Should You Buy or Upgrade to an iPad Mini 2?

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Getty Images / Tara Moore

The iPad Mini 2 was released on November 12, 2013, and in computing terms, it has aged well. The Mini 2 has the same A7 system-on-a-chip that powers the iPad Air and the iPhone 5S, so it is definitely a little long in the tooth. But A7 has proven to be a cut-off point where devices released before it have lost official support from Apple while devices with the A7 or newer chips retain support.

What does this mean for the iPad Mini 2? It means the tablet can still run the latest version of Apple's iOS operating system and can run most apps in the App Store. In fact, among the few apps that won't run on an iPad Mini 2 are those designed specifically for the as-powerful-as-a-laptop iPad Pro tablets. Even better, Apple's iOS 12 can actually make older devices run faster by tweaking the performance of the underlying operating system.

Is the iPad Mini 2 Still a Good Purchase?

While the iPad Mini 2 still runs the same operating system and apps that can be found on newer iPads, it is next in line for losing official support from Apple. This doesn't mean it would become immediately useless, but it does have a more limited lifespan than a newer iPad.

But this doesn't make it a bad purchase.

Refurbished iPad Mini 2 models can be found for as low as $140 or lower on eBay, and similar deals might be found on other third-party selling apps or websites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. Unfortunately, the one place you won't find a good deal is Apple's refurbished store, which is still selling the iPad Mini 2 for an exaggerated price.

Is the iPad Mini 2 worth $140? A new iPad will cost at least $329 for the entry-level device, but while that entry-level iPad is pretty awesome, you can still get a lot of use out of the iPad Mini 2. A lot of the decision making will depend on what use you are putting to the iPad.

Do Buy the iPad Mini 2 If...

  • You mainly want to surf the web or browse Facebook.
  • You want to check your email.
  • You want to stream video from Netflix, Hulu and other streaming services.
  • You want to play casual games.
  • You want to use it as an educational or entertainment tablet for your kid.

Don't Buy the iPad Mini 2 If...

  • You want to use it for productivity such as writing papers, creating spreadsheets or other work-related or school-related activities.
  • You want to play top-of-the-line games
  • You want to use the multitasking capabilities such as watching a video while taking notes.
  • You want to make use of the Apple Pencil, which is not supported by the iPad Mini 2.
  • You want an iPad that will still be great in three or more years.

You can still buy an iPad Air as a refurbished model for slightly more than the iPad Mini 2. The main difference between the two is the 9.7-inch screen on the Air compared to the 7.9-inch on the Mini 2. Read about more differences between the models.