6 Best iPads for Aviation Use in 2024 (New Picks)

best ipads for aviation use

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 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 (2022) (Editors’ Choice) Check Price on Amazon
2 Apple iPad Air (2022) Check Price on Amazon
3 Apple iPad Mini 6 (2021) Check Price on Amazon
4 Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) Check Price on Amazon
5 Apple iPad Air (2020) Check Price on Amazon
6 Apple iPad 10.2 (2021) Check Price on Amazon

 

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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 (2022) (Editors’ Choice)

best ipads for aviation

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The Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2022) is the best iPad for aviation use and our Editors’ Choice. It is also the best tablet for pilots.

The iPad Pro 12.9 (2022) is Apple’s top-of-the-line tablet as of 2023, featuring a powerful M2 chipset that gives it laptop-level performance. While some may argue that the M1 from the previous generation is more than enough for most tablet activities, the M2 ensures that this device is future-proof.

Apart from the M2, the iPad Pro 12.9 (2022) shares many similarities with its predecessor, the iPad Pro 12.9 (2021), such as its large 12.9-inch, 120Hz display that utilizes mini-LED technology for superior picture quality compared to smaller iPads. Despite packing all this tech, the tablet is surprisingly slim and lightweight.

Additionally, it features Face ID, capable cameras, and supports accessories like Apple’s Magic Keyboard and the Apple Pencil 2, which boasts hover-detection that makes it perfect for drawing.

As expected, the iPad Pro 12.9 (2022) comes with a hefty price tag, nevertheless, for pilots who want a tablet with unbeatable performance, this is the device to go for.

PROS

  • Lightning-fast performance
  • Exceptional display
  • Slim and sleek build
  • M2 chip
  • Incredibly durable
  • Good audio

CONS

  • Pricey

Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2022) Key Specifications

Display: 12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR mini-LED LCD, 2048 x 2732 pixels
Chipset: Apple M2
OS: iPadOS 16
RAM: 8GB/16GB
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6e, dual-band, hotspot
Size: 280.6 x 214.9 x 6.4 mm
Weight: 682 g (Wi-Fi), 685 g (5G)
Rear Camera: 12MP, 10MP, TOF 3D LiDAR scanner
Front Camera: 12MP
Battery: 40.88 Wh

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2. Apple iPad Air (2022)     best ipad for aviation use

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The Apple iPad Air is for anyone who needs an iPad Pro-like performance from a portable tablet at a fraction of the price. It is a fit for casual users and creators alike.

Its 10.9-inch Liquid Retina multi-touch display looks fine, especially in its color reproduction. You can use the Air comfortably in either portrait or landscape orientations.

The best part of the 2022 iPad Air, however, is its performance. It is fast thanks to the Apple M1 chipset tucked inside it. This tablet delivers at all times. You can watch videos, play games, and read on the Air 2022 with zero performance lag.

Like the 2021 iPad Mini, storage is a bit restrictive. The base model ships with 64GB of storage. Though, there is a variant with 256GB of storage, and we recommend this. If you need more storage, your best bet is the iPad Pro 2021 which comes in 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB.

It’s worth noting, as well, that the 2022 iPad Air ships with the outstanding Apple Pencil 2 which attaches magnetically and charges wirelessly. This makes the Air 2022 an ideal pick for writing, drawing, and taking notes without a hitch.

Audio quality from the Air’s two speakers is just ok, while admittedly lacking bass and the staggering audio performance iPad Pro users enjoy.

Then there’s the cameras. The tablet boasts a 12MP rear camera and 12MP ultra-wide selfie camera. One thing Apple’s added to this 2002 Air is the Centre Stage feature which automatically pans the camera to keep everyone in centre view during a video call.

What else should we include? Well, the responsive Touch ID built into the power button is an A+ in our book. How about the Face ID feature? Well, there isn’t one really.

Again, the 2022 iPad Air is 5G compatible.

Plus, it features a remarkable battery life and debatably one of the best we’ve ever come across. The Air 2022 will stay powered up for an entire workday and more.

Oh, and for the record, the 2022 iPad Air has no headphone jack. Not a deal breaker, but worth bearing in mind.

Overall, this is the best tablet for just about everyone. Its performance and price tag make it easy to pull the trigger on a purchase order. Highly recommended.

PROS

  • Super-fast M1 processor
  • Colorful display
  • Thin and portable
  • Good design
  • Compatible with Apple Pencil 2
  • Good speakers
  • 5G connectivity
  • Long battery life

CONS

  • Storage is restrictive
  • Expensive peripherals

Apple iPad Air (2022) Key Specifications

Display: 10.9-inch Liquid Retina IPS LCD display, 1640 x 2360 pixels
Chipset: Apple M1
OS: iPadOS 15.4
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 64GB/256GB
Connectivity:  Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6, dual-band, hotspot
Size: 9.75 x 7.03 x 0.24 in (247.6 x 178.5 x 6.1 mm)
Weight: 1.02 pounds (462 g)
Rear Camera: 12MP
Front Camera: 12MP
Battery: 28.6 Wh

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3. Apple iPad Mini 6 (2021) 

best ipads for aviation use

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Built on Apple’s speedy A15 Bionic processor and featuring 4GB of RAM, along with an 8.3-inch Liquid Retina IPS LCD screen, it has specs that rival other flagships. The A15 Bionic processor that powers the 2021 iPad mini can handle everything you throw at it.

Aside from its super fast processor, the screen stands out, too. Text looks sharp on the screen as do photos and videos.

Storage is a bit restrictive. Available internal storage includes 64GB and 256GB only. If that’s your main concern, you should probably lean toward the 2021 iPad Pro 12.9-inch which comes in 128GB, 256 GB, 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB.

As far as sound goes, what comes out of the tablet speakers is actually decent.

You can write, draw, annotate PDFS, and take notes with the Apple Pencil (2nd generation). The Apple Pencil 2 attaches magnetically to the iPad mini 6.

Apple says the 19.3Wh battery in the iPad mini 6 provides an all-day battery life, however, in truth, the battery will last up to 10 hours on a single charge.

On the negative side, the 2021 iPad mini has no headphone jack. That’s slightly painful.

You’ll be hard-pressed to be disappointed with the iPad mini 6 performance. Overall, this is an exceptional iPad you can take anywhere and one of the best iPads for aviation use.

PROS

  • Exceptional display
  • Super-fast performance
  • Beautiful design
  • Light and portable
  • Compatible with Apple Pencil 2
  • Very good webcam
  • Long battery life
  • USB-C charging

CONS

  • No multiuser support
  • No headphone jack

Apple iPad Mini 6 (2021) Key Specifications

Display: 8.3-inch Liquid Retina IPS LCD display, 1488 x 2266 pixels
Chipset: Apple A15 Bionic
OS: iPadOS 15
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 64GB/256GB
Connectivity:  Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6, dual-band, hotspot
Size: 7.69 x 5.31 x 0.25 in (195.4 x 134.8 x 6.3 mm)
Weight: 0.65 pounds (293 g)
Rear Camera: 12MP
Front Camera: 12MP
Battery: 19.3 Wh

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4. Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) 

best ipads for aviation use

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The iPad Pro 2021 is stacked with so much power. Packed with Apple’s powerful M1 chipset and 8GB of RAM, the iPad Pro blazes through apps, browser tabs and videos without any sign of slowdown. You won’t have a problem viewing maps. 

You can opt for the model with 16GB of RAM. For viewing maps and charts without a hitch, the 8GB RAM variant is pretty OK.

But before you get swept up by all that power, let’s not forget that beautiful new Liquid Retina XDR mini-LED display. The 2021 iPad Pro’s gorgeous display is on the level of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus. Pictures look more intense, expressive and realistic.

As for audio, you’d be equally impressed. The iPad Pro’s audio is respectable.

New for the iPad Pro is a USB-C port with USB4 and Thunderbolt 3 support. This means you can connect compatible devices and accessories effortlessly.

As you would expect, the iPad Pro isn’t filled with the kind of bloatware that manufacturers usually lade cheap tablets and phones with.

Elsewhere, it offers a ton of storage. Available internal storage includes 128GB, 256 GB, 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB.

Apple isn’t skimping on the battery with the iPad Pro; the 40.88 Wh cell offers excellent endurance.

Sure, the iPad Pro 2021 12.9-inch is still a bit out of range for some people, price-wise. However, it gives a lot.

On the negative side, the colour options are a bit restrictive. Like its predecessors, the iPad Pros 2021 come in Silver and Space Gray colour options.

Overall, the iPad Pro 2021 is an outstanding tablet, and it remains one of the best iPads for aviation use.

PROS

  • Outstanding display
  • Super-fast performance
  • Slim build
  • Durable
  • Incredible battery life
  • Good audio
  • USB4 and Thunderbolt 3 support

CONS

  • Limited colour options
  • Pricey

Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) Key Specifications

Display: 12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR Mini LED display, 2048 x 2732 pixels
Chipset: Apple M1
OS: iPadOS 14.5.1
RAM: 8GB/16GB
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB
Connectivity:  Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6, dual-band, hotspot
Size: 11.05 x 8.46 x 0.25 in (280.6 x 214.9 x 6.4 mm)
Weight: 1.50 pounds (682g)
Rear Camera: 12MP, 10MP
Front Camera: 12MP
Battery: 40.88 Wh

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5. 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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Notable Mention

The Apple iPad 10.2 (2021) is an outstanding iPad for aviation use, worth mentioning.

6. Apple iPad 10.2 (2021) best ipads for aviation use

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PROS

  • Excellent display
  • Super-fast performance
  • Good front-facing camera
  • Good battery life

CONS

  • Not  compatible with Apple Pencil 2
  • Same old design

Apple iPad 10.2 (2021) Key Specifications

Display: 10.2-inch Retina IPS LCD display, 1620 x 2160 pixels
Chipset: Apple A13 Bionic                                                        
OS: iPadOS 15
RAM: 3GB
Storage: 64GB/256GB
Connectivity:  Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, hotspot
Size: 9.87 x 6.85 x 0.30 in (250.6 x 174.1 x 7.5mm)
Weight: 1.07 pounds (487g)
Rear Camera: 8MP
Front Camera: 12MP
Battery: 8557 mAh

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No. Item  
1 Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2022) (Editors’ Choice) Check Price on Amazon
2 Apple iPad Air (2022) Check Price on Amazon
3 Apple iPad Mini 6 (2021) Check Price on Amazon
4 Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) Check Price on Amazon
5 Apple iPad Air (2020) Check Price on Amazon
6 Apple iPad 10.2 (2021) Check Price on Amazon
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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.