This guide highlights the best iPads for aviation use.

The best iPads for aviation use we’ve recommended ship with decent internals that will enhance your performance in the cockpit. These tablets that are fast, durable, and cater to various budgets. So, you can access your maps, aircraft flight manuals, navigational charts, and the like with a hitch.

On our list are iOS and Android tablets that can run the most important aviation apps (we are looking at you, ForeFlight, Garmin Pilot, and Avare) you need.

Here is our ranking of the best iPads for aviation use you can buy right now.

Best iPads for Aviation Use at a Glance

No. Item  
1 Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2020) (Editors’ Choice) Check Price on Amazon
2 Apple iPad Air (2020) Check Price on Amazon
3 Apple iPad Mini Check Price on Amazon
4 Apple iPad 10.2 (2020) Check Price on Amazon
5 Apple iPad 9.7 Check Price on Amazon
6 Apple iPad Pro 11 (2020) Check Price on Amazon

 

 

What specs should a good iPad for aviation use have?

Before buying the most suitable cockpit tablet, it’s important to know and understand the specs you need to keep your aviation programs running smoothly.

At a minimum, your tablet should have

  • 32GB of storage (128GB or higher recommended)
  • Wi-Fi only or WiFi + Cellular models
  • At least 7.9’’ screen

With these fundamentals in hand, you are on your way to finding a tablet that will enhance your performance in the cockpit.

 

1. Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2020) (Editors’ Choice)

best ipads for aviation use

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You would not be laughed out of town for suggesting the Apple iPad Pro has been one of the best tablets on the market. If you’re already invested in the Apple ecosystem, we strongly recommend the Apple iPad Pro (12.9-inch). 

With a 12.9-inch screen, and a 2048 x 2732 pixel display, its screen is beautiful, bright and super responsive with a 120Hz refresh rate.

It comes with 6 GB RAM which makes it exceptionally fast.

The iPad Pro’s whopping 1TB of internal storage space lets you store as many images, videos, and documents as possible. You may well buy models with lesser internal storage. Available internal storage includes 128 GB, 256 GB, 512GB and 1TB.

As you would expect, it runs one of Apple’s best operating systems: iPadOS 13.4. Because Apple is way ahead of the curve, you will almost never experience any lag when using the iPad Pro.

The Apple iPad Pro has been built to handle the power needs of a top-notch tablet thanks to its very outstanding long-lasting 9720 mAh battery.

Elsewhere, the iPad Pro speakers are superb and breathtaking!

Another interesting thing to note is that transferring items from an iPhone or iPad to the new Apple iPad Pro is so, so fast and can be done effortlessly.  If you own a MacBook, syncing videos, images and other files is seamless.

With its powerful hardware and beautiful display, the Apple iPad Pro remains the best iPad for aviation use. If you believe in spending money on tools that make your tasks a lot easier, the Apple iPad Pro is worth considering.

The Apple iPad Pro easily wins our Editors’ Choice award for the best iPad for aviation use given it solid internals.

PROS

  • Impressive display
  • Excellent audio
  • Fast operating system
  • Responsive Face ID
  • Incredible battery life
  • Excellent pen integration

CONS

  • No provision for external storage
  • No 3.5mm headphone jack

Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2020) Key Specifications

Display: 12.9-inch IPS display, 2048 x 2732 pixels
Chipset: Apple A12Z Bionic chip
OS: iPadOS 13.4
RAM: 6GB
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6, dual-band, hotspot
Size: 11.04 x 8.46 x 0.23 inches (280.6 x 214.9 x 5.9 mm)
Weight: 1.41 pounds (641g)
Rear Camera: 12MP, 10MP
Front Camera: 7MP
Battery: 9720 mAh

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2. Apple iPad Air  (2020)

best ipads for aviation use

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The iPad Air is one the best iPads for aviation use that isn’t an iPad Pro.

It is lightweight, thin and comes in handy for simple tasks like reading, using the internet and streaming videos. It is also great for taking notes with the Apple Pencil.

The Apple iPad Air can boast the same battery life as Pro iPads. It is also super fast as it utilizes Apple’s A14 processor.

The iPad Air has more than enough memory: 64 GB or 256 GB storage space. The choice is yours.

Good price, speed, excellent performance and portability are some of the hallmarks of the iPad Air.

One minor drawback is the touch ID on the power button which takes some getting used to.

All in all, the Apple iPad Air is one of the best iPads for aviation use and is worth owning.

PROS

  • Cutting-edge display
  • Very fast performance
  • Responsive OS

CONS

  • Fingerprint scanner could be better

Apple iPad Air (2020) Key Specifications             

Display: 10.9-inch Liquid Retina IPS LCD display, 1640 x 2360 pixels
Chipset: Apple A14 Bionic chip
OS: iPadOS 14.1
Storage: 64GB/256GB
Connectivity: Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, hotspot
Size: 9.75 x 7.03 x 0.24 inches (247.6 x 178.5 x 6.1 mm)
Weight: 1.0 pounds (458 g)
Rear Camera: 12MP
Front Camera:  7MP
Battery: 28.6Wh

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3. Apple iPad Mini

best ipads for aviation use

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The iPad Mini is for pilots who need a very portable iOS-powered tablet for accessing aviation apps, flight manuals, and performing other tasks. Like most iPads the iPad Mini is sleek – but this is not why we love the tablet.

Its outstanding processing speed which is made possible by the Apple A12 Bionic chip makes it standout from most tablets and that is why we love it.

Apps on the iPad Mini run pretty fast without hiccups. You won’t have problems installing and running ForeFlight Mobile on the iPad Mini.

The Apple iPad Mini ships with 3GB RAM. It has 64GB and 256GB storage options. This storage is enough to store your aviation apps, movies, pictures, and other files.

With a beautiful LCD capacitive screen, and a True Tone display which fine-tunes the screen to suit the lighting conditions wherever you are using the device. Your eyes won’t suffer from strains as a result of screen lightening.

Since the tablet is small and lightweight, carrying it around is easy.

The iPad Mini has a 4G variant, which makes internet connection and download speeds a lot faster.

If you love taking pictures, the tablet has a 7-megapixel selfie camera, and an 8-megapixel HDR rear camera. Gold, Silver, and Space Gray are colour variants of the iPad on the market at the moment.

The battery life of the new iPad Mini is excellent. You can get up to 10 hours of productive work out of the tablet on a single charge.

It is highly recommended and remains the best iPads for aviation use.

PROS

  • Very, very good performance and speed
  • Excellent battery life
  • Crisp and colourful display
  • Lots of apps
  • Good OS

CONS

  • No new design tweak
  • RAM size can be improved
  • Has thick bezels

Apple iPad Mini Key Specifications

Display: 7.9-inch display, 1536 x 2048 pixels
Chipset: Apple A12 Bionic chip
Operating System: iOS 12.1.3
RAM: 3GB
Storage: 64GB/256GB
Connectivity: Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band
Size: 8.0 x 5.31 x 0.24 inches (203.2 x 134.8 x 6.1 mm)
Weight: 0.66 pounds (300.5 g)
Rear Camera: 8-megapixel camera
Front Camera:  7-megapixel camera
Battery: 5124 mAh

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4. Apple iPad 10.2 (2020) 

best ipads for aviation use

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Another good iPad for aviation use worth mentioning is the Apple iPad (10.2-inch).

The Apple iPad (10.2-inch) is an improvement on the iPad 9.7. It has a larger screen, and it is generally bigger than the iPad 9.7.

It sports 32GB storage, and 3GB of RAM. You can also get a model equipped with 128GB of RAM.

The Apple iPad 7 (10.2-inch) isn’t particularly heavy. At 1.08 pounds (490g), its weight is competitive with other Apple tablets like the iPad Air which weighs 1.05 pounds (476g). The tablet is lighter than the Microsoft Surface Go which is 1.15 pounds (522g).

If you take pictures on a regular basis and fancy doing that with a tablet, the Apple iPad 7 is equipped with an 8-megapixel rear camera. It has a front-facing camera, too, however, its quality isn’t anywhere near as good as the rear camera.

We love the Apple iPad 10.2’s Smart Keyboard, which is similar to what you’ll find on the  iPad Air. It is worth noting that the Smart Keyboard is not backlit.

Like most tablets made by Apple, battery life is solid. With the 32.4 Wh battery tucked inside the iPad 10.2, you need not get energy anxious. You can get at least 10 hours of web surfing and video playback on a single charge.

We strongly recommend the Apple iPad (10.2-inch) as one of the best iPads for aviation.

PROS

  • Excellent performance
  • Good price for an iPad
  • Excellent battery life

CONS

  • Not as good as iPad Air

Apple iPad 10.2 (2020) Key Specifications       

Display: 10.2-inch IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 1620 x 2160 pixels
Chipset: Apple A12 Bionic
OS: iPadOS 14, upgradable to iPadOS 14.2
RAM: 3GB
Storage: 32GB/128GB
Connectivity: Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, hotspot
Size: 10.33 x 7.27 x 2.02 inches (262.4 x 184.7 x 51.3 mm)
Weight: 1.08 pounds (490 g)
Rear Camera: 8 MP
Front Camera: 1.2 MP
Battery: 32.4 Wh 

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5. Apple iPad 9.7

best ipads for aviation use

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The Apple iPad 9.7 is a smaller and budget-friendly version of the iPad Pro 12.9. Its screen is obviously smaller: 9.7 inches vis-à-vis the iPad Pro’s 12.9 inch display.

Being a mid-range tablet, it has a lower processing capability, meaning it is not as super fast as the iPad 12.9. The iPad 9.7 uses iOS 11.3. Its speed – powered by Apple’s A10 Fusion processor – is no less than most iPads older than the iPad Air 2.

The screen resolution is 2048 x 13536 pixels is OK but is not as excellent as the Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 Super AMOLED display or the iPad Pro’s beautiful display.

The Apple iPad 9.7 comes with a 32 GB or 128 GB storage and 2 GB of RAM.

Speakers and camera (1.2 megapixels on the front and 8 megapixels on the rear) aren’t also as good as those on the iPad Pro – they are not bad, either. The sound is not out of the ordinary.

Because of its 9.7- inch size, it can easily fit into bags and is pretty easy to hold.

It has a 3.5 mm headphone jack unlike the Apple iPad Pro 12.9 which lacks one.

Similar to most Apple iPads, it has an excellent battery life (about 11 hours).

If you want a fast, light, thin, mid-range tablet with iOS operating system, the Apple iPad 9.7 is a must-pick.

Like the iPad Mini, the Apple iPad 9.7 will enhance your productivity as a pilots. It is worth owning and remains one of the best iPads for aviation.

PROS

  • Good display
  • Reasonable price
  • Powerful iOS
  • Good battery life

CONS

  • Camera isn’t fantastic
  • Same old design

Apple iPad 9.7 Key Specifications

Display: 9.7-inch IPS LCD screen, 1536 x 2048 pixels
Chipset: Apple A10 Fusion
OS: iOS 11.3
RAM: 2GB
Storage: 32GB, or 128GB
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, hotspot
Size: 9.45 x 6.67 x 0.30 inches (240 x 169.5 x 7.5 mm)
Weight: 1.03 pounds (469 g)
Rear Camera: 8-megapixel camera
Front Camera:  1.2-megapixel camera
Battery: 8827 mAh
GPS: Yes

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Notable Mention

The Apple iPad Pro 11 (2020) is an outstanding iPad for aviation use worth mentioning.

6. Apple iPad Pro 11 (2020)

best ipads for aviation use

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PROS

  • Impressive display
  • Excellent audio
  • Fast operating system
  • Responsive Face ID
  • Incredible battery life
  • Excellent pen integration

CONS

  • No provision for external storage
  • No 3.5mm headphone jack

Apple iPad Pro 11 (2020) Key Specifications

Display: 11.0-inch IPS  LCD display,  1668  x  2388 pixels
Chipset: Apple A12Z Bionic chip
OS: iPadOS 13.4
RAM: 6GB
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6, dual-band, hotspot
Size: 9.75 x 7.03 x 0.23  inches (247.6 x 178.5 x 5.9 mm)
Weight: 1.04 pounds (473g)
Rear Camera: 12MP, 10MP
Front Camera: 7MP
Battery: 7538 mAh

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No. Item  
1 Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2020) (Editors’ Choice) Check Price on Amazon
2 Apple iPad Air (2020) Check Price on Amazon
3 Apple iPad Mini Check Price on Amazon
4 Apple iPad 10.2 (2020) Check Price on Amazon
5 Apple iPad 9.7 Check Price on Amazon
6 Apple iPad Pro 11 (2020) Check Price on Amazon

 

Bottom Line

Now you know the best iPads for aviation use. Our ultimate pick of the best iPads for aviation use are perfect for pilots who need reasonably priced, fast, and decent tablets that work day in, day out without problems. These tablets provide the best bang for your buck and are highly recommended.