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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.

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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

13.0 update

From Donald Cercone on November 05, 2020 :: 5:27 pm

Can I update my mini 2 to version 13.0?


No. The last update for

From Suzanne Kantra on November 05, 2020 :: 5:57 pm

No. The last update for iPad mini 2 is iOS 12.4.8


I thought that’s what it

From Filip Draskovic on January 09, 2021 :: 5:10 am

I thought that’s what it says


Been looking for hours for

From Filip Draskovic on January 09, 2021 :: 5:13 am

Been looking for hours for such info,extremel helpful,thanks


Upgrade a mini ipad

From John connolly on January 10, 2021 :: 5:14 am

Has no one upgraded a 2012 iPad - given the earths resources are limited surely now is the time to allow upgrades to old iPads there has to be a market - I feel it is morally wrong to just go out and buy a new shiny iPad


i agree 100% da point

From Christina Brown on January 12, 2021 :: 1:06 pm

i agree 100% da point of switching to Apple was its capabilities of upgrading all their devices….. So its like we dont matter if we dont jump to upgrade their products that changes almost every 4 months sometimes

Thank you!

From Melissa Brightman on January 27, 2021 :: 3:27 am

100% agree! Why are we buying such well engineered hardware if they won’t allow upgrades? I still have my enormous eMac and it works great! I would think it would actually be a source of pride and marketing (think Subaru) to have devices that outlast all others. Just a thought.

I tottally ugry with you

From Jool on April 06, 2021 :: 9:23 am

I tottally ugry with you smile

ipad 3 scrap

From brian smith on May 27, 2021 :: 5:07 am

totally agree with John Connolly. Apple claim to be looking after the environment so it is about time we all stopped buying their products until they stop making scrap of perfectly good hardware by so called improvements. More amd more websites no longer work.

RE: Upgrade a mini iPad

From Anonymous on May 31, 2021 :: 5:40 pm

Replying to your comment John,

I have upgraded my original iPad 2nd generation from an iOS of 4.5 to 9.3.5

I recommend googling for iOS downloadable links.

Many editors of legit technology magazines have provided such links, and will go as far as to inform you on what specific iPad (older or newer) can be upgraded to iOS 11 or iOS 12.

Many people say it is impossible to upgrade an older iPad to iOS 12. Do not believe this rubbish talk.

The people who say this have either strong theoretical opinions that they hold to and never put into practice, or, they are the type that believe what they say is one hundred percent indisputable. Either way, they’re hard-headed.

Software update

From Fiona on January 11, 2021 :: 5:56 pm

I’m looking to update iPad mini and an iPad gen 2 latest update when backed up say 9.3.5 how do I update this to a better one as my daughters games are usually supported by 10 and above


iOS 10 not available for those models

From Josh Kirschner on January 12, 2021 :: 2:57 pm

9.3.5 is the latest update available for the 1st gen iPad mini and 2nd gen iPad. iOS 10 isn’t available. Even if it were, the hardware on those very old devices would not have the power to run many of the newer games.

Did you find out

From Karen on January 13, 2021 :: 4:01 pm

Did you find out


From Jason Sighe on January 22, 2021 :: 1:57 pm

The latest is 12.5.1, but I’m struggling to update my son’s mini 2, can it be done without connection to iTunes on p.c?


Software update

From Asi on April 11, 2021 :: 11:05 am

Hi Thare when I update my baby tab I pad 3 mini it’s say already update with 9.3.6 I tried with different ways but coudent win even try Apple beta profile that’s coudent instal always fail to instal help me o on my Wataap 0027731100111 wil b appreciate

iPad mini 2 update

From Renee on January 27, 2021 :: 9:53 pm

Since my iPad is apparently too old for the iOS 14 update, does that mean my device is at risk?


Security - reply to Renee comment of 1/27/21

From Bob C. on March 29, 2021 :: 1:58 am

Depends on what you do and sites you visit. Assuming you do basic things, e-mail, games (from the Apple store), messaging, etc., you are probably OK. If you are doing a lot of financial transactions and other sensitive type functions, you could be at risk. While Apple products may be more secure than Windows products, it is not 100%. Apple also ships “security fixes” when the need arises. The problem is they won’t install on older Apple hardware that is no longer supported. So you are without those fixes. But, again, it depends on what you do. If you clear out your browser (assuming Safari) before shutting down, that would help get rid of any information you entered that is temporarily stored until clear it (like “cookie” from visited web sites). Also, shutting it down (on iPad until it asks “power off” and accepting), supposed to clean up any other temporary data.

I have an iPad 2 and can’t use iOS past 9.3.5. But I only use it for limited purposes (like looking up something with Duckduckgo instead of Google) or reading comics, or a few other things where I don’t consider worth “protecting”. When done, I just turn it off normally and every so often, I power off to clean up any residual stuff that may be laying around. My biggest problem is running into something where it requires downloading a new app from the Apple store - 99% of the time, the download fail because its an old iPad. The same with update requests. I used to get alerts to update an app and then have the update fail because it required the latest iOS version. Now if I get ne, I usually try it once and if it fails due to being on the older iOS version, I ignore future update alerts.

Hopefully, I provide you some (late) help. I apologize to other if someone else has provided much of the same/similar advice, but I only came to this site due to the misleading title, which implied an old iPAD/apple device could be “updated to use the new versions of iOS and after seeing a few comments (including Renee’s) didn’t plan on spending anymore time finding out what I already knew.


From Fakhri zaman on July 08, 2021 :: 3:50 am

Hi,I have ipad2 64gb I want updates my iPad,I cannot download any application from AppStore,please guide me,THANK YOU


How frustrating using an iPad can be!!

From Jo on January 12, 2021 :: 5:01 pm

I am completely and utterly frustrated w my iPad, I am trying to sync info from a lost android to my older iPad and i am so confused, I don’t know but the basics of tech stuff , but I don’t know which browser I’m in or which app is in which browser or the passwords for certain apps in the different browser so!!!!!  It does explain it at all as your doing it I mean the choices on the pages are basic unless you know yu ain’t getting nowhere, it has had me change my passwords so many times now I don’t even know?!?!  I have different ones for Google and different for safari !???!  It’s just a big jumbled disscombobulated mess every time I try to figure it out all I’m doing is changing passwords in order to try and get to the page to help me. And then it says all your passwords have been comprimised yu need to change them all now! Oh my Lanta lord help me I’m going to snap!!! Thanks for letting me vent and cry !!


Here's some help...

From Dave on January 18, 2021 :: 1:46 pm

I understand that using an iPad alongside an Android OS tablet can be quite the struggle. However, if you mean to sync passwords, then I would recommend using just one browser, such as Chrome, Firefox, or even Microsoft Edge. Each browser is different, however, you would usually need to make an account for that browser. Since you are using Android, I would recommend Chrome—you can sign in to a Google Account to sync your passwords, as well as the availability on both devices. Even better, go analog and write your passwords down. (Keep it safe, of course.) Moreover, due to the fact it says your passwords may have been compromised, you may need to change them, now. If you have any password that was compromised, try to think of a better one. It’s not the end of the world. Good luck.


Password manager would be better

From Josh Kirschner on January 18, 2021 :: 6:11 pm

You would be better off using a password manager app, rather than a browser-based option. The app will give you the advantage of filling in passwords within apps on both your iPad and Android tablet, not just websites. We have a list of our recommended password managers, and I’m also a fan of 1Password, which wasn’t in that earlier article.

Update iPad Gen 2 to higher ios than 9.3.5

From Aaron Heale on April 20, 2021 :: 11:02 pm

This is the reason I HATE Mac products with a true passion. There are some very basic and simple apps that I need to download to be able to do some things like, pay my cable bill, or make changes to cell plan, or have the insurance carrier app to be able to add or remove cars from my policy, and I CAN’T!!!!!! Because I have an iPad Gen 2 that runs a 9.3.5 ios and cannot be upgraded to the minimum required software that almost every app demands. My iPad is in mint condition still and is absolutely worthless. Apple tells you basically that your device you purchase today, will be worth jack sh** in the near future no matter how well you take care of it. I have an tablet , some off brand name that is 2 years older than the iPad and had no problem downloading and running every app i request, maybe very slow sometimes, but it allows me the opportunity to at least do that much. Samsung Galaxy and Samsung smart TVs have been good to me. I still have the Galaxy S4 and it works great and downloads everything and runs everything. Apple is BS.  Are there any hackers out there that can upgrade my pile of crap iPad Gen 2 to the latest version ios for a decent price???



From gollum on June 08, 2021 :: 1:22 am

Not sure if this will help but worth a shot….

Go to your Purchase history and try downloading the app from there. If previously downloaded it will allow you to use a backward compatible version . You wont get this feature from the App store which is ridiculous.


iPad update

From Pierre on July 06, 2021 :: 2:49 pm

How do I get to purchase history? Please help

Same frustration with upgrading my device

From Ash on August 09, 2021 :: 1:55 pm

I totally agreed, I have been having the same issue with even the youtube app due to having IOS 9.3.5, as the latest upgrade. :(


Old ipad

From Dorcas on November 11, 2020 :: 6:21 pm

What can I do to improve this iPad? It is a 9.3.5 model MD531Ll/A


Also 9.3.5 that won't update to a newer IOS

From Dave on November 18, 2020 :: 12:05 pm

Is this model obsolete?


With an iPad that can't

From Suzanne Kantra on November 18, 2020 :: 5:22 pm

With an iPad that can’t be upgraded beyond iOS 9.3.5, you may find that you can’t install some apps that require a later version of iOS.


Oh no!

From Dave on November 18, 2020 :: 6:23 pm

That is/had been my experience. I was hoping for a work around that doesn’t exist. Thank you for letting me know. D

Why can't i download apps

From Seini on June 07, 2021 :: 12:26 pm

with my ipad it says that its updated ios 9.3.5 but it cnt even download Youtube.. reall frustrating.. wat can i do??

There is a potential work

From Suzanne Kantra on November 19, 2020 :: 12:49 pm

There is a potential work around. If you’ve already installed an app on another iOS device, you may be able to still install an earlier compatible version of the app on your old device.

Go into App Store > Account > Purchased and you’ll see all of the apps that you’ve downloaded on all of your iOS (or iPadOS) devices. If the app you’re interested in installing is listed, there may still be a version available that’s compatible with your device.


this worked!!

From Cheryl F Lloyd on January 07, 2021 :: 1:16 am

I have an iPad Mini 2 and needed at least IOS 13.4 for an app I haven’t used in a while. I went into the purchased list and attempted to download the app. It prompted me to download an older version that was compatible with my iPad’s older version. Thank you!!! You saved me. Cheryl


Newer apps on older device

From Matt on February 06, 2021 :: 6:03 pm

If all you’re trying to do is get the apps or games on your older device, some may come up as “you must have iOS 10 or 11-14 to use” however, if you had the app previously, all you need to do is open the App Store on you iPad 2 or mini 1 or whatever the older device is, and at the bottom click “purchased” apps. Search for the app or game you are trying to upgrade, and it will allow you to download the newest version possible for that device, thus allowing you to use that app or play that game. Hope that makes sense and wasn’t too complicated.

Basically open App Store-> go to bottom and click purchased—> search for app/game -> hit update

Good luck



From Lama on November 21, 2020 :: 8:41 am

I have an old iPad I backed up the iPad but when I got to software they say I have to update with a computer like there isn’t download and install how do I do it I need Microsoft world and power point on my ipad


What version of iOS is

From Suzanne Kantra on November 24, 2020 :: 11:37 am

What version of iOS is your iPad running now? And, is the only back up of your iPad on iCloud? If so, you should download iTunes and back up your iPad to your computer and then update your iPad. Once your iPad has the latest version of iOS that it can run, check for the Microsoft Power Point and Word apps to download.


Thanks a lot

From Saumya Chauhan on December 09, 2020 :: 5:22 am

But pls tell any other way to update


I can not upgrade from ios9.3.5 on my ipad

From Butsuzie on February 18, 2021 :: 9:15 pm

Hy my name is Susan, and I have an old ipad that I can not upgrade to ios10. It’s model is MC769LL/A. A friend of mine told me it’s a very old version I just have to throw it away, so my question is, is there any possible way to upgrade or I should throw it away like my friend adviced, coz it’s driving me nats🤦‍♀️


No, you cannot upgrade further

From Josh Kirschner on February 19, 2021 :: 2:20 pm

You cannot upgrade your iPad beyond the latest iOS version listed in the chart above. The only workaround is that if you have apps downloaded through iTunes on another device (e.g., your iPhone), you may be able to download that app through the iTunes on your old iPad if that app had a version compatible with 9.3.5. But those earlier app versions may be missing important functionality or may not work at all, so it’s a weak workaround, at best.

So if it doesn’t offer any value to you as is, your best bet is to wipe the data ( and either dispose of it responsibly or donate it.

thanks for information

From Dhel Bundles on November 23, 2020 :: 10:52 pm

thanks for information


Ipad 4

From Georgina on November 25, 2020 :: 3:48 pm

Certain apps wont work on my ipad 4,its running ios there a way of bettering it?


Also having same issue

From Ramesh on February 13, 2021 :: 2:11 pm

I can’t upgrade to higher versions. Did u find a solution ? If share with me too on my email ...thanks



From Noel on November 27, 2020 :: 6:51 pm

Is there no way I can update to 10 without a computer


I cannot update from iOS 10 from my iPad 4

From Naizacute1981 on December 08, 2020 :: 10:28 am

I cannot download iOS 14 at all. My iOS is up to date but I cannot seem to download any apps as I was instructed to have iOS 11,12 or more. So, why apple displays my software is up to date but on the other hand,I can’t download the most simple google chrome apps! Apple is soooo frustrating. I regret buying this preloved iPad!


Same here. Its frustrating!

From iPad 4 on December 10, 2020 :: 1:37 am

Same here. Its frustrating!



From Jaclyn on December 09, 2020 :: 9:41 pm

I need help updating my old ipad past the 10.3.3 and can’t figure it out. I need it to atleast 12


Old iPad running 10.3.0 and want to update IOS but can't

From Brian G II on December 20, 2020 :: 7:10 pm

I have an an old iPad model MD510LL/A that’s running IOS 10.3.3 and I want to upgrade to a later IOS but I’m not seeing options how.  Can you assist?


That is as high as it will go

From Josh Kirschner on December 22, 2020 :: 6:08 pm

You have the 4th Gen iPad which, unfortunately, only goes up to 10.2.3/4. So you’re stuck there. The only solution Apple offer is to buy a new iPad.


How to update software on old iPads- MD510C/A?

From Terri froess on February 06, 2021 :: 1:18 pm

How do I do this?


Upgrade of 10.3.3

From Gp on December 12, 2020 :: 4:03 pm

I like to upgrade my iPad to iOS 12 as minimum. Please advise what to do.Thanks


I'd like to upgrade my iPad from 10.3 to at least 12

From David Godley on December 14, 2020 :: 5:30 am

Pls advise how to update from 10.3 yo iOS 12 as a minimum, thanks


Read More Comments: 1 2 3 4

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