Weighing purchase options for an 11" iPad Pro


I’m pondering what to give up when purchasing an 11" iPad Pro.
The main points I’m pondering about are:

  • Storage space
  • Cellular or Wifi only
    This is in large part to try to save on the price. I’d rather not pay more for an 11" than what I got from selling my 12.9".

I recently sold my 12.9" iPad Pro with the following specs:

  • 2018 model
  • 256GB storage
  • Cellular + WiFi
  • Smart Keyboard Folio

A minor point up front:
I was slightly bothered by the glide of the Apple Pencil on my iPad - I might have done something when trying to clean the screen that resulted in the oleophobic (sp?) coating wearing off. I was/am a little miffed by how much more ‘sticky’ my own Apple Pencil 2 would feel on let’s say on an in-store device.

Now turns out the 11" is quite difficult to obtain as of late; Most of the 2018 models are sold out in local stores, and the 2020 ones are mostly out of stock.

I know getting the cellular + wifi used to be the preferred option. Now, I don’t know how much that is the case anymore. Used to be, time was, when the hotspot connection would be disconnected if my phone was locked. I don’t think this has been the case for a good long while now, maybe since the advent of iOS 13…?
I tested this recently with my MacBook - connecting to the iPhone hotspot works pretty well, only when I lock my Mac would I have to reconnect.
The connection speeds are pretty decent; a wireless hotspot gave me something like 15-20 mbps down / 12-15 mbps up. With the iPhone connected via USB-C-to-Lightning, I’d get somewhere around 120-140 mbps down / 40-60 mbps up. Given how I could connect my iPhone to my iPad in a similar manner, my take is that a Wifi only iPad would be sufficient.
Poke holes please where you see fit?
I like all of us haven’t really been traveling or been on the go as much as before because Corona.

I’m looking at my iCloud backups; my last iPad iCloud backup is at about 73GB. My Photos are at about the same, 74GB.
My iCloud Drive files are at about 50GB or so, with Sketch (Mac only app) taking the most space at 7 GB.
I’m thinking I might be able to make do with a 128GB iPad Pro if I end up getting a 2020 model.

It seems I’m leaning towards a 2020 128GB Wifi only model since I might be able to get one at a discount. 128GB might be pushing it and I’d have to do some more thinking about file management but at least as a temporary solution, 6 months or so, this might be doable.

I sold my iPad 3.5 weeks ago and did not really expect to miss it this much! This might be the most I’ve missed not having a device ever! I do most of my stuff on a Mac, but having something as portable and flexible as an iPad does beat having to ‘carry’ my 16" Macbook around even if it’s just inside my small apartment.

the TLDR: Am I potentially selling myself short in thinking I can make do with 128GB Wifi only iPad Pro vs. a 256GB Cellular+Wifi iPad?

Minor edit: Since I’m most likely getting the new keyboard+trackpad sooner or later I do realize that this 11" will in the end cost me more than what I got in selling my 12.9" + smart keyboard but that’s a cognitive bias I’m willing to accept right now. In the mean time I’ll use the same Magic Trackpad, Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse (the OG Mac models) I’ve used this far.

I pretty much did the same thing. Sold my 2018 12.9" iPad Pro and ordered a new iPad from Apple on July 16th. I just received a message today saying that it has shipped and would get to me on August 14th. So about a month wait.

I bought the 2020 11" model - wifi-only, 256 GB. I hardly travel (even before Covid) so using the iPhone as a hot spot in those few times when I needed to has worked fine for me. Even though I can afford it, I didn’t want to spend the extra $150 for cellular and another $14 per month to ATT (I think it was $10/month before the fees, taxes, etc).

As far a storage goes, I always buy 256 GB. Most probably I could get away with 128, but I wanted a buffer in case I started working more with video or something else with large files/more files that I may want to store directly on the iPad. I don’t think I’ve ever gone above 80GB stored on my iPad. I do optimize my Photos storage.

Good luck with your decision.

I recently replaced a (6th gen) 9.7 in 128GB WiFi iPad with an 11 iPad Pro. Since the introduction of the Files app on-board storage hasn’t been a problem, so 128GB was plenty for me. And I’ve never had a problem tethering to my iPhone so I never considered cellular.

With that said, I purchased my new iPad with 256GB and cellular. I added additional storage because this is my primary computer and I plan to keep it for at least 3 years. My needs may change. And I purchased the cellular model because I need GPS for a future project.

So, I can definitely see a wifi only 128GB iPad as a useful device. However, if you have $300 to replace your existing Magic Keyboard and Trackpad with basically the same thing (Magic Keyboard for iPad), then I suggest spending the money on the iPad, not the accessory.

I use my iPad Pro as a tablet most of the time so I keep it in an (overpriced) Smart Folio. When I need a keyboard I use it with a Magic Keyboard (in a Canopy case) and a Magic Trackpad.

If you still want the Magic Keyboard you can buy that later. You can’t add storage or cellular to your iPad. Just something to consider.


@WayneG Thanks for posting this. Just purchased the Canopy case.

1 Like

I got a fully loaded iPad Pro in March. If I had to choose to leave out features I’d leave out the cellular but add lots more space. I got the 1 TB one. Then again I don’t use iCloud so anything I wnt ont eh iPad has to fit there entirely.

I’m looking to move from my 10.5 with WiFi to 11 with W&C. I would probably only use the cellular about 10% of the time - maybe less, but for those times, it is REALLY handy. especially now. Pre-covid, I mostly had my iPad at a Starbucks, so I didn’t really notice it. Now, its in my car, at a doctor’s appointment, or even in a park. And having to bother with tethering is a pain, especially when I’m wearing a mask and trying to touch as few things outside as possible.

So for me, I’d rather have the cellular. High class problems, I know!

Makes sense.
I’ve been able to fill my iPad storage in the past and I know I need to be mindful of how i go about it.
As for buffer I also would like to have that for audio files and eventually video files. Worst case I have a small portable ssd thats currently housing a Big Sur Beta that i can connect to the iPad.

One thing is I’m currently tied to my extra cellular card with my phone carrier until December 2021 which is a “useless” cost with a WiFi only iPad but it is what it is.

1 Like

Good points. Thanks.

I was also trying to have an iPad be my main computer since a couple of years back which is why I’ve gone with more storage and physical size but so far I haven’t been able to completely replace Mac even though I’m getting closer and I’m about 90% there.

In all likelihood I’ll probably hold off on the new magic keyboard trackpad combo. It was more of a consideration for the bigger iPad i had. I also have a Logitech k380 that I hope can hold the 11" in place - couldn’t do that for the 12.9".

I had been looking at that Canopy case and forgotten about it, I’ll have to check again.

1 Like

This! I know the feeling.

Do you use other cloud services?
I also recently for the first time got a MBP with 1TB SSD where I’ve usually had 512gb. Definitely worth it and I’m one of those people who’ll use as much space as is available.

One reason to consider opting for the cellular option even in these limited travel times is if you have issues with your home ISP provider. Since starting work from home on March 13, I have used the cellular data on my iPad Air 3 (I’m too cheap to spring for a Pro) on at least three occasions to connect when my provider went down. Sure I could have tethered to my iPhone but for me that experience is almost always subpar.

Data on an iPad is a nice insurance policy against being offline for any extended period of time in my opinion. Your mileage may very of course and some folks appreciate the peace that comes from an ISP outage. :slight_smile:

As far as storage goes - that is where I would go low end (128 GB). Truth is, mostly everything you need is in the cloud these days and if you have cellular + WiFi it should always be available. Just my two cents on that.


Not much at all and only for specific applications, Dropbox for Scrivener I need on my iPad. Google drive to share functional specs with the other folks working on LambTracker and pictures I’ve shared with far flung family members, Amazon AWS Glacier as archive storage for pictures and historical scans. Otherwise I am cloud adverse. Even my email is POP mail so it doesn’t stay on any server I do not control.

1 Like

Thank you all for your feedback.
I got a 2018 256GB Wifi only yesterday. I found an open box item for a decent price so I thought I might as well.
As soon as I got I started having second thoughts about not having the cellular model! It does feel a bit constrained coming from having a cellular model for so long.
We’ll see how this one goes. I have 50 days to try it and return it if I want to. I’m thinking I’ll install the apps and add the files I want and need and see how much of the storage I end up using.
If I end up feeling too constrained by not having a cellular connection and feeling like I could make do with 128GB instead of needing 256GB, I might return this one and go for the 2020 128GB cellular model.

1 Like

Any experiences here with the Logitech Folio Touch?
Seems like an option to consider apart from the trackpad being subpar

An Update:
I’ve now spend 3 Days with the 11" iPad Pro and 2 days with a Logitech Folio Touch

This device is quite delightful to use! While I usually prefer a larger screen, this device is quite an amazing combo of screen size and portability.

On the WiFi front: I think I’d still prefer a device with a cellular connection. I’ve sat outside for a few hours these few days and while albeit minor, the nuisance of sometimes not being connected directly to a WiFi network is a little annoying when a device is this expensive. I’m thinking I might as well pay just a little bit more and get the Cellular option.

I’ve used up 60GB of storage so far of the 256GB. I’m not quite done filling the device up yet so I’m not sure if a 128GB model would be enough; my suspicion is that it might, but I could end up having to do some storage management every once a while (though this happens with my 1TB MBP too so I guess it’s just in my nature).

Logitech Folio Touch Keyboard + Trackpad

In general pretty good. I’m returning it because it has a Nordic layout and I want a US keyboard layout. The keys feel pretty ok for now. I have a feeling they might get mushy with use though. I thoroughly liked the feel of the Smart Keyboard Folio I had with my 12.9" iPad Pro.

The trackpad is good. The standalone Magic Trackpad has always been a too big to my liking. While this trackpad - and the one in the new iPad smart keyboard - might be a tad too small, I still might prefer this one. One thing I’ve noticed is how the iPad screen might at times feel to be too far away depending on which angle the screen is in. I suspect this won’t be the same with the Smart Keyboard with Trackpad since the iPad kind of hovers over a part of the keyboard.

Also, sometimes the trackpad will lose connection and the pointer disappears from the screen.
Finally, dragging with this trackpad is cumbersome coming from using a three finger drag on a MBP. I have the drag lock option checked in settings but I haven’t been able to figure out how to make it work with this. Maybe it only works with a finger drag?