Activate cellular on my new iPad Pro?

I purchased the new iPad Pro 12.9 with cellular. I have not yet activated cellular but I purchased the iPad with it so that I have the option. My question is, why would I want to pay an additional fee each month for a data plan on my iPad when I can use my iPhone as a hotspot when I need WiFi?

Getting the hotspot set up is fiddly and drains your battery on both devices. Having cellular on the iPad isjust loads easier.



My question is, why did you pay for a cellular iPad when you can use your iPhone as a hotspot when you need WiFi? :see_no_evil::hear_no_evil::speak_no_evil:


I really enjoy the convenience of turning on my iPad and being connected to the Internet. For me, it’s worth that extra $10 CAD a month that I pay to share my iPhone’s data plan (6GB).

As others have mentioned, Personal Hot Spot can be fiddly and it will create some drain on the iPhone’s battery. I also once ran into a situation where I was travelling and the cellular service stopped working on my iPhone (it ended up being a hardware issue). In this case it was very nice to have iPad connectivity as a backup.

Might I recommend instead of adding it to your plan and paying per month, check out the prepaid options like TMobile. That’s what I do on my iPad and it works GREAT for me. I think I pay like $10 for 5GB that lasts 5 months. Absolutely perfect for me.

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I think this can be a great option as well, depending on how often you use the iPad data.

In my case, I think I’d end up spending quite a bit more with a prepaid option than I would paying the extra $10 a month to share my 6GB plan.

I bought the 10.5 iPad last year and I did not get the cellular version. My previous iPad did have cellular, but I ended up turning it off to save the $10/month. I use the hotspot from my phone 3-5x/month, generally for short periods. For me it’s worth the savings. I just bought a cellular Apple Watch and I’d rather spend my $10/month there. If I needed a hotspot 3-5 times a week, I might have made a different choice. It really depends on how often you don’t have WiFi and if you’re willing to go through the extra steps required to connect to your phone. It generally (85%) of the time it connects without issue. When I have an issue, I usually need to toggle Bluetooth or hotspot off/on on the iPhone. Not too bad.

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I have the cellular option and I would not go without it. Taking the iPad out turning it on and being on the Internet no matter of where where I am is a great added value and definitely worth the extra 15€ or €20 for me each month.
But that is you got to be willing to pay for that comfort.

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I have cellular on my iPad for a few reasons:

  • So I don’t need to drain my iPhone battery, of course now I can use my iPad to charge my iPhone but then I’m draining both batteries more than necessary.
  • To use a different data provider. In general coverage is good, but I have had it before where my phone has had no signal at all, my iPad being on a different provider came in very handy (I was working at a summer school for 8 weeks so it wasn’t a problem that would just resolve itself by continuing on to my next destination).
  • Should our home internet go out I can just keep using my iPad, we have had a few weekends without internet and this has made it much easier.
  • It’s cheap, for me it’s €6/month for 4 or 5GB of data (HoT in Austria for the curious), of course if it’s not cheap for you then that’s not a consideration ;).
  • I can easily throw any sim in when travelling, or use the e-sim to buy a data package which lets me have internet on the road easily :slight_smile:

So that I would have the option to add it. I’ll keep this iPad for 3 years so I am “hedging my bets.” :slight_smile:


Congratulations: you’ve answered your own question! :cowboy_hat_face:


In my case, it would boil down to one word: GPS

You only have the option of a GPS radio if you cough up the €200 or so extra for the “WiFi and cellular” model (“GSM” or “4G” to you and me) :face_with_symbols_over_mouth:

We use the actual data part of this version once in a blue moon, but use mapping apps, and thus GPS, every time we travel. (I am the “copilot” and navigator for many business and all holiday journeys).

Now if Apple would only allow us to tether the GPS of the iPhone, I’d buy a WiFi-only iPad and save myself a packet (probably spending it promptly on an Apple Watch :sigh: ).


Everything I own has LTE, overkill I know, but I never have to worry. Even more special is I travel to Mexico often, only 2 1/2 hours away. My provider is awesome over there, T-Mobile.

The only downside is after iOS 12 came out for my iPad Pro I’ve been having occasional connectivity issues.

When people me ask whether they should buy the cellular model, I always ask them if they find themselves (often) someplace with no wifi. If the answer is yes, the next question is: Was that inconvenient? If they answer yes to that, I usually suggest that they consider getting the cellular model.

Lately, I’ve found myself at cafes and such where the wifi download speed is less than 1Mbps. In Silicon Valley no less! Seriously? If you can’t often decent speeds, you shouldn’t even offer the service!

So that’s now a factor in my advice: If you find yourself at establishments which offer horrible wifi service, do you find that inconvenient? If yes, then consider the cellular model.

I can’t help but a personal rant: AT&T has been my provider for decades (all my life). At worst, it’s been at least "good enough."Here—IN SILICON VALLEY—the best signal I can get fluctuates between “No Service” and one bar at 4G. IN SILICON VALLEY! I can’t begin to express how infuriating that is. Combine that with cafes that offer .50 Mbps and I’m surprised I haven’t had a stroke or aneurism. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


My cellular selection process was simpler than @sylvaticus.

I’m of the buy and hold school. My devices are bought cellular capable.

I use my phone like a mini iPad (iTouch). If it spends time going digital I enable our iPads.

All kinds of niggling details apply.

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After a power outage at the office that took down Wifi I added an unlimited data plan to my iPad. :slight_smile: