Best iPad for Photo Editing in 2023

Last Updated on 17 May 2023 by Proactive Creative

As a photographer, an iPad is a handy and portable tool for photo editing. You’ll find it’s powerful and versatile, allowing you to edit wherever you are. So, it’s well worth investing in an iPad for photo editing. 

But knowing which is the best iPad isn’t easy. There are so many different versions and models out there. And that’s not to mention the different generations that further complicate matters.

That’s why I’ve put together this guide. I’ve picked these iPads depending on how well they perform for photo editing. That includes everything from the performance to the screen and camera. 

The Best iPad for Photoshop: Buying Guide

You might have wondered, ‘are iPads good for photo editing?’ The quick answer is yes, absolutely! With a large, high-resolution screen and powerful processors, iPads are great for photographers. 

But choosing the right iPad can be a difficult decision. So, here’s what you need to know to help you choose the best iPad. These factors will ensure you find an iPad that ticks all the right boxes for you! 

Display Size & Quality

When choosing an iPad for photo editing, the display is critical. But to make your decision, you’ll need to weigh up the screen size vs. portability. 

iPads range from the large 12.9-inch iPad Pro to the tiny iPad mini. There are a few questions to ask yourself to help you decide which iPad to buy. 

First of all, do you travel often? Do you need a small and lightweight iPad that you can take anywhere? Or do you plan to use your tablet mainly at home or work? When and where you’ll use your iPad will help you decide which one to choose.

A larger screen is definitely beneficial when editing your photos. It allows you to look at the entire image in one go and see all the details. But it’s not just the screen size that’s important. You should also think about the display resolution when buying an iPad for photo editing. That’s because it makes a huge difference to what you see on the screen. 

A high resolution will result in a much crisper image, where you can see even the smallest details. As a result, you’ll notice any discrepancies or areas that need fixing, so you don’t miss any issues. 

Plus, you won’t need to zoom in and out as much as on a smaller screen. That makes for a smoother workflow and saves you time. So, you’ll whizz through your photos much quicker and feel more productive.

But it’s still possible to do photo editing on a smaller iPad, so don’t write them off. It just might take you a little longer. 

On the other hand, a small iPad is more compact and portable. So, it’s easier to take with you anywhere, and it won’t weigh you down.

If you’re on the move a lot, you might prefer a smaller model. A lightweight iPad is better for frequent traveling or photo editing on location. 

Color Gamut & Accuracy

One reason iPads are perfect for photo editing is their amazing screens. They’re crisp and accurate, with excellent color accuracy and range.

Apple has come up with some of the best screens out there. It leads the way, beating most other tablets and coming up with new and innovative features. These displays are simply stunning, thanks to Liquid Retina and True Tone technology. 

As a result, most iPads work well for photo editing. But even so, there are significant differences between the various iPad displays. 

For example, you’d expect the latest iPad Pro 12.9 to have the best screen. Apple created a new display for this model with the best contrast yet – the Liquid Retina XDR. 

But unfortunately, this 2021 release has had major issues with light bloom. That means where you have white areas next to black, the light leaks into these darker sections. So, you don’t get as clean and crisp an image as you’d like. 

When choosing the best iPad, you should look for one with a wide color gamut. The more colors the iPad can produce, the more true to life your images will look. 

The best iPads also have high contrast and True Tone technology. That allows the iPad to adjust the screen lighting to your surroundings automatically. True Tone also improves the color accuracy that’s essential for effective photo editing. 


When it comes to performance, it’s all about the processor. You’ll need to run demanding apps like Photoshop for photo editing, so you need a powerful iPad that can keep up. 

The newer iPads have the latest M1 Chip, which is even more powerful than before. This chip is made by Apple, whereas earlier iPads had Intel chips. 

But some apps haven’t been optimized for the new M1 chips yet, including Photoshop. So while you might not see a massive difference yet, it’s sure to come soon. Then, it will be hard to beat the speed and power of these newer iPads. 

So, if your budget stretches to these models, then don’t hesitate. You’ll be blown away by the latest generation of iPads.

But if you’re on a tighter budget, don’t worry. Even the earlier models with A chips don’t disappoint. 

The RAM (or random access memory) also affects an iPad’s performance. It’s the RAM that accesses your short-term data and your apps and files. 

The more RAM you have, the smoother your iPad will run. Having more RAM allows you to work with several layers in Photoshop without any delays. 

So when you’re shopping around for an iPad, double-check the processor and RAM before you buy! 

Storage Space

As a photographer, you’ll have tons of photos, including those huge RAW files. So, you’ll need plenty of space on your iPad. You don’t want to run out of space mid-shoot, especially if you don’t have a laptop to back up your images. 

If you go for an iPad with less storage space, you’ll have to keep transferring items to the Cloud. Not only does that mean you’ll need an internet connection, but you’ll have to remember to stay on top of it.

I would recommend going for an iPad with at least 256 GB. That will afford you peace of mind and ensure you have loads of space for all your photos. 

That doesn’t mean you can’t get by with less storage space. So, if you’re on a tighter budget, don’t stress. But it’s always worth spending a bit more for larger storage space if you can afford it.

Does it work with the Apple Pencil?

Finally, you’ll want an iPad compatible with the Apple Pencil. You can use this digital pen to edit on the screen for a much smoother workflow. It will save you time and give you greater precision as you edit. Editing with your finger is nowhere near as accurate, so don’t even consider it. 

The Apple Pencil is the best stylus to use with an iPad. Third-party pens won’t work as well (if they work at all).  

While the oldest iPads may not work with an Apple Pencil, most do. But it’s also worth knowing that there are two versions of the Apple Pencil. 

The Apple Pencil 2 has some improved features and a sleeker design. For example, it charges wirelessly and connects magnetically to your iPad, so you won’t lose it. 

It also feels more intuitive and sits nicely in your hand as a regular pen would. But there’s very little difference in pen sensitivity between versions 1 and 2. 

You can double-check which Apple Pencil is compatible with your chosen iPad here.

Best iPad for Photographers

Top 3 Products Quick Comparison

Short on time? Here’s a quick roundup of the top three iPads for photographers before we get onto the full reviews. 

My top choice for an iPad for photo editing is the 11-inch iPad Pro. This model is outstanding, with a flawless screen and super-fast refresh rate. 

So, editing is streamlined on the iPad Pro, and you should see the effects instantly. Not to mention that this size is perfect for editing photos. It’s large enough to see the details without zooming in, but not too big to take with you. 

The 12.9-inch iPad Pro comes in second. Both these iPads were released in 2021, and they have a lot of similarities. But the larger model has some specific pros and cons. 

The extra couple of inches is nice to have, as it makes it even easier to spot the areas that need some work. But unfortunately, this model has some light bloom issues. You’ll find more info on that below if it’s a concern for you. 

Check out the iPad Air for photo editing if you have a tight budget. You get a great 10.9-inch surface to work on and many of the same features as the iPad Pros. But it’s a good deal cheaper, so you’ll save a lot of cash. 

Apple 11-inch iPad Pro Apple 12.9 iPad Pro 2021 iPad Air
ProductBest iPad Overall: Apple 11-inch iPad Pro (2021)Best Large iPad : Apple 12.9 iPad Pro 2021Best Budget iPad : iPad Air
Size11 inches12.9 inches10.9 inches
Active Drawing Area9.74 x 7.02 inches11.04 x 8.46 inches9.74 x 7.02 inches
Resolution2388 x 1668 pixels2732 x 2048 pixels2360 x 1640 pixels
ConnectionsThunderbolt/ USB 4Thunderbolt/USB 4 USB-C
OSiPadOS 15ipadOS 15iPadOS 15

Apple 11-inch iPad Pro

Best iPad Overall

Apple 11 inch iPad Pro

(Image credit: Apple)

If you’re looking for an iPad, this one is well worth your consideration. I think it’s Apple’s best iPad yet for photo editing and creative work. (You could also use it for graphic design, illustration, and more). 

This 11-inch iPad Pro was released in 2021 and packs the latest Apple M1 chip. That makes it one of the speediest iPads out there, with a superb performance. So, you can be sure that it can handle Photoshop and other demanding apps with ease. 

Although it’s worth noting that Photoshop hasn’t been optimized for the new M1 chip yet. That means you might not see a huge difference in speed. But this 2021 iPad will outperform the earlier models once that update comes. 

Another standout feature of this iPad is the 120 Hz refresh rate. This super-fast refresh makes for a flawlessly smooth editing experience with no lags. It beats the iPad Air, which has a slower 60 Hz refresh rate. Once you’ve used this iPad, there’s no going back! 

At 11 inches, you get a generous space to work on and a bright, colorful screen. It also has excellent color accuracy thanks to True Tone technology. That makes your job easier, and your images will look stunning and realistic. 

But at the same time, this iPad Pro is very lightweight and compact. It makes a great portable tablet for photo editing, no matter where you are. And with a long battery life lasting up to 13 hours, you can keep going for longer. You won’t get caught out with a flat battery halfway through the day!

Plus, it works seamlessly with the Apple Pencil 2. With wireless charging and no lagging, you can confidently edit your photos. This stylus is sensitive and accurate and has an excellent weight balance. So, it sits nicely in your hand and gives you great precision when editing.

All in all, the 11-inch iPad Pro is an outstanding tool for any photographer. While it’s not cheap, it’s well worth the price for the performance and accuracy you get. 


  • Size: 11 inches
  • Active Drawing Area: 9.74 x 7.02 inches
  • Resolution: 2388 x 1668 pixels
  • Connections: Thunderbolt/USB 4
  • OS: iPadOS 15


  • A fantastic iPad with a gorgeous screen and color accuracy
  • It works seamlessly with the Apple Pencil 2
  • It’s lightweight and compact
  • It has a fast 120 Hz refresh rate with no delays
  • The battery life lasts up to 13.5 hours


  • It’s pretty expensive

Check price on

Apple 12.9-inch iPad Pro

Best Large iPad Pro for Photo Editing

Apple 12.9-inch iPad Pro

(Image credit: Apple)

While the 11-inch iPad Pro is my favorite for photographers, it’s not your only option. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro is another popular choice for photo editing

You might want the biggest screen you can get, and that’s perfectly valid. For photo editing, a large screen makes a huge difference. 

It gives you more room to get creative and see all the tiny details. So if you want more space, you won’t go wrong with the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. 

Not only does this iPad have a powerful M1 chip, but it also has unique 2D backlighting. The screen’s local dimming zones make blacks look crisper and deeper than ever before. 

It also boasts plenty of storage. This specific model has 128 GB, but you can opt for 1 or 2 TB if you have more money to spend. 

Obviously, this iPad is a bit heavier and bulkier than the 11-inch model. But it’s still more compact than a regular laptop, so you can still carry it with you. 

One thing to mention is the light bloom issue that affects this iPad. Apple created an all-new Liquid Retina XDR display with super-high contrast and brightness. That sounds amazing for photo editing, and it does have its advantages. 

But unfortunately, there is some light bloom between light and dark areas on the screen. That means you get a halo around the black sections, which could make accurate editing harder. 

That doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker, though. You can find more info and some workarounds to solve this problem in this article

Despite this issue, the 12.9-inch iPad Pro has a lot going for it. It also has a 120-Hz refresh rate, a decent camera, and 1600 nits of brightness. 

This iPad Pro is a strong contender if you’re willing to deal with the light bloom problem. But for cheaper models for anyone on a budget, read on. There are some great, affordable iPads out there for photo editing, too. 


  • Size: 12.9 inches
  • Active Drawing Area:11.04 x 8.46 inches
  • Resolution: 2732 x 2048 pixels
  • Connections: Thunderbolt/USB 4
  • OS: iPadOS 15


  • The biggest iPad with a bright screen and super-high contrast
  • Colors look vibrant, and blacks look deeper than ever
  • It has the new Apple M1 Chip
  • 2D backlighting is a new bonus feature 
  • The fast 120-Hz refresh rate prevents any lags
  • It works with the Apple Pencil 2


  • It’s very expensive
  • It has significant problems with light bloom

Check price on

Apple iPad Air

Best Budget iPad for Photographers

Apple iPad Air

(Image credit: Apple)

If your budget doesn’t stretch to the iPad Pro, don’t worry. The iPad Air is an excellent tablet for photo editing and is much more affordable. 

This 4th Gen model was released in 2020 but still performs well. While the specs aren’t impressive, this iPad provides fantastic value for money. 

Although this doesn’t have the M1 Chip, its A14 chip provides enough power for Photoshop. This robust processor makes it easy to run intensive programs or even multitask.

The Air is almost the same size as the 11-inch iPad Pro, giving you a decent space for photo editing. The display is fantastic, with the P3 wide color gamut and a high resolution. 

So, photo editing on the iPad Air is a great experience. Your photos will look very crisp, sharp, and true to life. 

But on this iPad Air, the storage space is pretty limited. It only comes with 64 GB of internal memory, which will fill up quickly when you’re working with RAW files. 

So, you should have a plan for transferring your photos once you’ve finished editing them. Otherwise, you’ll run out of space before you know it. If you have more wiggle room in your budget, you could opt for the model with 256 GB instead. 

The iPad Air doesn’t have the most amazing specs and features compared to the latest models. But it’s still a great option if you’re tight on cash. It gets the balance right between performance and affordability. 


  • Size: 10.9 inches
  • Active Drawing Area:9.74 x 7.02 inches
  • Resolution: 2360 x 1640 pixels
  • Connections: USB-C
  • OS: iPadOS 15


  • A great iPad for any photographer on a budget
  • It’s lightweight and compact so you can take it anywhere
  • It has a wide color gamut and a high-resolution screen


  • It doesn’t have the M1 chip – but it’s still pretty powerful
  • The storage space is pretty limited
  • It doesn’t have a lot of RAM

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Apple iPad Mini

Best Portable iPad for Photo Editing

Apple iPad Mini

(Image credit: Apple)

Are you after an iPad in a more compact size? Then, check out the iPad Mini. At just 8.3 inches, it’s about the same size as a book and can easily slip into any bag or purse. 

You won’t even notice it’s there and won’t weigh you down. So, you can get your photo editing done no matter where you are. 

But despite its teensy size, the iPad Mini is powerful and robust. This 2021 version has an A15 Bionic chip that packs a punch. 

Plus, it comes with all the features you’d expect from an iPad. For example, the Liquid Retina display is gorgeous. So, your photos will look bright and vibrant. 

Plus, you get the same True Tone technology and wide color gamut as any other iPad. 

One drawback of this model is that it only has 64 GB of internal storage. Space is essential for your large files when photo editing, so that could be enough to put you off. But you could opt for the 256-GB model if you need more storage space. 

With the iPad Mini, you get the choice of four beautiful colorways. It comes in purple, pink, space grey, or starlight silver. While not essential, it’s nice to have the option of different colors to choose from. 

Overall, this iPad is as small and compact as they come. That does mean you get less space to work on, but the 8-inch screen is large enough for photo editing. 

You may not want to use the iPad Mini for the bulk of your work. But it’s ideal as a portable iPad for editing on location and has many other uses. And it’s much more affordable than the larger, high-end iPad models out there. 


  • Size: 8.3 inches
  • Active Drawing Area:7.69 x 5.3 inches
  • Resolution: 2266 x 1488 pixels
  • Connections: USB-C 
  • OS: iPadOS 15


  • It’s another excellent budget option
  • The best small iPad for photo editing
  • It has a superb display with a high resolution


  • Not ideal for editing large batches of photos
  • The storage space is very limited
  • Some photographers may find the active area too small

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Apple Pencil

Best iPad Stylus for Photo Editing

Apple Pencil

(Image credit: Apple)

A digital stylus is a must-have if you plan to edit photos on your iPad. The Apple Pencil is essential, as the iPads don’t always support third-party pens. Plus, the Apple Pencil is designed to work seamlessly with iPads, so you can’t go wrong with it. 

Although this is the older 1st Generation Apple Pencil, it’s still outstanding. It’s super lightweight, weighing just 0.73 ounces. The Pencil sits nicely in your hand, with perfect balance. 

When it comes to drawing, this pen moves fluidly across the screen without lag. And as for photo editing, it’s accurate down to the tiniest pixel. So, it provides all the precision you could need for professional photo editing. 

As mentioned above, you’ll need to double-check your iPad’s correct Apple Pencil model. The latest models are compatible with the Apple Pencil 2. 

And with the Apple Pencil 2, you get even more advanced features. For example, it attaches magnetically to the iPad for simple and quick storage. Plus, it charges wirelessly and has a programmable shortcut button on the pen. 

So, in contrast, this earlier model can feel a little clunky. But it’s precise and sensitive enough for all your photo editing needs – so don’t worry! It comes with an extra tip and a lightning adapter. And as it connects to your iPad via Bluetooth, you shouldn’t see any delays when using the pen. 

No matter whether you go for the Apple Pencil 1 or 2, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed! 


  • Size: 6.92 inches
  • Pen Pressure Sensitivity: Very high (Apple doesn’t publish pen pressure levels)
  • Connections: Lightning connector & Bluetooth


  • This stylus is fully pressure-sensitive
  • It has tilt support, so you can control the thickness of the line
  • It’s very lightweight
  • It responds instantly with no delays


  • The Apple Pencil 1 doesn’t attach magnetically or have wireless charging
  • It’s more expensive than third-party digital pens

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te best ipad for photo editing, photoshop, lightroom
which ipad is best for photo editing

The Wrap Up

You won’t regret investing in an iPad for photo editing. But as you can see, there are so many different options out there. 

Apple iPads vary in size, performance, and price, but there’s something for everyone. Now, you should have a good idea of which iPad suits your needs. 

So, let me know which one you choose in the comments below! I’d also love to hear how you get on with your new iPad for photo editing. 

Make sure to follow me on Pinterest and social media for all the latest content! That way, you won’t miss my next reviews, tips, and tutorials for creative professionals.

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, Proactive Creative may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.


Outmane is the founder of Proactive Creative. He is an artist/designer.


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