iPad Air

Apple's iPad Air is the middle-tier iPad starting at $599 in 11-inch and 13-inch size options.

By MacRumors Staff
iPad Air

Should You Buy an iPad Air?

The iPad Air is Apple's mid-range tablet, offering many key iPad features like two display sizes, Touch ID, M2 chip performance, and a range of color options at prices starting at $599.

Refreshed in May 2024, the iPad Air is brand new and at the beginning of its product cycle. This means that now is the best time to buy the iPad Air.

The iPad Air is the sweet spot in the middle of Apple's iPad lineup, but for those who want a smaller tablet, there is the iPad mini, which still offers many of the iPad Air's features in more portable form factor. Users who are looking for a more affordable option should consider the tenth-generation iPad. Starting at $349, the iPad offers several iPad Air features, such as Touch ID and a Retina display, but at a lower price that balances functionality and affordability.

On the other hand, for iPad models with more advanced display, improved performance, and high-end features, there is the iPad Pro. The iPad Pro takes the iPad Air's features to the next level, adding an OLED display, up to 16GB of memory, Face ID, ProMotion, an M4 chip, and more.

If you're planning to get an iPad Air or another iPad, make sure to check out our iPad deals guide, where we aggregate the best prices of the month.

2024 iPad Air

Apple in May 2024 updated the iPad Air with two sixth-generation models, adding a second screen size. The iPad Air now comes in 11-inch and 13-inch sizes, just like the iPad Pro. Priced starting at $599, the iPad Air is Apple's middle-of-the-road option, as it is more affordable than the $999+ iPad Pro but more expensive than the $349 10th-generation iPad.

The smaller iPad Air features an 11-inch edge-to-edge display with a 2360x1640 resolution, while the larger iPad Air has a 13-inch edge-to-edge display with a 2732x2048 resolution. The iPad Air is equipped with an LCD "Liquid Retina" display that is a step down from the OLED display in the iPad Pro. Compared to the iPad Pro, the iPad Air is thicker, heavier, and has thicker display bezels.

The iPad Air has an aluminum chassis that has flat sides and rounded edges that wrap around the fully laminated display. True Tone support is included for adjusting the display to match the ambient lighting, as is P3 wide color, 500 nits brightness for the 11-inch model and 600 nits for the 13-inch model, and 1.8 percent reflectivity. It does not feature ProMotion support.

Apple's iPad Air was the first iPad to offer unique color options similar to iPhone colors, and the 2024 iPad Air comes in Space Gray, Purple, Blue, and Starlight, with Apple eliminating the Pink color that was available on the 2022 models. The iPad Air features a Touch ID sensor integrated into the top button rather than Face ID like the iPad Pro. Other than being built into the top button instead of a Home button, the Touch ID functionality is the same as other devices that have featured Touch ID.

Compared to the 2022 model, Apple has introduced no major design changes in 2024 with the exception of introducing a new size option. There is, however, a relocated front-facing camera that's on the landscape top edge of the iPad, putting it in an upright position for video calls when the iPad Air is used in landscape mode with a keyboard. The prior iPad Air had the front-facing camera at the portrait top edge so it worked best when held in portrait orientation for video.

The 12-megapixel front-facing FaceTime camera features Center Stage support, and there is a 12-megapixel ƒ/1.8 rear camera. The iPad Air includes stereo speakers in landscape mode for wider stereo sound when watching video.

Apple added the same M2 chip that was used in prior-generation iPad Pro and Mac models to the iPad Air. The M2 chip features an 8-core CPU and a 10-core GPU, along with 8GB RAM and a 16-core Neural Engine. The M2 chip has a 15 percent faster CPU, 25 percent faster GPU and 50 percent more memory bandwidth (100GB/s) than the M1 chip.

Cellular iPad Air models are compatible with 5G networks, but support is limited to the slower and more widespread sub-6GHz 5G networks. Storage starts at 128GB, but can be upgraded to as much as 1TB. Other features include Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3.

Instead of a Lightning port, the iPad Air has a USB-C port for up to 10Gbps data transfer along with support for connecting cameras for downloading images, hard drives, and 4K external monitors. The iPad Air ships with a 20W USB-C adapter for charging purposes.

Like the iPad Pro, the iPad Air supports the $129 Apple Pencil Pro and it works with the prior-generation $299 Magic Keyboard with trackpad that Apple offers, but not the new model designed for the iPad Pro. It is also compatible with the Smart Keyboard Folio and Smart Folio covers, with these accessories connecting via the Smart Connector.

The iPad Air launched on Wednesday, May 15. Pricing starts at $599 for the 11-inch model with 128GB of storage, and pricing starts at $799 for the 13-inch model.

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How to Buy

The iPad Air can be purchased from Apple retail locations, the online Apple Store, and from third-party retailers. The 11-inch model is priced starting at $599, and the 13-inch model is priced starting at $799.

Reviews

Reviews of the iPad Air were positive, with the majority of reviewers suggesting that it is the ideal iPad for most people. It is a good compromise between performance and size with the M2 chip and the 11-inch and 13-inch size options.

There were no major changes made to the iPad Air's design, but the larger screen size provides a more affordable way for customers to get a bigger display. Despite the "Air" name, the iPad Pro is actually the thinner, lighter machine. The M2 chip is plenty fast for everything that an iPad needs to do, and while there's no OLED display or ProMotion technology, the iPad Air's display is bright enough for day-to-day use.

The relocated selfie camera that's been moved to the landscape edge of the iPad was touted as one of the best changes Apple made to the iPad Air. It puts the camera in the correct place for video calls when the iPad is in landscape mode, such as when it's used with a keyboard.

Reviewers also liked that the iPad Air now starts with 128GB of storage, up from 64GB, with no change in the base price. For more iPad Air reviews, we have a dedicated review roundup.

Design

The 2024 iPad Air is identical to the prior-generation model with one major exception: there are now two size options. You can get the iPad Air in 11-inch and 13-inch screen sizes, similar to the iPad Pro. Note that the 11-inch model is the same size as the previous 10.9-inch model, with Apple simply changing the way it rounds the measurement for marketing purposes.

m2 iPad Air Horizontal Feature Orange

The iPad Air has an edge-to-edge display with slim bezels, and an aluminum chassis with flat sides and rounded edges that wrap around the screen. Compared to the iPad Pro, it has a thicker body, thicker bezels around the display, and it weighs more. Because it's no longer the lightest iPad, the "Air" moniker no longer makes sense, but Apple did not opt to change the name.

The 11-inch iPad Air measures in at 9.74 inches long, 7.02 inches wide, and 6.1mm thick. It weighs 1.02 pounds. The 13-inch model is 11.04 inches long, 8.46 inches wide, and 6.1mm thick. It weighs 1.36 pounds.

ipad air colors

With the all-display design, there is no Touch ID Home button, but Apple has not added Face ID to it. Instead, the iPad Air has a Touch ID fingerprint sensor built into the top power button. It scans a fingerprint like a Touch ID Home button, but it is smaller and more compact.

The Touch ID top button works just like the Touch ID Home button on older models and it can be used to unlock the iPad, access apps, and make purchases with Apple Pay, and more. Touch ID on the iPad Air is functional in both portrait and landscape orientations.

There is a front-facing camera on the landscape top edge of the iPad Air for FaceTime calls, and compared to the prior model, it has been relocated from the portrait top edge.

M2 iPad Air Hero Feature Purple

Speakers and a microphone are located at the top of the iPad Air adjacent to the Touch ID button, while the right side features features volume up/down buttons and a magnetic space for charging the Apple Pencil.

At the back, there's a single rear camera with a microphone. Stereo speakers and a USB-C port are located at the bottom of the iPad Air.

The iPad Air is available in four colors, including Space Gray, Purple, Blue, and Starlight. There was a Pink version for the prior generation, but it has been eliminated.

Display

While the iPad Pro models have OLED displays, the iPad Air models use more affordable LCD displays that Apple calls Liquid Retina. The Liquid Retina displays do not support 120Hz ProMotion display technology, and Apple has not improved the 11-inch model's display compared to the prior version.

The 11-inch iPad Air has a resolution of 2360 by 1640 at 264 pixels per inch. The 13-inch model has a resolution of 2732 by 2048 pixels at 264 pixels per inch. The 11-inch version supports up to 500 nits brightness, while the 13-inch model supports up to 600 nits brightness.

iPad Air display

Both models offer P3 wide color support for rich, true-to-life colors, an anti-reflective coating with 1.8 percent reflectivity, and True Tone support that adjusts the white balance of the display to match the ambient lighting of the room.

M2 Chip

Apple included the M2 chip in the iPad Air, and this is the chip that was used in the prior-generation version of the iPad Pro. The M2 chip has an 8-core CPU and 10-core GPU, plus a 16-core Neural Engine and improved memory bandwidth.

m2 feature purple

The M2 iPad Air is up to 50 percent faster than the iPad Air with an M1 chip. The 16-core Neural Engine is 40 percent faster than the Neural Engine in the prior-generation iPad Air, and Apple says iPad Air users can expect "exceptional AI performance."

There is a Media Engine with hardware-accelerated H.264 and HEVC and a video decode/encode engine.

RAM

The iPad Air has 8GB RAM.

Storage

The iPad Air starts with 128GB of storage, with 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB available as upgrade options.

Front-Facing Camera

There is a 12-megapixel front-facing Ultra Wide camera that is located at the landscape top edge of the device rather than the portrait top edge. The updated camera location means the camera is in an upright orientation when the iPad Air is used in landscape mode with a keyboard.

ipad pro front facing camera

The camera supports Center Stage, a feature that automatically keeps users perfectly framed during video calls. Center Stage can pan to keep users in the shot as they move around. Other supported features include Portrait mode, Portrait lighting, and Animoji and Memoji.

Rear Camera

There is a 12-megapixel Wide camera on the rear of the iPad Air, with support for Live Photos, 5x digital zoom, 63-megapixel panoramas, wide color capture, noise reduction, Smart HDR 4, burst mode, Live Photos support, and auto image stabilization.

ipad air rear camera

Up to 4K video recording is supported at 24 fps, 25 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps, and the camera also offers 240-fps slo-mo video recording.

Battery Life

Both iPad Air models offer "all-day" 10-hour battery life. The 11-inch iPad Air has a 28.93-watt-hour battery and the 13-inch model has a 36.59-watt-hour battery.

Other Features

Ports and Smart Connector

Like the prior-generation iPad Air, the 2024 model continues to include a USB-C port instead of a Lightning port. With the USB-C port, the iPad Air can be connected to up to a 6K external display, cameras (downloading images only), and other USB-C devices. The USB-C port supports 10Gbps data transfer and is able to charge an iPhone or Apple Watch with the right cable.

The Smart Connector at the back of the iPad Air allows it to communicate with and power accessories like the Magic Keyboard. The Smart Connector interface is able to transfer both power and data, so accessories that connect to the iPad Air using the Smart Connector do not need to have batteries.

Speakers and Microphone

There are two microphones in the iPad Air, along with two landscape stereo speakers that support spatial audio. Apple says the 13-inch model has double the bass for even better sound quality.

Connectivity

The iPad Air supports Wi-Fi 6E for 2x increased performance compared to the prior model, Bluetooth 5.3, and sub-6GHz 5G.

Accessories

Apple Pencil Pro

Apple introduced the $129 Apple Pencil Pro alongside the iPad Pro, and it also works with the iPad Air. The Apple Pencil Pro is the most advanced version of the Apple Pencil to date. There are several new features, including an option to locate a lost Apple Pencil.

apple pencil pro

Barrel Roll

There is a gyroscope in the Apple Pencil Pro that allows the rotation of the barrel to change the orientation of certain tools. It basically offers much more precise control of shaped pen and brush tools, similar to how a real pen or brush would function when you tilt it while drawing or sketching.

Haptic Feedback

A built-in haptic engine offers haptic feedback when using the Apple Pencil Pro's gestures. A light haptic pulse will respond when using a squeeze or double-tap gesture, plus there is feedback when using the snap to a Smart Shape feature.

Find My

Find My is available for the Apple Pencil Pro so it can be tracked right alongside the iPad and other devices in the Find My app.

Charging and Pairing

The Apple Pencil Pro attaches to the side of the iPad Pro or the iPad Air, and the magnetic connection enables automatic pairing and charging.

Existing Features

Current Apple Pencil features like Apple Pencil hover and double tap are supported. Hover lets you preview where the Apple Pencil will touch down on the display before a mark is made, while double tap can be used for swapping between tools.

Low latency, tilt sensitivity, and pressure sensitivity are all included features.

The Apple Pencil with USB-C also works with the M2 iPad Air, but the second-generation Apple Pencil does not.

Magic Keyboard

There is a new version of the Magic Keyboard, but it is exclusive to the iPad Pro. The iPad Air models are compatible with the prior-generation version of the Magic Keyboard, which does not have the function row, aluminum palm rest, or glass trackpad.

2021 Magic Keyboard Teal

The Magic Keyboard is a folio-style case with a full backlit keyboard and a trackpad, with the keyboard offering 1mm of travel. The Magic Keyboard attaches to the iPad Air through a magnetic connection, and it features cantilevered hinges that allow it to work on a desk or on a lap. The hinges allow for adjustments of the viewing angle up to 130 degrees, so it can be tweaked for every usage situation. The design of the Magic Keyboard allows the iPad to "float" in the air, with the bottom part of the case tilting backward when used in keyboard mode.

When not in use, the keyboard's folio-style design keeps the iPad Air safe, covering the front and back of the device. A USB-C port is included on the Magic Keyboard for passthrough inductive USB-C charging capabilities, leaving the iPad Air's built-in USB-C port free for accessories like external drives and displays.

What's Next for the iPad Air

There are already rumors about the next-generation iPad Air, which is expected to use an M3 chip. Apple reportedly plans to keep the iPad Air a step behind the iPad Pro, which already has an M4 chip.

Best Prices
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11" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Cellular, 128GB - Blue
$749.00
11" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Cellular, 128GB - Purple
$749.00
11" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Cellular, 128GB - Space Gray
$749.00
11" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Cellular, 128GB - Starlight
$749.00
11" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Cellular, 1TB - Blue
$1249.00
11" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Cellular, 1TB - Purple
$1249.00
11" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Cellular, 1TB - Space Gray
$1249.00
11" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Cellular, 1TB - Starlight
$1249.00
11" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Cellular, 256GB - Blue
$849.00
11" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Cellular, 256GB - Purple
$849.00
11" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Cellular, 256GB - Space Gray
$849.00
11" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Cellular, 256GB - Starlight
$849.00
11" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Cellular, 512GB - Blue
$1049.00
11" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Cellular, 512GB - Purple
$1049.00
11" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Cellular, 512GB - Space Gray
$1049.00
11" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Cellular, 512GB - Starlight
$1049.00
11" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Wi-Fi, 128GB - Blue
$599.00
11" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Wi-Fi, 128GB - Purple
$599.00
11" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Wi-Fi, 128GB - Space Gray
$599.00
11" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Wi-Fi, 128GB - Starlight
$599.00
11" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Wi-Fi, 1TB - Blue
$1099.00
11" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Wi-Fi, 1TB - Purple
$1099.00
11" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Wi-Fi, 1TB - Space Gray
$1099.00
11" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Wi-Fi, 1TB - Starlight
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$1099.00
11" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Wi-Fi, 256GB - Blue
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$699.00
11" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Wi-Fi, 256GB - Purple
$699.00
11" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Wi-Fi, 256GB - Space Gray
$699.00
11" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Wi-Fi, 256GB - Starlight
$699.00
11" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Wi-Fi, 512GB - Blue
$899.00
11" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Wi-Fi, 512GB - Purple
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$899.00
11" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Wi-Fi, 512GB - Space Gray
$899.00
11" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Wi-Fi, 512GB - Starlight
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$899.00
13" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Cellular, 128GB - Blue
$949.00
13" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Cellular, 128GB - Purple
$949.00
13" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Cellular, 128GB - Space Gray
$949.00
13" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Cellular, 128GB - Starlight
$949.00
13" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Cellular, 1TB - Blue
$1449.00
13" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Cellular, 1TB - Purple
$1449.00
13" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Cellular, 1TB - Space Gray
$1449.00
13" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Cellular, 1TB - Starlight
$1449.00
13" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Cellular, 256GB - Blue
$1049.00
13" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Cellular, 256GB - Purple
$1049.00
13" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Cellular, 256GB - Space Gray
$1049.00
13" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Cellular, 256GB - Starlight
$1049.00
13" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Cellular, 512GB - Blue
$1249.00
13" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Cellular, 512GB - Purple
$1249.00
13" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Cellular, 512GB - Space Gray
$1249.00
13" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Cellular, 512GB - Starlight
$1249.00
13" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Wi-Fi, 128GB - Blue
$799.00
13" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Wi-Fi, 128GB - Purple
$799.00
13" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Wi-Fi, 128GB - Space Gray
$799.00
13" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Wi-Fi, 128GB - Starlight
$799.00
13" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Wi-Fi, 1TB - Blue
$1299.00
13" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Wi-Fi, 1TB - Purple
$1299.00
13" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Wi-Fi, 1TB - Space Gray
$1299.00
13" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Wi-Fi, 1TB - Starlight
$1299.00
13" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Wi-Fi, 256GB - Blue
$899.00
13" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Wi-Fi, 256GB - Purple
$899.00
13" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Wi-Fi, 256GB - Space Gray
$899.00
13" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Wi-Fi, 256GB - Starlight
$899.00
13" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Wi-Fi, 512GB - Blue
$1099.00
13" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Wi-Fi, 512GB - Purple
$1099.00
13" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Wi-Fi, 512GB - Space Gray
$1099.00
13" iPad Air (2024): M2 Chip, Wi-Fi, 512GB - Starlight
$1099.00
iPad Air (2022): Cellular, 256GB - Blue
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$899.00
iPad Air (2022): Cellular, 256GB - Pink
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$899.00
iPad Air (2022): Cellular, 256GB - Purple
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$899.00
iPad Air (2022): Cellular, 256GB - Space Gray
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$899.00
iPad Air (2022): Cellular, 256GB - Starlight
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$899.00
iPad Air (2022): Cellular, 64GB - Blue
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$749.00
iPad Air (2022): Cellular, 64GB - Pink
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$749.00
iPad Air (2022): Cellular, 64GB - Purple
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$749.00
iPad Air (2022): Cellular, 64GB - Space Gray
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$749.00
iPad Air (2022): Cellular, 64GB - Starlight
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$749.00
iPad Air (2022): Wi-Fi, 256GB - Blue
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$749.00
iPad Air (2022): Wi-Fi, 256GB - Pink
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$749.00
iPad Air (2022): Wi-Fi, 256GB - Purple
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$749.00
iPad Air (2022): Wi-Fi, 256GB - Space Gray
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$749.00
iPad Air (2022): Wi-Fi, 256GB - Starlight
N/A
$749.00
iPad Air (2022): Wi-Fi, 64GB - Blue
$599.00
iPad Air (2022): Wi-Fi, 64GB - Pink
$599.00
iPad Air (2022): Wi-Fi, 64GB - Purple
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$599.00
iPad Air (2022): Wi-Fi, 64GB - Space Gray
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$599.00
iPad Air (2022): Wi-Fi, 64GB - Starlight
N/A
$599.00

iPad Air Timeline