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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 :: 166 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

Not friendly

From Wolas on May 30, 2021 :: 4:15 pm

Main point is to allow user to install latest version available for an old device. Now if you start from scratch all you get is “Not compatible”. No other options. Or do some tricks with older +newer devices… Very friendly :(



From Abraham on June 05, 2021 :: 11:16 pm

My iPad is 10.3.3(14G60) but every time I try to update it to iOS 11 or 12 it’ll always tell me I’m updated to the same 10.3.3 the model is MD514LL/A I don’t know why?


You have a 4th gen iPad

From Josh Kirschner on June 06, 2021 :: 9:23 pm

You have a 4th gen iPad and, as we indicate in the chart above, the highest it can go is 10.3.4 (10.3.3 for non-cellular models).


2 Gen iPad update

From Delilah Tombiol on June 13, 2021 :: 2:28 am

Hi I have a 2nd Generation iPad and I’m thinking of upgrading it to iOS 10. Currently it is at 9.3.5 iOS .


I see only iOS

From Ahmed on June 17, 2021 :: 8:34 am

I see only iOS 9.5.3


iPad mini

From Kyra on June 22, 2021 :: 4:42 pm

I can’t update my iPad from 9.3.5



From Sylvia on July 09, 2021 :: 5:08 pm

iPad A1430 iOS 9.3.6

What browser can I download which is compatible with Facebook?

Thank you


1st gen IPad Air

From Paula on July 16, 2021 :: 3:03 am

Hi, have just come across your helpful article and wonder if you can help.
My 1st gen IPad Air model A1475 has software 12.5.4 and is noted to be up to date. Have just bought a new printer that needs software 13 and later. Is there a work around for this, so I can print direct andwirelessly, or is this as I suspect not an option. I don’t have other Apple devices to download and share app. Thanks


Not that I can think of

From Josh Kirschner on July 21, 2021 :: 6:26 pm

I don’t have a workaround solution for you. If the printer requires iOS 13, you’re likely out of luck with that iPad. Your only choice would be to buy a new one.


Thank you for checking and getting back to me

From Paula on July 22, 2021 :: 2:38 am

As I suspected, thank you anyway



From Ali Honey on July 17, 2021 :: 1:40 pm

Hi.  How are u .i need ur help plz ...I am new iPad user ...i have iPad 2 it’s very old can I update in this soft ware…


want to update

From Moses on July 20, 2021 :: 3:23 am

I want to update my ipad 2 to version ios 10. Plz, i need someone’s help?


You can't

From Josh Kirschner on July 21, 2021 :: 6:27 pm

I think the article was pretty clear that you can’t do that.


can i update my ipad air 1 ?

From marie on July 26, 2021 :: 7:05 am

will this work on my ipad air 1st gen??


How Can I update my

From Suliman on August 28, 2021 :: 1:03 pm

How Can I update my old I pad 2
Thank you.


Read More Comments: 1 2 3 4

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