iPad WiFi vs iPad Cellular: which one should you get?

iPad WiFi vs iPad Cellular: which one should you get?
With the release of every new iPad, like the latest iPad duo that Apple released earlier this month, millions of people are facing a dilemma: Should I get the WiFi-only iPad or the iPad with cellular?

If money is of no concern to you, then sure, get the one with LTE, even if you’re not planning to use it often. But for most people, the added cost of the cellular connectivity, which varies between $100 and $150 depending on the iPad model, is something that has to be thoroughly considered. After all, why pay for something you might not need?

Well, that’s what we’re here to find out: is the WiFi-only iPad or the WiFi + Cellular iPad the right one for you.

WiFi-only iPad for your home entertainment needs

These days, our electronic devices are almost useless without a connection to the internet. That’s why the distinction between the WiFi iPad and the cellular iPad is so important. With the WiFi one, your internet use is restricted to the places where you can get access to a WiFi network.

And, in the case of the iPad, that’s probably the majority of the time. Most people don’t carry their iPads with them all the time, they leave them at home so they can watch movies in bed or let the kids play their games or enjoy cartoons. 

Photo by bongkarn thanyakij from Pexels

If you’re a more advanced user, then you might have a keyboard case or even an Apple Pencil and bring your iPad to work or school. Chances are, those places have pretty reliable WiFi networks you have access to. Even if you’re traveling, these days you can get WiFi at the airport, on the plane, in your hotel, pretty much anywhere.

Sure, you’ll have patches of time when you lack coverage, but those are usually the times you’re moving around and don’t have the opportunity to spend time on your iPad anyway.

All in all, the WiFi-only iPad will be perfect for most users with only minor sacrifices on rare occasions.

WiFi + Cellular iPad for the freedom and peace of mind

Photo by Stefan Vladimirov on Unsplash

While WiFi coverage is abundant these days, relying only on it comes with some anxiety attached. How much that will depend on your personality, but the uncertainty is always there, especially if you’re going someplace unknown: Will there be wifi? Will there be someone to tell me the password? Will it be fast enough? Will it be secure?

If you’d rather not have these questions lingering around every time you leave the house with your iPad around, there’s one solution -- buying the iPad with LTE connectivity.

The reason we’re not recommending the cellular option to more people is that unlike other choices like getting more storage, which is a one-time expense, this upgrade makes using your iPad more expensive. After all, the only thing you’re getting for your money is the opportunity to use LTE. If you want to actually use it, you have to pay for a data plan as well.

Photo by Buro Millennial from Pexels

Of course, that added cost will depend on the carrier and plan you choose. Carriers have dedicated plans for tablets and other connected devices but they can easily cost as much as paying for another phone, especially if you want the freedom that comes with unlimited plans. Naturally, you don’t have to have a plan active at all times, you can sign up for one when the need arises and then cancel it.

But the cellular iPad is not just for those moments when you want to look at memes in the park, for some users, it’s a necessity. In many places, the LTE connection offered by mobile carriers is much faster than the speeds the local broadband internet can reach. Additionally, with cellular, you can use the iPad for navigation while on the road, not only because it will have mobile data to load maps, but also because only cellular iPads have built-in GPS. For some, that might be a crucial feature.


In short, if your iPad rarely leaves your home and don’t want to deal with carriers and data plans, get the WiFi-only iPad. And if there’s ever a dire need to have it connect to the internet with no wireless networks around, you can always use the hotspot feature of your phone.

And if your trusty iPad never leaves your side and you’re using it to answer emails or do other important tasks no matter the location, then the cellular iPad is the one for you.


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