iPad 2022’s USB-C port isn’t the upgrade you'd expect

iPad 2022 onlilac background
(Image credit: Apple)

The iPad 2022 finally adds USB-C connectivity to Apple’s entry-level tablet, joining the ranks of the iPad mini 6, iPad Air and iPad Pros that have been rocking the connector for some time. But, as it turns out, the change comes with some caveats — including Lightning-tier data transfer speeds.

As noted by The Verge the new iPad's USB-C port is limited to USB 2.0-level data transfer speeds. That’s around 480 Mbps, the same as Lightning, and pretty meager compared to the 5 Gbps speeds afforded by the iPad mini 6’s USB 3.1 port. The iPad Air likewise offers 10 Gbps data transfer, while the Thunderbolt-equipped iPad Pro with M1 can hit 40 Gbps.

YouTuber Max Tech also did their own comparison, noting that transferring a 25GB video file from an SSD to the iPad 2022 took 10 minutes 27 seconds. Meanwhile the same file took a single minute to transfer to his Mac, and the latest iPad Air. MacRumors also did its own testing and confirmed the rate of data transfer.

Of course, the change to USB-C isn’t just skin deep. For starters Max Tech was able to connect the new iPad to a portable SSD, which wouldn’t connect to the 2021 model via Lightning. Similarly our own testing shows that the USB-C connector does appear to have improved charging times.

We found that the new iPad managed to recharge to 26% in 30 minutes, whereas the 2021 model only managed to reach 19% in the same time. It’s a small boost, to be sure, but it is an upgrade nonetheless. Plus, as much as we’d all like batteries to last longer, faster recharging is very useful.

That said, it’s rather a shame Apple didn’t upgrade the port to USB 3.0 at the absolute minimum. Considering the iPad 2021 has cost $329 since day one, and the new model starts at $449, we expected Apple to do better.

Sure there are other upgrades to be enjoyed compared to the iPad 2021. They include the A14 Bionic processor, Wi-Fi 6 and 5G support, a larger 10.9-inch display and a 12MP (f/1.8) rear camera. But it’s still a glaring oversight, another example of which is the fact there’s only support for the first generation Apple Pencil.

The entry-level iPad being exactly that, so people may not care too much about slow data transfer speeds. Yet anyone that does care about being able to move large files on or off their tablet will probably want to look elsewhere — and pay more money for the privilege.

But hey, at least you can plug into the iPad 2022 with the same cables you use on pretty much everything else that isn’t an iPhone, and that’s definitely something to be celebrated.

Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.