There are a dozen different kinds of iPads with a variety of features, from model to screen size and all the storage options. So how do you decide which one to get?
As long-time users (and teachers!) of Procreate, we know a thing or two about the different iPad models, which ones are compatible with the Procreate app, and which stylus works best. Let us fill you in and give you our recommendations of the exact one to get depending on your goals. After all, we don’t want you to spend money on an iPad you can’t use with Procreate or that doesn’t suit your needs and goals!
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Overview of iPad Models
Currently, Apple sells four iPad models: iPad, iPad Air, iPad Mini, and iPad Pro. Here’s a quick summary:
- iPad is the most basic version. Nothing fancy, and just what you need.
- iPad Air has a faster processor, better camera, and more storage than the iPad, but is a little more expensive.
- iPad Mini is basically a smaller, more portable version of the iPad Air.
- iPad Pro is the most powerful and most expensive with the largest storage and the biggest screen size (11” or 12.9”).
Newest iPad Versions
When Apple releases a new version of each iPad model, the “Generation” number increases. Here are the most recent models as of January 2020:
- iPad: 7th Generation
- iPad Air: 3rd Generation
- iPad Mini: 5th Generation
- iPad Pro has two sizes:
- iPad Pro 11-inch: First Generation
- iPad Pro 12.9-inch: 3rd Generation
The iPad Comparison Chart has all the technical details.
Good news: all iPads released after 2015 are compatible with the latest version of the Procreate app! The models that are NOT compatible with the latest version of Procreate include: iPad 1 to 4, iPad Mini 1 to 3, and iPad Air 1.
Apple Pencil/iPad Compatibility
We strongly recommend using the Apple Pencil stylus with the Procreate App. Other styluses cannot use all the features of Procreate, such as pressure sensitivity that produces thick and thin strokes, which is a must-have for iPad calligraphy and other art.
All of the latest iPad models are compatible with the Apple Pencil.
The 11-inch iPad Pro and the 12.9-inch 3rd Generation iPad Pro use the 2nd Generation Apple Pencil. Make sure you look at the Apple Support site before purchasing to double-check compatibility with your iPad.
The following iPad models are NOT compatible with the Apple Pencil: iPad 5, iPad Mini 4, iPad Air 2
So…Which iPad should I get for Procreate?
For the budget-friendly option…
Get the regular iPad (base model). It’s the cheapest option, starting at $329 with 32GB of storage for the current model, but has a large enough screen (10.2″) for creating art. If your main reason for getting an iPad is to use for Procreate, 32GB of storage would be enough. Because it’s not as fast as the more expensive models, you might notice a slight lag when writing with the Apple Pencil. Get the iPad and Apple Pencil.
If you plan to use your iPad for many other applications in addition to Procreate, such as taking photos, editing videos, etc., consider the iPad Air. It has twice as much storage as the iPad (starts at 64GB for $499 for the current model) and runs much faster. So if you have a little extra room in your budget, the iPad Air gives you a better value for your money than the regular iPad. Get the iPad Air and Apple Pencil.
Go with the iPad Mini. It has the smallest screen size (7.9”) and is great for on-the-go use. It’s also $100 cheaper than the iPad Air for the same processing power and storage. However, because the screen is so small, we don’t recommend this if the main purpose is to use for creating artwork. Get the iPad Mini and Apple Pencil.
For the biggest screen…
The 12.9” iPad Pro is the largest option and the best resolution you can get. But, it also comes with the biggest price tag. We’ve used the 10.5” iPad and have never thought the screen was too small for lettering, especially because you can always zoom in and out while you’re working. The significant price difference might not be worth the larger screen size, unless you’re a professional artist or designer and plan to use high performance editing apps. Get the 12.9-inch iPad Pro and 2nd Gen Apple Pencil. Or…
For the best of the best…
The iPad Pro is extremely fast and powerful, has an amazing liquid retina display, an incredible camera, and you can get up to 1TB of storage. It comes in two screen size options: 11-inch or 12.9-inch. The newest iPad Pro is so high-tech that you could even use it as a laptop replacement! Get the 11-inch iPad Pro or 12.9-inch iPad Pro and 2nd Gen Apple Pencil on Amazon.
For the exact iPad we (Jillian & Jordan) use…
We got the 10.5-inch iPad Pro in 2017 when it was first released, and it has been perfect for our needs! The majority of our use is for Procreate, Dropbox, photo editing with the Snapseed app, and simple video editing in iMovie. We both have the Rose Gold color with 256 GB of storage. Get the 10.5-inch iPad Pro and Apple Pencil.
The best iPad for you depends on your budget and what you plan to use it for. Are you just getting an iPad to use for creating Procreate artwork? or will you be replacing another device like a laptop? You’ll have to consider the storage requirements, screen size, performance, price and portability. Whatever iPad you decide, make sure to get the Apple Pencil that goes with it.
iPad Comparison Chart
All iPad versions in this chart are compatible with both the Procreate App and the Apple Pencil. The starting price is for the lowest amount of storage, but you can upgrade to get more storage. Screen size is listed in inches. Updated February 2020.
|iPad Family||Version||Price||Screen||Storage (GB)||Year||Apple Pencil|
|iPad||7th Gen||$329||10.2"||32, 128||2019||1st Gen|
|iPad Mini||5th Gen||$399||7.9"||64, 256||2019||1st Gen|
|iPad Air||3rd Gen||$499||10.5"||64, 256||2019||1st Gen|
|iPad Pro 11-in||1st Gen||$799||11"||64, 256, 512, 1TB||2018||2nd Gen|
|iPad Pro 12.9-in||3rd Gen||$999||12.9"||64, 256, 512, 1TB||2018||2nd Gen|
|iPad||6th Gen||$249*||9.7"||32, 128||2018||1st Gen|
|iPad Pro||9.7"||$349*||9.7"||32, 128, 256||2016||1st Gen|
|iPad Pro||10.5"||$469*||10.5"||64, 256, 512||2017||1st Gen|
|iPad Pro 12.9-in||1st Gen||$449*||12.9"||32, 128, 256||2015||1st Gen|
|iPad Pro 12.9-in||2nd Gen||$589*||12.9"||64, 256, 512||2017||1st Gen|
If you have an iPad that’s not listed in the chart, that means it’s not compatible with both Procreate and the Apple Pencil. You can always find the most updated list of Procreate-compatible devices here.
How to check which iPad you have
If you already have an iPad, here’s how to find your model information:
Open Settings > General > About > Model Name
Step 1: Open Settings, then choose General in the left column, and find About at the top right:
Step 2: Find Model Name at the top right to see which version of the iPad you have:
Want to learn our top 18 Shortcuts for Procreate? Download the list now!