Skip to main content

Apple iPad (2019) vs. iPad (2018): What difference does a year make?

The entry-level iPad benefitted from a very nice upgrade with its 2019 model. Compared to the iPad (2018), the 2019 version boasted a larger touchscreen, as well as a little more RAM. However, is it really a better tablet overall than its immediate predecessor? We answer this eternal question in this head-to-head comparison article.

Whether you own an older iPad and you’re wondering whether to upgrade, or you’re just shopping for a newer tablet and want to know what Apple’s most affordable option has to offer, we have you covered. We’re going to delve into all the differences between Apple’s 2019 iPad and its 2018 iPad, so you can decide which one is for you.


iPad (2019) iPad (2018)
Size 250.6 x 174.1 x 7.5 mm (9.8 x 6.8 x 0.30 inches) 240 x 169.5 x 7.5 mm (9.45 x 6.67 x 0.30 inches)
Weight 483 grams (17 oz) 469 grams (16.8 oz)
Screen size 10.2 inches 9.7 inches
Screen resolution 2,160 x 1,620 pixels (264 pixels per inch) 2,048 x 1,536 pixels (264 pixels per inch)
Operating system iOS 13 iOS 13
Storage space 32GB, 128GB 32GB, 128GB
MicroSD Card slot No No
Tap-to-pay services No No
Processor Apple A10 Fusion Apple A10 Fusion
Camera Rear 8MP, front 1.2MP Rear 8MP, front 1.2MP
Video 1,080p at 30fps, 720p at 120fps 1,080p at 30fps, 720p at 120fps
Bluetooth version Bluetooth 4.2 Bluetooth 4.2
Ports Lightning Lightning
Fingerprint sensor Yes Yes
Water resistance No No
Battery 8,827mAh 8,827mAh
App marketplace Apple App Store Apple App Store
Network support All major carriers (cellular version only) All major carriers (cellular version only)
Colors Silver, gold, space gray Silver, gold, space gray
Price $330-plus $330-plus
Buy from Amazon Amazon
Review score 4.5 out of 5 stars 4.5 out of 5 stars

Performance, battery life, and charging

It’s unusual for Apple to release a new iPad version and not improve performance, but the iPad (2019) has the same A10 Fusion chip as the iPad (2018). That said, the iPad (2019) comes with 3GB of RAM, as opposed to the more modest 2GB of the iPad (2018). What that means is that you can expect the newer iPad to be a little bit faster than its predecessor, with the 2019 version being a little better at handling more recent apps and juggling several tasks at the same time. Nonetheless, we found the iPad (2018) to be speedy and slick for the most part, though this chip is the same one Apple put in the iPhone 7 and it’s definitely aging; expect to see the odd frame rate issue with demanding games.

Apple doesn’t state battery capacity when it releases new tablets, but we’ve since learned that both iPads pack an 8,827mAh battery. In other words, the iPad (2019) will give you 10 hours of mixed-use, and so will the iPad (2018). Sadly, there’s no fast charging or wireless charging support for either.

The difference is slight, but thanks to the extra RAM we’re giving this round to the newer iPad.

Winner: Apple iPad (2019)

Design and durability

The seventh-generation iPad is a bit bigger and heavier than the sixth-generation iPad to accommodate the larger display, but aside from that, the design language is exactly the same. There are sizable bezels around the screen and a Touch ID fingerprint sensor at the bottom when you hold it in portrait. Both feature a strong and durable aluminum body, though the newer iPad is the first to be made from 100% recycled aluminum. They come in the same three colors: Silver, gold, or space gray.

Sadly, there’s no mention of water resistance for either tablet. We can’t divide them on design or durability.

Winner: Tie


iPad 7th generation hands-on holding in horizontal mode
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

With an extra half-inch of display, we’ve finally found another tangible improvement in the newer iPad. The iPad (2019) has a 10.2-inch screen with a resolution of 2,160 x 1,620 pixels which translates to 264 pixels per inch. It’s exactly the same Retina display as you’ll find in the iPad (2018) in terms of quality, brightness, and sharpness, it’s just a little bigger.

Winner: Apple iPad (2019)


iPad 7th generation hands-on corner view of buttons and camera
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Apple left the camera configuration in the basic iPad unchanged when it launched the 2019 version of its standard tablet. That means you’ll get a single-lens 8-megapixel camera on the back and a 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera for FaceTime. There’s no difference between the two tablets, so this round is another tie.

Winner: Tie

Software and updates

Apple iPad 7th generation on stage | Apple September 2019 Event Keynote
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Launched in 2019, iPadOS provided the iPad with a tablet-optimized operating system, which brought new layouts to many apps and an updated Split View to take advantage of all your screen real estate and make it easier to get productive on your iPad. You’ll also be able to pinch the onscreen keyboard to shrink it and use Slide Over to quickly switch between open apps or have one app hover over another. It’s now up to iPadOS 14, and is available on both these iPads, though, so it’s not a point of difference.

We also expect both devices to be updated on the same schedule for the foreseeable future. It’s another tie then.

Winner: Tie

Special features

iPad 7th generation hands-on using keyboard
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Although both iPads are compatible with the $99, first-gen Apple Pencil, only the newer version features a smart connector. The latest iPad can serve as an alternate laptop with its full-size Smart Keyboard; however, it’s important to note that you’ll need to shell out around $159 for the Apple iPad accessory. Considering that you’ll be nearly doubling the cost of the iPad with that accessory, we don’t know how many would be willing to pay for it. We also feel it’s worth mentioning that the 2019 iPad is built with 100% recycled aluminum. They may have several distinguishing characteristics that draw you to one or the other, but overall, both iPads are solid choices for high-quality performance and authentic perks.

Winner: Apple iPad (2019)

Price and availability

Apple has recently stopped making the 2019 iPad and is now in full production mode for the 2020 version. The initial model started at $329, although you could probably find a cheaper deal from various retailers. If you’re looking for cellular network support, then the price will start at $459 instead. Keep in mind that you’ll also have to spend more for the 128GB versions ($429 and $559, respectively). We believe you’ll opt for this storage, as 32GB is usually never enough space for the average user. This is the same pricing as the iPad (2018), which Apple has also discontinued. You should always look out for sales and deals on sites like Amazon or retailers like Best Buy because you’ll often luck out.

Overall winner: Apple iPad (2019)

We believe that the iPad (2019) is the champion in this battle, but only slightly. It’s only a half-inch of extra screen (measured diagonally), an extra GB of RAM, and the smart connector we previously discussed. With all that said, we feel it’s important to note that the cellular version of the iPad (2019) supports Gigabit-class LTE connectivity, which can triple the speed of cellular data connections when compared to the iPad (2018). When it comes down to it, you can barely tell the difference between the two iPads. So, if you’re already an iPad (2018 owner, you don’t really need to rush to upgrade.

Editors' Recommendations

Simon Hill
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Simon Hill is an experienced technology journalist and editor who loves all things tech. He is currently the Associate Mobile…
The best iPad keyboards for 2023
The Brydge Pro+ on a tabletop.

The Apple iPad is the best tablet, and finding the right one for you is easy as Apple has an extensive range at a variety of different prices. Typing on the touchscreen is surprisingly fluid and natural, but there’s nothing like a physical keyboard for getting work done quickly and efficiently. We know from experience, having typed more than 7,000 words on the iPad Pro 2020 and Apple's Magic Keyboard during our review.

But what's the best iPad keyboard? Our recommendations take into account your budget and which iPad model you may own, to help smooth the transition between relaxing with Netflix to furiously working on a Word document when you're seated at your desk. Stick around to the end of the article for information on alternative keyboards that aren’t part of a case, or directly related to the iPad.

Read more
Best refurbished iPad deals and sales for January 2023
Woman Using 2021 iPad Pro 11-inch

Apple's iPad is the most popular line of tablets in the market today, as they're packed with the most advanced mobile technology and the latest features. They don't come cheap though, so shoppers are looking for refurbished iPad deals to enjoy savings. The refurbished products that retailers offer come with guarantees for your peace of mind, which make them some of the best tablet deals if you don't mind purchasing a second-hand device in order to get lower prices. They may not include the latest models of the best iPads, but we've rounded up some of the best refurbished iPad deals that will let you enjoy the benefits of using what were some of the best tablets in the market.
Best refurbished iPad deals

Apple iPad Air 2nd Gen (Wi-Fi, 16GB) -- $134, was $145
Apple iPad 5th Gen (Wi-Fi, 32GB) -- $190, was $200
Apple iPad 6th Gen (Wi-Fi, 32GB) -- $230, was $330
Apple iPad 7th Gen (Wi-Fi, 32GB) -- $250, was $330

Read more
The best iPads in 2023: which Apple tablet should you buy?
Volume buttons on the iPad Air 5.

Apple's iPad is undoubtedly one of the most popular tablets on the market right now. There are several different models to choose from, but no matter which one you go with, you'll be getting one of the best tablets out there. Still, Apple provides an abundance of choice here, and with so many different versions — and nearly annual updates — it can be tricky to know which one is the best to get.

All of Apple's iPads are pretty great, and they're each designed with a slightly different audience in mind, so it's hard to pick a single one as "the best." That's why we've broken the list down by categories; after all, there's an ideal iPad for nearly every situation. Whether you're looking for the best overall iPad, the best iPad for a budget, something in the middle of the pack, or even the best small iPad, we've got you covered.

Read more