Alternatives, Digital Art

3 Best iPads for Drawing in 2024

Which iPad is best for drawing?

Don’t let the minimalist exterior of an iPad fool you; these slim tablets are packed full of impressive tech. The seamless stylus support, unbeatable graphics, and relentless updates make iPads excellent options for both professional illustrators and hobbyists. 

Buying an iPad for drawing might seem like a no-brainer, but which one should you choose? Over the years, Apple has released 33 iPads, so the options are endless. In this article, we look at the top 3 best iPads for drawing and graphic design. 

iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2022, M2)

Hand drawing with Apple Pencil on iPad Pro 12.9"
Image from Tech Radar

Price: $1,099 for Wi-Fi only model with 128GB storage


  • Screen size: 12.9-inch
  • Dimensions: 280.6 x 214.9 x 6.4mm
  • Weight: 1.5 lbs
  • Resolution: 2048 x 2732 pixels
  • Chip: M2
  • Refresh rate: 120Hz
  • Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB
  • Stylus: Apple Pencil 2, Apple Pencil 3

Our thoughts:

In our book, the iPad Pro is the best iPad for drawing. While it’s slightly larger in size, we can’t overlook the other features. It is the most modern, technologically advanced iPad on the market, so it comes with lots of features that set it apart from the competition. 

To start with, the iPad Pro 2022 has an M2 chip. It is 18% faster than the M1, the Neural Engine (which controls processing tasks) is 40% faster, and the graphics processors are 35% faster. In other words, it is incredibly fast. Users can run their favorite graphic design software without worrying about lag. 

Illustrators and graphic designers can enjoy up to 10 hours of battery life and a Liquid Retina XDR display that delivers high contrast and high brightness. The contrast ratio is 1,000,000:1, so color accuracy is guaranteed.

Of course, iPad users can also buy a compatible Apple Pencil stylus to make the most of their experience. The Apple Pencil 2 is one of the most responsive styluses in the world and, to make it even more appealing to drawers, it has pixel-perfect precision, tilt sensitivity, and pressure sensitivity. 


  • M2 chip is a game-changer for illustrators and graphic designers who work with large files
  • Unparalleled color accuracy and vibrancy
  • Compatible with Apple Pencil 2
  • Supports Apple Pencil hover 


  • Size and weight are big negatives for some, especially those who want to travel with their iPads
  • Price point is too steep for some
  • Some users say that the battery life does not meet expectations, but this could be due to other issues, such as background apps draining the battery 
  • Apple Pencil 2 costs $129 

iPad Air (2022, M1)

flat lay of ipad air showing front and back of tablet
Image from Apple

Price: $549 for Wi-Fi only model with 65GB


  • Screen size: 10.9-inch
  • Dimensions: 247.6 x 178.5 x 6.1mm
  • Weight: 1.01 lbs
  • Resolution: 2350 x 1640 pixels
  • Chip: M1
  • Refresh rate: 60Hz
  • Storage: 64GB/256GB
  • Stylus: Apple Pencil 2, Apple Pencil 3

Our thoughts:

If you want to use an iPad for drawing, but you don’t want to splash the cash on a tablet that is almost as expensive as an Apple Mac, this could be the iPad for you. The iPad Air is the smaller sister to the Pro, but it still has a 10.9-inch screen. It is also lighter than its sibling, which makes all the difference to digital artists who suffer from wrist strain. 

Besides that, this iPad still has a lot of similar features. It has sharp colors, quick processing speeds, and a broad range of graphic design and illustration apps. According to Apple, the battery life is 5 hours and 11 minutes. Although it does not cover a full 9-5 day of digital drawing work, artists across the globe still use the iPad Air. 

It is fitted with an M1 chip, which is not as fast or technologically advanced as the M2 chip, and it has a refresh rate of 60Hz. The refresh rate is how many times per second the display can draw a new image. The difference is only slightly noticeable to the naked eye, but it might be more apparent to illustrators. 

That being said, the M1 chip is still pretty advanced. It supports all sorts of power-hungry apps, including Illustrator, Procreate, and ArtRage. 


  • Lightweight, which makes it easy to transport
  • Premium finish
  • Compatible with Apple Pencil 2


  • Very limited storage options 
  • No Face ID 
  • Does not support Apple Pencil hover 

iPad Mini

iPad Mini showing home screen. iPad is sitting next to a coffee cup.
Image from CNET

Price: $499 for Wi-Fi only model with 64GB


  • Screen size: 8.3-inches
  • Dimensions: 203.2 x 134.6 x 6.1mm
  • Weight: 0.66 lbs 
  • Resolution: 2266 x 1488 pixels
  • Chip: A15
  • Storage: 64GB/256GB 
  • Stylus: Apple Pencil 1, Apple Pencil 2

Our thoughts:

The iPad Mini might seem like a wild card, but it is our best iPad for drawing on the go. True to the name, this tablet is compact and easy to handle. Artists can take this iPad on their daily commute, or even further afield. 

The A15 Bionic chip can’t compare to the M1 or M2 chips, but it is still impressive. It is 40% faster than the A12 chip, and the built-in Neural Engine can perform 15.8 trillion operations per second. In real-life terms, this means that artists can use any drawing software on the super-sharp Liquid Retina display.   

Drawers can also take advantage of the iPad Mini’s compatibility with the Apple Pencil 2, which is widely considered to be the preferred choice for illustrators and graphic designers. Some iPad models (such as the 10th Gen iPad) are not compatible with the Apple Pencil 2, so the iPad Mini wins brownie points from us.


  • Easy to transport and use on your travels 
  • Compatible with Apple Pencil 2


  • Does not have a M1 or M2 processor, so it is not as fast 
  • Smaller screen size might disrupt your workflow  
  • Users report that the battery drains quicker than expected

Final Thoughts

There you have it, our top 3 best iPads for drawing. 

The prices vary massively, from $499 for the iPad Mini to $1,099 for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, and these are just the base rates. The price points can be persuasive, but so can the specs. In the end, it depends on your workflow. Do you plan on spending an entire day drawing on your iPad? Or do you just want to doodle as a hobby? 

If you want a comprehensive drawing tablet, our recommendation is the 2022 iPad Pro. The iPad Air is a more affordable (albeit a tiny bit slower) alternative, and the iPad Mini is the best option for creatives who want to draw while they travel. 

Try Astropad Studio free for 14 days

An iPad mirroring a desktop screen with Astropad Studio. A drawing of a hero woman is on both screens.
Astropad Studio (14-Day Free Trial)

Turn your iPad into a professional drawing tablet with Astropad Studio. Compatible with both Mac and PC, Astropad Studio allows you to mirror your favorite desktop creative apps onto your iPad and use your Apple Pencil as the input device. 

Plus, you can completely customize your workflows with features built specifically for artists:

  • Magic Gestures – Instantly change tools with fully customizable finger tap and Apple Pencil gestures.
  • Shortcut Sidebar – Customizable sidebar shortcuts allow you to quickly access your favorite tools and automatically match whatever desktop application you’re using.
  • Pressure Curves and Smoothing – Choose between hard and soft pressure curves and adjust your level of pressure smoothing to match your workflows.

Astropad Studio is compatible with all of your favorite creative programs including Illustrator, Photoshop, Clip Studio Paint, Krita, Blender, Zbrush, and more!