The iPad is a series of tablet devices first released by Apple Inc. in 2010. Unsurprisingly, there were different generations and varying versions of the iPad since then. Generally, iPad has two versions, i.e., iPad with Wi-Fi connectivity, and one with cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity. As the specifications suggest, the latter version of the iPad can support SIM cards. There are more differences between the two iterations, but the obvious and most relevant to us is SIM compatibility. Consequently, the iPad cellular + Wi-Fi connectivity versions are more expensive. Though that answers whether the iPad can support a SIM card, let’s delve deeper.
How to know if your iPad can support a SIM card?
Both versions, the SIM compatible and the one that isn’t, look identical if the model of the iPad is the same. In such a situation, the most obvious way to figure out whether the iPad has SIM compatibility is to look for a SIM card slot. If it has one on its side, it is a SIM-compatible version. To clarify, this version can use both Wi-Fi networks and cellular data by employing a SIM card. If it doesn’t, it can only access the internet through a wireless network nearby.
However, this may not apply to all models. The latest versions of SIM-compatible iPads come without a SIM card slot because they employ an embedded SIM, also known as eSIM. One way is to know by looking at the top of your iPad. If it has a black and white stripe, then it is a cellular-enabled iPad. You can also go to its Settings menu and find out if there is a Cellular Data option in it. If so, it is a SIM-enabled iPad.
What can you do with the cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity models of iPad?
The models that sport both functionalities let you access the internet either through a Wi-Fi network or cellular data by inserting a SIM card. However, it is important to note that a SIM card won’t allow your iPad to function like a phone, say, for making regular phone calls and sending SMS. A SIM-enabled iPad only allows you to access the data from your carrier’s network.
Though, you can utilize VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) applications such as FaceTime, Skype, Viber, or WhatsApp to employ Wi-Fi calling. Calls can also be relayed to and fro your SIM-enabled iPad using an iPhone and your Apple ID. As mentioned, these models let you have access to the internet on the go as long as you have a suitable data plan.
Which iPad models are compatible with SIM cards?
There are several models of iPad that support SIMs, but not necessarily the same size. Throughout more than a decade, they evolved from micro-SIM to nano-SIM, and finally, as we already pointed out, embedded SIM, i.e., they don’t have a physical SIM card slot. Let’s have a look at the list of iPad models that support a SIM and sort them based on size:
- iPad models that use a micro-SIM card are:
- iPad 2
- iPad (3rd and 4th generation)
- Releases of iPad that require a nano-SIM card are:
- iPad mini (all models)
- iPad Pro (all models)
- iPad Air (all models)
- iPad (5th generation and later models)
- iPad models with embedded SIM card (eSIM) are as follows:
- iPad Air (3rd generation)
- iPad mini (5th generation)
- iPad Pro 9.7-inch Cellular + Wi-Fi model
- iPad Pro 10.5-inch Cellular + Wi-Fi model
- iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2nd generation) Cellular + Wi-Fi model
Benefits of iPad models with SIM
There are many advantages of having an iPad that supports mobile data and Wi-Fi simultaneously. To avoid losing focus, we will mention a few major perks of the SIM-enabled iPad.
- If you remain outdoors most of the time with your SIM-supported iPad, it gives you an edge over its Wi-Fi-only counterpart. You can stay connected to a cellular network at all times.
- Helps you connect to the internet in no Wi-Fi zones.
- Acts as a backup when you run out of your Wi-Fi or when your wireless network stops working.
- Lets you upload and download pictures or videos, play online games, use social media, or do work at adequate speeds. You don’t have to search for a fast Wi-Fi network or worry about congestion.
When shouldn’t you choose a SIM-compatible iPad?
A SIM-compatible iPad is not always better than the Wi-Fi-only one. There are some disadvantages of a cellular network-enabled iPad in this situation:
- A SIM-enabled iPad with a Wi-Fi is more expensive than the one that only sports Wi-Fi on an equivalent model.
- You need to pay for the monthly data charges to your carrier for using mobile data. This adds to your expenses as cellular data is expensive.
- If your iPad will mostly remain indoors or wherever a Wi-Fi connection is readily available, it’s an unnecessary expense.
- If you are buying the iPad for your kids, the cellular version of iPad may be a risk. First, they generally don’t need one if there is Wi-Fi at home. Moreover, you can incur financial losses if they download stuff unsupervised. Also, underage children, if improperly trained and away from your sight, can fall for many traps on the Internet.
With all that said, you now have a detailed answer to the question, “does iPad support a SIM card?”. Both versions of the iPad are available in the market and will likely continue to be for years to come. It’s up to the user to decide which one is adequate.