While most iPads can be upgraded to the latest operating system, iPadOS 14, some are stuck at an earlier generation of the operating system. Apple leaves devices behind when they don't have the hardware that's necessary to smoothly run the new operating system.
Consult the chart below to find out the latest version of iOS or iPadOS that your tablet supports. To identify which iPad model you own, go to Settings > General > About. There you will find the "Model Name" and "Model Number."
The Latest Version of iOS or iPadOS by iPad Model
Latest Version of iOS or iPadOS
|iPad - 1st generation (2010)||iOS 5.1.1|
iPad 2 - 2nd generation (2011)
iPad - 3rd generation (2012)
iPad mini - 1st generation (2012)
iOS 9.3.5 for WiFi only models
iOS 9.3.6 for WiFi + cellular models
|iPad with Retina Display - 4th generation (2012)||iOS 10.3.4|
iPad mini 2 - 2nd generation (2013)
iPad mini 3 - 3rd generation (2014)
iPad Air - 1st generation (2013)
iPad - 5th generation (2017)
iPad - 6th generation (2018)
iPad - 7th generation (2019)
iPad - 8th generation (2020)
iPad mini 4 - 4th generation (2015)
iPad mini - 5th generation (2019)
iPad Air 2 - 2nd generation (2014)
iPad Air - 3rd generation (2019)
iPad Air - 4th generation (2020)
Pad Pro 12.9" - 1st generation (2015)
iPad Pro 9.7" - 1st generation (2016)
iPad Pro 10.5" and 12.9" - 2nd generation (2017)
iPad Pro 11" and 12.9" - 3rd generation (2018)
iPad Pro 11" and 12.9" - 4th generation (2020)
How to update an old iPad
There are two ways to update your old iPad. You can update it wirelessly over WiFi or connect it to a computer and use the iTunes app.
How to update an old iPad wirelessly
Back up your iPad. Make sure your iPad is connected to WiFi and then go to Settings > Apple ID [Your Name] > iCloud or Settings > iCloud. Make sure iCloud Backup is turned on and select "Back Up Now." You'll receive a confirmation when the backup is complete.
Check for and install the latest software. To check for the latest software, go to Settings > General > Software Update. Your iPad will then check for a software update. On the screen, you'll either see your current version of iOS or iPad OS and the message "Your software is up to date," or if your software is not up to date, you'll see the option to "Download and Install."
How to update an old iPad using your computer
Back up your iPad. Connect your iPad to your computer with your Lightning cable. (You may see a message asking for your iPad passcode or for your to "Trust This Computer." Follow the directions.) On a Mac with macOS Catalina 10.15, open Finder. On a Mac with macOS Mojave 10.14 or earlier, or on a PC, launch iTunes. Locate your iPad in iTunes and click on it. You'll then see an option to "Back Up Now." Click on the "Back Up Now" button, and you'll receive a confirmation when the backup is complete.
Check for and install the latest software. On a Mac with macOS Catalina 10.15, open Finder. On a Mac with macOS Mojave 10.14 or earlier, or on a PC, open iTunes. Then, connect your device to your computer. Locate your device on your computer. Click "General" or "Settings," then click "Check for Update." Click "Download and Update." You may be asked to enter your passcode.
[Image credit: Techlicious]