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How to Update an Old iPad

by on October 03, 2021
in Tips & How-Tos, Computers and Software, Tablets & eReaders, Phones and Mobile, iPhone/iPad Apps :: 206 comments

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While most iPads can be upgraded to the latest operating system, iPadOS 15, 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 12.5.5
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 - 9th generation (2021), Models numbers A2602, A2604, A2603, A2605

iPad mini 4 - 4th generation (2015), Model numbers A1550, A1538
iPad mini - 5th generation (2019), Model numbers A2124, A2126, A2133
iPad mini - 6th generation (2021), Model numbers A2567, A2568, A2569

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")
iPad Pro - 5th generation (2021), Model numbers A2377, A2459, A2460 (11-inch), Model numbers A2378, A2461, A2462 (12.9")
iPadOS 15

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 or later, 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 or later 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 10/03/2021 with new model number information and iPadOS 15 compatibility.

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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

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.


Me, too

From Bob Burns on July 29, 2021 :: 10:52 am

To Linda Newley…

Me, too. I’m stuck with an iPad which only can handle OS 10.3 and cannot operate websites I actually bought the darn iPad for…such as th NY Times and Washinge on Post.

I’m frustrated with Apple Computer as a megalith from which there is no real alternative. This scheme of theirs is out and out planned obsolescence.


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.


American multinationals

From brian smith on May 31, 2021 :: 5:18 am

I totally agree with the posting to Boycott Apple and I just wonder why the internet is not organised to do just that together with other similar companies that are damaging our beautiful planet and making life even more difficult for those with very little compared to the rest of us. Perfectly good technology being made redundant and just adding to the mountains of scrap in the name of economics, business and profit.

I did try contacting apple but guess what, my ipad would not work on their websites presumably so that we can not complain. I did amazingly get them to ring me and a very pleasant man went through a number of things to try and solve my ipad problems. No mention that the problems are created by the computer industry and they are not prepared to solve them. Just left me with the message that my ipad was an antique and I should buy a new one. I for one will not be encouraging this behaviour.


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.


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.


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?


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.


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?


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.



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

Thanks for your help.

Kind regards,


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???


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


iPad 4 ios12 update

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

Can I get ios12 on my IPad 4



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

No, see the chart above.


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


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.


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.


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.


Fb/YouTube/mass enter not salut !

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

Assala moalikum


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.


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.


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?


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.


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


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.


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.


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