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How to Update an Old iPad

by on January 18, 2021
in Tips & How-Tos, Computers and Software, Tablets & eReaders, Phones and Mobile, iPhone/iPad Apps :: 136 comments

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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), Model numbers A1219, A1337 iOS 5.1.1
iPad 2 - 2nd generation (2011), Model numbers  A1395, A1396, A1397
iPad  - 3rd generation (early 2012), Model numbers  A1403, A1430, A1416

iPad mini - 1st generation (2012), Model numbers A1432, A1454, A1455
iOS 9.3.5 for WiFi only models
iOS 9.3.6 for WiFi + cellular models
iPad with Retina Display - 4th generation (2012), Model numbers A1458, A1459, A1460 iOS 10.3.4
iPad mini 2 - 2nd generation (2013), Model numbers A1489, A1490, A1491
iPad mini 3  - 3rd generation (2014), Model numbers  A1599, A1600

iPad Air - 1st generation (2013), Model numbers A1474, A1475, A1476 
iOS 12.4.8
iPad - 5th generation (2017), Model numbers A1822, A1823
iPad - 6th generation (2018), Model numbers A1893, A1954
iPad - 7th generation (2019), Model numbers A2197, A2198, A2200
iPad - 8th generation (2020), Model numbers A2270, A2428, A2429, A2430

iPad mini 4 - 4th generation (2015), Model numbers A1550, A1538
iPad mini - 5th generation (2019), Model numbers A2124, A2126, A2133

iPad Air 2 - 2nd generation (2014), Model numbers A1566, A1567
iPad Air - 3rd generation (2019), Model numbers A2152, A2123, A2153
iPad Air - 4th generation (2020), Model numbers A2316, A2324, A2325, A2072

iPad Pro 12.9" - 1st generation (2015), Model numbers A1584, A1652 
iPad Pro 9.7" - 1st generation (2016), Model numbers A1673, A1674, A1675
iPad Pro 10.5" and 12.9" - 2nd generation (2017), Model numbers A1701, A1709 (10.5"), Model numbers A1670, A1671 (12.9") 
iPad Pro 11" and 12.9" - 3rd generation (2018), Model numbers A1980, A2013, A1934 (11-inch), Model numbers A1876, A2014, A1895 (12.9")
iPad Pro 11" and 12.9" - 4th generation (2020), Model numbers A2228, A2068, A2230 (11-inch), Model numbers A2229, A2069, A2232 (12.9")
iPadOS 14

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.

Back up your iPad wirelessly

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." 

Check for and install the latest software wirelessly

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.

Back up and update your old iPad using iTunes

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.

Updated on 1/18/2021 with model number information.

[Image credit: Techlicious]

For the past 20+ years, Suzanne Kantra has been exploring and writing about the world’s most exciting and important science and technology issues. Ten years ago, she founded Techlicious, which serves the role of that tech-savvy friend you can count on to share tips and tricks to get the most out of technology; whether that’s saving time in our hectic schedules, discovering new ways to enjoy our personal interests, or keeping up with the latest technology trends and styles. Before that, Suzanne was the Technology Editor for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, where she hosted the radio show “Living with Technology." Previously, she served as Technology Editor for Popular Science Magazine. She has been featured on CNN, CBS, and NBC.

Discussion loading

Don’t update iPad 2 iso 12

From Sankar on December 16, 2020 :: 4:16 am

iPad 2 don’t update latest iOS
How to sllove problem any way


iPad 4th Gen

From GSalazar on December 16, 2020 :: 7:08 pm

The table above does not list iPad 4th Generation, what gives?



It's on the third line

From Josh Kirschner on December 19, 2020 :: 3:33 pm

See “iPad with Retina Display - 4th generation (2012)”


iPadPro 10.5" will not update to 14.2

From Brian on December 17, 2020 :: 7:56 am

Software Update has been sitting at “Estimating time remaining…” for days now trying to update from 13.7 to 14.2.  Have 20GB of freespace.

If I try to update via my PC using iTunes using Check for Update, it tells me I’m at the current version (13.7). I backed up my iPad before trying update.


help with DOWN grade

From Sue Lowery on December 18, 2020 :: 4:52 pm

Made the mistake of putting iOS14 upgrade on ipad, now none of my bluetooth will work. I want to downgrade back, but don’t have backup. Is there a link? Apple refused to give me one…thanks!


Software update

From Shan on December 19, 2020 :: 8:58 am

Hi anybody trying to update iPad 2/3/4 .
It’s not gonna happen just sell it or 🎁 it to a child for YouTube videos .
Apple want you to buy new devices💰 💰 💰  Simple


fixed with Logitech support

From Sue Lowery on December 19, 2020 :: 3:55 pm

Sorry, not buying new right now! A call to Logitech who makes keypad and they got it working. Other than the ugly background, my air2 with updates works.



From Tommy on February 13, 2021 :: 3:31 pm

I have the iPad Air also. What OS were they able to upgrade you to? Thanks!


iPAD mini 1 software update?

From tdotcrzn on December 23, 2020 :: 12:49 am

whats the highest possible software update available for this ipad mini 1… even with the newest possible updates of software for this will it let me install any app or will i ever be able to use it with thenmost recent ipads software? suggestions?? help??


Only iOS 9.3.5

From Josh Kirschner on December 23, 2020 :: 5:21 pm

As we say in the chart above, the latest version available for the iPad Mini ver 1 is only iOS 9.3.5 - which is very limited.


iPad won’t update

From Jenni Lynn on December 24, 2020 :: 12:48 am

I have an iPad Air that is running iOS 12.5 and says it’s up to date in the setting screen, but many of my apps are saying they cannot update without iOS 13. How can I force an update to the more updated iOS version if the update setting won’t recognize it is out of date?


Me too

From Collin on December 24, 2020 :: 9:47 am

Me too I’m trying to force it to go I just did the 12.5 a couple of days ago


You can't

From Josh Kirschner on December 28, 2020 :: 2:34 pm

There is no way to update older model iPads to an OS beyond the latest version listed in the chart above. Unfortunately, for owners of older devices, it means our iPads have significantly diminished functionality. That’s how Apple does things - it focuses support for the latest devices and features, even if that means leaving older ones behind.


iOS 9.3.5

From Indiana on December 25, 2020 :: 3:27 am

Can I update my ipad 1 Gen with the model A1432 tp the latest iOS?



From Josh Kirschner on December 28, 2020 :: 2:26 pm

Nope, that’s as high as it will go.


My old ipad mini modelA1432

From Sivani on December 29, 2020 :: 6:18 am

My old ipad mini modelA1432 is not updating from ios9.3.5 ,im not able to install some apps in it .wont it update at all from 9.3.5?



From Themba Moyo on December 28, 2020 :: 1:39 am




From Moumouh on December 29, 2020 :: 10:37 am

What can i do with my tab iPad 5.1.1


Lots of things

From Josh Kirschner on December 30, 2020 :: 1:35 pm

I have a 1st gen iPad running 5.1.1, also. Here’s what I found it to be most useful for.
1. Propping open the door when I’m carry large objects.
2. Use as a hot mat on my dining room table.
3. Placed over belly, can help prevent stab wounds during sword fights.
4. Use to impress people in bars and cafes. When they ask what it is, tell them it’s a secret prototype of the newest iPad Apple gave you to test out, then quickly hide in your bag (don’t let them actually see you try to use it).
5. Create an in Instagram page for your iPad and post photos of it posed in various exotic locations around the world (you will have to use a new iPad to actually take the photos and load to Instagram).

Would love other suggestions.


Ipad upgrade

From Mercy on December 30, 2020 :: 5:00 pm

Hi can I uprade iPad 4.3.5(BL1) model MC981SO to a better model


Mini iPad 9.3.6

From Marcela on January 07, 2021 :: 2:58 pm

Hi, it is possible update my mini iPad version 9.3.6. ?


Not updated OS

From Kathiravan on January 09, 2021 :: 10:16 am

Sir, my io9.3.5

How to updated for latest version…. Plz.. Reply me



Not updated OS

From Kathiravan on January 09, 2021 :: 10:21 am

Kindly solve the problem


install ios10 on i-pad

From Carolyn Buser on January 15, 2021 :: 7:10 pm

How do I know what version i-pad I have and whether I can update it to ios 10?


You can look on the

From Suzanne Kantra on January 18, 2021 :: 6:05 pm

You can look on the back of your iPad to find the model number. You can also find it by going into Settings > About and consult the Model Number.

Once you find the model number, you can consult the chart in this story to see which model of iPad you own and whether it can be updated to iOS 10.


Version my iPad how to upgrade

From Kimberly McIntyre on April 27, 2021 :: 10:37 am

Version 5.1.1 Model#MC349LL


How do I connect my

From Carolyn Buser on January 15, 2021 :: 7:12 pm

How do I connect my I-pad to my desktop computer?


To connect your iPad to

From Suzanne Kantra on January 18, 2021 :: 6:18 pm

To connect your iPad to your computer, use the cable that you use to charge your iPad and insert the USB side (the end you usually plug into your charging brick) into your computer’s USB port.


Updating Ipad

From Donna Bowen on February 10, 2021 :: 2:54 pm

Thank you for all the info on this thread. Our daughter gave my husband her old Ipad Version 7.1.1(11D201) Model MD787LL/A, but we are having a bit of struggle updating. I know I have to connect the cable to my new Mac laptop to connect w/Itunes for the upgrade to Ipad, but get stuck after that. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.


Fuming , I now own useless iPad mini

From Lou on January 19, 2021 :: 7:11 pm

I got an mini 9.3.5 or woteva fixed cost enough,  for my 5yr old at xmas.  it’s another device the developer has scrapped in a bid to make money!

My question is what do I now do with it now? can I trade it in or is it practically worthless ??


You can trade it in, but not for much

From Josh Kirschner on January 20, 2021 :: 2:46 pm

If you just bought an old iPad mini, I would return it, if possible. You can trade it in for the purchase of a new iPad - assuming it’s in good working order, you’ll get around $35 in trade-in value for it with Apple.



From Sam on January 20, 2021 :: 10:13 am

The ipad2


Software won’t update

From David J. on January 22, 2021 :: 11:12 pm

I have an iPad Pro 10.5 and it says my software is up to date, but it is iOS 11.2.1.  I thought we were at iOS 14.  Why wouldn’t these be available for me.


I Pad mini 4

From AHMED on January 23, 2021 :: 5:48 am

My I pad mini 4 is not updating from 9.3.5 ,I can not install some apps in it.what to do for update?


Model 1387 Vison 9.3.6

From Md Liton on January 25, 2021 :: 5:26 am

Model 1387 Vison 9.3.6


Hack IPad 1?

From A sheep on January 25, 2021 :: 12:07 pm

I have a IPad 1 2010 and I know it won’t run smoothly but can I use some sort have hack to get it to a later IOS cause it’s stuck a 5.1.1 and useless.


Can i

From Can i on January 26, 2021 :: 12:12 pm

Can I update my iPad Air in 13.0?



From Josh Kirschner on January 28, 2021 :: 9:50 am

It depends on what generation iPad Air you have. Read the chart in the article.


Upgrade for iPad 4

From Linda Neely on January 26, 2021 :: 2:26 pm

I read books on my iPad and have a lot of them. I am 72 so not iPad savvy but 10.3 is not compatible with some of the newer book downloads. Seems to need the newer 12 version but can that be done? I can not afford on social security to go out and spend so much for a new iPad. Reading keeps me sane. What can I do?


Look at other download sites

From Josh Kirschner on January 28, 2021 :: 9:55 am

There are multiple places that will allow you to download ebooks, some of which may work better for you than iTunes as far as older device support. Try Amazon or Barnes & Noble and see if that helps - note that you can download ebooks from the web if you can’t get compatible apps for your iPad.

We also have an article on places where you can download free ebooks, which would be perfect for people who have limited income.


Security of older ipads

From Nigel Bratten on January 29, 2021 :: 1:12 am

My iPad is too old to update beyond iOS. 12.4.8
Does this mean that it is vulnerable to hackers and is no longer secure( with specific reference to the latest issues fixed by iOS 14.4)


Old iPad mini 1

From Marilyn Chantler on January 29, 2021 :: 3:55 pm

My old ipad running iOS 9..35 has all my family photos on, i was paying for apple space, but my bank card was renewed with a new number in December 2020 and now i cant get my password to work at all. I’ve got a new ipad now but have had to register a new Apple ID . Is there a way to get my photos of of the old ipad. Many thanks
There’s about 2000 photos so too many to email etc


What Risks??

From Brian Gallaher on February 01, 2021 :: 1:08 pm

Can you describe some of the risks if I don’t upgrade my IPad A1474 to the latest OS 14.4. I think I am now running 12.5??


The latest release for your

From Suzanne Kantra on February 10, 2021 :: 10:18 pm

The latest release for your device is iOS 12.5.1.
Even after Apple stops supporting updates to the next-gen operating system, the company does still publish security patches, as you can see in their security update post

That said, it’s always safer to use a device that is actively being updated.


Boycott Apple

From Pumm on February 03, 2021 :: 10:54 am

It is absolutely ridiculous that Apple have not found a way to offer upgrades for hardware & software for otherwise perfectly useable devices.  The reason that they don’t do this is because we continue to spend our hard earned money to line their pockets!  If we stop buying their expensive upgrades then they would need to come up with an alternative solution.

Apple - there are millions of devices that need just a little bit of TLC & millions of people out of work during this global pandemic & they can’t afford a shiny new device; not to mention the millions of children & parents attempting to keep their education going. Now is the time to step up Apple; now is the time to give back to Mother Earth & now is the time to help humanity! What are you going to do Apple?

Apple - you announced your most profitable quarter EVER (during a global pandemic & recession) . As of 26th December 2020 you made $111.4bn in the last quarter alone!  No wonder the chief executive Tim Cook was “gratified by the enthusiastic customer response”. How was your Chrismas lockdown Tim Cook?

Apple - on behalf of all the teachers, parents, self employed & unemployed - what are you going to do to help us ?

I look forward to a response.


Software update issue

From Susmita Nepal on February 06, 2021 :: 11:59 pm

I have iPhone 6s plus and is stuck to 11.3.1.How can I update it to later software.I can see ios update 14.5 in software which is not supported in my ios.So how can I update to ios 12.2 software without desktop.I cannot install many of my productive app.


How can an iPhone 6splus

From Susmita Nepal on February 07, 2021 :: 12:02 am

How can an iPhone 6splus be upgraded to ios software12 if not shown insoftware update?


An iPhone 6s Plus should

From Suzanne Kantra on February 10, 2021 :: 10:11 pm

An iPhone 6s Plus should update to iOS 14. If you’re having trouble updating, check to see that you have enough memory for a wireless update. It may be easiest to install iTunes on a computer and update your phone via iTunes. Using iTunes on your computer means that the download will go to your computer instead of your device, so your device doesn’t need as much available storage to update.


Update for ipad 4th gen

From layne on February 07, 2021 :: 12:53 pm

Hi i was wondering if it was possible to update my ipad 4th gen to its last update even tho its updates havent been kept up to date.  I go to software updates in the settings and the update that shows is IOS 8.4.1 and when i click download and install nothing happens so is there something i can do to get updated?


Have you tried connecting it

From Suzanne Kantra on February 10, 2021 :: 10:08 pm

Have you tried connecting it to your computer and using iTunes to update to the latest iOS? If your device doesn’t have enough memory, it won’t update.


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