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Cheap iPads

Find the best iPad deals and cheap 4G data plans

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Anthony and Steve B | Edited by Gary

Updated 18 Oct 2016

iPads have been top of the gadget wishlist for years, and the latest iPad Pro will be no exception. Yet iPads aren't MoneySaving by anyone's definition. If you must have one, here are a few tips to help keep the costs down...

While prices don't vary much between stores, savings can be made with the 3G/4G models if you choose the right mobile data plan. This guide looks at the best available options.

Getting an iPad: Need-to-knows

Apple's iPads are without doubt the world's most popular tablets. Like all Apple products, though - they don't come cheap. So think long and hard before parting with your cash.

An iPad is not a pocket money purchase, so think carefully before deciding to buy one.

There are three large-screen iPad models (iPad Air, iPad Air 2 and iPad Pro), plus three smaller iPad Minis. The newest are the iPad Pro, iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 4.

The table below shows a quick comparison of each iPad's features:

Which iPad should I buy?

Model Screen size 4G ready? Chip Storage Price (RRP) More info
iPad Air 2
A8X chip with 64-bit architecture and M8 motion coprocessor
16GB, 64GB, 128GB
From £399
iPad Mini 2
A7 chip with 64-bit architecture and M7 motion coprocessor
16GB, 32GB
From £219
iPad Mini 4 7.9in Yes A8 chip with 64-bit architecture and M8 motion coprocessor 16GB, 64GB, 128GB From £319 iPad Mini 4*
iPad Pro 12.9in, 9.7in Yes A9X chip with 64-bit architecture and M9 motion coprocessor 32GB, 128GB, 256GB From £499 iPad Pro*

Discontinued iPads

Several older iPad models, including the original iPad Air and iPad Mini, have now been discontinued and are no longer sold by Apple. However, if you're after a particular model, you may still find one second-hand or refurbished. See the full list below.

Which iPads have been discontinued?

Tips for choosing your new iPad

Once you've chosen which iPad model you'd like, you'll need to think about whether you want 4G internet access and need a mobile data plan. Consider the following:

  • Wi-Fi or 3G/4G? If you plan to use your iPad while out and about, you should opt for the 3G/4G and Wi-Fi model. If you'll just be using it at home, Wi-Fi only is more suitable (and cheaper). Read below to help you decide whether you need Wi-Fi only or 4G and Wi-Fi.

  • Do you want to use it to make calls? One of the most exciting features of an iPad is FaceTime, a video-calling app. However, FaceTime only works with the latest Apple technology so you won't be able to ditch your mobile yet.

  • How much data do I need? The amount of data you'll need will depend how you plan to use the iPad. Here's a general guideline to help you figure out whether you're above or below average in data usage terms:

If you're worried about your usage, there are a number of free apps that you can download from the App Store that can help you track the amount you're using. Read the data usage section in the Cheap iPhones guide for more info.

Should I get a 4G or Wi-Fi only iPad?

Where to find free Wi-Fi access in the UK

What is 'tethering'?

What about iPad alternatives?

Cheapest iPad Wi-Fi only: Best deals

With a Wi-Fi only iPad, you're just buying the tablet - there's no contract, so cheapest is best. The problem is there's very little price variance.

Apple has strict price controls, so the major reputable retailers all generally charge the same amount for their iPads and discounts are rare. One minor option producing dividends is for those who collect Tesco Clubcard reward points.

However, we do occasionally see a new voucher or code that can get you an iPad discount. When this happens, it's usually a very short-lived deal, but where possible, we'll update this section of our guide with all the details.

Here's a quick summary of current iPad prices from major UK retailers:

Product Apple price Cheapest elsewhere Cheapest with reward points
iPad Air 2 (32GB) £379 at Apple* £379 at John Lewis* (John Lewis provides a two-year guarantee at no extra cost) N/A
iPad Mini 2 (16GB) Discontinued £199 at Currys*£219 at Argos*. N/A
iPad Mini 2 (32GB) £239 at Apple* £239 at Argos*, Currys* and John Lewis* (John Lewis provides a two-year guarantee at no extra cost). £239 at Tesco Direct*. Earn 239 Clubcard pts worth up to about £9¹
iPad Mini 4 (16GB) Discontinued £319 at Argos* N/A
iPad Mini 4 (32GB) £379 at Apple* £379 at John Lewis* (John Lewis provides a two-year guarantee at no extra cost). N/A
iPad Pro 9.7in (32GB) £549 at Apple* £549 at Argos*, Currys* and John Lewis* (John Lewis provides a two-year guarantee at no extra cost). £549 at Tesco Direct*. Earn 549 Clubcard pts worth up to about £22¹

iPad Pro 12.9in (32GB)

£729 at Apple* £679 at at John Lewis* (John Lewis provides a two-year guarantee at no extra cost), £729 at Argos* and Currys*. £729 at Tesco Direct*. Earn 729 Clubcard pts worth up to about £29¹

Prices checked at 8.48pm on Tue 18 Oct. Table excludes online marketplaces, eg, Amazon, as their prices frequently change. Yet they're often cheapest, so always do your own checks with MegaShopBot.

¹ Clubcard points can be quadrupled for maximum rewards - read Boost Tesco Clubcard Points for more info.

Student & teacher discount

Apple for Education* is a scheme that gives students, their parents and school staff as much as 15% discount on Apple products, including iPads. The discount on iPads is relatively small, eg, iPad Air £306 (so only 4% off) but as Apple deals are so rare this can often make going direct to Apple the cheapest option for students.

See our Apple Student Deals blog for more about how you can get it.

Refurbished iPads

It's possible to get a refurbished iPad for a bit less than a brand new one, and there's little difference in condition. You stand to make savings of £50-£70+ on the retail price.

Refurbished iPads from Apple should be in 100% working condition, though Apple says they may exhibit some "minor cosmetic imperfection" such as scratches, marks or discolouration. It also says they may not be in the original packaging.

You can order a refurbished iPad Air or iPad Mini from Apple refurbished iPads* with free delivery. Stock levels change daily, so check back often.

All these refurbished iPads come with a one-year Apple warranty. Apple high street branches don't stock refurbished iPads, but staff should be able to help with any problems.

The Argos eBay outlet* often has refurbished iPads, though like Apple, stock is limited and availability can change on a daily basis.

Spotted any other deals? Share your suggestions in the forum discussion.

Cheapest iPad Air 2: Best 4G deals

If you want mobile internet access, you'll need an iPad that's Wi-Fi + 4G. Below are our top picks - if you need more help choosing a model, see our tips for choosing an iPad.

Cheapest overall deal: Buy an iPad Air 2 and use a Giffgaff Sim card

Best for those who can pay upfront cost, though limited data

The cheapest way to get your hands on an iPad with data is to get the tablet and data plan separately. This comes with a high upfront cost though, so if you don't have £££s to stump up from day one, see the deal below instead.

Package details Provider Upfront cost Monthly cost Data allowance Overall Get deal
£349 for 16GB
from Argos*
£12/mth 2GB/mth £637
over 24 mths
£15/mth 4GB/mth £709
over 24 mths
£18/mth 6GB/mth £781
over 24 mths

What's the deal? Buy the iPad from Argos*, and get a Sim-only Goodybag data plan from cheap mobile provider Giffgaff*. For £12/month you'll get 2GB of 4G data, £15/month will give you 4GB, and £18/month gets 6GB.

Who's this suitable for? Getting the iPad and data separately is the best option, if you can cough up for the high inital cost. If you think you will use more than 6GB of mobile data in a month though, consider the deal below from Three Mobile.

Anything else? It's a one-month rolling contract, meaning you can cancel at short notice.

Though the £12/month option with 2GB is cheap, we found iPhone users sometimes use more than this on their mobiles in a month. So unless you're going to be using the iPad's 4G just for emails, it's wise to get one of the larger plans.

Lowest upfront cost: iPad and data bundle from Three

Best for those who want to spread the cost, with high data

If you want an iPad but don't have the cash for it upfront, you can spread the cost of the tablet (slightly) over a contract with a monthly data plan.

While more affordable upfront, this is not the cheapest way to get an iPad - paying a higher monthly amount and less upfront normally costs a lot more over the duration of the deal.

Package details Provider Upfront cost Monthly cost Data allowance Overall Get deal
£29 for 15GB from Three* £36/mth 15GB/mth £893 for 15GB over 24 mths Go*

What's the deal? You'll get 15GB of data to use a month, on a 24-month contract, at £36/month. The 16GB iPad Air 2* is available for £29 upfront.

Who's this suitable for? Those that either haven't the cash to pay for an iPad outright, or for those that want more mobile data than the plans from Giffgaff above.

Anything else? We reckon 15GB/month is more than enough data, but if you exceed this you'll be charged 10.2p/MB. If you're worried about your data use, though, it's worth installing a usage monitoring app. See below for more info.

Got an iPad? Cheapest Sim-only

If you already have an iPad but no data plan, getting a Sim will allow you to access the web whenever, and wherever, you are.

All of the newer Apple products require a micro or nano Sim (smaller versions of the traditional Sim card), so make sure you order a data plan that comes with the size you need. Here are our picks:


1GB allowance for £4.94/mth, plus 100MB free to try

MobiData – Cheap for low users

What: iPad Sim-only 1GB
Cost: £4.94/month

Contract: 1-month rolling

New and existing customers can bag a free Sim from MobiData*, which runs off the Three network. If you want to try it out before you commit, it offers a trial with 100MB/mth of free 4G data to use in the UK or abroad (see its coverage map) for three months with no contract.

MobiData's basic plan gives a 1GB monthly allowance for £4.94/mth – one of the cheapest we found for any mobile broadband plan when we checked. A gigabyte's not a huge amount, though. MobiData also offers 5GB/mth for £14.94 but this isn't as competitive.

Delivery is free and the Sim should arrive within three days of ordering. If you use more than your allocated data allowance that month it's 2.5p/MB.


iD Mobile broadband

15GB allowance for £25/mth

iD Mobile – good for heavy users, only a one-month contract

What: iPad Sim-only 15GB
Cost: £25/month

Contract: 1-month rolling

Should you need more data, iD Mobile* offer other Sim-only deals, one of which gives you 15GB of data for £25/month on a one-month rolling contract - pretty good if you get through a lot of data. If you want to opt out you'll have to give 30 days' notice.

If you use more than your allocated data, you'll be charged 10.24p/MB for the remainder of that month until your contract rolls over.

Spotted any other deals? Share your suggestions in the forum discussion.

How to complain about a purchase

If you're not happy about a product or the service you receive, you should first contact the retailer in person, by phone, or in writing. However, if you're still not satisfied, then...

Free tool if you’re having a problem

This tool helps you draft your complaint and manage it too. It’s totally free, and offered by a firm called Resolver which we like so much we work with it to help people get complaints justice.

If the complaint isn't resolved, Resolver can escalate it for free to the relevant ombudsman or trade body.