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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
 

Devices

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

I don't buy Apple products any longer !!

From Andy on February 10, 2021 :: 6:59 pm

Apple is kidding us all. They should give us the choice and let us decide whether to run the iPad with the old OS or get the update at our risk.
I do no longer buy Apple devices. Yes, my old iPad mini has a high quality battery that is still working for hours - that’s awesome. But because of their rigid marketing strategy and an idiotic update policy they brick my device. Meanwhile I do really hate Apple. No other company despises and patronizes its customers as much as apple does. Sorry Apple, f… you. Sorry for the rant. But I know so many people think the way I do.

Reply

iPad. Air

From Tommy on February 12, 2021 :: 4:24 pm

My IPad Air IOS is 12.5.1 Would I be able to upgrade?

Reply

It depends on what model iPad Air you have

From Josh Kirschner on February 15, 2021 :: 4:32 pm

It depends on what model iPad Air you have - 1st gen? 2nd gen? Check the chart in the article, it lays out pretty clearly what the latest iOS version is for each iPad model.

Reply

Can I upgrade my new iPad Mini 5 to ISO13 or higher while my old iPhone 5 runs on ISO 12.5.1?

From Wayne Ketaru on February 18, 2021 :: 9:19 pm

Hi, I know that my old iPhone 5 and iPad Mini 2 can run on only up to ISO 12.5.1.  I have just bought iPad Mini 5 to run a specific App that can run only on ISO13 or higher.  I still want to keep my iPhone and iPad mini2 (on ISO12.5.1) but can I update my iPad Mini 5 to ISO 13 or 14 while my old iPhone and iPad mini still run on ISO 12.5.1?

Reply

Yes, you can and should

From Suzanne Kantra on February 19, 2021 :: 1:04 pm

Yes, you can and should update your iPad Mini 5 to the latest iPadOS available.

Reply

Thanks

From Wayne Ketaru on February 19, 2021 :: 1:14 pm

Thanks for your help.

Kind regards,

Reply

Not helpfull

From Jen on February 25, 2021 :: 7:24 pm

If I want to know how to update my really old I pad telling me to check for an update isn’t going to do it. Do u think I’m stupid???

Reply

Okay, thank for the feedback

From Josh Kirschner on February 26, 2021 :: 11:42 am

Telling you to check for an update isn’t helpful, but telling you what the latest OS version is for each model of iPad so you don’t waste your time trying to find an update for an iPad that can’t be updated is helpful. And that is what this article is about.

Reply

How to Update an Old iPad

From Bob on April 02, 2021 :: 4:52 pm

Nor is your reply. The problem is the title of the article. It should leave the word “old” out of it at least. It would be better to rename it to some more relevant title as the implication is an “old” iPad can be updated. If an iPad can no longer be updated, then it is “old”. Just because it is a previous model that can be updated, doesn’t mean it is old. The problem is far more reaching than just updating to the next release, it is when they make changes where the apps no longer work and have to be updated has to be considered too. For instance, an iPad still on 9.3.5 can no longer update most apps it may have installed. The iPad is still perfectly good and has a lot of life left, no reason for Apple to force incompatible changes that force app writers to rewrite their apps.

Reply

Thank you

From Charles Wood on March 02, 2021 :: 4:52 pm

I was having problems rejuvenating an Ipad Air 2.  The usual way of updating from the Ipad didn’t seem to work so I found this article, and downloaded Itunes on my PC, then updated it from Itunes.  Now I have Ipad OS 14.4 on my 7 year old Ipad Air 2.

Reply

CLICK BAIT- Useless tutorial for 2021 other than trying to sell a new Ipad

From Ipad 2 User on March 02, 2021 :: 8:43 pm

Just another Click Bait on owners of older ipads, long forgotten by Apple who does not old customers and wants to force them to buy new devices. This “article” bait offers NO SOLUTION at all.

Reply

Version 10.3.4

From Rymon on March 06, 2021 :: 6:47 am

My iPad stopped receiving updates from ios version 10.3.4, this iPad is a model MD523ZP/A, whenever I try to backup my ipad it always fails, automatically or manually

Reply

That's as far as it can go

From Josh Kirschner on March 08, 2021 :: 10:35 pm

For the 4th Gen iPad, 10.3.4 is the last OS available. So, unfortunately, you won’t be able to update further.

Reply

iPad 4 ios12 update

From Athul soji on March 13, 2021 :: 7:15 am

Can I get ios12 on my IPad 4

Reply

No

From Josh Kirschner on March 17, 2021 :: 11:26 am

No, see the chart above.

Reply

Update to latest version

From Josh on March 13, 2021 :: 10:46 pm

I have an iPad 4gen, it says it’s already updated to the latest which is 10.1 I want to download app like yet or even fb and it says that it need to be updated which is not letting me do so, is there a way around to upgrade iOS to the latest update?
I need help please

Reply

Possible solution

From Josh Kirschner on March 17, 2021 :: 11:29 am

If you have a newer Apple device with iOS 14, download the app on that device, then when you look at your purchased apps through the app store on your old iPad it will give you the option to download an earlier, compatible version of the app if one is available. Note that not all apps have earlier versions available and sometimes those earlier versions do not work properly or offer the same features.

Reply

Upgrade to latest version

From kopparapu sridharprasad on March 17, 2021 :: 5:05 am

I have purchased iPad mini in the year 2015 in USA. I could not download any asps, because the system is saying that to download any aaps requires version more than 10. So kindly guide me how to upgrade my iPad with a updated version to run my iPad mini smoothly.

Reply

Read the article

From Josh Kirschner on March 17, 2021 :: 11:31 am

The article tells you how to upgrade your iPad to the latest iOS version available for your device. If you have a gen 1 iPad Mini, you can’t upgrade to 10 or above.

Reply

Fb/YouTube/mass enter not salut !

From Md zafar iqbal on March 19, 2021 :: 9:49 am

Assala moalikum

Reply

IPAD MINI Stuck on updating

From LUBEGA CHRISTOPHER on March 23, 2021 :: 10:34 am

halo my ipad mini A1445 has got suck with updating and only gives me a comment of your iPad can not update because the updating saying the activation server is temporarily un available or i try contacting Apple Support which i have done but fruitless. I will be glad if am helped.

Reply

update my tablet from an ios 10.3.3 to a higher one

From dmike on March 24, 2021 :: 6:02 pm

i have been trying to update my tablet to have a higher ios but i have not found a way.

Reply

ipad 1

From rawand on March 28, 2021 :: 4:28 pm

hi what is the last version of ipad 1 it say that the last version is 5.1.1 is that right. or not right?

Reply

Yes that's right

From Josh Kirschner on April 02, 2021 :: 9:45 am

Yes, it’s right. That’s why we put it in the chart.

Reply

iPad Pro 10.5” downgrade

From Radek on March 28, 2021 :: 6:57 pm

Hi, can you tell how to downgrade to older version of iOS, but without previous backup of older iOS version? How can I download iOS 13 instead of iOS 14 for my iPad ?
Thank you smile

Reply

You can't downgrade to iOS 13

From Josh Kirschner on April 02, 2021 :: 9:50 am

There are sites that will allow you to download earlier versions of iOS. But, you can only installed versions that are signed by Apple, and Apple has stopped signing anything below iOS 14, so there is no way to downgrade your iPad to iOS 13 without trying to jailbreak it and installing an unsigned version - NOT recommended.

Reply

Misleading article title.

From Bob C. on March 29, 2021 :: 1:20 am

You need to remove the word “old” from the title (and any other reference to “old” except in the case where you indicate and old iPad is not upgradeable/updateable to the current version of iOS because Apple doesn’t support it.

When someone wants to upgrade (or update) and old device to the level of a new device, that is what they want to do, replace the chips, memory, etc. so you can use the latest version of S/W.

With an old IPad, you can no longer update most of the apps you have installed and, in some cases, may end up losing the app if you try.

Reply

Nonsens!

From Natt on March 30, 2021 :: 12:16 pm

iPad 2 - Can looking Netflix true browser but for app its to old

Reply

I do not want to update application

From Vijay Vaja on April 09, 2021 :: 12:56 pm

I am using iPad mini and current software is 9.3.6 now it regularly ask to update downloaded application , earlier asked for YouTube , then Facebook , prime video etc.
If I try to update it will not update as iPad version is old.
But I am satisfied with old version of iPad and old version of YouTube . Old version of YouTube which support 9.3.6 , but still it ask for compulsory update.
I pad is old I know but it is working fibe so why should I buy new costly one. Can I use old application which support 9.3.6 ? Is there any option of rejecting application update or downloading old version of application ?

Reply

It depends

From Josh Kirschner on April 09, 2021 :: 1:46 pm

Some apps may no longer work on old versions or, if they do, may contain limited functionality or even security issues. There is a workaround where some apps can be downloaded onto your old iPad if you first download the latest version onto an iPad or iPhone running iOS 14 then install the old version through the App Store on your old iPad. But this only works if old versions are available (many/most apps aren’t) and you will have all the functionality/security issues I mentioned above.

Reply

Is it possible to upgrade version 9.3.5?

From Joshua Paye Nessian on April 16, 2021 :: 8:16 pm

I have iPad version 9.3.5
Is it possible for me to upgrade it to version 10?

Reply

Check the chart above

From Josh Kirschner on April 17, 2021 :: 4:37 pm

The article has the latest iOS version for each model of iPad.

Reply

Updated version required

From KR Govindarajan on April 20, 2021 :: 2:58 am

I need the most updated version to download in my IPad.

Reply

3rd gen iPad update

From Rob on April 23, 2021 :: 5:50 am

I am stuck at v9.3.5 but Apple site says my A1416 model is compatible with v12.x.x.
Wireless update from iPad says I am at latest revision. Apple is recommending update via iTunes. Am I wasting my time cranking up the PC.

Reply

That's not correct

From Josh Kirschner on April 23, 2021 :: 9:35 am

Not sure where you found the information that a iPad 3 can be upgraded to iOS 12, but it’s clear from our chart, and all the discussions I see on apple.com confirm, that iOS 9.3.5 is that final version for that model.

Reply

iPad : iOS 9.3.5 Duel core A5 chip, model No.MD531LL/A

From Prakash Morab on May 03, 2021 :: 8:16 am

I have above mention iPad, I have updated (getting updated msg.).

Not able to able download any apps and looking for your advice / suggestion.

If you send me your reply, it will be great help for me.

Thanking you.

Reply

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