Things are a little more complicated for iPad updates.

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, 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.

A public beta of iPadOS is already available to test. But first, be sure your tablet can run the software.

Which iPad models 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 iPad to buy?

Check out Apple iPad Air (2019) vs iPad 9.7 (2018): Which should you buy?

Want to know more?

Check out our guide on iPadOS. We discuss all the big, new features and how to get started testing them.