M2 iPad Pro vs iPad Air: What's the better choice? (2023)

The2022 iPad Air has the majority of features found in the 2021 iPad Pro like an M1 chip, ultra wide front camera with Center Stage, 5G connectivity, and more. However, the 2022 M2 iPad Pro brings the most advanced features and greatest performance in an iPad – but is it overkill? Follow along for a breakdown of all the similarities and differences between the 11″ M2 iPad Pro vs iPad Air to help you decide which is the best pick.

The 2022 5th-gen iPad Air blurred the line between the mid and high-end iPads, giving many people the incentive to go with the Air that starts at $200 (or more) below the $79911-inch iPad Pro.

Then this fall the iPad 10 arrived which blurs the line even further as it takes many of the popular iPad Air features and puts them into the $449 entry-level tablet.

  • iPad 10 vs 9 vs iPad Air: How the new affordable iPad lineup compares

If you know you want a 12.9-inch iPad, the iPad Pro is your only choice. But now you’ve got the option to get the latest with an M2 chip or save some money with the previous M1 iPad Pro.

  • M2 iPad Pro vs M1 iPad Pro: What’s changed?

But when it comes to the 11″ M2 and M1 iPad Pro vs iPad Air. For all the comparison charts below, the 11″ M2 iPad Pro is on the left, 11″ M1 iPad Pro is in the middle, and M1 iPad Air is on the right.

Table of contents

  • 11″ M2 iPad Pro vs iPad Air
    • Performance
    • Display
    • Splash of color
    • iPad Pro vs iPad Air battery life
    • Storage and price
    • Cameras
  • M2 iPad Pro vs iPad Air conclusion
    • Why buy iPad Pro?
    • Why buy iPad Air?

11″ M2 iPad Pro vs iPad Air


The main performance difference is the upgrade from an M1 to M2 chip for the new iPad Pro.

That delivers up to an 18% faster CPU, 35% faster GPU (10-core vs 8-core), and a 2x boost in memory bandwidth from 50GB/s to 100GB/s.

But three other advantages the iPad Pro holds over the iPad Air – in this category – are Thunderbolt support, 16GB RAM on the 1TB and 2TB models, and more storage options.

Note: 128, 256 and 512GB models have 8GB RAM, 1TB and 2TB models have 16GB RAM.

11″ M2 iPad Pro11″ M1 iPad ProM1 iPad Air
CPU cores888
GPU cores1088
Neural cores161616
Storage128GB – 2TB128GB – 2TB64 or 256GB
RAM8 or 16GB8 or 16GB8GB
Cellular5G5G5G (but no mmWave)

However, the vast majority of users will likely find the iPad Air with an M1 and 8GB RAM to be more than powerful enough for years to come.

Thunderbolt and 16GB RAM with the iPad Pro will likely only be tempting for professionals or those who aren’t price-sensitive.


M2 iPad Pro vs iPad Air: What's the better choice? (3)

With the iPad Air screen, you’re getting a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display with True Tone and P3 wide color. It’s almost exactly the same Liquid Retina display as the 11-inch iPad Pro (ok, technically 0.1″ smaller 😅). Both displays are fully laminated and have Apple’s anti-reflective coating.

(Video) 2022 M2 iPad Pro vs M1 iPad Air - What Apple Didn't Tell You!

The biggest differences are you only get ProMotion (up to 120Hz refresh rates) with the iPad Pro display and you only get Apple Pencil Hover with the M2 iPad Pro.

  • New iPad Pro offers clever ‘hover’ feature for Apple Pencil, here’s how it works
11″ M2 iPad Pro11″ M1 iPad ProM1 iPad Air
Resolution2388 x 16682388 x 16682360 x 1640
PPI (pixels per inch)264264264
Display brightness600 nits600 nits500 nits
True Tone
P3 wide color
ProMotion (120Hz)
Anti-reflective coating
Liquid Retina Display
Apple Pencil Hover

Meanwhile, HDR brightness up to 1600 nits is only available on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, not the 11-inch Pro or 10.9-inch iPad Air.

Connectivity and accessories

M2 iPad Pro vs iPad Air: What's the better choice? (4)
M2 iPad Pro vs iPad Air: What's the better choice? (5)

iPad Air works with all the same great Apple accessories as the iPad Pro. That includes the second-generation Apple Pencil, Magic Keyboard, and Smart Keyboard Folio.

iPad Air uses Touch ID as opposed to the iPad Pro coming with Face ID.

Two other small upgrades with the M2 iPad Pro are Bluetooth 5.3 and WiFi 6E support.

11″ M2 iPad Pro11″ M1 iPad ProM1 iPad Air
2nd-gen Apple Pencil support
Magic Keyboard support
5G✅ (but no mmWave)
WiFi 6
WiFi 6E
USB-C✅ USB 4✅ USB 4✅ 3.1 Gen 2
Touch ID
Face ID

Like the iPhone SE 3, the iPad Air doesn’t get mmWave 5G support with its cellular models. But as mmWave is the rarest version of 5G coverage to find, that’s probably not an issue for most people.

Splash of color

M2 iPad Pro vs iPad Air: What's the better choice? (6)

If the color of your next iPad is an important piece, you’ve got five options with the iPad Air. It comes in space gray, starlight, pink, purple, and blue.

The iPad Pro only comes in space gray and silver.

iPad Pro vs iPad Air battery life

The M2/M1 iPad Pro and iPad Air all have the same battery life:

(Video) Ultimate iPad Buying Guide (2023) - Don’t Waste Your Money! (iPad 10 vs iPad Air 5 vs iPad Pro 4)

  • 10 hours of web or video use on WiFi
  • 9 hours of web use with cellular

Storage and price

Here’s a breakdown of the price differences (MSRP) between these tablets. It’s not exactly apples to apples since iPad Pro and Air have different storage options, but you can save some significant cash with the iPad Air (also thanks to iPad Air being discounted sometimes).

11″ M2 iPad Pro11″ M1 iPad ProM1 iPad Air
64GB WiFi$599
64GB + cell$749
128GB WiFi$799$799
128GB + cell$999$999
256GB WiFi$899$899$749
256GB + cell$1,099$1,099$899
512GB WiFi$1,099$1,099
512GB + cell$1,299$1,299
1TB WiFi$1,499$1,499
1TB + cell$1,699$1,699
2TB WiFi$1,899$1,899
2TB + cell$2,099$2,099


M2 iPad Pro vs iPad Air: What's the better choice? (7)

You get a solid rear single camera with the iPad Air that includes the same 12MP wide lens that is found on the iPad Pro. It shoots 4K video at the same fps as the Pro too.

However, with the iPad Pro, you’ve also got a 10MP ultra wide lens plus the LiDAR Scanner, and the True Tone flash.

The iPad Air comes with the same ultra wide 12MP lens with Center Stage support as the iPad Pro.

The main difference is the M2 iPad Pro’s ability to shoot ProRes 4K video at up to 30 fps.

11″ M2 iPad Pro11″ M1 iPad Pro2022 iPad Air
12MP wide lens
10MP ultra wide lens
Smart HDR 3
Smart HDR 4
4K video
ProRes video up to 4K 30 fps
Extended dynamic range
Slo-mo video
Rear camera flash
TrueDepth camera with Face ID
Ultra wide 12MP front camera
2x optical zoom out
Center Stage auto-tracking
Stereo recording

A couple of smaller differences – the iPad Pro front camera features support for Portrait mode, Portrait Lighting, and Animoji/Memoji while the iPad Air front camera does not.

And when it comes to speakers, you’re getting four-speaker audio with the iPad Pro while the iPad Air has a two-speaker system.

M2 iPad Pro vs iPad Air conclusion

M2 iPad Pro vs iPad Air: What's the better choice? (8)

Why buy iPad Pro?

If you know you’ll often be pushing your tablet to the limit, the iPad Pro delivers the top-performing package with up to 16GB RAM and 2TB storage, 120Hz ProMotion display, Thunderbolt support, and the ability to capture ProRes 4K video, all powered by the new M2 chip.

The M2 iPad Pro is available atApple,Amazon, Best Buy, BH Photo, and more with stock looking good overall.

(Video) M2 iPad Pro Vs M1 iPad Air! (Comparison) (Review)

Why buy iPad Air?

When considering all the similarities, the iPad Air is likely going to be the best choice for most people. It’s got a price of around $200 less than the iPad Pro while including most of the premium iPad Pro features.

Read more 9to5Mac in-depth comparisons:

  • iPad 10 vs 9 vs iPad Air: How the new affordable iPad lineup compares
  • M2 iPad Pro vs M1 iPad Pro: What’s changed?
  • iPhone 14 vs iPhone 14 Pro: Which should you buy?
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FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

M2 iPad Pro vs iPad Air: What's the better choice? (9)

Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news:

(Video) NEW iPad Buying Guide (2023) - Don’t Waste Your Money!


Which is more better iPad Air or iPad Pro? ›

They both offer USB-C charging, while Pro also supports Thunderbolt/USB 4 charging. iPad Air comes with 6-cores CPU and 4-cores GPU, while Pro has an 8-core CPU and GPU. Needless to say, this makes iPad Pro faster than iPad Air. However, a Hexa-core CPU is good even for gamers.

Is the M2 chip iPad Pro worth it? ›

The M2 iPad Pro Isn't Worth the Upgrade for Most People

Even though the M2 iPad Pro squeezes even more performance than ever into the iPad, it's not a worthwhile upgrade for most people. The M1 iPad Pro and iPad Air models still deliver incredible performance, battery life, and portability, all for less money.

Is the new M2 iPad worth it? ›

iMore Verdict. This year's iPad Pro packs more power, thanks to the M2 chip inside, and offers the same fantastic tablet experience you've come to know. The speakers are great, the 12.9-inch screen is awesome, and it's the best drawing experience you'll get on an iPad.

What is the difference between iPad Air 2022 and iPad Pro? ›

The iPad Pro has more storage

Like the iPad Pro 2021, the iPad Pro 2022 comes with up to 2TB of storage. This is significantly more than the 256GB available on the iPad Air. The iPad Pro 2022 is available in 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB and 2TB configurations, while the iPad Air 2022 only comes in 64GB and 256GB versions.

What is the difference in iPad Air vs pro? ›

A major area of difference between the two ‌iPad‌ models is their camera setups. The ‌iPad Air‌ features a single ƒ/1.8 12MP Wide camera. The ‌iPad Pro‌ has the same ƒ/1.8 12MP Wide camera as the ‌iPad Air‌, but also adds a ƒ/2.4 10MP Ultra Wide camera and a LiDAR scanner.

Should students get iPad Air or pro? ›

We highly recommend the iPad Air for students who need premium performance and best iPad you can buy without the Pro name. To find out more details, read our full iPad Air (2022) review.

Is the new iPad Pro 2022 worth it? ›

The 2022 Apple iPad Pro offers the same external hardware and design as the 2021 model. The biggest upgrades are the latest M2 processor and a new feature for the Apple Pencil. The 2022 iPad Pro remains the best and most powerful tablet if you're willing to pay for it.

Is M2 chip that much better? ›

With its powerful CPU, M2 Pro can compile code up to 25 percent faster than M1 Pro, and up to 2.5x faster than MacBook Pro with an Intel Core i9 processor.

Is M2 worth the upgrade? ›

If you frequently do graphically-intensive tasks such as video editing, graphics rendering, and so on, the performance boost and the extra hour of battery life might be worth the cost, as they will help your workflow. However, for most other users, the upgrade isn't worth it since it's just a spec bump.

What is the apple M2 equivalent to? ›

Apple has compared the M2's performance to “the latest ten-core notebook processor”, which essentially means the Intel Core i7–1255U found in Samsung's Galaxy Book2 360. Both builds were also said to come with 16GB of RAM.

How long does M2 iPad Air battery last? ›

The M2/M1 iPad Pro and iPad Air all have the same battery life: 10 hours of web or video use on WiFi. 9 hours of web use with cellular.

Is the M2 unreliable? ›

It should be noted that generally, BMW M2 engine failure is rare, and the N55 engine has a reputation for being reliable.

Is iPad Air 2022 worth buying? ›

You should buy the iPad Air 5 (2022) if...

Trickling down from MacBooks and iMacs, Apple's M1 chip is expected to be up to 60% faster and more powerful than its A-series counterpart -- like the A14 found in the iPad Air 4.

How is iPad Pro better than iPad? ›

The standard iPad has a 10.9-inch screen, as well as an M2 processor. The iPad Pro has the same M2 chip, but still offers better performance overall. It's also slightly larger, with an 11-inch or 12.9-inch screen. It also has a USB-C port, whereas the standard iPad retains the old Apple lightning port.

Why is the iPad Pro better than the iPad Air for drawing? ›

When it comes to drawing, the 120Hz screen response rate makes the iPad Pro the precision instrument of choice undoubtedly – and nothing comes close to the high-resolution display on the 12.9-inch model. But the iPad Air is more than good enough if you won't use your tablet for your finest work.

Which is best iPad? ›

  • Best for most. Apple. Apple iPad Air (2022) ...
  • Best budget. Apple. Apple iPad (9th gen) ...
  • Best for one-handed use. Apple. Apple iPad Mini. ...
  • Best for power users. Apple. Apple iPad Pro (2022, 12.9-inch)
Feb 2, 2023

Are iPad Pro's worth it? ›

Should you buy it? Pick the 2022 iPad Pro if you want the extra power and better screen over other iPads. It's very fast, the screen display and speakers are excellent for kicking back and watching movies, and it's a great tablet for creatives who need added power for video or photo editing.

Which iPad is best for study purpose? ›

What is the best iPad for students?
iPads for studentsPriceChip type
iPad (10th generation)$400A14 Bionic
iPad Mini$399A15 Bionic
iPad Pro$729M2
iPad (9th generation)$299A13 Bionic
1 more row
Dec 19, 2022

How long will iPad Pro last? ›

How Many Years Should an iPad Last? Apple usually supports a new iPad with iPadOS updates for at least five years and often several years longer. Most iPad models hold up well in performance, features, and storage over this timeframe which means that five years is a standard lifespan for any iPad.

Is there a new iPad Pro coming out in 2023? ›

Regarding the standard iPad, the mini, and the iPad Air, Gurman says there are no major updates coming in 2023. And the iPad Pro “for sure isn't getting anything of note this year.”

How much will the iPad Pro 2022 cost? ›

The iPad Pro 2022 has a starting retail price of $799/£899 for the 11-inch model and $1,099/£1,249 for the 12.9-inch model. These prices are for the WiFi only tablets with the lowest 128GB of storage space - prices will vary dependant on cellular compatibility and larger storage sizes.

What is so great about the M2 chip? ›

The M2 chip is 1.4x faster than the ‌M1‌, with an 18 percent faster CPU, a 35 percent more powerful GPU, and a 40 percent faster Neural Engine. Geekbench benchmarks have confirmed that the M2 chip is up to 20 percent faster than the ‌M1‌ chip when it comes to multi-core performance.

Do I need the M2 chip? ›

The ‌M2‌'s advancements are generally worthwhile, if not transformative, and the chip is certain to provide a more up-to-date experience with lower-spec Apple silicon machines – especially for those coming from an Intel-based machine.

Which Apple chip is best? ›

Now let's look at how each processor performs. Not surprisingly, the A16 Bionic in the iPhone 14 Pro is the fastest. The iPhone 14 and iPhone 13 both have an A15 Bionic processor, but the iPhone 13 has one fewer GPU core than the iPhone 13 Pro, which gives it better graphics performance.

Is it worth waiting for M2 Pro? ›

The most obvious reason to wait for the new MacBook Pro laptops is for the M2 Pro and M2 Max chips. The M2 Pro chip features a 10- or 12-core CPU with up to eight high-performance and four high-efficiency cores, which Apple claims delivers 20 percent greater performance over M1 Pro.

Should I upgrade to M2 air? ›

Apple's M2 MacBook Air could use more ports and a higher refresh rate, but overall, anyone who's been rocking an older MacBook for a while should upgrade to this one ASAP. Mashable Choice is a badge of honor, reserved for the absolute best stuff you can see, use, or do. If it's Choice, it's worth your time.

Can M2 overheat? ›

According to recent reports, both devices equipped with Apple M2 chip — MacBook Air M2 and Pro M2 — face severe overheating issues. Reviewers and enthusiastic customers have shown their disappointment at how quickly and frequently their MacBook Air and Pro devices heat up.

How powerful is M2 iPad Pro? ›

iPad Pro M2: Features & performance

According to them, the M2 chip is 15 percent faster than the M1 chip, but in practice, we didn't notice any discernible difference when editing complex images or playing the latest games.

Is M2 Pro better than M1 Pro? ›

CPU. MacBook Pro with M2 Pro offers up to 20% greater performance than M1 Pro, thanks to its 10- or 12-core CPU. It also offers exceptional battery life and connectivity even when disconnected from the power cord. This makes it an ideal choice for those seeking better productivity from their laptop.

Is it worth waiting for Apple M2 chip? ›

MacBook Pro M2 Pro: Why you should wait

The new chip has 200GB/s of unified memory bandwidth, which is double the amount of the base M2 chip and can have up to 32GB of RAM. Apple says the chip's 19-core GPU can deliver up to 30 percent more graphics performance and the Neural Engine is 40 percent faster.

What can you do with M2 iPad Pro? ›

Watching video content, playing games, conferencing with others, web browsing, writing, drawing and more work as well as ever. The M2 chip powering the tablet should also make it fairly future-proof. It's hard to knock the iPad Pro for what it offers.

How long does M2 iPad battery last? ›

It used to be able to get 10-12 hours of use each day from 80-30% mainly 6-8 hours on average since I use this iPad with a lot of heavy CPU/GPU intensive apps, programmes and games, and now it gets about 4-5 hours on average.

Is M2 worth it Apple? ›

Like the new MacBook Pro M2, this new notebook features the Apple M2 chip — making it one of the most performant and overall best laptops you can buy. Despite its steep $1,199 starting price, it's arguably worth every penny due to the value it provides.

Which chip is better M1 Pro or M2? ›

The M1 Pro and M1 Max go a mile further than the M2, including a 10-core CPU and up to 16 and 32 GPU cores, respectively. The M1 Ultra, the biggest Apple silicon chip of all, boasts a 20-core CPU with up to 64 GPU cores. However, the M1 range has lower maximum CPU clock speeds relative to the M2.

Is M2 better than M1 air? ›

In our testing, the M2 has an 18 percent faster CPU than the M1. The new chip doesn't just mean that the new Macs can accomplish more though, they use less power doing so: Apple promises an increased CPU performance of 18 percent with the same energy consumption thanks to various optimizations.

Will M2 Pro have better battery life? ›

The MacBook Pro (2023) with the M2 Pro or M2 Max chips boast improved battery life over previous generation models, along with other upgrades.

How much better will M2 Pro be? ›

The M2 GPU performance is 30% faster, though part of the speed boost comes from better cache memory on the chip, Apple said. The neural engine has 16 cores on both M1 and M2 generations, but Apple boasts its AI performance is 40% faster with the new chips.

Which is better iPad M1 or M2? ›

Performance. The main difference between the new and old iPad Pro is the upgrade from an M1 to M2 chip. That delivers up to an 18% faster CPU, 35% faster GPU (10-core vs 8-core), and a 2x boost in memory bandwidth from 50GB/s to 100GB/s.

How much will the M2 iPad COST? ›

M2 iPad Pro 11-inch Prices
Available ConfigurationsBest PriceDiscount
128GB, Wi-Fi Only (Space Gray)$759.05$39.95
128GB, Wi-Fi Only (Silver)$759.05$39.95
256GB, Wi-Fi Only (Space Gray)$854.05$44.95
256GB, Wi-Fi Only (Silver)$854.05$44.95
16 more rows

Does M2 Pro have fan? ›

The Pro and the Air have the same M2 processor and run the same macOS operating system. But that doesn't mean they'll perform identically because the Pro has something inside it that the Air doesn't: a fan.


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