What's Next for the iPad mini
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes Apple is working on a new iPad mini that could measure in at 8.5 to 9 inches. It's not known if Apple plans to introduce a larger iPad mini or if the increase in size will be implemented through a bezel reduction.
Kuo has also said Apple is working on a new iPad mini with a mini-LED display, which could be the same iPad mini that's getting a size increase. Mini-LED technology will allow for thinner and lighter product designs while also offering good wide color gamut performance, high contrast and HDR, and local dimming, which dims the backlight behind black areas of the screen while keeping bright parts lit.
iPad mini 5
Apple in March 2019 refreshed the iPad mini, introducing the fifth-generation version four years after the release of the iPad mini 4. Prior to the update, it wasn't clear if Apple was going to keep the 7.9-inch tablet around, but it now has a solid place in the company's iPad lineup.
The $399 iPad mini 5 is almost identical to the 10.5-inch iPad Air that was released alongside it, with the exception of screen size. The iPad mini is Apple's smallest tablet with a 2048 x 1536 7.9-inch Retina display.
Compared to the prior iPad mini, the updated version has new display technology like True Tone for adjusting the white balance to match the ambient lighting of the room and wide color support for more vivid, true-to-life colors. The display is 25 percent brighter than the display of the iPad mini 4.
There are no design changes compared to the previous iPad mini. There are thick bezels at the top and bottom of the iPad mini 5, along with slimmer side bezels. It's 6.1mm thick, identical to the iPad Air, thinner than the iPad, and thicker than the iPad Pro.
The iPad mini comes in Silver, Space Gray, and Gold, and it continues to feature a Touch ID Home button for biometric authentication and a headphone jack. It also continues to charge via Lightning, unlike the new iPad Pro models that use USB-C.
Inside, the iPad mini 5 is equipped with an A12 Bionic chip, which is Apple's latest-generation A-series chip used in the iPhone. Compared to the previous-generation iPad mini, it's 3x faster with 9x faster graphics. It features the same all-day battery life as other iPads, lasting up to 10 hours depending on task.
New to the iPad mini is Apple Pencil support, and the tablet is compatible with Apple's first-generation Apple Pencil. Unlike the iPad Air, it does not have a Smart Connector and matching Smart Keyboard.
The iPad mini 5 uses an f/2.4 8-megapixel camera that's similar to the camera used in the previous model, with no rear flash and 1080p video recording. While the rear camera is largely the same and lacking compared to Pro models, the 7-megapixel front-facing camera is an improvement.
Like the iPad Air, the iPad mini features two speakers for stereo sound, dual microphones, Bluetooth 5.0, WiFi 802.11ac, Gigabit class LTE on cellular models, and eSIM technology.
Pricing on the new iPad mini starts at $399 for the 64GB WiFi-only model, with the 256GB model priced at $549. Cellular models are available for $130 more over the base price of each configuration. The first-generation Apple Pencil that works with the iPad mini is available for $99.Note: See an error in this roundup or want to offer feedback? Send us an email here.
Reviews of the iPad mini 5 have been mostly positive, with reviewers calling the new device a capable but portable tablet with nearly all of the features of the new iPad Air.
Reviewers weren't impressed with the design, which hasn't changed much in 7 years, but were pleased with the addition of Apple Pencil support and the super fast A12 chip inside. Simply put, there's no other tablet of this size that's as powerful as the iPad mini.
For a full rundown on what reviewers had to say about the iPad mini, make sure to check out our list of iPad mini reviews.
The fifth-generation iPad mini can be likened to an iPad Air in a smaller, more portable package. The iPad mini is Apple's smallest, most compact iPad, but inside, it's an iPad Air.
Design wise, the iPad mini 5 is identical to the iPad mini 4, featuring a body with a tapered design, rounded corners, thick bezels at the top and bottom of the device, and thinner side bezels.
Those thicker top and bottom bezels house the front-facing camera and the Touch ID Home button. At the back of the iPad mini, there's a single-lens rear camera with no flash, and at the bottom, there's a Lighting port for charging purposes along with two speakers.
The iPad mini 5 continues to have a headphone jack at the top, along with a sleep/wake button, and there are volume up/down buttons on the side.
The iPad mini is 203.2mm tall (8 inches), 134.8mm wide (5.3 inches), and 6.1mm thick (0.24 inches). It's a bit thicker than the iPad Pro and the same thickness as the iPad Air. It weighs in at 0.66 pounds for the WiFi model and 0.68 pounds for the cellular model.
Apple is offering the fifth-generation iPad mini in Silver, Space Gray, and Gold.
The iPad mini 5 continues to feature a Touch ID Home button for biometric authentication purposes. Touch ID is used to unlock the iPad, access apps, authenticate iTunes purchases, and confirm purchases made with Apple Pay.
The iPad mini, the iPad Air, and the 9.7-inch iPad all feature headphone jacks. The 11 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models introduced in 2018 do not have headphone jacks, nor do Apple's current iPhones.
The iPad mini features a multi-touch fully laminated 7.9-inch display with a 2048 x 1536 resolution at 326 pixels per inch, the highest pixel density of any of Apple's iPads.
Brightness comes in at 500 nits, making the iPad mini 5 25 percent brighter than the iPad mini 4. There's an antireflective coating for 1.8 percent reflectivity and an oleophobic coating to protect the display from fingerprints.
P3 wide color gamut offers rich, vivid colors that are true to life, while True Tone adjusts the white balance of the display to match the ambient lighting in the room. This helps to make the display easier on the eyes when in dimly lit rooms, outdoors, and more, by cutting down on the blue tint when appropriate.
Apple Pencil Support
The fifth-generation iPad mini is compatible with the first-generation Apple Pencil, the model with the Lightning connector on the end.
The Apple Pencil is an Apple-designed stylus designed to offer unparalleled precision and integration with the iPad while offering a feel that's similar to the sensation of a pencil on paper.
There are pressure and positioning sensors built into the Apple Pencil that let it detect a range of motion and force for pressure-sensitive drawing and writing. Two tilt sensors in the tip of the Apple Pencil determine the orientation and angle of the hand holding it so the edge of the tip can be used for shading.
The Apple Pencil features a 12-hour battery life and it charges using the built-in Lighting connector at the top, which is designed to plug into the Lightning port on the iPad. A 15-second charge delivers a half hour of power.
There is a second-generation Apple Pencil, but that model is solely for the 11 and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models.
Apple introduced the original Apple Pencil alongside the 9.7-inch iPad Pro in 2015, and though it was limited to Apple's most expensive tablets when it launched, the entire iPad lineup now works with the Apple Pencil. For more on the Apple Pencil, make sure to check out our full Apple Pencil guide.
A12 Bionic Chip
The iPad mini 5 is equipped with the same A12 Bionic chip that Apple used in the 2018 iPhone lineup. Based on early benchmarks, the A12 chip in the iPad mini is clocked at 2.4GHz, the same as the A12 chip in the iPhone XR, XS, and XS Max.
Apple says the iPad mini 5 features three times faster performance compared to the iPad mini 4, along with nine times faster graphics.
The A12 Bionic chip features an 8-core Neural Engine that uses real-time machine learning to power iOS features for improved photo taking capabilities, gaming, augmented reality, and more.
For AR, the A12 Bionic includes faster detection of AR surfaces for the rear camera and immersive 3D gaming experiences.
The iPad mini 5 features 3GB RAM.
There's an 8-megapixel rear camera with an f/2.4 aperture, the same camera available in the 9.7-inch iPad and the iPad Air.
The camera supports Live Photos, auto HDR, 43-megapixel panoramas, Burst Mode, and Timer Mode, but there is no rear flash feature. As for video, the camera can capture 1080p HD video at 30 frames per second and 720p Slo-mo video at 120 frames per second.
The front-facing FaceTime camera is almost as good as the rear camera with 7-megapixel lens and an f/2.2 aperture. The front-facing camera supports wide color capture and a Retina flash feature, though there is no TrueDepth camera system and thus no Face ID, Animoji, Memoji, or Portrait Mode.
Trackpad and Mouse Support
iPadOS 13.4 brings trackpad and mouse support to all iPad Pro models, the iPad Air 2 and later, the fifth-generation iPad and later, and the iPad mini 4 and later.
According to Apple, trackpad support has been "completely reimagined for the iPad" and its touch-first interface, though it should still be familiar to Mac users. The cursor displays as a circle that highlights various user interface elements, text fields, and apps on the Home screen or dock, making it clear what can be clicked on.
Gestures on the trackpad are designed to let users switch between apps, access the app switcher, and activate the Dock, Control Center, and apps in Slide Over. Multi-touch gestures on the trackpad allow for quick and easy navigation through iPadOS.
Apple designed trackpad support to integrate into both first and third-party apps. Scrolling through web pages in Safari and photo libraries in Photos is supported, for example, as is precisely editing text in notes and other apps, viewing and organizing email in Mail, and more.
Apple says that most third-party apps will work with no changes at all, and developers will be able to take advantage of new APIs for deeper trackpad support.
Compatible Mice and Trackpads
Trackpad and mouse support will allow any of the above listed iPads running iPadOS 13.4 to connect to a Magic Mouse, Magic Mouse 2, Magic Trackpad, Magic Trackpad 2, or third-party mouse using Bluetooth or USB.
When connected to a Magic Trackpad 2, iPads will support gestures that include scrolling, swiping between app spaces, accessing the Home screen, accessing the App Switcher, zooming in and out, tapping to click, right clicking, and swiping between pages.
When connected to a Magic Mouse 2, iPads will support scrolling, right clicking, and swiping between pages.
Apple has designed a Magic Keyboard accessory, which is a Smart Keyboard for iPad with a trackpad, but this is limited to the 2018 and 2020 iPad Pro models.
The iPad mini has "all-day" battery life, so it lasts for up to 10 hours with its 19.32Wh battery. All of Apple's iPad models offer the same 10-hour all day battery life.
The iPad Air charges though a Lightning port at the bottom of the tablet that works with a Lightning to USB cable and included USB Power Adapter.
The iPad Mini is available with either 64GB of storage ($399) or 256GB of storage ($549).
Speakers and Microphones
There are two speakers located at the bottom of the iPad mini for stereo sound along with dual microphones for FaceTime calls.
The iPad mini supports 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0, and Gigabit LTE. It supports 28 LTE bands, including band 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 25, 26, 29, 30, 34, 38, 39, 40, 41, 46, 66, and 71.
There are two SIM options in the iPad mini: a physical nano-SIM slot at the side of the device and an eSIM, or digital SIM, which is designed to work without the need for a physical SIM card.
The physical nano-SIM slot supports the Apple SIM that is designed to let users swap between carriers without a hassle. Many carriers in the U.S. and other countries support the Apple SIM, but for those that don't, like Verizon, a physical SIM card is still required.
With the eSIM, customers can sign up for international data plans when traveling.
How to Buy
The iPad mini can be purchased from the online Apple Store and Apple retail stores. The 64GB iPad mini is available for $399, while the 256GB model costs $549.
The WiFi and Cellular model with 64GB storage is priced at $529, and the 256GB WiFi and Cellular is available for $679.
As of January 2020, Apple is offering discounted iPad mini 5 models from its refurbished store. Availability of different capacities and colors varies based on available stock.
iPad Buyer's Guide
If you're trying to figure out which iPad is best for you out of Apple's current tablet lineup, make sure to check out our iPad Buyer's Guide, which goes through each of the available options and helps you figure out which iPad will meet your specific needs.