When purchasing an iPad, aside from all the different models like the Pro, Air, Mini, or regular iPad, we can also get a Wi-Fi-only iPad or an iPad with cellular capabilities. However, iPad Data Plan makes the iPad much more reliable. A Wi-Fi+ cellular iPad means the iPad has a SIM card (or the newer ones, eSIM or Apple SIM) to connect to a cellular data network, just like your smartphone. On the other hand, a Wi-Fi-only iPad can only connect to the internet when there’s a Wi-Fi network available.
So, if you plan to use your iPad in areas without Wi-Fi and travel a lot with your iPad, you might want to get a cellular-enabled iPad as a better investment. You can also get WiFi Analyzer Apps to experience more efficient Internet. To Choose The Best Plan, Figure out how much data you’ll need, your Personal Hotspot Allowance, Coverage, eSIM Support, and Pay Attention To The Details.
However, you’d need a compatible iPad data plan to make the most of your cellular iPad to connect to a reliable network. This would mean an additional cost on top of your existing phone data plan. However, choosing one can be pretty confusing with all the different data plan options. In this buyer’s guide, we will learn all the factors you’d need to consider when choosing an iPad data plan. You can use the information to choose the best possible data plan according to your needs and budget.
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How To Choose an iPad Data Plan
Below, we will discuss the critical factors you must consider when choosing between different iPad data plans.
Figure out how much data you’ll need
Since most iPad data plans are priced based on data usage, you’ll first need to estimate your data usage. There are also iPad data plans that offer ‘unlimited’ data for a higher price. But in most cases, we won’t need as much data as in our phone plan.
For example, if you only need less than 1GB/month, you can get a reliable data plan for only $5/month. So it’s best to estimate your data usage and not to spend too much on data you won’t use.
Here are some typical activities you might do with your iPad. Also, the estimation for the amount of data you’ll use with each activity:
- General internet usage (browsing, social media posting, etc.): 5MB/hour
- Emails sent/received: 500KB/email
- Typical documents/images downloads and uploads: 850KB/image
- Music streaming/download/upload: 5MB/song (for a typical 5-minute song)
- Video streaming/download/upload: 2MB/minute (120MB/hour)
- Full movies downloaded/uploaded: 2GB/film depending on the quality
- Online radio/podcast streaming: 128Kbps
- Online games: 15MB/hour
Also, an important consideration related to your data usage is how often you will use your iPad in areas with Wi-Fi. If, for example, you are going to take your iPad every day to the office (with your office’s Wi-Fi available), then you might not need too much data.
Once you’ve properly estimated your data usage, you should be able to narrow down your choices. For instance, if your monthly data usage is around 2GB, but Wi-Fi is abundant in your area, you might consider a cheaper plan.
Personal Hotspot Allowance
With your iPad, you can share your internet connection to other devices (including your iPhone, for example) via the personal hotspot feature. However, some iPad data plans limit the amount of data you can share via the personal hotspot feature. Some don’t allow personal hotspots altogether. Also, some might offer an “unlimited” personal hotspot allowance that will throttle your speed.
Consider how often you’re going to use this personal hotspot feature. Then estimate the data usage of the other devices if necessary. You’d want to get a data plan that offers a personal hotspot allowance according to your needs.
This one is pretty obvious. You’d want to get a data plan from a provider with reliable coverage in locations where you’ll frequently use the iPad. Most carriers provide their coverage maps so you can check whether they cover these areas. You can also check out different online reviews and ask around on social media about the performance of a certain provider.
Also, if you travel a lot, you might want to get a regional or global iPad data plan to avoid those hefty roaming charges as you move between countries.
Newer iPads, or to be more exact, the following models:
- iPad Pro 12.9 inch (3rd gen or newer)
- iPad Pro 11 inch
- The iPad Air (3rd gen or newer)
- iPad (7th gen or newer)
- iPad mini (5th gen)
Now supports eSIM (embedded SIM) instead of the traditional physical SIM card. With an eSIM, you can easily switch between network carriers without replacing the physical SIM card, among other benefits.
The thing is, not all data plans now support eSIM. So if you want to make the most of your iPad eSIM, look for a data plan that supports iPad eSIM.
Pay Attention To The Details
Check the fine print of your data plan so you don’t regret the subscription later.
For example, many data plans offer “unlimited” data allowance. While in truth, the provider will implement throttling (slowing down your speed) once you’ve hit a certain data usage threshold. Other plans might offer free international roaming, but it will only give you a very slow data speed when you are abroad. You’ll need to pay more to get a normal speed.
So, check every detail carefully, especially for the features that matter most according to your needs.
Can you get a data plan on an iPad?
Yes, you can get a data plan for an iPad. iPads are available in both Wi-Fi-only and Wi-Fi + Cellular models. The Cellular models have a SIM card slot and can connect to cellular networks, allowing you to purchase a data plan from a mobile carrier to use cellular data on the iPad while on the go
Do you need a data plan with an iPad?
Unless you have a wifi and cellular iPad, you won't be able to use cellular data, and you don't need a cellular plan on the iPad.
Can I get unlimited data for my iPad?
Yes, many mobile carriers offer unlimited data plans for iPads. However, these plans might have specific terms and conditions, such as data throttling after a certain usage threshold. It's best to check with your carrier to understand the specifics of their unlimited data plan for iPads.
Do I need a SIM card for my iPad?
Yes, most iPads require a SIM card to connect to cell networks for data and voice services if you have a mobile-compatible iPad model. The SIM card enables your iPad to access the internet and make calls using a mobile network, similar to how a smartphone operates. You won't need a SIM card for cellular connectivity if you have a Wi-Fi-only iPad.
Finding the right data plan for your cellular-enabled iPad is significant to maximize the cost-efficiency of your data usage. Also, ensure you can make the most of your cellular iPad anywhere and anytime. If, for example, you are going to travel a lot with your iPad to different countries, then you might want to get a data plan with global coverage. That can also make the most of your iPad’s eSIM (if you use a newer one). If you are ready to travel, check these flight tracking apps to keep track of your flights.
So, choose your data plan by considering your needs and budget, and the idea is to get the most affordable plan that offers all the features you absolutely need. You can also install Wifi booster apps on your iPad for added benefits.
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