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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 :: 212 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.

[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

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.



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

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


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 ?


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.


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?


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.


Updated version required

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

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


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.


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 confirm, that iOS 9.3.5 is that final version for that model.


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.


iOS 9.3.6 - ModelA1430

From Sylvia on May 24, 2021 :: 4:21 am

Can my iPad be upgraded to IOS 10…

Thank you



From Josh Kirschner on May 25, 2021 :: 1:40 pm

No, see chart in article.



From liyaqat khan on May 28, 2021 :: 1:54 am

My iPad mini ver.9.3.5 I want letest version how to do update new version pls help me


Read the chart

From Josh Kirschner on June 01, 2021 :: 7:01 pm

What does it say in the chart above for the latest version you can install on your device?


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.


ISO 9.3.5

From Daddy BJ on October 15, 2021 :: 2:02 pm

I have a Model: MC769LL/A with ISO 9.3.5 on it. Am I stuck and unable to upgrade? Most o my streaming systems require a newer version


hardware update possible?

From Tom on October 20, 2021 :: 7:49 pm

I have a model A1219 1st gen. Is it possible to put the latest hardware inside of it with new software update installed?  If the answer is not possible than just put it in recycle bin??


Check chart above

From Josh Kirschner on October 21, 2021 :: 5:59 pm

The chart at the top of this article is pretty clear on which models can be updated to each iOS version. The A1219 cannot be updated. The recycle bin is a pretty good place for it unless you want it for very basic (and insecure) web browsing.



From Marc on October 23, 2021 :: 8:06 pm

Why am I stuck on 9.3.5 iOS? It’s LITERALLY annoying..EVERYTHING I have electronic can update except my apple devices


Software update for iPad(6)

From Michael L Underwood on October 26, 2021 :: 2:25 am

The model number of my iPad is ME993LL/A. I did not see that in any listing about latest software. I currently have 12.5.5. I know that there are later software versions. Can my system be upgraded or has it been left behind?


You're stuck on iOS12

From Josh Kirschner on October 28, 2021 :: 4:07 pm

The ME993LL/A is a 1st generation iPad Air. So you are stuck with iOS 12.


Update old ipad

From Mark on November 05, 2021 :: 8:40 pm

Can you help me update my old iPad I’m at 9.3 version


minor incremental iOS updates released

From mastman on November 12, 2021 :: 1:21 pm

I have an iPad mini 2 (A1490) that I just updated over WiFi to iOS 12.5.5 (vs. 12.4.8 in the table above), which was released by Apple on 9/23/2021. Doesn’t make it current with everything that iOS 15.1 would offer, but i am glad that Apple is continuing to support old equipment with security updates.


Workaround that works

From Jan on November 15, 2021 :: 3:59 am

Hi all,

thanks to KATHY above for pointing out the actual way to work around the issue and install the apps you want.

Tried it and it worked fine!

I was able to install apps i had purchased on other devises to the old iPad.


Quite annoying, sadly

From Harmand on December 08, 2021 :: 4:55 am

This matter somehow reminds me of the missing (and in no way available) “delete” key in iPad keyboards.

As a (dearly) paying customer, I should be the one to decide whether MY product is (or is not) “too slow” or “too old” to run newer software. In an ideal world I should be allowed to update my product anyway and then, possibly, get back to the previous situation. One may very well accept slowness in exchange for updating. That depends on personal needs and attitudes. And “slowness”, anyway, is a quite subjective perception, which also depends on the kind of tasks the product is used for.

Net of all the possible good and sincere talk about caring for “user experience”, this habit of actually imposing unilateral arbitrary decisions on the customer (indirectly also imposing not only new purchases but also their timing) is hardly bearable and certainly does not contribute at all, in my opinion, to improving that “experience”.


There is NO upgrade for my ipad

From Robert Gosney on December 12, 2021 :: 1:03 pm

On General tab, there IS NO upgrade option that is available.  Even when connected to wifi.  I have internet, but no ability to upgrade the IOS.  I am running version 4.2.1 (8C148) on model number MB294LL.  Well?  What can I do besides soaking it in water for 2 days?  <SMILE>  Thanks!


Did you try through iTunes?

From Josh Kirschner on December 23, 2021 :: 11:01 am

Did you follow the steps above to upgrade via iTunes on your computer? Though, even if it works, the first gen iPads will only go to iOS 5.1.1., which is pretty useless.


Problem updating my old iPad

From Agnes Nebo on December 17, 2021 :: 8:21 am

I have tried updating my old iOS, 9.3.5 with model number MC960LL/A to iOS 10 but the wireless step has failed. Please help me out


Check your model in the chart

From Josh Kirschner on December 23, 2021 :: 10:58 am

The MC960LL/A is an iPad 2 and can only be upgraded to 9.3.5.


death to the iPad....

From Robert W Gosney on December 17, 2021 :: 11:13 am

SO, I have one of the first ipad’s released, it does not even HAVE an option to upgrade software.  Nothing, but nothing works on it any longer.  Since there is no Vet that will put it to sleep, I have with a hammer.  NEVER AGAIN WILL I WASTE ONE DIME ON ANY APPLE COMPUTERS!  Had to do the same to my Macbook Air.  JUNK!!!  STOP BUYING GARBAGE FROM APPLE.  IMHO.


What is my latest version

From Eureka on December 27, 2021 :: 2:14 pm

What is my latest version


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