iPad With Cellular Pros and Cons Explained

If you are planning on buying an iPad, you may be wondering whether you should go with the cellular or Wi-Fi-only iPad. Trying to figure out whether an iPad with cellular will be a better option for you than the WiFi-only iPad can feel a bit overwhelming at first. Luckily, we have included what you need to know about the iPad with cellular to help you make this decision. After all, the last thing you want to do is purchase your type of iPad and after a few weeks end up regretting this decision.

To help make sure that does not happen and that you choose the iPad that is right for you, we will highlight the pros and cons of iPads with cellular. This will help you decide if it will be worth it to spend a bit more for the iPad with cellular, or if the Wi-Fi-only iPad will be good enough.

Pros and cons of the iPad with cellular at a glance


  • Portability
  • Secure internet access
  • GPS chip
  • Download speed
  • Hotspot connection
  • Phone’s battery life


  • Expensive
  • Data plans
  • Battery life
  • Network issues

iPad Pros Cons


Pros of iPad with cellular


One of the biggest benefits of the iPad with cellular is the portability the device offers. While all iPads are portable and can be easily carried to different locations, this does not mean that all iPad will have internet access all the time. If you take an iPad that is WiFi-only somewhere you will have to find WiFi to have access to the internet. This can become an issue if you are someone who works on the go and needs constant internet access.

However, the iPad with cellular can offer you 24/7 internet access as long as you have a sim card and a data plan. Meaning that you will be able to use all the features of your iPad where and whenever you want. You will not have to worry about finding locations that have WiFi because you have your internet connection at all times.

Secure internet access

Another great factor that the iPad with cellular offers that you cannot get with the WiFi-only model, is making sure that you can have 24/7 secure internet access. You will never have to worry about connecting to an unsafe internet connection. When you use an unsafe internet connection there is a chance that someone who is sharing that connection could have access to your folders that might have private information. However, users, that have the iPad with cellular do not have to worry about this because their internet connections will be private.

GPS chip

Only iPads that are cellular and Wi-Fi compatible have the Assisted-GPS chip, that allows your device to accurately identify your location. The iPad with cellular and Wi-Fi is able to do this because it accesses GPS coordinates even when you do not have any internet connection. This is a great feature if you share your location with your friends, or you use apps that need your location.

Hotspot connection

Unlike the iPad, the WiFi-only iPad which you need a Wi-Fi connection to connect to the internet, the iPad with cellular can be used to supply internet to other devices. The hotspot feature on the iPad can be very useful, especially for work, or if you are someone that needs to always be connected. This means that if you are out and you need to use your laptop and there is no WiFi available you can easily use your iPad with cellular to connect to the internet. To access the hotspot feature all you will need to do is open the Settings app, then select Personal Hotspot and turn on Allow Others to Join.

Phone’s battery life

Deciding to go with the iPad with cellular will mean that you no longer have to rely on your phone as being your always-on device. You can switch between your iPad and your phone or just use the iPad if you prefer the device. The iPad with cellular can be used to complete a wide range of tasks that you would normally need your phone to complete when you are out. A few of these tasks include responding to messages, checking emails, having video calls, and even checking social media platforms. This will save your phone’s battery life when you are out because you will no longer need to use it as much.

Cons of iPad with cellular


One of the main differences between the iPad with cellular and WiFi compared to the WiFi-only iPad is the price. The Pad with cellular and WiFi is a bit more expensive than the WiFi-only model. The reason for this is that the iPad has cellular hardware as well as the Assisted-GPS chip.

Data plans

If you plan on using the cellular feature on the iPad getting a data plan will be essential to have internet access. However, these data plans will be an extra continuous cost and could end up being quite expensive in the long run.

Battery life

While it is great to have a device that allows you to be connected to the internet at all times, this will take impact the battery life on the iPad. Whenever you use the internet whether you are connecting via a cellular network or even a WiFi connection your device’s battery life will drain. This is completely normal because your device is usually refreshing apps on the background tasks, as well as completing other tasks that are automatically done when connected to an internet connection. These tasks will use up the battery life, meaning that the battery of your device will not be as long. Since the iPad with cellular can always be connected it is able to continuously complete these background tasking, draining the device’s battery’s life.

Network issues

Even though the iPad with cellular allows users to connect from anywhere at any time this does not mean that there will be a guaranteed internet connection. There are times when users may experience poor network connection, this might be caused by being in a certain area or due to other external factors. Unfortunately, in these situations, the iPad with cellular will not be able to connect to a network. This means that even though you have a device that will allow you to always have access to the internet, that is still not guaranteed.


Can an iPad be cellular only?

The iPad with cellular comes with the ability to connect to cellular networks, as well as WiFi networks. The iPad does not only connect to a cellular network, however, but users can also simply switch off their Wi-Fi connection and leave their cellular connection on if they would like to only connect to a cellular network.

Where is cellular data on the iPad?

User with a cellular and WiFi iPad can access their cellular data setting via the Settings app. All you have to do is open the Setting Apps scroll down and open the cellular data features, then click turn on to connect to your cellular network.

Can an iPad be converted into a cellular?

A WiFi-only iPad cannot be converted into a cellular iPad because the device does not have the hardware that it would be required to connect to cellular networks. This is why it is very important to be completely sure about which iPad model you want to go for, before purchasing it.

Which iPads have cellular capability?

Almost all iPads are available in both the Wi-Fi only model or the cellular and Wi-Fi model. A few of the iPads that have cellular capabilities include:

iPad 10.2-inch (9th Gen)
iPad Pro 12.9-inch with Appel M1 chip
iPad Pro 11-inch with Apple M1 chip
iPad mini 8.3-inch (6th Gen)
iPad Air 12.9-inch (5th Gen)

How do I know if an iPad has cellular capabilities?

There are two easy ways to figure out if your iPad has cellular capabilities, the first way is to find the sim card slot on your iPad. Only iPads that are cellular and Wi-Fi models will have a sim card slot. Another way to figure out your iPad’s cellular capabilities is to open the Settings app on your iPad and if you have the “Cellular” option, this means your iPad is a cellular and Wi-Fi model.

Can an iPhone SIM be used in an iPad?

An iPhone SIM usually will not work in an iPad, this is because the iPad will need a data SIM to connect to your cellular network.


The pros of the iPad with cellular include the device’s portability, private internet access, and the device’s GPS chip. The cons of this device all center around the device is more expensive than the Wi-Fi-only model. This includes the device itself being pricier as well as the cost of an additional data plan. However, if you are someone who is always on the go and needs constant internet access these cons will be a small price to pay in the long run.

Now that you know exactly what you should consider choosing which iPad will suit your lifestyle a bit better, you have everything you need to make the right choice. This means you no longer have to worry about picking the wrong iPad model and then end up regretting your choice later on.


Filip Poutintsev, the Chief Editor of Honest Pros and Cons, is a long term business writer, who has been featured in various online publications such as Forbes, CoinTelegraph and HackerNoon. Now he writes exclusively for Honest Pros and Cons.