iPhone and iPad

5 Signs It’s Time to Upgrade Your iPad

Christian Cawley 16-04-2015

It suddenly feels a lot heavier, doesn’t it? The streamlined design no longer impresses you, and as for the lack of app choice… your iPad has been left behind.


Make sure you’re not: here are a few tell-tale signs that it’s time to upgrade your iPad.

Compatibility Issues & App Crashes

Sadly it is a fact of tech that as operating systems are updated, older software stops working. For instance, an app designed for iOS 3.2 (the first version of iOS for iPad) might have been updated by the developers for iOS 5.5.1 (the last version of iOS for iPad) but subsequent updates don’t apply to your device.

5 Signs It’s Time to Upgrade Your iPad ipadold

The result is that you might be missing features, or demands on your hardware are made that result in app stability decreasing. My first-generation iPad had problems running the WordPress app, for instance, an issue that occurred as new features were added with each revision. Once I upgraded to an iPad Air, the problems with that app were gone. Unfortunately, as you probably realise, iOS 7 and 8 aren’t designed to run on the original iPad, which means that you miss out on many new features and the apps that take advantage of them.

As new iPad models become more sophisticated, so too do apps and games. Upgrading your device is the only way to stay on the curve.


New Accessories Are Incompatible

Your charger has worn out, so you head to your local store or electrical retailer to pick up a replacement, only to find that no genuine Apple chargers for your iPad are available. Instead, all of the chargers feature the compact Lightning connector.


Alternatively, you buy a new case for your iPad, only to find when you get it home that it is too small, designed instead for the iPad Air. You might have also found that free screen protectors shipped with that tablet, but these too are useless for your iPad 1.

And we haven’t even touched upon the topic of docking stations and speakers.


Your early iPad is getting old. You’ll need to scour eBay and Amazon carefully for suitable accessories, or just upgrade.

Battery Runs Down Quickly

The iPad 1 shipped with a rechargeable Li-Po battery that offered a considerable 10 hours of use. How long does your battery last for now?


Li-Po batteries are used in iPad and Android tablets, and tips for maintaining a strong charge Keep Your Android's Battery Healthy With These Tips Software and apps can only go so far -- what about how to charge and discharge your battery? Learn all the tricks here. Read More apply to both devices. Batteries degrade over time as they complete charge “cycles” and the older the device, the more cycles it has completed. Extreme heat and cold temperatures can also negatively affect batteries, as can fully discharging the cell.


Is your iPad dropping charge within 5 hours? If so, it looks like an upgrade is the answer.

Dead Pixels and a Dodgy Display

A fully working touch sensitive display is required for you to use your iPad. If the display stops detecting touch and gestures, or if it stops displaying things correctly, then you’ve got a problem.


Like TVs, laptops and any other LCD-based display, older iPads can end up with dead or stuck pixels. While a little massaging (or even the help of an app iPhone Pixel App: Fix Stuck Pixels In iPhone Read More ) can alleviate this, repeated discovery of stuck pixels is a strong clue that your LCD display is past its prime.


A display with scratches, cracks or even chips in it will struggle to respond to contact. Even if you aren’t using an antiquated iPad, a device with a damaged screen is certainly on borrowed time.

Unresponsive Hardware Buttons

One of the worries with any portable device is that the hardware buttons might wear out. Issues with the volume controls and rotation lock switch can be circumvented, but an inability to access the home screen is another matter entirely.

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While it is possible to recalibrate the home button Is Your iPhone Home Button Not Working? 5 Quick Fixes to Try Your iPhone Home button isn't working? Here's how to repair or work around a broken Home button to make your device usable again. Read More or even replace it with the on-screen button through Settings > General > Accessibility > Assistive Touch, buttons that aren’t working correctly can indicate issues with the state of the hardware itself.

Rather than find yourself unable to switch on or operate your iPad, it’s a better idea to look for an upgrade.

But What About Your Old iPad?

With five good reasons to upgrade your iPad to a new model, you might be happy to forget that your old one exists. But you shouldn’t overlook it just yet, as you’ll find that it is still useful for quite a few tasks, from an in-car entertainment center to computer trackpad or even a photo album or portfolio.

If you don’t opt to give it to a young relative, then cashing it in is also an option, though be aware it probably won’t fetch very much. Be sure you know what iPad model you have How to Know What iPad You Have Not sure which iPad you have? Here's a guide to the distinguishing features of every iPad so you can tell which model you own. Read More before you try to sell it. And we’ve shown how to sync your iPhone and iPad How to Sync Your iPhone and iPad Need to know how to sync your iPhone and iPad? Here's how to keep two iOS devices in sync and protect all your data. Read More so you don’t lose anything when you upgrade.

Image Credit: Low battery symbol via Shutterstock, Vladimir Arndt via Shutterstock.com, Strukt via Shutterstock.com, Home (yum9me).

Related topics: Buying Tips, iPad, iPad Case.

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  1. Sue
    May 23, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    My I pad is so slow to respond and keeps blacking out even when fully charged is it time to replace it or up date it?

    • Christian Cawley
      May 23, 2017 at 6:43 pm

      Oh replace it, most definitely!

  2. dragonmouth
    April 17, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    Upgrade your iJunk and do it often because Fruitco needs to maintain their revenue stream. Did I hear someone say planned obsolescence?

  3. Travis
    April 17, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    Two words: planned obsolescence.

  4. pc descuento
    April 17, 2015 at 11:21 am

    Le faltan muchos estándares a ipad para converceme

  5. David k
    April 16, 2015 at 11:02 pm

    Why is everyone so desperate to replace their old Tech? Only sign that a tablet is ready to upgrade is if it's broken in half or refuses to turn on.

    I still have my old Archos 7 inch tablet from about 4 years ago. It's running Android 2.2 ,horrifically slow and out dated by today's standards, but it reads all my comics and books, plays all my videos and music, surfs the web and has access to all the apps I actually use.

    Tech is for life, not just for xmas

    • Christian Cawley
      April 20, 2015 at 7:43 pm

      I think it depends on who you are, David. I'd rather have stuck to my iPad original, but the demands of this role (and those elsewhere) means keeping up to date. I'm sure some people see the upgrade as a religious experience though.

      (Frankly, I'd prefer to be the old school writer who taps away on a clattery old typewriter, but you can't say things like that on a technology website. Oh.)

  6. ed
    April 16, 2015 at 6:01 pm

    You can always get the battery replaced; and hand down the ipad1 to a toddler who wont know the difference between it and the air 2.

  7. Doc
    April 16, 2015 at 5:02 pm

    Another reason: You're sick of limited storage space, and want something with an SD card slot. Also, you're sick of a "walled garden" of apps and expensive media.

    • likefunbuntot
      April 16, 2015 at 5:07 pm

      And an on screen keyboard that doesn't change case with the state of the shift key and now I won't let that go because that shit is utterly infuriating.

    • Christian Cawley
      April 20, 2015 at 7:44 pm

      All of these things can be considered an annoyance, and as someone who has access to all major platforms I can see your points. Of course, we can't conflate "upgrade" with "switch to Android", as that would result in a quite different article...