What are the best iPads for photo editing and working with video? If money's no object, then we'd say the iPad Pro 12.9 M1 (2021) (opens in new tab) and the iPad Pro 11 M1 (2021) (opens in new tab), as they're super-fast, have beautiful screens and boast great battery life. However, not everyone has that kind of cash handy. So below, we've brought together the best iPads at a range of prices, so you can pick the one that best suits your budget.
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iPads are among the best tablets for photographers (opens in new tab) because they're light, portable and powerful; capable of running high-end apps such as Adobe Photoshop for iPad and Affinity Photo without freezing or crashing.
That said, though, some of the older iPads aren't really suitable for photo and video editing. But if you want them for other purposes, see our guide to all the iPad generations (opens in new tab), which will give you a broader range to choose from.
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The best iPad in 2022
The current iPad Pro (2021) 12.9 is the best iPad for photo editing – or, indeed, pretty much anything creative work you set your mind to.
Launched in May 2021, the iPad Pro was the first tablet to ever house the Apple M1 chipset. This makes its 8-core CPU 50% faster than the previous generation, while the 8-core GPU delivers 40% faster graphics. Other exciting features include a 2TB storage option, the addition of 5G, and a 12MP ultra-wide front-facing camera with a 122º field of view.
This TrueDepth selfie camera is also handy, as it features the new Center Stage function. This gives users the ability to record and stream video while moving around their space. Center Stage tracks the user's movement and keep the subject in the field-of-view by panning to follow them. It'll even expand to fit others in the shot if new people join the video.
The iPad Pro (2021) 12.9 is pretty expensive, though. So if you're on a budget then you may want to check out some of the other options in our guide to the best iPads for photo editing. However, if you've got the cash to splash, the substantial upgrades to this latest iPad Pro mean that there's no better investment for your money.
Launched in March this year, this is both the superlight, at just 461g, and the latest to feature the M1 chip. That means you're basically getting the power of a MacBook Pro in a super-portable tablet. Indeed, you're getting a very similar experience to the latest iPad Pro (number one on our list), including the same high-res display, the same 5G connectivity, the same 10-hour battery life, and the same great cameras.
So why not get this instead of the latest iPad Pro? Well, you're getting a much smaller screen, at 10.9 inches in diameter, less storage space and a less bright screen. But on the plus side, it's much cheaper, so if those are not deal-breakers, this may well be a better bet; especially if portability is an issue.(opens in new tab)
If the 12.9-inch version of the iPad Pro (number one on our list) is either too large or too expensive for you, then consider the more compact and affordable 11-inch version. This matches its bigger sibling in almost all respects: you can get the same powerful M1 chip, the same storage, the same gorgeous display, the same first-class cameras, the same 5G connectivity.
The main difference other than size and weight is that the screen only offers 600 nits of brightness, to the 12.9 inch iPad Pro's 1,600. However, the big price difference between them means the 11-inch version is very tempting indeed. Particularly if you're thinking of getting a Apple Magic Keyboard to turn your tablet into a laptop, as there's a big price difference between the 11 and 12.9 inch version of that too.(opens in new tab)
Launched in September 2021, this basic iPad may not be as advanced as the first three on our list, but is still very competent tablet. Featuring Apple's A13 Bionic chip, its performance is decent enough for photo editing. And the Neural Engine in the A13 chip allows for machine learning features like Live Text, which is able to recognize text in a photo that you can then take immediate action on.
The 9th-gen iPad boasts True Tone display technology, which can automatically adjust screen colors to compensate for the color temperature of the ambient lighting around you, making for a more comfortable viewing experience. And the previous version's 1.2MP selfie cam has been replaced by a 12MP snapper, capable of recording video in Full HD (1080p).
Its ultra-wide viewing angle also makes it compatible with Apple's Center Stage video call technology, whereby the camera automatically pans to keep you in view if you move around. If you're joined by other people, the camera detects them and smoothly zooms out to include them in the conversation.
• Best iPad stands (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)
If you're often traveling, carrying around such large iPads isn't always convenient. Which makes iPad Mini a great choice for photo editors on the go. Launched in September 2021, it comes in a compact size with an 8.3-inch display, yet it's also impressively powerful, with Apple's A15 Bionic processor making everything run relatively fast. Compared to compact Android tablets, the iPad Mini blows them out of the water when it comes to performance, and it can even compete with Apple's larger devices.
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Launched in March 2020, this previous version of the iPad Pro 12.9 still has a lot to offer, at a much lower price. The A12Z Bionic chip delivers decent performance, there's support for the new Magic Keyboard (though that'll cost extra), and a nice big battery keeps you in business for longer. There are good cameras too: 12MP wide and 10MP on the rear, and 7MP on the front.
• See best iPad Pro cases (opens in new tab)(opens in new tab)
If you want a cheaper version of the basic iPad, the iPad 10.2 (2020) is a brilliant choice. First launched in September 2020, it comes with a large and vibrant screen, and it supports most of the peripherals that the iPad Pro does, including the excellent Apple Pencil. Add in the gorgeous design Apple is known for, and this more affordable iPad is a bargain, although be aware that the chip is a bit slower and the (1.2MP) camera a lot poorer than its 2021 successor.(opens in new tab)
If you want a bit more power than the entry-level iPads, but don't want to spend a huge amount on the iPad Pro, then this older version of the iPad Air could be the bargain you're looking for.
It is compatible with Apple's Smart Keyboard Cover, meaning you don't need to deal with tricky Bluetooth keyboard connections if you want to type up emails, documents and more. And it's all powered by Apple's A14 chipset, which is also used in the iPhone 12, which is fast enough for light photo and video editing.
The best iPads: what are the different types of iPad and what do we look for?
As we mentioned, there are a range of iPads available, so what are the differences and how do you pick the best iPad for your needs?
Let's start off with the regular iPad. This is the best mid-range iPad that offers a large and vibrant screen (10.2-inches), whilst remaining thin and light enough to easily carry around with you. It has enough power to run photo and video editing apps without a hitch, and new models also support the Apple Pencil stylus (check out the best stylus for iPads (opens in new tab)). Crucially, the asking price of the iPad sits between the expensive iPad Pro and iPad mini when it comes to size and power, making it a great compromise. If you get the 2018 model, you get a smaller 9.7-inch screen, which may be more appealing to some people.
If you want something that's more portable then the iPad mini is the best iPad for you. With a screen size of 7.9 inches, this is an ideal tablet for carrying around with you. The screen is still large enough to use comfortably, and thanks to the gorgeously vibrant and sharp image quality, it's a great iPad for showing clients your work.
The latest modes also feature some of Apple's best hardware yet, and it's also compatible with the Apple Pencil, making it great for photo editing and doodling. The iPad mini used to be the cheapest iPads, but the most recent version is actually more expensive than the standard iPad - but considering the power and size, it's well worth the investment.
Then there's the iPad Air. This is a great compromise device that offers a larger 10.5-inch screen, while remaining affordable. And as the name suggests, it's also lightweight enough to comfortably carry around as well.
Finally, there's the top-of the range iPad Pro, which has been updated for 2021 with Apple's new M1 processing chip. These are larger, more powerful models of the iPad that come in 11-inch and 12.9-inch sizes, and feature power and performance that rival laptops. They are great for working on intensive apps, like video and photo editors, and if you're after an iPad that can double as a laptop (you'll need to buy a keyboard, however) then this is a good shout.
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