iPad 2022 vs iPad 2021: All the biggest upgrades

iPad 2022 vs iPad 2021
(Image credit: Future)

The iPad 2022 is finally here and it looks like Apple gave it a major upgrade. Gone is the Home Button, the curved sides and the Lightning port. Instead, we get a gorgeous design that looks like the aesthetic of the new iPad Pro 2022 and the iPad Air 2022.

Unfortunately, these nice things come with a hefty price hike. The new iPad is $170 more expensive than its predecessor. So is the price increase worth the money? Or is last year’s iPad a better value, especially when it's on sale? We’ve stacked the two models up against each other to find out.

iPad 2022 vs iPad 2021: Specs

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Header Cell - Column 0 iPad 2022iPad 2021
Starting price$449/£499/AU$749$329/£369/AU$549
Display10.9-inch (2360 x 1640)10.2-inch (2160 x 1620)
ProcessorA14 BionicA13 Bionic
Storage64GB, 256GB64GB, 256GB
Rear Cameras12MP (f/1.8)8MP (f/2.4)
Front Cameras12MP (f/2.4)12MP (f/2.4)
Dimensions9.79 x 7.07 x 0.28 inches 9.8 x 6.8 x 0.29 inches
Weight1.05 pounds1.07 pounds
PortUSB-CLightning, Headphones
AccessoriesMagic Keyboard Folio, Apple Pencil (gen 1)Smart Keyboard Folio, Apple Pencil (gen 1)
ConnectivityWi-Fi 6, optional 5GWi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n/ac), optional 4G LTE

iPad 2022 vs iPad 2021: Price 

The iPad 2022 got a substantial price increase over the iPad 2021. The base model has 64GB of storage for $449/£499/AU$749, and if you want 5G cellular data, you have to pay $599/£679/AU$999. For the 256GB model, the price starts at $599/£679/AU$999 and goes up to a pricey $749/£859/AU$1,249 if you want 5G connectivity.

This represents a serious price hike compared to the iPad 2021, which starts at a relatively cheap $329/£369/AU$549 for the Wi-Fi-only version and $459/£519/AU$799 for the 4G LTE cellular data model. The 256GB model takes a step up in price but is still about as cheap as the base model iPad 2022. For Wi-Fi-only the price is $479/£549/AU$799 and tops out at $609/£699/AU$1,029 if you want 4G LTE connectivity.

iPad 2022 vs iPad 2021: Design and colors 

iPad 2022 colors

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple (opens in new tab) gave the iPad 2022 a major design overhaul, going as far as calling it “completely redesigned.” The body now has a flat back and sides to bring it in line with the current design of the rest of the iPad lineup. The Home Button is also gone, shrinking the top and bottom bezels drastically when holding it in portrait orientation.

Not that Apple expects you to hold it upright all the time. In fact, they expect the opposite. The front camera on the iPad 2022 has moved to the right-hand long side of the tablet so that when you are using it for video calls you are not relegated to holding the tablet vertically.

Despite the loss of the Home Button, the new iPad 2022 still supports Touch ID; now you’ll need to use the power button on the upper-right corner. The Lightning port and headphone jack on the iPad 2021 have also joined the Home Button in being a thing of the past and is replaced by a USB-C port on the iPad 2022. So you may find yourself needing to update your various charging cables.

Finally, the iPad 2022 gives customers a wider — and brighter — range of colors. The iPad 2021 only comes in Space Grey or Silver (i.e. grey or grey), but the new iPad 2022 comes in Blue, Pink and Yellow. It also still comes in Silver for those feeling nostalgic. 

iPad 2022 vs iPad 2021: Display 

iPad 2022 screen size

(Image credit: Apple)

Having no Home Button allowed Apple to stretch out the iPad 2022 nearly an inch more than the iPad 2021. Despite keeping nearly the same physical dimensions (the iPad 2022 is 0.2-inches longer on its shorter sides), the iPad 2022 features a 10.9-inch display versus the 10.2-inch display on the iPad 2021. This gives the new iPad the same screen size as this year’s iPad Air 2022.

The size is not the only way that Apple upgraded the display either. The iPad 2022 gets a 2360 x 1640 pixel Liquid Retina display with a pixel density of 264ppi. While the iPad 2021 features the same pixel density its screen is comparatively smaller at just a 2160 x 1620 pixel resolution. Not a major upgrade, but extra pixels never hurt.

iPad 2022 vs iPad 2021: Chip and performance 

The new iPads 2022 gets an upgrade under the hood as well. It packs an A14 Bionic chip that should give it a 20% CPU performance increase and a 10% graphical performance boost according to Apple. It also now leaves the iPad 2021 as the most-underpowered iPad, with an A13 Bionic chipset.

Admittedly, it's disappointing to see that the iPad 2022 did not get the A15 Bionic chipset in the iPad mini 2021, but some performance upgrade is better than no performance upgrade.

One other upgrade: iPad 2022 gets bumped up to Wi-Fi 6 support. So users may find increased wireless speed in terms of connectivity in addition to the device’s raw power.

iPad 2022 vs iPad 2021: Cameras 

iPad 2022

(Image credit: Apple)

The front camera on the iPad 2022 remains essentially unchanged in terms of specs but moving the iPad 2021’s front camera to be used in a horizontal orientation on the iPad 2022 could represent a nice quality of life change for some users. Ultimately, how much this will matter to you comes down to how you use the device.

The rear camera, however, gets a clear upgrade on the iPad 2022. It has been upgraded to a 12MP sensor with the ability to capture 4K video. The previous iPad has a 8MP wide camera. While using an iPad for photos and videos remains unwieldy as ever, there's no denying that the quality will be improved on the iPad 2022.

iPad 2022 vs iPad 2021: Keyboard and Apple Pencil 

The Magic Keyboard Folio for the iPad 2022

(Image credit: Apple)

Unfortunately, we didn’t get an Apple Pencil upgrade with the iPad 2022. Both it and the iPad 2021 support the Apple Pencil (1st generation), leaving them as the only devices not to get Apple Pencil (2nd generation) support.

Luckily, Apple did give its new iPad an accessory upgrade: the Magic Keyboard Folio. This $249 case gives users a keyboard, trackpad and stand — all in one product. Plus, the keyboard can detach if you want to set your display further back or not use the keyboard altogether. This is a clear step up from the iPad 2021’s Smart Keyboard Folio, which is a one-piece design and does not include a trackpad.

iPad 2022 vs iPad 2021: Wireless 

Wi-Fi and cellular data connectivity both get upgrades on the iPad 2022. The new tablet supports Wi-Fi 6 as previously mentioned, and gets upgraded to 5G cellular connectivity. That gives it faster data speeds at home and on the go compared to the iPad 2021, which is limited to Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n/ac) and 4G LTE connectivity. 

iPad 2022 vs iPad 2021: Outlook 

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While the iPad 2022 is certainly more expensive than the iPad 2021, it seems to be worth the price of admission — at least at first glance. The redesign gives the iPad 2022 better performance, a less dated appearance and a noticeably larger display. Our hands-on reviews will ultimately find if these upgrades are as amazing as Apple touts them to be, but for now, the iPad 2022 is a clear winner. Make sure to check out our list of best tablets to see which tablet is right for you. 

Malcolm McMillan
News Writer

Malcolm McMillan is a News Writer for Tom's Guide. Before writing for Tom's Guide, he worked many retail jobs and many Black Fridays, including a stint for Microsoft. He is passionate about video games and sports, though both cause him to yell at the TV frequently. In his spare time, Malcolm is a fantasy football analyst. He proudly sports many tattoos, including an Arsenal tattoo, in honor of the team that causes him to yell at the TV the most.