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How Long Does an iPad Battery Really Last?

iPad Pro 2021

How Long Does an iPad Battery Really Last?

Key Points

  • The iPad line of products can be divided into different categories, including the iPad Pro, Air, Mini, and basic iPad.
  • All iPads use the same operating system, iPadOS, and have access to the same apps.
  • The apps and tasks you use on your iPad, wireless features, screen brightness, and charging habits all affect the battery life.

How much power does an iPad battery really have? There are quite a few factors that go into determining the overall time you can expect to use an iPad. Much like any smartphone, tablet, or laptop, it really depends on your charging habits, battery maintenance, and overall use of the device. It certainly doesn’t help that the iPad line of products is so diverse, with specs varying wildly depending on the model.

Today’s guide will be taking a closer look at how to coax the absolute best battery life out of your device, how much run time to expect, and some major contributing factors to reduced battery life. If you’ve been curious about Apple’s line of tablets, this is a great primer on their capabilities.

Understanding the iPad Family

At the time of this writing, the iPad line of products can be divided into a few different categories. The upper echelon of products are the iPad Pro and Air lines, which now feature the Apple Silicon processors seen in current production MacBooks. After that, you have the iPad Mini which boasts better overall performance compared to other models.

The final model available is the basic iPad, currently in its tenth generation. The 10th-generation iPad uses a processor taken straight from the iPhone 13 and has fairly impressive specs. It might not be as high-powered as the M1 and M2 found in the Air and Pro line of tablets, but the base model is more than enough for most users.

Features

All iPads use the same basic operating system, iPadOS. The operating system itself is functionally identical to iOS for the iPhone line in many regards, but with some tweaks and features exclusive to the line of tablets. All modern iPads also come with the ability to use the Apple Pencil, one of the most precise tablet stylus options on the market today.

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While performance greatly differs across the entire product line, you can typically run the same apps on any iPad. This makes for a great selling point for anyone interested in Apple’s product line. You get access to the same level of graphic design, productivity, games, and media apps regardless of your preferred tablet.

Form Factor

The classic iPad form factor is at around 10 inches. You’ll find larger options in the iPad Pro line, which comes in 11- and 13-inch configurations. This is largely due to the higher resolution, greater refresh rate, and its intended role as a laptop replacement.

The odd man out in the equation is the iPad Mini, which most closely conforms to the 8-inch tablet form factor made popular by devices like the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 and Kindle Fire. The form factor itself really doesn’t determine the overall life of an iPad battery. Instead, it serves to inform a user as to the resolution they can expect while running their favorite apps.

Charging Method

Newer Apple products have capitalized on the proliferation of the USB Type-C connector for charging purposes. You’ll find this with newer tablets like the iPad Pro and iPad Air. Previous models like the ninth-generation base model iPad would typically use the standard Lightning connector.

Apple as a whole has been phasing out its use of a proprietary connector, which is huge for many users. Type-C connectors are overall cheaper to obtain while also providing greater throughput for transferring files and other data to your laptop or desktop.

What Affects How Long an iPad Battery Lasts?

So, with some of the finer details out of the way, what really determines your iPad battery life? Well, there are quite a few factors that go into the overall health and longevity of a battery. You’ll find that you can expect a minimum of four hours of heavy use on a single charge with most iPad models, regardless of whether it’s a Pro or base model. This number changes depending on a few factors, with the maximum run time going up quite significantly, provided you change your usage patterns.

ModelBattery Life
iPad Pro 12.9-inch3 to 4 hours of heavy use, up to 10 hours for casual browsing and media consumption
iPad Pro 11-inch3 to 4 hours of heavy use, about 10 hours of use if just using it for casual browsing or reading
iPad Air4 to 5 hours of heavier use, users can get around 10 to 12 hours with careful settings and using it for casual web browsing
iPad4 hours on average for resource-heavy apps, 10 to 12 hours when used idly
iPad Mini7 hours of heavy use, 10 hours or more when used for casual web browsing

Use

The apps and tasks you use a tablet for are the biggest determining factor as far as iPad battery life goes. If you’re using resource-heavy apps to go about your daily routines, then the battery life is going to suffer for it. However, if you use your iPad as a media device first and foremost, you can coax quite a bit out of browsing or video time out of the tablet itself.

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You can typically see which apps use the most resources in the Battery option under your iPad settings. This will give quite a bit of data as to what apps are using the most power and which are running constantly in the background. Background apps do sway the overall iPad battery life quite a bit, as well.

If you’re like some and use your iPad for audio production, you’ll have to make sure to exit apps before placing the tablet on standby. Some apps will run at full power without any supervision, sapping your battery life in the process.

Wireless Features

A tablet isn’t much good without connectivity. However, you’ll have to monitor your usage. Wireless functions like cellular data, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi can greatly hinder iPad battery life. This is especially noticeable if you have a lot of notifications and the like. Notifications usually wake the screen, taking up precious power resources.

If you’re not using the iPad, you can place it in Airplane mode. This keeps the battery in tip-top shape while shutting wireless functionality off. You can always re-enable your wireless functions if needed. However, this is one way to keep the battery staying in top condition while you’re not using it.

Screen Brightness

Like your smartphone, the iPad is going to rely heavily on the brightness of the screen. The brighter the screen gets, the lower your battery life gets. You’ll want to set a comfortable medium rather than allowing the tablet to adjust its brightness automatically. Auto-brightness is a fine solution for most use cases, but it isn’t going to yield good results for iPad battery life.

Thankfully, the iPad screen is still brilliant, even at lower brightness settings. While you might have to crank the brightness settings if you’re working in an area with brighter ambient lighting, this isn’t a concern for most uses.

Good Charging Habits

Like any power pack, you’ll have to get in the habit of charging smart to get the best use out of your iPad battery. Apple has played it smart, with great monitoring utilities built-in to the device. As such, you can charge and the iPad itself will go about getting the best overall battery life.

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If you want to be more proactive about it, you can go for the usual rule. Full charges aren’t recommended if you can help it. The sweet spot is around 80% to count as a full charge. You’ll also want to avoid discharging the device’s battery completely — this can cause more harm than you think.

You also want to charge the battery when it reaches around 20%. Batteries are disposable when it comes down to it. However, you can maximize the use of your iPad battery with some smart habits and careful planning.

Choosing the Right iPad for Battery Life

Picking your ideal iPad isn’t so much a matter of finding the one with the best battery life. Instead, it’ll be a matter of your needs and your available budget. While it can be tempting to yearn for the high-end iPad Pro, many users might be perfectly happy with the iPad Air. Thankfully, Apple prioritizes battery health in its devices. If you do happen to cause excessive wear on your iPad battery, replacing it won’t cost an arm and a leg.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use the iPad while it charges?

Yes, you can still use the tablet as normal while it charges.

Does cellular data tax the battery?

Yes, the cellular antenna in some iPads uses more battery life than comparable data consumption through Wi-Fi.

How long does the iPad battery last?

It typically lasts for around 1000 charges before you start seeing diminishing life on the cells.

Is iPadOS the same as iOS?

On paper, no, but functionally they’re pretty much the same. iPadOS and all other Apple operating systems are derived from macOS, so there’s a unified user experience.

Can any iPad use the Apple Pencil?

Every modern iPad model can use an Apple Pencil of some sort. It’ll depend on which model iPad you have, however.

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