iPad Air Overview Updated September 19, 2022

iPad Air

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306 'iPad Air' stories

October 2013 - April 2022

iPad Air 5

The iPad Air is “the default iPad” – the one you should buy if you’re not sure which model you need. When compared to all other iPads, this one has the Pro’s power – and chip – while costing less and keeping Touch ID.

History

iPad Air 5 colors

The iPad Air was first introduced in 2013. With a 9.7-inch display, it was really thin and light, weighing only 469 grams – over 25% lighter than its respective predecessor, the iPad 4.

When the iPad Air 2 was announced, a year later in 2014, Apple could deliver a thinner and faster tablet than its predecessor, weighing only 437 grams. The second-generation iPad was sold until March of 2017. Although it was a great tablet, Apple was focusing on the regular model and the Pro at the time.

Surprisingly in 2019, the company introduced the third-generation iPad Air, this time with a 10.5-inch Retina display, support for the first-generation Apple Pencil, and an upgraded Apple A12 Bionic chip.

With the fourth-generation iPad Air being introduced in October of 2020, Apple finally gave this iPad a fresh look, with a bezel-less design, and a five-color option, while being the first product with the A14 chip and integrating the Touch ID sensor on the Side Button. This iPad generation also lacks the headphone jack and supports the second-generation Apple Pencil and the Magic Keyboard, previously exclusive to the iPad Pro line.

In March of 2022, Apple unveiled its fifth-generation iPad Air. This tablet got new color options, the M1 chip from the iPad Pro and new Macs, as well as a faster USB-C port. The iPad Air 5 is the latest tablet from Apple to add Center Stage support and, alongside the iPad Pro and iPad mini, it finally brings 5G to its Cellular version.

iPad Air Specs

iPad Air 5

The fifth-generation iPad Air has a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display, with a bezel-less design. This iPad comes in five different colors: Space Gray, Pink, Purple, Blue, and Starlight. With the M1 chip, this tablet gets closer to the iPad Pro in power performance.

As it did with the previous model, Apple moved the Touch ID from the Home Button to the Side Button. Still, this tablet doesn’t feature a ProMotion display or camera flash.

Talking about the camera, it has a 12MP sensor, with ƒ/1.8 aperture, Smart HDR support, 1080p 30fps video recording, video stabilization, and more. The front camera has been revamped with an Ultra-Wide lens with 12MP that supports the Center Stage feature.

This iPad comes with 64GB or 256GB storage options and Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + Cellular versions. The fifth-generation iPad Air also has support for the second-generation Apple Pencil and the Magic Keyboard.

Accessories: Magic Keyboard and second-generation Apple Pencil

How to get the most out of your iPad Air, Apple Pencil, and iPadOS 14

Following along with its previous model, the iPad Air 5 works with Magic Keyboard and second-generation Apple Pencil. These two accessories help this tablet feel more “Pro” than the iPad mini or even the base model iPad.

The Magic Keyboard is available in black and white and features a great typing experience, a trackpad that opens up new ways to work with iPadOS, a USB‑C port for pass-through charging, and front and back protection. The Magic Keyboard has a floating cantilever design, allowing you to attach the iPad Air magnetically and smoothly adjust it to the perfect viewing angle for you.

  • Comfortable backlit keys and a scissor mechanism with 1 mm travel for quiet, responsive typing.
  • Designed for Multi‑Touch gestures and the cursor in iPadOS.
  • Smooth angle adjustability delivers the perfect viewing angle.
  • USB-C port for charging iPad Pro and iPad Air, freeing up the port on the iPad for other accessories.
  • Folds into a case to provide front and back protection.

The second-generation Apple Pencil delivers pixel-perfect precision and industry-leading low latency, making it great for drawing, sketching, coloring, taking notes, marking up PDFs, and more. It features a flat edge that attaches magnetically for automatic charging and pairing on the iPad Air.

The Magic Keyboard costs $299 but you can find it at a lower price at the Amazon store here. The Apple Pencil (2nd gen) costs $129 but you can find it at a lower price at the Amazon store here.

iPadOS 15 features

The fifth-generation iPad Air features iPadOS 15. Previewed during the WWDC21 keynote, the operating system brings a redesigned Home Screen with widgets and App Library support.

On iPadOS 15, FaceTime group calls can finally appear in a grid, so it’s easier to see everyone. It’s also possible to share your screen, listen to Apple Music songs together, or watch Apple TV+, HBO Max, Disney+, and others while in a call.

In the productivity section, Apple, unfortunately, didn’t bring all the features pro users wanted to take full advantage of their new M1 iPad Pro, even though Apple made it easier to rely on multitasking features.

There’s a new multitasking menu on the top of the screen. When you click there, it’s possible to see what configurations you can use on Split View or just go to Slide Over with just a tap.

The experience with an external keyboard allows users to get more done with all-new keyboard shortcuts and a redesign of the menu bar.

With Universal Control, which will later be available on the Mac, it’ll be possible to arrange the devices together and use the same mouse and keyboard on multiple Apple devices.

With the Quick Note feature, users can use the Apple Pencil to add a quick note. They just need to slide the pencil through the bottom right corner to the center of the screen and start writing.

Learn more about iOS 15 here.

iPadOS 15.1 features

One month after releasing iPadOS 15, Apple released iPadOS 15.1 More notable, the company finally brought SharePlay support for the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. Unfortunately, Universal Control wasn’t one of the features added with this new version. Here’s what else is new:

Translate

  • Mandarin Chinese (Taiwan) support in the Translate app and for system-wide translation

Home

  • New automation triggers based on the current reading of a HomeKit-enabled humidity, air quality, or light level sensor

Shortcuts

  • New pre-built actions let you overlay text on images or gifs, plus a new collection of games lets you pass the time with Siri

iPadOS 15.2 features

apple-music-hey-siri-plays-voice-plan-9to5mac-2

Five weeks after releasing iPadOS 15.1, Apple is releasing iPadOS 15.2. It brings more features that were expected to launch alongside iPadOS 15. Here are the top features of this version:

  • Apple Music Voice Plan is a new subscription tier that gives you access to all songs, playlists, and stations in Apple Music using Siri
  • App Privacy Report in Settings lets you see how often apps have accessed your location, photos, camera, microphone, contacts, and more during the last seven days, as well as their network activity
  • Communication safety setting gives parents the ability to enable warnings for children when they receive or send photos that contain nudity
  • Digital Legacy allows you to designate people as Legacy Contacts so they can access your iCloud account and personal information in the event of your death
  • Apple TV app: Store tab lets you browse, buy, and rent movies and TV Shows all in one place

iPadOS 15.3 features

Six weeks after releasing iPadOS 15.2, Apple is releasing iPadOS 15.3. This update foregoes new features in favor of under-the-hood bug fixes and improvements. One of the most notable changes here is a fix for a Safari vulnerability that may have been leaking your browsing history and Google ID data to the websites you visited.

iPadOS 15.4 features

iPadOS 15.4 finally brings one of the most important features expected from iPadOS 15 and that got delayed: Universal Control. Here’s everything new with iPadOS 15.4:

  • Universal Control: This feature allows you to control your Mac and iPad using the same keyboard and mouse/trackpad. Universal Control needs iPadOS 15.4 and macOS Monterey 12.3;
  • New Siri voice: Siri has a fifth American voice. Apple says a member of the LGBTQ+ community recorded the voice and it’s non-binary;
  • More emoji: iPadOS 15.4 also brings new emojis. You can discover all of the new characters here;
  • Shortcuts automation: Adds support for running Personal Automations in the background without requiring a pesky banner notification.

You can learn everything new with this update here.

iPadOS 15.5 features

Different from other software updates, iPadOS 15.5 only improves the Podcast app experience, as Apple focused on Wallet changes for the iPhone this time:

  • Apple Podcasts includes a new setting to limit episodes stored on your iPhone and automatically delete older ones

iPadOS 15.6 features

iPadOS 15.6 is yet another small update for iPad users. Here’s what’s news:

  • TV app adds the option to restart a live sports game already in progress and pause, rewind, or fast-forward.
  • Fixes an issue where Settings may continue to display that device storage is full even if it is available.
  • Fixes an issue that may cause Braille devices to slow down or stop responding when navigating text in Mail.
  • Fixes an issue in Safari where a tab may revert to a previous page.

iPadOS 15.7 features

Apple released iPadOS 15.7 with bug fixes while the company readies iPadOS 16.

Pricing

iPad Air (2022) pricing starts at $599 for the 64GB storage option with Wi-Fi only. The prices can go up to $879 with the 256GB storage option and Wi-Fi + Cellular. Here are the full prices of the fifth-generation AIr Apple sells:

  • 64GB with Wi-Fi: $599
  • 64GB with Wi-Fi + Cellular: $729
  • 256GB with Wi-Fi: $749
  • 256GB with Wi-Fi + Cellular: $899

Lower prices may be available from Apple’s official Amazon store.

iPad Air Review

In our video review of the fourth-generation iPad Air, we described it as the “default iPad to buy:”

Overall the iPad Air is a great tablet on its own. I still think anyone looking to get a new iPad for school and productivity would probably be better off with an iPad Pro, especially if you’re going to get the pencil and the keyboard. An Air 4 with a keyboard and pencil is about $200 less than what it would be for a Pro with the keyboard and pencil. And so you must decide whether the extra features you get with the iPad Pro are worth the extra $200. If not, then the Air 4 is a great steal.

As soon as we review the newest iPad Air 5, we’ll update this section.

Deals

Over at 9to5Toys, you can find the best deals on the iPad Air and other Apple products. Download the 9to5Toys iPhone app to receive push notifications for new deals as well.

Rumors

Apple just released iPad Air 5. For a future update, some rumors believe Apple will bet on an OLED display for the tablet instead of an LCD panel.

iPad Air Stories April 22

Nomad recently launched its high-end Modern Leather Case and Modern Leather Folio for the iPad Pro and Air. Both feature a clean and minimal design without sacrificing protection. Read along for a hands-on look at Nomad’s Modern iPad leather collection – two great alternatives to silicone or plastic cases.

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iPad Air Stories March 20

Apple just announced the iPad Air 5. With the M1 chip inside of it and an updated USB-C port, it never looked as “Pro” as now. That said, I’m still not convinced it can replace the M1 iPad Pro as the tablet professional goes – here’s why.

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iPad Air Stories March 18

To celebrate the launch of the new M1 iPad Air today, Apple has published a fun new video on its YouTube. Titled “Election,” this video showcases the new iPad Air being used in education by students involved in a school election.

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iPad Air Stories March 10

While the 2020 iPad Air already had many of the great features of the 11-inch iPad Pro, the new 2022 iPad Air narrows the gap even further with an M1 chip, ultra-wide front camera with Center Stage, 5G connectivity, and more. However, the iPad Pro still offers the most features and best performance. Below we’ll break down all the similarities and differences between the iPad Air vs iPad Pro to help you decide which to buy.

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iPad Air Stories March 7

There are only a few hours left until Apple’s next special event, where the company is expected to announce the 3rd generation iPhone SE, new Mac models, and also a new iPad Air. Rumors had already predicted that this new iPad will feature 5G support, but 9to5Mac has now learned from sources that the iPad Air 5 will be powered by the M1 chip.

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iPad Air Stories March 3

Apple’s iPad Air 4 has been easy to recommend since its launch in October 2020, but that could change with the rumored iPad Air 5 looming. Apple gave us a preview of what to expect for the next-gen iPad Air when it released a beefed up iPad mini 6 last fall. So what should we expect from a new iPad Air in 2022? Here’s everything we know so far…

Update: Apple has officially announced its next product event where the iPad Air 5 is expected to be unveiled. ‘Peek Performance’ will take place on Tuesday, March 8, at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET, and 9to5Mac will have full coverage. We expect to know when the iPad Air 5 is available to purchase and deliver during that hour, so tune in!

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iPad Air Stories January 15

It’s been over a year since Apple unveiled the completely redesigned iPad Air, but a supply chain report today indicates that a new model is on the horizon. Citing “reliable sources in China,” the blog Macotakara reports today that Apple could announce the fifth generation iPad alongside the iPhone SE 3 this spring.

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iPad Air Stories September 15, 2021

The new iPad mini introduced yesterday has several key improvements over the 4th generation iPad Air that the company introduced last year. Unfortunately, Apple did not refresh the iPad Air with these updates and instead opted to keep selling the existing model alongside the new iPad mini. We’ve put all of the differences between the two devices together, so keep reading to learn more about why the new iPad mini is technically better than the iPad Air.

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After a two and a half year wait since the last update, a totally redesigned iPad mini has officially arrived alongside the iPhone 13. The exciting overhaul for Apple’s compact tablet comes with a larger all-screen design, USB-C, the A15 Bionic chip, camera upgrades, 5G, Apple Pencil gen 2 support, and much more. Read on for a detailed look at the new iPad mini vs the iPad mini 5 and iPad Air.

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iPad Air Stories August 18, 2021

We recently learned that Samsung is gearing up to make OLED screens for the 2022 iPad Air using a new advanced manufacturing technique, and a fresh report says that LG is doing the same.

Apple is expected to upgrade the iPad Air to an OLED screen next year…

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iPad Air Stories August 10, 2021

Samsung is preparing to adopt a new process likely to be used in the production of OLED iPad screens next year, according to a new supply chain report.

The report says the company is expecting orders from Apple for a process specifically designed for OLED screens 10 inches and larger …

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iPad Air Stories July 28, 2021

Satechi launched its Aluminum Stand and Hub for iPad Pro/Air last month with a foldable design that brings 6 ports, integrated USB-C cable connector, and features like 4K output at 60Hz and 60W power. We’ve been testing out this handy iPad accessory that also works with MacBooks for a few weeks, read on for our full review.

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iPad Air Stories July 27, 2021

Japanese blog MacOtakara published a roundup of features that could be coming to the iPad Air 5, iPad mini 6, and even the base-model iPad 9th generation.

According to a Chinese supplier, the next iPad Air is likely to be based on the third-generation 11-inch iPad Pro, which means that more than the 10.9-inch display, this iPad could feature a dual-lens camera system with a wide-angle camera and an ultra-wide-angle camera.

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iPad Air Stories July 12, 2021

Apple is teaming up with California State University to provide iPad Air devices to up to 35,000 first-year and new transfer students. The announcement was made by California State University today, saying that students will receive an iPad Air, an Apple Pencil, and a Smart Keyboard Folio.

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iPad Air Stories May 31, 2021

After introducing the mini-LED technology on the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro, Apple is now planning to adopt OLED displays for some other iPads starting next year, according to Korea’s ETNews.

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iPad Air Stories May 27, 2021

Today, the University of Nevada, Reno announced that the iPad Air would power its Digital Wolf Pack initiative for its incoming freshman for the Fall of 2021 as students return to campus.

The iPad Air, launched during a pandemic-filled 2020, has quickly become a favorite of education and enterprise customers. Although slightly more expensive than the low-end iPad, the iPad Air is a powerful way to use iPadOS with support for almost all of Apple’s smart accessories.

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iPad Air Stories May 11, 2021

Following its announcement last month of the new Brydge 12.9 MAX+ for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, Brydge today announced its latest keyboard/trackpad combo, this time for the iPad Air. The new Brydge Air MAX+ features an expansive keyboard and multi-touch trackpad with a magnetic design, backlit keys, and more.

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iPad Air Stories April 21, 2021

How to trade in your old iPad and upgrade to the 2021 iPad Pro

The big day for the new iPad Pros has arrived, and the new tablets are big upgrades in more ways than one. If you’re coming from an older iPad but want to update to the latest iPad Pro (or even another recently-launched iPad) we’ll walk you through exactly how to trade in and recycle your old iPad (or other devices) for the latest-and-greatest…

iPad Air Stories February 3, 2021

At CES this week, Kensington has unveiled what looks like one of the most compelling Apple accessories we’ve seen so far – the StudioDock for iPad Air and iPad Pro. The product aims to bring together a whole lot of functionality with the aesthetic from Apple’s Pro Display XDR stand.

Update 2/3: Pre-orders now open.

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iPad Air Stories December 25, 2020

If you’re looking to add a new iPad Air to your household this Christmas, you should take a look at Amazon’s highest rated case made by ZUGU called the Alpha case. This company focuses all its energy on one thing, iPad Cases. It strikes the right balance between durability, lack of bulk, aesthetics and maximizing the iPad’s full usability potential. Let’s take a look:

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iPad Air Stories November 6, 2020

9to5Mac is brought to you by Concepts App. Sketch and design your ideas on an infinite canvas with flexible vector ink. Available on iPad and iPhone. Try it for free.

Whether you’ve recently picked up the 2020 iPad Air or will be getting one soon, there are a number of great new capabilities and features to enhance your experience between the new hardware, iPadOS 14, and Apple Pencil. And even if you’re keeping your existing iPad, follow along for how to get the most out of iPadOS 14 and Apple Pencil.

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iPad Air Stories October 23, 2020

Alongside the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro, today also marks the first day of availability for the new iPad Air. To celebrate the latest iPad Air, Apple has shared a new video on YouTube promoting the device’s features and color selection. The video first premiered during the iPad Air’s announcement event.

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We’ve already seen customers tweet photos as their pre-ordered iPhone 12 arrives, as well as photos of people waiting in line at Apple Stores.

Apple has now shared some official photos, not just in-store, but also of the shipping and distribution process used to get devices to stores and to customers …

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iPad Air Stories October 21, 2020

Early iPad Air reviews have now landed, and they are so consistent they come close to being word-for-word in their conclusions. You can also watch some view reviews below.

Ahead of the reviews, I voiced my view that ‘the 4th-gen iPad Air is probably the model most people should be buying’ – and the reviews universally agree …

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