Upgrading to the latest iPad mini 6? Here’s how it compares to the 5th-gen.

iPad mini (6th generation)

New inside and out

$499 at Apple
$499 at B&H
$499.99 at Best Buy

Pros

  • Modern design
  • Edge-to-edge display
  • Significant internal upgrade
  • Improved cameras
  • USB-C
  • Gorgeous colors
  • 5G on cellular models

Cons

  • Price hike
  • Requires new accessories

The latest update to the iPad mini brings it into the modern Apple tablet era with an all-new design, edge-to-edge display, huge power boost, and USB-C connectivity. All these new features come at a cost, though, as the iPad mini 6 starting price is $100 higher than the iPad mini 5’s was. Plus, you’ll need to fork out for new accessories.

iPad mini (5th generation)

Previous-gen

$299 at Walmart
$399.99 at Best Buy

Pros

  • Familiar design
  • More affordable

Cons

  • Old-style design
  • Ageing processor
  • Smaller display
  • First-gen Apple Pencil support

Those that like the look of Apple’s iPads of old may want to stick with the iPad mini 5 for its familiar feel and easy-access Home button. That being said, the improvements in the 2021 model are well worth the upgrade if you’re going from an older device and can stomach the cost.

Apple’s iPad mini 6 sits comfortably in Apple’s lineup alongside the other best iPad models it offers, thanks to its design overhaul and internal spec bumps. It’s better than the iPad mini 5 in pretty much every regard, though it is considerably more expensive. So, it won’t be for everyone.

iPad mini 6 vs. iPad mini 5: Key Differences

Since the iPad mini 6 has had such a significant upgrade inside and out, there are many differences between it and the previous-gen model. Just a couple of spec list items remaining the same. Here are some tech specs for comparison:

iPad mini (6th generation)iPad mini (5th generation)
Display size8.3 inches7.9 inches
Display resolution2266‑by‑1488 resolution at 326 PPI2048‑by‑1536 resolution at 326 PPI
ProcessorA15 BionicA12 Bionic
Storage64GB
256GB
64GB
256GB
Camera12MP Wide rear camera with True Tone flash
12MP Ultra Wide front camera with Center Stage
8MP Wide rear camera
7MP FaceTime HD front camera
ConnectorUSB-CLightning
Battery lifeUp to 10 hoursUp to 10 hours
Apple PencilFirst-generationSecond generation
Touch IDTop buttonHome button
ConnectivityWi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, and 5GWi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5.0, and LTE
Dimensions7.69 inches x 5.3 inches x 0.25 inch8 inches x 5.3 inches x 0.24 inch
Weight0.65 pound0.66 pound
ColorsSpace Gray
Pink
Purple
Starlight
Space Gray
Silver
Gold
PriceFrom $499From $399

From looking at the specs and the new design, it’s clear that the iPad mini 6 is technically more advanced than any iPad mini that came before it. Often, the generation-to-generation changes aren’t super pronounced with Apple products, so you can skip every other upgrade in the product cycle. That’s not the case going from the iPad mini 5 to the iPad mini 6, as the differences are night and day.

iPad mini 6 vs. iPad mini 5: All the new things

By virtually every measure, you are getting a better product in the iPad mini 6. It has gained a slightly larger, edge-to-edge Liquid Retina display without making the overall footprint bigger or the battery life worse. iPad mini 6 also runs a chip that is 40% faster in terms of CPU and 80% more performant in terms of GPU. Also, it has some significant camera updates on both sides of the device. It even gains Apple Pencil 2 support, USB-C, and 5G connectivity on the cellular-enabled models.

All of those updates are packed into a form factor that looks like a miniature iPad Air meaning the iPad mini now looks like a modern device in Apple’s product lineup.

The only metric by which it compares unfavorably is price. The iPad mini 6 starts at $499 — up $100 compared to the starting price of the iPad mini 5 when it launched. The redesign also means existing iPad mini accessories are no good.

iPad mini 6 vs. iPad mini 5: Should you upgrade?

This is the biggest upgrade we’ve seen in the iPad mini lineup in years — ever, even. The A15 Bionic chip provides a huge performance boost, and taking the display edge to edge has allowed for more screen real estate without increasing the device’s overall footprint. That’s in addition to camera upgrades, features like USB-C and 5G, and a redesign that brings the small tablet into the modern era.

Unlike a lot of Apple releases, the iPad mini 6 represents a huge improvement over its direct predecessor. This is not an incremental change. That means anyone rocking an older iPad mini should feel confident in upgrading to the latest model.

The only reasons anyone should snag the iPad mini 5 right now are if you don’t want to spend the extra money to get the 2021 model, desperately want to keep hold of your existing iPad mini accessories, or are just way more familiar with the Home button-style design. If you can afford the new model, get it, and you won’t be disappointed.

iPad mini (6th generation)

New hotness

$499 at Apple
$499 at B&H
$499.99 at Best Buy

The biggest update to iPad mini ever.

This is the biggest update we’ve seen to the iPad mini lineup in years. With an all-new design, larger display, powerful A15 Bionic chip, USB-C, and more, it’s a total powerhouse that you can pop in your pocket. Pre-orders are live now, with devices shipping from September 24.

iPad mini (5th generation)

On the way out

Only buy if you can score a deal

$299 at Walmart
$399.99 at Best Buy

iPad mini 5 may have come out in 2019, but it was a minor bump then, and its specs are long in the tooth in 2021. It’s now discontinued, so it’s only recommended to buy one if price is your number one priority and you can get a good deal on one.

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