Things got a little more complicated for iPad updates yesterday. No longer will the iPad run the same operating system as the iPhone. Instead, iPad OS (or iPadOS in Apple's styling) has been introduced. But will your current iPad be able to run the new update?

iPad OS has been brought in because Apple wants to add ever-more laptop-like use cases to iPad. It's introduced a new home screen, for example as well as the ability to handle multiple documents from the same app.

You can also mark up more documents and webpages with Apple Pencil, handle files more like a Mac and Safari will now give you the full desktop experience for websites. There are stacks of updates, in other words.

The fact the iPad has its own operating system now raises the possibility that iPadOS could be updated separately to the iPhone - perhaps when a new iPad is released, for example. No longer would there have to be an update for iOS as well. 

Which iPads can run iPadOS?

  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro
  • 11-inch iPad Pro
  • 10.5-inch iPad Pro
  • 9.7-inch iPad Pro
  • iPad (6th generation)
  • iPad (5th generation)
  • iPad mini (5th generation)
  • iPad mini 4
  • iPad Air (3rd generation)
  • iPad Air 2

So that's no iPad OS for earlier iPad Airs in particular - they're no longer deemed capable. That's not that surprising - an older iPad Air we use is creaking with latter-day updates.

Confused about which entry-level iPad to buy? Check out Apple iPad Air (2019) vs iPad 9.7 (2018): Which should you buy?