The best iPads for photo editing, video editing and photography in 2024

Looking for the best iPads for photo editing, video, and photography? If money's no object, then we'd say the 12.9-inch iPad Pro 2022 is your best options, because it's super-fast, has a beautiful and bright screen, and the best cameras you can get in an iPad

But while this is absolutely the best iPad for photo editing, that power and screen quality comes at a high price, so you'll probably want to know which of the more affordable options are suited to iPad-using photographers. All iPads are solid choices as the best tablets for photographers because they're reliable, powerful enough to run Adobe Photoshop for iPad and Affinity Photo, and come with accurate, detailed displays. We're basing our recommendations here on our experience with all of these models – we're looking for a balance between the quality of the screen, the power for using editing apps, and the price.

If you're just starting with using an iPad in your photography bag, note that while the iPad version of Photoshop and Lightroom are improving quickly, they are a little more limited and don't have full feature parity to the full versions, so if you'd prefer a Windows tablet instead, you'll find some top recommendations in our guide to the best tablets for photo editing. As far as Affinity Photo goes, though, the iPad version is exactly the same as the desktop version. And the iPad is growing as a video editing platform, especially with the new Final Cut Pro for iPad in addition to DaVinci Resolve and LumaFusion.

Gareth Bevan headshot
Gareth Bevan

Gareth is the Reviews Editor at Digital Camera World, and the person in charge of approving all the latest camera-related tech. With several years of experience as a photographer and videographer, shooting for some household names, he has learned a thing or two about cameras and the photography industry. Outside of photography, expect to find him cycling around London, or deep in a Netflix binge.

The Quick List

Looking for a quick guide as to which iPad is best for your needs? Here's our overview, and if you want to read a more in-depth explanation, just click on the link to jump to the longer write-up.

The best iPad in 2024

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The best iPad for photo editing overall

(Image credit: Future)
Simply the best iPad for photo editing

Specifications

Weight: 685g (5G), 682g (Wi-Fi)
Dimensions: 280.6 x 214.9 x 6.4 mm
OS: iPadOS
Screen size: 12.9-inch
Resolution: 2048 x 2732 pixels
CPU: Apple M2
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB
Rear cameras: 12MP wide (f/1.8), 10-MP ultra-wide (f/2.4)
Front camera: 12MP ultra-wide (f/2.4)

Reasons to buy

+
Powerful M2 chip
+
Apple Pencil 2 hover feature
+
The best iPad screen

Reasons to avoid

-
Too large for some bags
-
High-priced for 128GB storage
-
HDR screen can drain battery fast
Buy it if

✅ You want the biggest, best screen: The mini-LED screen is incredibly bright, detailed, expansive and accurate, making it a dream for seeing your photos, and having lots of controls to tweak visible at once.

✅ You want fine Apple Pencil control: Unlike non-Pro iPad, this features the Apple Pencil 2's 'hover' feature that works like a drawing tablet, so you can see exactly where the Pencil will edit before you touch the screen.

✅ You want as much power as possible: With an Apple M2 chip with up to 16GB of RAM, this has more potential than the last Intel MacBook Pros. It can handle anything that any iPadOS app can throw at it.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want big battery life: In our experience, the super-bright HDR screen and Apple M2 chip will really chew through its battery if you push them hard.

❌ Portability is important: It may be super-slim, but with basically a 13-inch screen, this is a large device to carry around. Fine in a backpack, but it's not going to slip into every bag easily.

❌ You're on a budget: Not only is even the base model expensive to buy, but that version only has 128GB of storage, which may not be enough for your photo/video ambitions. This needs deep pockets.

The latest iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2022) is the best iPad for photo editing – as you'd hope, considering that it starts from $1,099 / £1,249. For that price, you get Apple's laptop-class M2 processor that's more powerful than 16-inch MacBook Pros from only a few years ago, plus an astounding screen that's unique to this iPad in the current range. The 12.9-inch screen uses an advanced mini-LED screen to offer up to 1,600 nits of peak brightness in HDR content (including Dolby Vision or HDR10 video, or supported image-editing apps), but also far superior dark tones even in non-HDR apps. Blacks look much truer, rather than the deep grey you tend to see on most LCD screens, and this makes a different to images and video of any kind.

It has a 'ProMotion' 120Hz refresh rate that's fantastic for drawing or fine editing with the Apple Pencil, and this and the 11-inch iPad Pro also support a new 'hover' feature of the Apple Pencil, in which your stylus is now detected up to 12mm above the screen, allowing you to see a preview of your mark before they make it. 

As you might expect, this combines into a sublime editing experience. We've found that you can stack an image with layers and effects, and there's no delay or lag when making changes. You can make all kinds of real-time edits, even to 4K video, and it never breaks a sweat. In our experience, you're less likely to hit performance limits than RAM limits – on the tablet with 8GB of RAM (all models up to 512GB), apps max out at 6GB of RAM; on the 16GB version (1TB/2TB models), it's a 12GB limit. Making standard photo edits won't be a problem, but you can certainly hit it if you're going to stack multiple layers of huge DSLR photos. Still, you have to work hard to manage that; for 99% of us, it's more power than you can reasonably ever use.

The biggest disappointment for us is the battery life. If you're working in HDR with extra screen brightness and pushing the M2's power, you can chew through the battery in far less than the 10 hours of life Apple quotes, in our experience. Even just watching HDR video is limited to 6 hours based on our tests. That's a fair trade-off for what it offers if portable power is what you need most, but it's important to know.

It also has the best camera setup of the iPads, matched by the 11-inch Pro. A regular wide-angle and ultra-wide combine for some of the best pics you can get on any tablet, though obviously this is far behind the best camera phones still.

Read our full Apple iPad Pro (2022) review

The best-value iPad for photo editing

(Image credit: Rosie Hilder)
The best iPad for photo editing balancing price and performance

Specifications

Weight: 461g (WiFi) / 462g (5G)
Dimensions: 247.6 x 178.5 x 6.1 mm
OS: iPadOS
Screen size: 10.9-inch
Resolution: 2360 x 1640 pixels
CPU: Apple M1
Storage: 64GB/256GB
Rear cameras: 12MP wide (f/1.8)
Front camera: 12MP ultra-wide f/2.5

Reasons to buy

+
Superb M1 chip
+
Accurate, detailed screen
+
Apple Pencil 2 support

Reasons to avoid

-
Single-lens camera
-
Only up to 256GB of storage
-
60Hz screen
Buy it if

✅ You want a capable machine for less: The M1 chip is practically as powerful as the M2 for most image editing uses, but this is far cheaper than an iPad Pro.

✅ You want Apple Pencil 2 support: Apple's superior Pencil is fully supported here, unlike the iPad 10.2 (despite having such a similar design), including wireless charging.

✅ Portability is important: The balance of a 10.9-inch screen with a sub-500g weight means this is no hassle to take with you on excursions.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You need a lot of storage on the device: 64GB in the base model and 256GB max is pretty meagre for photo or video use – but at least you can attach more via USB-C.

❌ You need a super-responsive screen: The 60Hz screen lags more than the 120Hz screen on the iPad Pro. No problem in general use, but for fine Apple Pencil edits or drawing, the higher refresh rate offers more accuracy.

❌ You want the best on-device camera: The single-lens camera here is fine, but it lacks the iPad Pro's bonus of wide-angle and LiDAR sensors for more advanced focus and dim lighting options.

Thanks to the Apple M1 chip inside the latest iPad Air (2022), you're getting power that's close to the latest iPad Pro (including 8GB of RAM), but starting from a price of just $599 / £649, making it a fantastic balance of capability and value. It's not just about the processor either – it features DCI-P3 color support on its screen too, and the 10.9-inch size is generous enough to see your edits in detail. There's also Apple Pencil 2 support, including wireless charging, so it's always to hand, and ready to be used – the similar-looking iPad 10.2 doesn't offer this.

In general use, it's hard to imagine what more anyone could want than what this tablet has. It's so fast, and throwing complex image edits at it didn't slow it down meaningfully at all. We couldn't make it sweat from any reasonable task someone would want from this kind of machine, whether that was multi-payed image editing or 4K video color grading. The screen is color-rich and accurate, and it's the ideal size to grab and use wherever you are for hours without getting tired arms.

However, we've been able to use it side by side with the 11-inch iPad Pro, and you definitely get more from the pro machine in a way that adds up – though most will still be fine with the iPad Air. That it has a less bright screen is noticeable, as is the fact that its screen is 60Hz instead of 120Hz, which means there's more of a lag from moving the Apple Pencil 2 and seeing the results, which can affect your accuracy. Its rear camera is visibly weaker than the dual-camera setup on the iPad Pro, too.

And we need to talk about its storage. For the base price, you only get 64GB of storage, which won't get hardcore photographers very far – but the only upgrade is 256GB, which is only a little better really. Thankfully, it has a 20Gbps USB-C port to connect to external storage, but if what you want is onboard storage, look to the 11-inch iPad Pro.

Read our full iPad Air (2022) review

The best premium mid-sized iPad

(Image credit: Apple)

3. iPad Pro 11-inch (2022)

The best iPad for pro photographers who want something mid-sized

Specifications

Weight: 468g
Dimensions: 247.6 x 178.5 x 5.9 mm
OS: iPadOS
Screen size: 11-inch
Resolution: 2388 x 1668 pixels
CPU: Apple M2
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB
Rear camera: 12MP wide (f/1.8), 10-MP ultra-wide (f/2.4)
Front camera: 12MP ultra-wide TrueDepth (f/2.4)

Reasons to buy

+
Compact and light
+
Lots of storage options
+
Powerful M2 chip

Reasons to avoid

-
Lacks the 12.9-inch's mini-LED screen
-
Major price jump over iPad Air
-
128GB base storage isn't great
Buy it if

✅ You need power and portability: Apple's fastest tablet chip in a size that's much easier to fit in your bag? This is your go-anywhere do-anything device.

✅ You want a better screen than the iPad Air: You get a 120Hz screen for slicker Apple Pencil response times and 20% more brightness than the Air, and both are clearly noticeable.

✅ You need big storage in a smaller size: This is the smallest iPad that lets you choose up to 2TB of storage (or lots of other, less expensive options).

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want the absolute best iPad screen: The display here is very nice, but it's not a patch on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro's mini-LED display, which hits another level.

❌ You're looking for bang-for buck: This starts at nearly 50% more expensive than the iPad Air, and its improvements are mostly marginal. Appreciable, but marginal.

❌ You want a genuinely small iPad: If you're considering this because it's smaller than the iPad Pro 12.9 then… well, it is. But if you want an actually small iPad, this is still much, much larger than the iPad mini.

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 M2 chip, the same storage, the same dual-camera system, the same option for up to 2TB of storage, and Apple Pencil 2 support with hover support and the ProMotion 120Hz screen.

But there's a huge difference in the screen here, and it's not just about the size of the display. This is a regular LED display, rather than a mini-LED display like you'll find in the larger version, and this is not an academic change. It means that this screen doesn't support HDR, and has a brightness of 600 nits maximum, rather than up to 1,600 nits on the big iPad Pro. It also lacks the vastly improved contrast, so not only are bright areas weaker, dark areas aren't as convincing either. It's still DCI-P3 and lovely in general, but… it's not the same. However, the screen here is superior to the iPad Air, which is its other big competitor in Apple's line-up – this screen is 20% brighter than the Air's and that give colours and white tones a lot more pop.

Even more important compared to the Air is the more advances Apple Pencil 2 support from having a high-refresh screen and hover support, which means you can be so much more accurate with your edits.

The Apple M2 chip is capable of handling anything you can throw at it, so if your priority is the most capability in the most portable package, the iPad Pro 11-inch toes that line.

The best basic iPad for photo editing

(Image credit: Future)
The best iPad for photo editing on a lower budget

Specifications

Dimensions: 248.6 x 179.5 x 7 mm
OS: iPadOS
Screen size: 10.9-inch
Resolution: 2360 x 1620 pixels
CPU: A14 Bionic
Storage: 64GB/256GB
Rear cameras: 12MP f/1.8
Front camera: 12MP f/2.4

Reasons to buy

+
Affordable price
+
Powerful enough for photo editing
+
Nice screen overall

Reasons to avoid

-
Doesn't support Apple Pencil 2
-
Screen is still weaker than iPad Air
-
Lacks the M1/M2 chip power
Buy it if

✅ You want quality on a budget: This iPad features a slick design and many features to match the iPad Air for a lower price.

✅ You want good battery performance: Using a phone chip instead of a laptop chip gives this better longevity than the tablets above it in this list.

✅ You're ready for the USB-C future: This is Apple's cheapest tablet with this better connector – great for attaching to storage or your camera.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want a lot of headroom for apps: The performance of the A14 chip is absolutely fine for simple photo or video editing, but if you'll get advanced, you may hit its limits. Similarly, storage is limited.

❌ Reflections will be a problem: The screen has the same brightness as the iPad Air, but has a more basic build to its layers that's prone to reflections.

❌ You want Apple Pencil 2 support: You might assume this supports it, and its cool magnetic charging, from the design. But nope: you need the Apple Pencil USB-C or first-gen model here.

Launched in October 2022, this basic iPad may not be as advanced as the first three on our list but is still a very competent tablet for its $449 / £499 price. You get a screen the same size, brightness and resolution as the iPad Air's, wrapped up in an aluminum frame that looks like the Air's too. There's a USB-C port for connecting to devices, and cameras front and back. So, just as good as the Air for less? Well, not quite.

The screen doesn't support the wider DCI-P3 color gamut that the Air's does, but that's fine unless you're doing real pro work on it. The bigger issue may be that it's not laminated, like the Air's is. This means there's a bigger gap between the glass and the pixels, and this not only takes some of the vibrance out of the image, it also means it's more prone to reflections, so is less ideal outdoors. In the real world, this makes a difference – we've been able to see it clearly when comparing the two.

The other major change is the lack of Apple Pencil 2 support. Instead, you have to use Apple Pencil v1 (here's our Apple Pencil 1 vs 2 guide), or the new Apple Pencil with USB-C. And choosing between the two Pencil options is not a simple choice; the Pencil v1 feature pressure sensitivity but needs an extra adapter to pair and charge from this iPad; the Pencil with USB-C is easier to charge and connect, but lacks the pressure sensitivity of the Pencil v1.

However, in general use, this feels like a very slick and capable iPad. The screen is highly detailed and still generally rich and accurate, and the Apple A14 chip that powers it is very fast. Compared to the beastly laptop chips in the Air and Pro tablets, you won't even really notice the difference in light editing or just when using the tablet overall. The difference is more about room to grow: we've hit the RAM limit on Apple's lower-end processors by creating large image documents with multiple layers. An M1 chip will grow with you in your journey to replace your laptop with your iPad – the A14 chip is very much a companion to a computer for the hardcore work.

But if you want a fantastic, great-looking tablet that's also capable of being a great monitor or addition to your photo and video arsenal, this is great. Unless you want to take photos with its built-in camera. That's not so great…

Read our full Apple iPad 10.9-inch (10th Gen, 2022) review

The best small iPad for photo editing

(Image credit: Apple)

5. iPad Mini (2021)

The best small iPad for photo editing

Specifications

Weight: 290g
Dimensions: 203.2 x 134.8 x 6.1 mm
OS: iPadOS
Screen size: 8.3-inch
Resolution: 1488 x 2266 pixels
CPU: A15 Bionic
Storage: 64GB/256GB
Rear camera: 12MP
Front camera: 12MP

Reasons to buy

+
Perfect portable size
+
Surprisingly powerful specs

Reasons to avoid

-
Bezel-heavy design
-
Noticeably pricier than 2019 Mini
Buy it if

✅ You want to take your iPad everywhere: At this size, it'll fit in a kit bag, a jacket pocket… wherever you can fit it, really. Your portable companion.

✅ You want Apple Pencil 2 support for less: This is the cheapest iPad with 2nd-gen Pencil support, and its fantastic magnetic charging/carrying design.

✅ You want a bright and sharp screen: This screen has nearly the same specs as the iPad Air's, but is smaller, so it's super sharp and really pops right off the device.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want a high-refresh rate: This has a 60Hz screen, so you don't get the extra responsiveness of the iPad Pro .

❌ You want laptop-like power: The mini is more powerful than the iPad 10.9-inch, but lacks the M1 chip of the iPad Air.

❌ You need space to see your edits: This may seem like an obvious thing to say, but it really needs to be laid out: this is a lot smaller in terms of area than the two 10.9-inch models. Those offer 75% more screen space in total.

We love the iPad mini. It's such a fun, portable device that just invites you to play with it – but the smallest iPad has some major practical benefits too. It's dramatically smaller than every other machine here, which means it's the one iPad you never have to be without it. It's small enough to fit in a lot of camera bags, rather than being backpack-sized, as all the others here are, really. That means it's always available to review photos or video on a screen than may not be huge compared to the other iPads here, but is still a massive leap over what's on your DSLR, mirrorless or action cam, let alone the zero screens you get on a drone. 

It features a screen that's nearly as high-resolution as that on the iPad Air, and with the same brightness, P3 colour support and screen lamination as that model. Which means it's got a higher pixel density for even more sharpness, and the bright images really leap off this small device. There might not be much space to examine the images, but we found in testing that what's here is absolutely pristine. The only downside is that it's 60Hz instead of the 120Hz of the iPad Pro, but you expected that by now, right?

The iPad mini is the cheapest iPad to support the Apple Pencil 2, complete with wireless charging, so you don't have to give up precision and convenience for editing.

One possible area of concern is the chip inside, which is an Apple A15 mobile chip, rather than the M1 laptop chip of the iPad Air. This limits how complex you can get with your photo and video edits, but in this case, that's no problem at all – because the size of the screen limits that complexity too, realistically. So they're a good match.

The iPad mini isn't for everyone – more space is always better for making in-depth photo and video edits. It's also long in the tooth now – we expect a new version to become available either in late 2023 or spring 2024. But if you're looking for a powerful editing slate with a beautiful screen in a super-portable size, it still fits the bill nicely.

The best 12-inch iPad for photographers at a lower price

(Image credit: Matthew Bolton/Digital Camera World)
Last generation, but still hugely impressive

Specifications

Weight: 639g
Dimensions: 280.4 x 214.8 x 5.8 mm
OS: iPadOS
Screen size: 12.9-inch
Resolution: 2048 x 2732 pixels
CPU: A12Z Bionic
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB
microSD slot: No
Battery: 9,720mAh
Rear cameras: 12MP wide (f/1.8), 10-MP ultra-wide (f/2.4)
Front camera: 7MP

Reasons to buy

+
Fantastic mini-LED screen
+
Super-fast performance
+
Large, detailed canvas

Reasons to avoid

-
Less powerful than M2 Pro
-
May be limited in size options
-
No ProRes video recording
Buy it if

✅ You want that beautiful Pro screen for less: This has an identical mini-LED screen to the 2022 model, but can be found for about 25% cheaper where it's still available.

✅ You're happy with Apple M1 power: The M2 in the latest Pro is even more capable – but if you're good with just 'exceptionally fast' instead of 'mind-blowingly fast', that's fine.

✅ You can live without Apple Pencil hover: This new feature is missing, but if you're not looking for ultra-precise pixel tweaking or drawing, that won't be an issue.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want storage flexibility: This is only available in whatever stock is still around, so you may not get the exact size you're hoping for.

❌ You're a hardcore iPad videographer: The new Pro has ProRes video recording from its own cameras. This doesn't. Not a deal-breaker for everyone, but maybe for some.

❌ You want the ultimate in future-proofing: The extra power of the M2 may seem unnecessary, but it also provides longevity for future features and upgrades.

The previous version of the large iPad Pro launched in 2021, and though it isn't sold by Apple any more, you can still find it at some retailers, and it may be available for 25% less than the new model – which is a bargain, really, because you're only missing out on a couple of elements from the new model.

You get the same absolutely beautiful mini-LED screen with 1,600 nits of peak brightness, the same picture quality, the same resolution, the same 120Hz refresh rate for Apple Pencil 2 drawing and editing. The design is the same, the weight is the same – in most uses, you wouldn't notice any difference.

But there are differences. The Apple M2 chip is more powerful, and while again it's very hard to actually pick up on this, the M2 is more future-proof – a much faster Neural Engine will support more advanced machine-learning features in the future, for example. The new model also has faster Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3, and better image processing. It also can't record ProRes video, and lacks the Apple Pencil hover feature for more precise editing.

But for 99% of people, there's no meaningful difference between the old model and the new one. We still use this iPad all the time for all kinds of tasks, and we've never wanted for anything. As long as you can find it with the amount of storage you need among the remaining models, then it's a superb large option.

Read our full Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch M1 review for more details.

The cheapest current iPad you can get

(Image credit: Apple)

7. iPad 10.2-inch (2021)

A good budget option if the price is right

Specifications

Weight: 487g (WiFi)
Dimensions: 250.6 x 174.1 x 7.5mm
OS: iPadOS
Screen size: 10.2-inch
Resolution: 2160 x 1620 pixels
CPU: A13 Bionic
Storage: 64GB/256GB
Rear camera: 8MP
Front camera: 12MP

Reasons to buy

+
Perfectly good screen for editing
+
The cheapest iPad by a big margin
+
Still has Apple Pencil support

Reasons to avoid

-
It's only Apple Pencil 1, though
-
Older, less sleek design
-
A13 chip is the weakest here
Buy it if

✅ You want the cheapest iPad: This model is often available for a third less than the 10.9-inch model.

✅ You'll only do basic edits: The A13 chip here may be older, but it's perfectly capable of reviewing or improving high-res pictures, as long as you won't get into heavily layered images.

✅ You won't be too precious with it: The older design has a couple of advantages, in that it's less pretty and disappointing to scuff when out and about, and the extra frame around the edge can protect the screen more if it falls.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want the best Apple Pencil support: The original Apple Pencil is awkward to charge, and has no storage option on the iPad itself. But it works very well.

❌ You want to actually take pictures: The camera here is way out of date, and it's up to much that isn't in bright sunlight.

❌ You want to connect anything to it: This is the only iPad without USB-C, so you'd need an extra adapter to connect to storage or a camera.

This cheapest iPad is still available from Apple directly, and its already low £369 official price is regularly augmented by extra discounts from other retailers (it's always full price at Apple, though), so it's easily the cheapest way to take a good-size, decent-quality screen away to review photos or video easily.

The A13 chip inside is the one here where you're most likely to hit limitations on what it can do, especially when it comes to the amount memory for multi-layered files. But again, if you're looking at making basic edits only, it'll handle those just fine. The screen is essentially the same in quality as the iPad 10.9-inch, just a bit smaller – that means it's still detailed, still accurate with colours, but still prone to reflections due to not being fully laminated and lacking in DCI-P3 colour support.

The older design with large bezels here means that the tablet as a whole is about the same physical size as the 10.9-inch iPad, despite the smaller display. It's also the only model to lack a USB-C port, so if you want to connect to a camera or storage using a cable, you'd need an adapter, and it's not as fast as USB-C. Apple Pencil 1 support means you can make precise edits, but it lacks the convenient charging and storage of higher-tier models.

This is a perfectly good tablet for viewing photos in our experience, especially for the right price – it just doesn't offer much scope beyond that, unlike the more powerful options. It's also very poor at taking photos, so it's for viewing and editing only.

How to choose the best iPad for photo editing that suits you

If you're looking to narrow down which iPad will work for you, there are lots of ways to do that. Obviously, you could just start with the budget and work down the list until you find one that fits what you want to spend. You don't need our help with that, so we'll focus on other areas.

Screen: Do you need the best, largest screen possible for viewing what you've shot, or just a good, accurate one? The iPad Pro 12.9-inch stands out on its own here, because it's not only the largest canvas of them all, but also has a mini-LED display, making it much brighter in apps that support HDR (up to 1,600 nits peak brightness and 1,000 nits fullscreen brightness, compared to 600 nits max for the iPad Pro 11-inch). If you must have the most lifelike screen, that's it. After than, the quality of the screen goes down the list in order, basically – the iPad Pro 11-inch is a little better than the iPad Air and iPad mini, which are very similar other than size. Then the two regular iPad models also have screens that are the same other than size.

Cameras: The iPad Pro models both stand out here, with their dual-lens rear cameras and most advanced on-device processing, plus a LiDAR sensor for focusing. They're still behind the best camera phones, but they're easily the best of the iPads. The iPad Air has a serviceable single rear camera aided by strong processing; the iPad mini has a flash, but slightly weaker image quality. The two standard iPads are weaker again. Really, anything below the pros is really just a photographer's last resort. However, every iPad now has a Centre Stage ultra-wide front camera that can track your movement and zoom on you during FaceTime calls. It's useful, and it keeps thing simple that they all have it – obviously ones with better processing can make you look better on it.

Storage: This is another relatively simple one, because if you need lots of storage, get an iPad Pro. These are the only models that go beyond 256GB of storage – they offer from 128GB up to 2TB, so plenty of space for library storage and editing. The iPad Air, iPad mini and basic iPad models all come with only 64GB or 256GB as options.

Apple Pencil: If you won't use the Apple Pencil, then you can happily just choose based on other factors. But if you'd like the precision brush-based editing that it offers, then it may be a factor in your decision, because the Apple Pencil 2 by far the superior option. In terms of accuracy and drawing function, there's actually no real difference between the Apple Pencil 1 and 2. But the Apple Pencil 2 can magnetically attach to the side of compatible iPads (iPad Pro, iPad Air and iPad mini) and wirelessly charge from them while it's there, which means it's basically always right to hand and ready to use. The original Apple Pencil needs separate charging, and doesn't attach to the tablets in any way – and it only works with the two basic iPad models. Now, a recent wrinkle is the Apple Pencil USB-C. This works with any current iPad model except the 10.2-inch model, and will magnetically attach to the side of the iPad Pro, Air and mini. However, it doesn't charge while there, it needs to be plugged in. But it also doesn't have pressure sensing, so if you want that, it won't be suitable.

Portability: If you're a photographer or videographer planning to take your iPad out on shoots for easy reviewing of shots, then it needs to fit around your other kit. The iPad Pro 12.9-inch has the best screen, but it's large. It'll need to go in a laptop bag, basically. The three 11-inch iPads (the Pro 11, Air and iPad 10.9) are easier to fit into other bag types, but it may still depend on your preferred setup. The iPad mini has the advantage of being so small, it may fit into some camera kit bags along with the rest of your setup, so nothing additional just for the iPad is required. But this will depend on how you like to travel.

How we test the best iPads for photographers

Our writers have used all these iPads in real life, having reviewed not only these models, but many previous models too, so we're able to compare to what's come before.

What does testing mean? Our writers have taken pictures with the front and rear cameras in various conditions to see how those perform, and have used these iPads to view and edit photos and videos, to how the screens perform, and how fast they are to apply different kinds of edits.

When we talk about pushing them to see what kind of high performance they have, we used multi-layered images in image editing apps too what kind of complexity causes them to hit their RAM limits, and to see what kind of edits may cause them to slow down.

For testing the battery life, we usually test by streaming videos as a standard benchmark to see how long they can last. But we will also use them for work and editing in real life, and keep track of how much power is lost per hour. These tasks might include working through an image library and assessing/lightly editing pictures, or working in a video editing app for an hour.

Gareth Bevan
Reviews Editor

Gareth is a photographer based in London, working as a freelance photographer and videographer for the past several years, having the privilege to shoot for some household names. With work focusing on fashion, portrait and lifestyle content creation, he has developed a range of skills covering everything from editorial shoots to social media videos. Outside of work, he has a personal passion for travel and nature photography, with a devotion to sustainability and environmental causes.

With contributions from