Apple has released countless iPad models over the years, and when it comes to the iPadOS 14 operating system, a lot of them are compatible with Apple’s 2020 software update. Long-term update support is something Apple has excelled at for years. For many people, it’s one of the main reasons why they decide to stay within the Apple ecosystem. Whether someone buys an iPhone, iPad, Mac, or any other Apple device, they can rest assured it’ll be supported for years to come.
The very first iPad was released in April 2010, and it’s been fascinating to watch the product’s continued growth over the years. In addition to launching new models like the iPad Air, Pro, and mini, Apple completely overhauled the software experience in 2019 with the launch of iPadOS. iPadOS takes the core iOS software and reimagines it for the big screen — making the iPad more powerful and capable than it used to be in years past.
iPadOS 14 launched in September 2020 with even more features for users to mess around with, and in typical Apple fashion, Apple confirmed that the update was available for a wide array of different iPad models. In addition to more recent iPads like the 4th-generation iPad Pro, 8th-generation iPad, and 4th-generation iPad Air, iPadOS 14 was also made available for quite a few older iPads. The oldest iPad that could download iPadOS 14 was the iPad Air 2. The iPad Air 2 originally shipped with iOS 8.1 back in October 2014, and six years after its initial release, Apple still updated it with its latest software available at the time. Apple also released iPadOS 14 for the 1st and 2nd generation of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, iPad mini 4, 9.7-inch iPad Pro, 5th generation iPad, and the 10.5-inch iPad Pro.
IPadOS 15 Is Now The Latest Update That’s Available
At the time of publication, iPadOS 14 has since been replaced by iPadOS 15. The latest version of iPadOS has a few cool tricks not found with iPadOS 14 — such as better multitasking features, home screen widgets, and a dedicated App Library for finding all of your installed applications. Surprisingly enough, all of the same iPads that got iPadOS 14 also received the iPadOS 15 update (even the iPad Air 2). However, Apple is dropping support for some of these older models with iPadOS 16 in 2022, specifically the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4. For the time being, all the iPads that had iPadOS 14 are still running the latest software currently available.
In short, yes — the iPadOS 14 update was available for old iPads. Software updates are always faster and smoother if used on a more recent model, but if someone is still holding onto their iPad Air 2 or iPad mini 4, they can download and use the latest build of iPadOS without any problem. Compared to just about every other company in the tablet and mobile tech space, that’s pretty darn impressive.
Uses For Older IPads
At the moment, most older iPads that received the iPadOS 14 and iPadOS 15 updates will continue to get software updates for at least another year. However, for some models, official software support will end in September 2022. This means they won’t receive any future updates or new features. While that may not be an immediate problem, over time, these iPads may lose support for several apps and services. While it makes sense for iPad users to upgrade their devices once software support ends, there are still plenty of ways an old iPad can be used.
One neat way to use an old iPad is to turn it into a digital photo frame, either by wall-mounting it or putting it on a stand. Make sure it has access to power, and use a digital photo frame app like LiveFrame to display photos stored on the device, cloud storage accounts, and social media. Another great use for an old iPad is to use it as a secondary display for a Mac via Sidecar or for a Windows PC using Luna Display. It can also be given to kids to play games, used in the kitchen as a digital recipe book, or as an e-reader to download and read books using the Kindle app. An old iPad that’s repurposed can continue to function for years, even after software updates end.