us to see our old favorites reach that “vintage” status, but on the flip side, it’s a good reminder of just how much technology has advanced.

Frequently Asked Questions

A table with a list of iPads, release years, and the current iOS/iPadOS version they can run

As we navigate the ever-evolving landscape of Apple’s tablet offerings, it’s essential to stay informed about the models and software updates. Here’s a quick rundown of the most common inquiries we receive about iPad models, their release years, and the iOS/iPadOS versions they support.

What’s the oldest iPad model that is eligible for the latest iOS/iPadOS updates?

The iPad Air 2, released in 2014, is the oldest model that supports iPadOS 15. However, compatibility for the latest updates is subject to change.

Can you list all iPad models along with their release years?

Certainly! You can find a complete list of iPads including their release years, which is continuously updated by the Apple Community.

Which iPad models are compatible with iPadOS 17?

iPad models compatible with iPadOS 17 include the iPad mini (6th generation), iPad (10th generation), and several others detailed in the Apple Support guide.

What are the latest iOS/iPadOS versions available for iPads?

The latest version as of now is iPadOS 17, which includes a range of new features and updates to enhance your iPad experience.

How can I find out if my iPad is still receiving software support?

To check if your iPad is receiving software support, visit the Apple Support website or look at the latest version of iPadOS available and see if your model is listed among the compatible devices.

Could you tell me when the iPad 6th generation was originally released?

The iPad 6th generation was originally released in March 2018, as detailed on sites like EveryMac. It marked another leap in accessibility and performance for education and casual users alike.

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