iPad Air (2022) vs. iPad Air (2020): Do you have to improve?

The brand new

iPad Air has arrived

 bearing the mantle as the fifth generation of Apple’s lightweight and ultra-portable tablet lineup. From the outside, the 2022 entry looks and feels a lot like its

2020 predecessor

; Thin, symmetrical bezels, a 10.9-inch display, all housed in a cool-to-the-touch, aluminum body.

But in the new iPad, Apple is giving it a breath of fresh air by embedding an industry-disrupting M1 processor, a brand new front-facing digicam, and the buzzword of the last decade: 5G.

Whether or not you’re an iPad Air (2020) consumer who’s contemplating an improve or a first-timer who’s cut up between the 2 newest Air fashions, we’ve damaged down the important thing similarities and variations that can assist you make one of the best shopping for determination. Let’s start.


On the design entrance, each iPad Airs are headlined by a ten.9-inch Liquid Retina show, able to as much as 500 nits of brightness. The LED panels assist Apple’s True Tone, which calibrates the colour and depth of the shows for a cushty viewing expertise regardless of the lighting situation. In addition they assist the

second-generation Apple Pencil

for your stylus needs.

The same array of USB-C port, speakers, TouchID scanner, and pins to connect to a

Magic Keyboard

can be found across both iPad models. Likewise, the single 12-megapixel camera on the back remains unchanged in the new Air. (More on the cameras later.)


All the color options for the 2022 iPad Air.

Image: Apple

One change in appearance is the color options that Apple offers. The iPad Air (2020) comes in Space Gray, Silver, Rose Gold, Green, and Sky Blue. Whereas the iPad Air (2022) comes in Space Grey, Starlight, Pink, Purple, and a darker Blue.

Clearly, the design of the iPad Air (2020) was good enough to not warrant any major shifts in hardware two years later. You’ll enjoy and appreciate Apple’s industrial design no matter which of the two you buy.


The saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” doesn’t really apply to the iPad Air (2022). In fact, underneath the familiar glass and aluminum exterior is Apple’s ARM-based, eight-core CPU, M1 chip. Trickling down from the MacBooks and iMacs, Apple’s M1 chip charges are as much as 60% quicker and extra highly effective than its Bionic counterpart — just like the A14 discovered on the 2020 iPad Air. That’s a reasonably vital step-up, contemplating each iPads begin on equal footing with 8GB of RAM.

With regular duties like social media, searching, and streaming films and movies, the distinction in efficiency between the M1 and A14 Bionic can be unnoticeable for many customers. However when dealing with graphics-intensive apps, comparable to 4K video editors, 3D racing video games, augmented actuality, or multitasking, the processing hole is obvious. With the M1 at its core, the iPad Air (2022) even provides the higher-end iPad Professional a run for its cash.

Extra: iPad Air (2022) vs iPad Pro (2021): What’s the difference?

Each iPad Airs have two storage choices: 64GB and 256GB. Given the transportable nature of the Air, you’ll seemingly end up working from it on the go. That makes native storage all of the extra necessary and the bottom 64GB all of the extra underwhelming. I’d advocate upgrading to the 256GB variant, regardless of which model you purchase.

Digital camera

Digital camera efficiency isn’t sometimes the important thing promoting level for tablets, not to mention iPads. However with this yr’s iPad Air, Apple does emphasize its new and improved front-facing digicam.


Picture: Apple

Whereas the 12MP rear digicam stays untouched, the entrance now homes a 12MP ultra-wide digicam. With a wider discipline of view than the earlier era’s 7MP FaceTime HD lens, the brand new iPad can reap the benefits of Middle Stage, Apple’s webcam function that tracks and follows your face as you progress round. That is significantly helpful for displays and FaceTime calls with family and friends.

Apart from that, each iPads are able to recording 4K video and dependable sufficient for the standard point-and-shoot.


Apple tends to maintain battery capacities and specs below the rug however does state on its web site that each the 2020 and 2022 iPad Air can last as long as 10 hours of net searching on Wi-Fi, and as much as 9 hours on a mobile information community. We had comparable outcomes when testing the 2.

The truth is, when ZDNet contributor Jason Cipriani reviewed the iPads, he had no hassle getting a full workday of use, even with the Magic Keyboard linked. There’s one thing to be mentioned concerning the M1 chip on the brand new iPad, although. With its improved energy effectivity and easy dealing with of professional-grade apps, marginally higher battery life is to be anticipated.

Finally, once you do have to prime up, each iPad Airs include a 20-watt charger (brick and cable) within the field, and that’s as quick as they’ll cost.


Apart from the extra environment friendly M1 processor, there are a pair extra enhancements on the brand new iPad Air which will or could not have an effect on your utilization.

The primary improve is 5G mobile connectivity. Although not mmWave 5G, the sub-6 GHz bands on the iPad Air (2022) permit you to connect with the fifth-gen community and entry quicker obtain speeds than the 4G LTE of the iPad Air (2020). You’ll, in fact, should be below a 5G information plan, have the suitable nano-SIM card (or eSIM), and buy the costlier, mobile model of the iPad, so as to reap the advantages of the quicker community.

Extra: Apple Studio Display: Everything you need to know

One other improve comes within the type of the brand new iPad Air’s USB-C port. It now helps exterior displays with a 6K output (versus the 2020’s 4K) and transfers images, movies, and information at 10Gbps. That’s double the pace of the fourth-generation iPad Air. With the quicker output, you possibly can theoretically join the brand new iPad to Apple’s

$1,600 Studio Display.


Even with the all-around improvements, Apple sells the fifth-generation iPad Air for the same price as its predecessor. At retail, either model can be had for

$599 (64GB)


$749 (256GB)

. That is, again, if you’re buying the iPads at retail. With the release of the new Air, most stores and websites have since marked down the 2020 model as a means to clear out inventory. 

Right now, we’re seeing major retailers list the iPad Air (2020) for as low as

$499 ($100 off)

, and there is no telling whether that price will go any lower before it’s completely discontinued.

Whether you’re new to the iPad experience or are a current owner of the iPad Air (2020), making the switch to the latest model boils down to three things: 5G, Center Stage, and M1. If you seek an iPad that’s future-proof and capable of handling any task you throw at it, then the iPad Air (2022) is worth the pickup. But if you can live without the connectivity quirks and just want a no-frills, iPadOS experience, then save yourself the money by sticking with the iPad Air (2020).


Still up in the air about which iPad to buy? You may also want to consider these ZDNet-tested tablets:

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