Help needed in deciding whether it's time to upgrade my iPad mini

Hardware & Accessories

Hello, I have the first ipad mini, and am considering whether or not to upgrade to a newer ipad mini.
I have loss of central vision in one eye, the other eye has reasonable sight for the moment. I use my ipad mini mostly for reading ebooks on various apps, listening to audiobooks from various sources (apps and websites), listening to music, emails, browsing, etc.
I am trying to work out if it is worthwhile upgrading or not. The questions are: which ipad mini? Will there be any substantial increased benefit? Will there be increased clarity in terms of reading? Are the Zoom features better than in the first ipad mini? Is Voiceover better? Or should I just save my money and stick with what I have?

I only want ioad mini as I seem to be spending most of the day, when at home, holding it!

Any advice/opinions?



Submitted by Simon on Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The most recent iPad mini is the 4th generation, which has the same processor as the iPhone 6. However, anything after the first generation Mini comes with the retina display. I can't speak to how it will help you, as I have no vision at all, so you may want to find someone who has one or try it out in an electronics store near you. For this reason, I also can't speak to the zoom features, though those are usually specific to the iOS version rather than the hardware it runs on. The mini 2 is also still pretty current, and in comparison to the Mini 3, you lose nothing except touch ID. It's unclear at this point whether apple will continue to release new iPad mini models, since they seem to be really pushing the pro lineup, and continuing the mini lineup would mean having three sizes of iPads. Regardless, you have a choice now between the mini 2, 3, or 4, and you could of course buy a used iPad mini 2 for a reasonable price. There's a gigantic speed boost from the Mini 1 to the Mini 2 (think iPhone 4S vs. 5S), so no matter what you buy, it's a worthwhile upgrade.
I feel I should also mention that the second generation and later are all 64 bit devices, and can therefore use the Alex voice for VoiceOver.
Good luck and feel free to keep us posted.

- @Simon818

Submitted by Mike on Wednesday, April 20, 2016

In reply to by Simon

Thanks Simon, for that.
I did know about Alex only being available for the later models. The Voiceover voices available on the ipad mini 1 are not that convincing and not great to listen to (for me at least). I do however have Voice Dream Reader and prefer its voices (Brian is the one I use most), but of course I am limited as to what books I can have on VDR, given our old friend DRM. I have books on it from Bookshare (limited, as I am in the UK) and some books from

Submitted by Mike on Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A question which I forgot to ask. Is the sound volume in ipad mini 2,3 or 4 better than in 1? My hearing is not that great, though I have a middle ear implant which helps a lot.

Submitted by Fritz on Friday, April 22, 2016

Hello Mike,

This is in my opinion always a difficult question to answer for someone else, because everyone has different opinions and different needs, but I hope my opinion and experience with the ipad helps you somewhat. I had the iPad mini and jumped to the new mini last fall, and I think it was totally worth it for the following reasons-
1. Split screen - being able to have two apps open at the same time is really great. This makes things a lot easier to do.
2. Performance - the reaction time, especially the reaction time of voiceover, is noticeably better. Things just happen snappier, not so laggy.
3. Touch id - added security and in many situations easier than having to type things like iTunes or iCloud passwords.
4. Speakers - in my opinion better. But please take with a grain of salt, if you have the chance try it out on hands at a retailer near you.
5. Software support - every iOS update makes older devices at some point slower and buggier. For example, I installed iOS 9 on my old ipadmini before getting the new mini 4. It ran well but after getting my new mini4 things ran better. Could be for many reasons, clean install and such things are always a issue, but I setup my new mini from iCloud backup and still I noticed a couple of bugs less and all around better performance. Also with every update new features are added that are only supported with certain hardware. The newer the iPad is that you have, the more features from iOS can be used. As said by in the earlier comment from Simon, the Alex voice is such an example of what I mean. With iOS 10 around the corner, who knows what will come and which devices get supported or better said, how well older devices get supported.

On the display side of things, I can't say much because I'm have no vision. But since you have some "vision" and screen size may be a factor for you, something like zoom or split screen functionality could make a difference, so maybe you're better of with one of the new ipad Pro's. Also if sound is an issue for you, the new ipad pro's have 4 speakers on them. I played around with the Ipad pro a couple of weeks ago, the sound is amazing. If you have the chance, test it yourself.
If you can wait, hold of till the fall to see if Apple pushes out new Ipads. If they do and you don't see a big difference with the current lineup, then the current generation ipad mini 4 will probably become cheaper. Either way, I do think it's time to upgrade this year. Please remember, this is my personal observation and experience with the iPad mini 4, others may have better or worse experiences. I hope this helps you in your decision. Have a great day,


Submitted by Mike on Friday, April 22, 2016

Thanks Fritz, your advice is very useful. I am sure I will upgrade, perhaps later in the year as you suggest, if I can hold on that long...

Submitted by Fritz on Friday, April 22, 2016

Hello Mike,

I'm glad that I could help you. I hope that more people reply to your question, other opinions could maybe shed more light on the subject, sorry, no pun intended. I'm sure you will make the right choice for yourself. Have a great day, Fritz