iPad Air 2024 vs iPad Air 2022: Here’s everything that’s new

iPad Air 2024 (both sizes) on a yellow background
(Image credit: Apple)

The new iPad Air 2024 is especially intriguing because it appears to be capitalizing on the fact that the Air seems like a "sweet spot" between the base iPad (10th gen) (now just $349!) and the fancy M4 iPad Pro, which costs $799 (to start) for the 11-inch or $1,299 for the larger 13-inch model. 

The iPad Air has long hung right in the middle with its $599 starting price, and now Apple has added a 13-inch M2 iPad Air option for $799. Is that because Apple wants to sell tablets to folks who like a 13-inch screen size, but don't want to pay over $1k for the privilege? 

I can't say for sure, but what I can say is that the new iPad Air is better than the iPad Air 2002 (M1) in a few meaningful ways. I'll walk you through them in this iPad Air 2024 vs iPad Air 2022 comparison. 

M2 iPad Air vs M1 iPad Air: Price and specs

iPad Air 2024 specs and features

(Image credit: Apple)
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Row 0 - Cell 0 11-inch iPad Air M2 13-inch iPad Air M2 11-inch iPad Air M1
Pricefrom $599from $799from $599
Display11-inch LED (2360 x 1640 pixels)13-inch LED (2732 x 2048 pixels)11-inch (2360 x 1640 pixels) LED
Colors Blue, Purple, Starlight, Space GrayBlue, Purple, Starlight, Space GrayPink, Blue, Purple, Starlight, Space Gray
Chip M2M2M1
Storage128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB64GB, 256GB
Cameras 12MP front landscape, 12MP rear12MP front landscape, 12MP rear12MP front landscape, 12MP rear
WirelessWi-Fi 6E, 5GWi-Fi 6E, 5GWi-Fi 6E, 5G
Size9.7 x 7 x 0.24 inches 11.04 x 8.5 x 0.24 inches 9.7 x 7 x 0.24 inches
Weight 1.02 pounds1.36 pounds 1 pound

As you can see from the specs table above, there's actually fairly little difference between the pricing and specs of the 11-inch iPad Air M1 and the 11-inch iPad Air M2. The new, larger 13-inch iPad Air looks the same as its smaller sibling, but costs $200 more.

The most notable changes are the upgrade to M2, more and better storage options (see how Apple no longer forces you to choose between 64GB and 256GB?), and the physical redesign which relocates the camera to the wide side of the tablet. 

Oh, and the iPad Air is no longer available in Pink. Sorry, coral fans!

M2 iPad Air vs M1 iPad Air: Design

iPad Air 2024 with Apple Pencil

The M2 iPad Air looks an awful lot like its predecessors, but it's more capable than ever—plus, the webcam is now on the wide side. (Image credit: Apple)

The 2024 iPad Air looks an awful lot like its 2022 predecessor, but there are some minor design differences you should know about before making a purchase.

The most notable one is the fact that Apple has moved the front-facing camera on the iPad Air from the thin side to the wide one, which makes a lot of sense. From a purely ergonomic perspective, it's just easier to prop the iPad up on its wide side during video calls rather than standing it up like a very big, expensive smartphone. 

The other big change, as noted above, is that Apple will sell the M2 iPad Air in all the colors of its predecessor save pink. So if you love the idea of a pink iPad, you may want to skip the M2 iPad Air.

M2 iPad Air vs M1 iPad Air: Display

There appear to be no major changes to the iPad Air's display between the M1 and M2 generations, except for the fact that Apple now sells a larger version with a bigger screen.

So while the smaller iPad Air M2 sports the same 11-inch (2360 x 1640 pixels) LED display as its predecessor, those who spring for the larger model can look forward to seeing a few more pixels on its 13-inch (2732 x 2048 pixels) LED screen.

Sadly, this means you still require an iPad Pro in order to view HDR content, since neither of the new iPad Air displays support it.

M2 iPad Air vs M1 iPad Air: Performance

One of the biggest upgrades you get with a new iPad Air M2 is the added power of the Apple M2 chip. Apple claims the iPad Air M2 is 50% faster than the iPad Air M1, so if you're going to spring for an upgrade to your existing iPad this is probably the reason to do it.

Unfortunately, I can't tell you exactly how much of a difference the upgrade from M1 to M2 will make until we get one of the new iPad Airs into our testing lab. Once we do, I'll update this section with more specific details about how its performance and battery life compare to that of the respectable iPad Air M1, which is plenty fast enough already and lasts just overs 10 hours in our battery tests.

Presumably the M2 iPad Air will be even faster, as the M2 chip powering it has more transistors and cores than its predecessor as well as more memory bandwidth. The M2 also reportedly has a better image signal processor (ISP) than the M1, so it's reasonable to expect a slight improvement in photo quality from the new Air as well.

M2 iPad Air vs M1 iPad Air: Audio

If there's a big change in the way audio sounds coming out of the M2 iPad Air's speakers compared to the M1, we'll have to wait until we test one to hear it. 

Because if we just look at the specs, there appears to be no major difference between the speakers on the M2 iPad Air vs M1. Apple says the tablet still packs a pair of speakers inside that deliver stereo sound, though since there's still no headphone jack you'll need a pair of Bluetooth headphones if you want to listen in private.

The one notable difference appears to be on the new 13-inch M2 iPad Air, which Apple claims can deliver 2x the bass as the smaller 11-inch M2 iPad Air. So if you love it when the beat drops, the 13-inch model might entice you a bit more than its smaller sibling.

M2 iPad Air vs M1 iPad Air: Cameras

iPad Air 5

Yup, the new iPad Air M2's front camera still supports Center Stage. (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Here again I have little to report in terms of major changes. According to Apple, the cameras on the new M2 iPad Air are basically the same as what we got on the old M1 model.

While the front-facing camera is now comfortably housed on the wide side of the tablet, it's still a 12MP ultra wide lens that supports Center Stage, so if you move during a call (see example above) it can automagically crop the frame around you and "follow" you around the room — to a certain extent.

The rear of the M2 iPad Air sports another 12MP camera, just like its predecessor, so it looks like there are no major changes to the cameras in the M2 iPad Air vs M1 iPad Air. Luckily, they were good enough on the old model that it's hard to complain about them here.

M2 iPad Air vs M1 iPad Air: Accessories


The new Apple Pencil Pro is compatible with the M2 iPad Air and magnetically attaches to the side for easy access. (Image credit: Apple)

Apple unveiled the M2 iPad Air alongside a new M4-powered iPad Pro 2024 and new accessories for each device, including a new Apple Pencil Pro ($129) and new Smart Folio ($79/$99 for 11-inch/13-inch) that are compatible with the new M2 iPad Air.

If you like to do a lot of work with a stylus, the $129 Apple Pencil Pro could be a game-changer because it has a new design that lets you squeeze or rotate the barrel to do things like change brushes, adjust brush size and rotation and more. These features could significantly improve the experience of writing and drawing on an M2 iPad Air, and it's nice to see Apple build in a magnetic attachment system so the Apple Pencil Pro can snap to the side of your iPad Air M2 for easy storage.

The new Smart Folio for iPad Air attaches magnetically to an M2 iPad Air and can support the tablet in multiple viewing angles, which is nice to see. It's available from Apple alongside the iPad Air M2 in denim, charcoal gray, violet or sage and starts at $79 for the 11-inch model or $99 for the 13-inch version.

The iPad Air also supports the Magic Keyboard from Apple if you want a more solid keyboard and touchpad combo. That sells for $299 for the 11-inch model and $349 for the 13-inch version. 

M2 iPad Air vs M1 iPad Air: Outlook

If you've made it this far, you know that there aren't a ton of upgrades to look forward to when contemplating the M2 iPad Air vs M1 iPad Air. 

The big standout changes are the upgrade to M2 and the physical redesign, which relocates the camera to the wide edge. But if you don't care about those, or the fact that the new M2 iPad Air is compatible with the new Apple Pencil Pro and Smart Folio, there's little reason to upgrade.

If you've been on the fence about buying an iPad Air, though, now might be a great time to hop down and buy one. Since the new M2 iPad Air starts at the same price as the old you aren't paying extra for the privilege, and the fact that Apple now gives you more storage upfront (128GB vs 64GB) as well as more storage options to choose from is good news for new buyers. 

This is also good news for folks who like big tablets but don't want to splurge for the 13-inch iPad Pro ($1,299 to start), since the 13-inch M2 iPad Air is just as big and plenty good enough yet costs $500 less. 

Sure, the 13-inch M2 iPad Air has the same LED display as its sibling rather than the fancy 13-inch mini-LED Liquid Retina XDR display on the iPad Pro, but trust me, I've used both screens in person and unless you're a huge stickler for detail you likely won't notice the difference.

Alex Wawro
Senior Editor Computing

Alex Wawro is a lifelong tech and games enthusiast with more than a decade of experience covering both for outlets like Game Developer, Black Hat, and PC World magazine. A lifelong PC builder, he currently serves as a senior editor at Tom's Guide covering all things computing, from laptops and desktops to keyboards and mice.