iPadOS 18: Supported iPads and expected release date

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(Image credit: Apple / Laptop Mag)

Apple kicked off WWDC 2024 on Monday with a keynote that touched on exciting new features, like Apple Intelligence, which will be available in iOS 18, macOS 15, and iPadOS 18 later this year.

Tablets with iPadOS 18 will be more easily personalized, thanks to customizable app icons and greater Home Screen and Control Center customization options. 

Apple's latest iPad software update will also bring text effects in Messages, a redesigned Photos app, a new 'Smart Script' feature in Notes that can replicate your handwriting, and a Calculator app with a new 'Math Notes' feature that can solve handwritten math problems, create graphs, and more.

But when will iPadOS 18 arrive with Apple Intelligence and other long-awaited features? And which iPads will receive the update when it is released? Here's what we know so far.

iPadOS 18: Expected release date

Apple hasn't officially announced when iPad owners will be able to upgrade their tablets to iPadOS 18, but based on previous iPadOS releases, we have a pretty good idea.

Four of the last five annual updates for iPadOS — from iPadOS 13 in 2019 to iPadOS 17 in 2023—were all released in September alongside corresponding iOS updates for iPhones. The one outlier was the iPadOS 16 update, launched in October 2022, a month after the iOS 16 update.

  • iPadOS 13 release date: Tue. September 24, 2019
  • iPadOS 14 release date: Wed. September 16, 2020
  • iPadOS 15 release date: Mon. September 20, 2021
  • iPadOS 16 release date: Mon. October 24, 2022
  • iPadOS 17 release date: Mon. September 18, 2023

While Apple did opt to launch iPadOS 16 in October, most iPadOS launch in September, and that's what we expect for this year's software release. The iPadOS 18 public release will likely line up with the iOS 18 expected release date of Monday, September 9, 16, or 23

Before it is officially released, iPadOS 18 will be available for testing via developer and public betas on supported iPads.

As of June 10, 2024, the iPadOS 18 developer beta is live and available to download for anyone in the Apple Developer program, which requires an annual fee of $100 to join.

Alternatively, the public beta will be free to anyone in Apple's Beta Software Program. Apple hasn't confirmed a release date for the iPadOS 18 public beta, but it typically launches in July, roughly a month after the developer beta releases.

Apple's one-sheet for iPadOS 18 features some impressive features and tools heading to future iPads. (Image credit: Apple)

iPadOS 18: Supported iPads

We might not have an official release date for iPadOS 18 from Apple, but the company has confirmed which iPads will support the upcoming software update in a recently published iPadOS 18 preview. If your iPad is one of the following, it'll be eligible to download and install iPadOS 18 when it launches: 

Swipe to scroll horizontally
iPad SeriesiPad 7 / 8 / 9 / 10
iPad Pro 11-inch SeriesiPad Pro 11-inch 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6
iPad Pro 12.9-inch SeriesiPad Pro 12.9-inch 3 / 4 / 5 / 6
iPad Pro M4 SeriesiPad Pro M4 (11- and 13-inch)
iPad Air SeriesiPad Air 3 / 4 / 5
iPad Air M2 SeriesiPad Pro M2
iPad mini SeriesiPad mini 5 / 6

Most of the supported iPads above feature a Neural Engine (or NPU, Neural Processing Unit), which will help with stronger, more private, on-device AI processing.

iPads featuring an older A12 Bionic or A12X Bionic chip are only capable of up to 5 TOPS, which means they'll likely rely more on cloud processing via Apple's Private Cloud Compute for Apple Intelligence features.

However, the new iPad Pro M4 boasts a Neural Engine capable of up to 38 TOPS, making it an ideal candidate for mainly on-device AI processing. 

According to a recent Security Research blog post from Apple, the company "has long championed on-device processing as the cornerstone for the security and privacy of user data." 

While on-device processing is arguably more secure and private than cloud processing, Apple's Private Cloud Compute design passed "an extraordinary set of requirements" that promises to "[continue] Apple's profound commitment to user privacy." 

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