Best iPad for students 2024

Best iPad for students 2024


Preparing for student life can be exciting and stressful. To make things easier, it’s good to know that you’ve got the right tech to help you write your essays, take notes in lessons, and kick back with Netflix and games when the work is done. The iPad has evolved in recent years to something that can now act as a laptop replacement for many students, with accessories like the Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil making it one of the most versatile devices you can buy. 

Choosing the best iPad can be tricky, as Apple currently offers a wide range of models with different prices and features, including the M4 iPad Pro and M2 iPad Air models updated in May 2024.

Can students get discounts on iPads?

Students can save money on all sorts of Apple products by shopping at Apple’s education store in their country. Apple offers money off new iPad purchases to students in higher education all year round. In a separate article, you can read all about how to get an Apple Student Discount.

Plus, if you’re a student and you buy an iPad (or a Mac) from Apple, you might be able to get a free gift such as a pair of AirPods or vouchers while the company’s “Back To Uni” event is running. (This usually runs from June to September in the U.S. and Canada, and from July to October in the U.K. and January to March in Australia, New Zealand and other southern hemisphere locations).

Click on the following links for the Education stores in the countries where most of our readers reside:

Apple’s U.S. Education Store

Apple’s U.K. Education Store (in the U.K. you will need to verify your student status via UNiDAYS).

Apple’s Canada Education Store

Apple’s Australian Education Store

Another bonus if you’re a student: you can get Apple Music for half price with free Apple TV+ included.

How much can students save on an iPad?

Students can save as much as $100 in the U.S., £100 in the U.K., $170 in Australia, and $150 in Canada if they buy from the education store.

ProductU.S.U.K.AustraliaCanadaiPad (10th gen) MSRP$349£349$599$499iPad (10th gen) Student Price$329£329$559$469iPad mini MSRP$499£499$829$679iPad mini Student Price
£449$749$609iPad Air (11-inch, M2) MSRP$599£599$999$799iPad Air (11-inch, M2) Student Price$549£549$919$729iPad Air (13-inch, M2)
MSRP$799£799$1,299$1,099iPad Air (13-inch, M2) Student Price$749£749$1,219$1,029iPad Pro (11-inch, M4) MSRP$999£999$1,699$1,399iPad Pro (11-inch, M4) Student Price$899£899$1,529$1,249iPad Pro (13-inch, M4) MSRP$1,299£1,299$2,199$1,799iPad Pro (13-inch, M4) Student Price$1,199£1,199$2,029$1,649Apple’s discounted price for students compared to the usual price.

How to get an iPad student discount

Apple offers a student discount via its country-specific education stores. To recap:

Apple’s U.S. Education Store

Apple’s U.K. Education Store (in the UK you will need to verify your student status via UNiDAYS).

Apple’s Canada Education Store

Apple’s Australian Education Store

Depending on your location you may only need to sign up with details of your student status and course and prove your identity. Some countries have less stringent checks than others. In the U.K. you need to be registered with UNiDAYS in order to even see the student prices. We explain how to do this in our article How to get an Apple student discount.

To qualify for a discount you also need to meet Apple’s conditions. You either need to be a student in higher education, or a teacher at a teaching institution. The only way to get a discount for a child still at school is to be home educating them or to be a teacher yourself.

If you can’t get a student discount that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to get money off a new iPad though. Read our round-up of the best iPad deals. You will also find links to the best deals for each iPad below.

Best iPad for students

11-inch iPad Air (2024, M2): Best All-Rounder


M2 processor

128GB of storage in base model

Lots of color options


It’s not cheap

Price When Reviewed:

$599 (128GB, Wi-Fi only)

Best Prices Today:

$599 at Apple

The 11-inch iPad Air (M2), with its 11-inch display, modern design, low weight (462g), great cameras, and hugely powerful processor, is a great choice for students.

Unfortunately, it’s a bit on the pricey side for a tablet, with the current prices starting at $599/£599, but this does now include 128GB of storage, which is double that of the baseline iPad Air (2022, M1) it replaces. This makes it the perfect combination of power, storage and features, for a price that isn’t unreasonable, and one we can heartily recommend for those starting out on their studies.  

The biggest feature of the 2024 model is the inclusion of the M2 processor. This is the same chip that powered the previous generation of iPad Pro models, not to mention several of the new Macs. In an iPad Air, it makes the device fly. 

The camera is a 12MP Wide lens (also like on the iPad Pro), which can record video up to 4K/60fps, and as with other iPads on this list, the front-facing camera is a 12MP Ultra-Wide that allows for Center Stage and is now sensibly positioned on the longer side of the chassis to allow landscape views.

Essentially, the 2024 iPad Air is a 2022 iPad Pro for a cheaper price. The only major feature it’s missing is the 120Hz ProMotion screen refresh rate, but that’s hardly something most people will even notice. 

There are plenty of colors to choose from, and if you want to complete the Apple flavoured package then the 11-inch iPad Air supports the Magic Keyboard ($299/£299), Apple Pencil Pro ($129/£129) and Apple Pencil Pencil USB-C ($79/£79).

If you prefer a larger display, then there is also the 13-inch iPad Air (M2) that comes with all the same specs and features, and starts at $799/£799.

We highly recommend the 11-inch iPad Air (M2) for students who need premium performance and the best iPad you can buy without the Pro name.

How much can students save on the iPad Air?

MSRP: $599 / £599 / AU$999 / CA$799
Student: $549 / £549 / AU$919 / CA$729

Students save: $50 / £50 / AU$80 / CA$70

Get the best deal on a new iPad Air.

iPad (10th gen, 2022): Best Balance of Price and Power


Air-style design

10.9-inch Liquid Retina display

Price reduced in May 2024


64GB storage on base model

Requires dongle to power Apple Pencil (gen 1)

Price When Reviewed:

From $349 (64GB) | $499 (256GB)

Thanks to a recent price cut, and the retirement of the iPad 10.2-inch (9th gen), the iPad 10.9-inch (10th gen) model that arrived in October 2022 is now the cheapest iPad available from Apple. But that doesn’t mean it’s a budget device, as it features the same design approach as the iPad mini and iPad Air. This means you don’t have the traditional Home button, which has been replaced with swipe gestures and the Touch ID sensor repositioned in the power button on the top edge. This makes room for a larger display than on its predecessor, and ensures that the Home button is now officially a thing of the past.

On this iPad, the a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display, unlike on the mini, Air or Pro models, is unlaminated. This means there’s a slight air gap between the glass and the digitizer beneath. You probably won’t notice it at all, but if you intend to use the Apple Pencil for notes (gen 1 and USB-C are supported) then you may experience slight delays in the tracking.

One welcome addition (that arrived with this model, and is now a feature of the M4 iPad Pro and M2 iPad Air) is that the front-facing camera is located on the longer end of the panel, meaning it offers a true landscape view that’s centrally located. This is much better suited to FaceTime and other video calling apps. That new landscape 12MP Ultra Wide camera has a f/2.4 aperture that delivers a 122-degree view; it’s also compatible with the Center Stage feature that keeps you in the center of the frame even if you move about while on video calls. Apple bestows this iPad with a 12MP f/1.8 rear camera so you can get some great shots and shoot video 4K video at 60fps. If your course requires any kind of video content, then either the front or back optics of the iPad (10th gen) should prove more than sufficient, plus you can call home and look good doing so.

An A14 Bionic processor is at the heart of the new iPad, which is the same chip that powered the iPhone 12 (including the Pros). So there’s more than enough power for word processing, note-taking, coding, and most other education apps, not to mention gaming and entertainment duties. The switch from a Lightning port to USB-C also opens up the ability to use various peripherals and even power an external display if you want the iPad to become more like a fully-fledged computer.

Apple kits out the baseline model with 64GB, which feels a bit of a sore point in 2024. With this in mind, we’d recommend you opt for the 256GB version if you want to download plenty of movies and games or store all or your photos and videos on the device itself. Although this does push the price from $349/£349 (64GB) to $499/£499 (256GB). The extra space will serve you better in the long run, but if you don’t want to blow that extra cash, then there’s always the option of expanding your iCloud storage so that you can keep stuff safe in the cloud instead.

There are four colors to choose from (Blue, Yellow, Silver, and Pink) so you should be able to find one that suits your personality, and for extra functionality, you could invest in the new two-piece Magic Keyboard Folio, although the $249/£249 price tag does seem very high. Of course, a standard Bluetooth keyboard will get you the same results for a lot less money. As mentioned above, the new iPad supports the first-generation Apple Pencil, but as the charging port is now USB-C you’ll need an adaptor from Apple if you’ve already bought the Pencil. Otherwise, the dongle is now included in the box when you buy a new Apple Pencil (1st gen). Of course, there’s also the compatible Apple Pencil (USB-C) which gets around the dongle madness.

As you can see, there are a few caveats, but with its modern design, solid processor, and larger display, the 10.9-inch iPad (10th gen) is a great all-rounder that would prove a wise investment for those heading off to pursue their studies.

For more information, you can read our iPad 10.9-inch (10th gen) guide.

We expect to see an 11th-generation iPad at some point in 2024, more here: What you need to know about the 2024 iPad.

How much can students save on the 10th gen iPad?

MSRP: $349 / £349 / AU$599 / CA$499
Students; $329 / £329 / AU$559 / CA$469

Students save: $20 / £20 / AU$40 / CA$30

Read our full

10th-gen 10.9-inch iPad (2022) review

iPad mini (6th gen, 2021): Best for Note-Taking and Reading


Small and light

Centre Stage for FaceTime calls


64GB storage may be too limiting

Price When Reviewed:

From $499 (64GB) | $649 (256GB)

If the most important factor to you is portability there’s one iPad in particular that you might want to consider.

The iPad mini, last updated in September 2021 with an A15 Bionic and a brand-new design, is the smallest and lightest iPad you can buy, weighing in at 293g. Of course, the low weight is a result of the iPad itself being smaller, thanks to the 8.3-inch display (which is bigger than it used to be since Apple got rid of the Home button and relocated Touch ID to the power button on the top edge). The result is a compact but powerful device that doesn’t feel too small. We think this screen size is perfect for reading books or taking notes (especially with an Apple Pencil), so it may well be ideal if that’s how you intend to use your iPad.

And don’t let the diminutive form fool you: the A15 Bionic chip is the same as that found in the iPhone 13 Pro Max, so there’s no shortage of power on tap. Connectivity is top-notch too, with support for Wi-Fi 6 and LTE 5G networks available, depending on the model you choose. 

The front-facing camera is an Ultra-Wide lens, so it can track you and keep you in the center of the frame on video calls thanks to Center Stage, while the 12MP Wide camera on the back can capture great photos and videos that could be used in presentations or for media-based assignments. 

There are two storage options available (64GB and 256GB) and, as with the 10.9in (10th gen) iPad, we’d recommend the larger of the two as it allows you to store more apps, music, movies, photos, and videos. 

One disadvantage is that the mini only works with Bluetooth keyboards, rather than Apple’s range of iPad-specific keyboard, but whether that’s a significant disadvantage is debatable. It will definitely save you money.

Prices start at $499/£499 for the 64GB model, with the 256GB option raising the cost to $649/£649. The good news is that in May 2024 Apple reduced the price of the mini outside the U.S., having increased it a couple of years back.   

We hope to see a new iPad mini at some point in 2024, more here: iPad mini 7, what’s next?

How much can students save on the iPad mini?

MSRP: $499 / £499 / AU$829 / CA$679
Students: $449 / £449 / AU$749 / CA $609

Students save: $50 / £50 / AU$80 / CA$70

Get the best deal on a new iPad mini.

Read our full

Apple iPad mini (6th gen, A15, 2021) review

11-inch iPad Pro (2024): Best for Power and Performance


M4 Processor

OLED display

Stupidly light and thin



Probably overkill for students

Price When Reviewed:

$999 (Wi-Fi only)

Best Prices Today:

$999 at Apple

The Pro iPads are the pinnacle of Apple’s tablet range, and as such they feel like the power and price are probably overkill for your average student. That being said, if you want the best, then this is where you’ll find it.

The 11-inch iPad Pro (M4), was introduced in May 2024, boasting incredibly light and thin construction, but with a stupid amount of power inside. In an unprecedented step, Apple introduced the new M4 processor in the iPad before the Mac, making the 11-inch iPad Pro and 13-inch iPad Pro the most up-to-date devices in the Apple catalog.

The question really, is do you need all that grunt? If you’re after an iPad for taking notes, writing essays, watching Netflix, playing some games and using it for video calls home, then the iPad Air is a better balance of power and price. But, for those with money burning a hole in their pockets, and those planning to do a lot of gaming when they should be studying, the 11-inch iPad Pro comes with a new Ultra Retina XDR OLED display that has two layers (Apple calls this Tandem OLED) to produce the brightest panel they’re ever made, kicking out up to 1600 nits. It’s also ProMotion, with an ultra-smooth 120Hz refresh rate.

Cameras are 12Mp sensors, with the rear unit a Wide lens that can record video up to 4K/60fps, plus ProRes capabilities which would be of interest to video content creators. The front-facing lens also has the TrueDepth array, allowing Face ID, which remains a Pro-only features on iPads. You get Centre Stage for video calls, and the placement of the camera on the longer edge means you get landscape view.

The two size variants offer the same capabilities, with 256GB of storage the baseline, and prices starting at $999/£999 for the 11-inch model and $1,299/£1,299 for the 13-inch variant.

As we’ve said, the iPad Pros are probably too much for your typical student, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t excellent products for those who can afford them and take advantage of all the power on offer.

How much can students save on the 11-inch iPad Pro?

MSRP: $999 / £999 / AU$1,699 / CA$1,399
Students: $899 / £899 / AU$1,529 / CA$1,249

Students save: $100 / £100 / AU$170 / CA$150

Get the best deal on a new iPad Pro.

iPad 10.2in (9th gen, 2021): Best Bargain Hunt iPad



Centre Stage support for FaceTime

Compatible with any Bluetooth keyboard


No longer in production

64GB storage may be too little

Price When Reviewed:

$329 (64GB) | $479 (256GB)

Since we expect that students are likely to be looking to save money where they can, we’d suggest that the 10.2in iPad (9th gen) is the closest you can get to a bargain iPad. True, it is no longer in production, being discontinued in 2024 by Apple, but there should still be stock available from third-party sellers out there, and refurbished models could make the ticket price even lower.

If you want an iPad to cover the basics, it offers enough performance and features to make it an excellent choice for many students. The final 2021 model featured the more than adequate A13 that previously powered the iPhone 11 range, plus the FaceTime cameras has an Ultra-Wide lens and support for Center Stage, making video calls home a lot better looking than on previous iPads.

It can happily run the Microsoft Office apps for iPad if that is what you want to use, but there are free productivity apps from Apple and others that will make note-taking and working on assignments a doddle. Add a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse and you have a very workable laptop that should cope with most coursework demands. Support for Apple Pencil (gen 1) means you can annotate documents, sketch, and of course practice your handwriting. 

The iPad 10.2-inch is still a great pick if you can find one and your demands aren’t too onerous. It will handle academic life with ease, and provide plenty of entertainment when lessons are over. One word of caution, though. The base model comes with only 64GB of storage, which in this day and age seems pretty mean. With that in mind, we’d recommend opting for the 256GB version as it would be more practical, albeit more expensive.

As a rough guide, here’s the prices for the iPad (9th Gen) when it was still available from Apple – $329 / £369 / AU$549 / CA$449.

Get the best deal on a new 10.2-inch iPad

Read our full

Apple iPad 10.2in (2021) review

Should students buy an iPad or a laptop?

Before you go ahead and buy your iPad you may want to consider its suitability for your purpose.

As a student you probably have a few requirements:

Low price

Great apps for things like note-taking, recording lectures and revision

Light enough to carry around all day

Keyboard and stylus support

Suitable for making video calls home

You might be wondering whether a tablet or a laptop would be better for those needs, and if you lean towards the latter, take a look at our guide to the best Macs for students.

We think, however, that an iPad is a great choice. It runs many of the apps you’ll find on a laptop, including Office apps like Word and PowerPoint and the Apple equivalents, and in some cases, an iPad is actually more powerful than a laptop thanks to the super-fast processors Apple uses.

Another benefit is that you can have all the books you need for your course on your iPad and carry them with you to lectures and tutorials. You could even photograph pages from books in the library and use optical character recognition to save the text to your iPad.

Not only do you not need to lug all your books around with you, but an iPad is also far lighter than even the lightest laptop, so you won’t get backache from carrying it to lectures and the library.

With battery life of 10 hours–plenty for a day on campus–you aren’t going to need to find a space beside a plug socket in order to get through a day at uni.

Think that having an iPad will mean you have to type on an on-screen keyboard. No! You could sync any Bluetooth keyboard or plug in one of Apple’s own iPad keyboards and effectively turn your iPad into a laptop. There’s also the Apple Pencil, which could come in useful if you wanted to jot down some notes on your iPad screen in a lecture. See Best stylus for iPad.

And when you’ve finished studying there are loads of games, and apps for video calling your parents.

Still not sure? We have more information comparing a MacBook laptop and an iPad.

Are iPads good for students?

The next question you might want some reassurance on is whether the iPad is the best option for a student. There are a lot of other tablets available, many of which are cheaper than an iPad. So you might be thinking of saving some money.

We think if you do so you will regret it. There are many reasons why Apple’s iPads are so popular:

The App Store is heaving with great apps designed specifically for the iPad.

Many of those apps will be ideal for students: note-taking apps, apps for converting handwriting to text, apps for recording lectures, timetable management, and of course video calling (so you can stay in touch with mum and dad).

There is an ecosystem of great accessories designed to work with the iPad.

Apple’s iPadOS is stable and easy to use, especially if you already have an iPhone.

If you’ve got a Mac you can use an iPad as a second screen, provided you’re running Big Sur or later. 

Further reading

That’s all of our student-related buying advice, but if you’re buying for someone younger, check out our guide to the best iPad for Kids.