The iPad 4 was released alongside the iPhone 5 in 2012, featuring the same Apple A6 processor. It was the last iPad to feature a 32-bit processor, as all future iPads came with at least a 64-bit A7 or later. The iPad 4 received updates from iOS 6 all the way to iOS 10.3.3. Apple ditched support for this device at iOS 11, the first 64-bit only version of iOS, but iOS 10.3.3 still proves to be quite a worthy OS even for 2021. It was iOS 10, after all, that replaced the “swipe to unlock” lockscreen with one where you press the home button. It was also iOS 10 that introduced a new control centre, customisable widgets, and Siri third-party integration. But now we’re on iOS 14, and many apps are starting to turn away from iOS 10 to take advantage of the SDK features later iOS versions bring. So, is the iPad 4 on iOS 10 in 2021 still a good tablet?
To my surprise, the battery life on the iPad 4 is still quite good and drains slowly, however this comes at a cost: it takes a while to charge. For me to charge it from 50% to 100% took almost four hours, while doing the same on my Galaxy S9 from 2018 with my ANKER Wireless charging pad would take only about 50 minutes. Despite this cost, the battery life will still last you hours watching videos, surfing the net, and playing games. I’d even say it lasts longer than my 2015 iPhone 6S running iOS 14 which has an 83% battery capacity according to settings.
While the latest versions of Microsoft’s Office mobile apps do not work on iOS 10, and neither do Google’s Docs or Apple’s Pages, old versions of these are readily available to download if you already have them in your iTunes library. You can get them in your iTunes library by downloading them on a newer, compatible iOS device first, and then trying to download from purchased in the App Store. I was able to get Apple’s Pages, Keynote, and Numbers apps, which while being a few versions behind do still have many great features and work perfectly fine for productivity. The Notes app doesn’t feel that much different to on my iPhone 6S, and many features like drawing are still there.
While some more recent games from 2017 onwards may be out of your reach, many older games still install fine such as Ketchapp games, Temple Run, and PAC-MAN. Those games that don’t work may have an older compatible version you can use, so even if the games you want appear incompatible at first sight you may still be able to enjoy them with an older version. If the incompatible game you want to play is online though, you probably won’t be able to use it as most online games demand you use the latest version due to changes on the server-side.
The preinstalled Safari browser still works for browsing, although if you’re into third party browsers, Chrome, Opera, and Firefox are still available provided you’re happy with a few versions old copy. Many websites still render fine in the included Apple browser engine, unlike on my iPhone 4 on iOS 6 which has problems rendering a lot of websites as websites have moved on from 2013. iOS 10, on the other hand, renders websites fine and things like video still work. If you have troubles with YouTube in the browser, you can always download the app, although you will have to use an older version.
While if you use the iPad 4 for browsing, watching videos, and playing light games you won’t notice too much of a performance hit, if you try to play more heavyweight games or excess multitasking the iPad 4 will really start to reveal its age. While it may run a 2016 operating system, the iPad 4 is 2012 hardware, and that cannot be hidden. As long as you acknowledge the iPad 4 is no gaming tablet and it has boundaries, you should not notice issues with performance. However, if you intend on playing graphics-intense games or multitasking with a lot of apps, then the iPad 4 is not the tablet for you.
So, is the iPad 4 good in 2021?
As I say in most other tech reviews, it depends on what you use it for. If you want a budget tablet for web browsing, email, video, and possibly lightweight games then the iPad 4 does still hold up. If you want a tablet to play graphics-intense games and multitask and one that you know will last you for many years, then steer clear of this iPad as it is not the tablet for you. I use my iPad 4 for various things sometimes and as long as you don’t push its boundaries you will not encounter any problems.
I hope this review helped you decide whether or not to get the iPad 4. Do you have an iPad 4? Would you recommend it? Did this review help you? If so, make sure to leave a comment below!