iPad purchasing recommendations for a 6 year old

I’m buying an iPad for my 6 year old, and I’m puzzled about what model to buy. I’d like to save as much money as possible, but still end up with a model that will run the latest iPad OS and has a 9 or 10 inch screen. Refurbished is totally fine. She will mostly be using Netflix, playing games, and running educational apps. Nothing too taxing, I would imagine.

She had an iPad lent to her from her school last year, and I wish I had checked to see what model it was when we had it. Maybe there’s someone here who is in a similar situation and can recommend the model their child or students use? I’d also be interested in hearing which storage capacity you’d recommend.

My 7 year old has a used iPad mini 5 I bought refurb off eBay. She had it for a couple years now and loves it. We use this case from Amazon to protect it and it works great. My other advice is to lock that thing down with screen time. I love Apple’s parental controls. We only allow her to use messaging and FaceTime with the approved contacts of just my wife and the grandparents. She can only access Disney+, PBS Kids, and Apple Music and only for one hour each day. I do love that she can ask for more time from me by an iMessage, it’s very cute. All other apps are turned off. Also, never allow Youtube Kids app, that app is from the devil.


Nice! What size storage does yours have? (and do you find it enough for her?)

If you want something with a 9- or 10-inch screen, I’d say just get the basic-model iPad, put it in a good, rugged case, and you’re good to go.You might consider getting a refurb of the most-recent-model-minus-one, rather than the current iPad, to save money on a device your kid might smash into a wall for funsies. Kids being kids.

Disclaimers: I don’t have kids. I don’t interact much with kids. And I’m not an Apple professional, just an enthusiast.

Still, I’m confident in my recommendation.

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That’s kind of what I was thinking…a refurbished 2021 regular iPad model is under $400 on Amazon…and I feel like it would run the latest OS for a couple more years at least…

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Unfortunately there were a few examples in the past, that showed that you could not rely on that…

Sure, there’s no guarantee. But the 2021 9th gen iPad is also currently still being sold directly Apple, so it probably has a better chance of lasting, I’m hoping.

There was a MacBook (could not remember the model at this time, but it was during the last years) sold by Apple for a long time, and was not able to get the latest OS the year after they stopped the selling.

Primary teacher here. As you probably know, Apple sells refurbished items. If I were you, I’d get her a mini. I was going to recommend the larger one (an Air) but I find it heavy. I am sure a six year old would really find it cumbersome. Make sure you get her an Apple Pencil. (It is compatible with the newer models). The standard model is an option but the mini would be less likely to be dropped and will fit snugly into her hands. It is definitely big enough.

Procreate is a wonderful intuitive art app, easy enough for a youngster. She’d need some help to really get into it. The other software I highly recommend is the Zoombini’s Logical Journey. It is a fun app that teaches logic skills and I believe it set me back a whole $3. She might be a wee bit young for it but she’ll grow into it. You can play with her as it is challenging enough and great fun!

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A bonus of buying a refurb directly from Apple, it comes with full Apple Care exactly as a new product would.

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Thank you for the recommendations!

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It has been my pleasure! Any time.

Don’t you have to purchase AppleCare? And let’s say you buy it on Amazon, you still have a given amount of time to pick up AppleCare from apple, of course, which you definitely want especially when dealing with a six year old.

Yes, you still have to buy it from Apple - but it’s available. There’s no guarantee that a “refurbished” iPad from a third-party vendor is eligible for AppleCare. And if you’re buying new, you can get the AppleCare from Apple when you order so you don’t have to add it later.

Re: longevity, generally the lifespan for iPadOS updates is dependent on the processor in the device. So the older you go, the fewer years you’re going to get. The base model iPads revise basically every year, so if you buy the previous year’s model and can get a good price your only sacrifice will typically be that it stops getting updates in something like 4 years instead of 5.

If it’s for a kid though, don’t skimp on the case. Get something rugged, preferably with a screen protector. :slight_smile:

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Oh, I’m referring to the 1 year AppleCare warranty that comes with every new Apple product. It’s not the same as the additional AppleCare+ that can be purchased.

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I don’t think Apple ever refers to that as “AppleCare”. Their specific language is:

Every iPad comes with one year of hardware repair coverage through its limited warranty and up to 90 days of complimentary technical support.

If you don’t buy the fancy version at time of purchase you can buy it within 60 days, but you have to run a self-diagnostic to make sure that there isn’t a current problem. :slight_smile:


You are right. I know that.

Gotcha. Is that a change from the past? For some reason I thought they used to describe it as 1 year of Apple Care then the option to purchase an additional 2 years, back before offering AppleCare+? I could be misremembering. In any case, thanks for the clarification.

No idea if it’s a change from the past, but it’s the only way I ever remember seeing it. For reference, I came in on the Mac Mini in 2012-ish.

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I know this case is not for an iPad but we’ve found that these survive sheep and lambs in the field for use with LambTracker and AnimalTrakker. Key features are they are rubbery and flexible and sort of bounce when dropped and the handle is HIGHLY useful. I’d look for something similar.

tablet case