iPad Mini 1st Gen - Usable in 2022?


I was digging through my box of stuff for eBay… and found myself eyeing off my son’s old iPad Mini - 1st Generation; Wifi, 16GB. It hasn’t been used for about 2 years or so; I gather they’re worth about $30 - $50 at best on eBay… and thought - maybe I can use it myself instead of selling it.

So, I charged it up, and - as I’d wiped the data when preparing it to sell - set it up with my iTunes account.

It’s running iOS 9.3.5, which I’m reticent to update, as I will no doubt only be able to go to the absolute highest iOS that is compatible, which will likely mean slowing the device down with new features. What I’m finding however is that there seems to be a lot of app compatibility issues… (Well, based on 1 exploration…) Trying to find a Battery Health app (as there’s no native option to check the battery health), and nothing will run either due to the model of iPad, or the iOS.

So looks like I’ll have to test the battery the old fashioned way… I’ll try playing YouTube or something, and time how long til it runs flat. Even just going through the settings, and App Store, seemed to drop around 9% charge over 20 minutes…

I doubt installing a new battery would be economical… as I’m not keen on DIY… and even if I did, it would probably still be better to buy something newer.

Just a shame considering it’s otherwise in good shape. I’d love to have it to just play YouTube, maybe Disney/Plex whilst in the kitchen doing dinner/dishes etc. Maybe join the kids playing Clash of Clans again…



I use our 1st gen iPad by sticking it to the front of our Samsung fridge and pretending it’s now a smart fridge. We use notes, use the apps that show cctv and ring for front door and gate, and slideshow for photos.

Pro tip - do NOT link it to your iCloud. Run it as standalone. Because you can’t update the iPadOS, linking it to your iCloud, even if you disable HomeKit on it, will wreck your HomeKit setup. I learned this the hard way over many months of headaches.

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Got through a 45min YouTube video with only about 10% of battery gone! Though I’ll keep pushing as worried it may drop off fast as it gets lower. That said - if it can play 1 hr of video, that’s plenty.

However… Clash of Clans wont start - endless “There’s an update” cycle.

Netflix App not compatible with this iPad.

Same for Plex App. And trying Plex website results in an error.

Safari has no updates, so no help there.

Seems like there are a lot of apps that just aren’t supported any more…

Sadly the original iPad Mini and up to the iPad 3 are stuck on iOS 9, even the iPad Mini 3 and up to the iPhone 6 only go to iOS 12 and I’m starting to see more and more applications that just don’t support even iOS 12 anymore. Everything else will run iOS 15 so is still that little more useful.

There used to be a pop up saying something along the lines of ‘you can’t run this, but we can download the latest compatible version for you’… but that hasn’t worked for the last couple of apps I’ve run into issues with. For example, Audible won’t run on iOS 12 on my Dad’s iPhone 6 so I’ve sent him my old iPhone 8 Plus which will be larger (for his eyes) and faster too (although I don’t know that he will notice that so much). For such a (seemingly) simply app I don’t know what the go is?

As far as I know, the iPad mini was the last of the 32 bit devices so it might be around that and the introduction of iOS 10 and all it’s warning about stuff not running anymore unless it’s updated. Although that doesn’t explain the iPhone 6/Plus on iOS 12 not running apps so much.

We had the iPad 3 (also an A5 based system same as the Mini 1) stuck to the fridge for a long time for timers and music and occasional streaming video which it was fine for, but that was ultimately replaced by a Google Home Hub (the one with the small screen). If you keep an eye out you can find them on special reduced from $149 down to $79, Telstra just had a sale for $49 which is the lowest I’ve seen. Yes it’s not in the Apple ecosystem, but it’s cheap and does a pretty damn good job even as a stand alone unit in the kitchen.

Speed wise, the A5X is really getting on. Even my old 5th Gen iPad chugs along with some of the Apple Arcade games I play with the kids and that at least runs the current version of iOS.

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App dumping by the devs seems to happen pretty fast these days. They don’t support them as long as they used to anymore and is the main cause of device death now. The original iPads were shortchanged updates much earlier than other devices too. We have 2 ipad 4s and a first gen mini and really don’t know what to do with them now. We used them a lot for netflix and movies and recently those stopped working.

For a long time apps would support iOS 9 since the iPad 2/3/4 and 1st Gen mini were stuck there and the makers wanted to keep the widest audience possible. Now they have dropped iOS 12, although to be fair, we are reaching back to 2014 now.

My wife just checked out if she could use the iPad for her Scouting troop. But, the Scout app wont instal, and the online version of the same wont load in Safari.

So - yeah - this will go on eBay I think.

We’ve got a 2nd gen mini with a cracked screen, and I’ve been wondering the same thing.

Is it worth fixing at all? Or just take straight to recycling? Is there a market for the early minis still?

The mini 2 is somewhat more usable having received security updates up until September last year. Not sure I’d spend money on getting it fixed though!

If you’re looking to recycle it though, I’d be happy to take it off your hands :slight_smile:

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I’ll let you know when we make up our minds, Oldmacs! I’d much prefer it was useful to someone!

:slight_smile: I can always give it a second life!