the best ipad for drawing for architects and designers

Top 6 Best IPads For Drawing

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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An iPad, with the Apple Pencil and the best drawing apps, can be a powerful drawing tool for digital art. Today's iPad allows many artists, illustrators, and designers to unleash their creativity and bring their masterpieces to life. If you're dipping a toe in the water or looking to take your work to the next level, here are the current top options for the best iPad for drawing.

If you're looking for the best drawing experience, the 2021 Apple 12.9-inch iPad Pro is the way to go. With its powerful M1 chip, gorgeous Liquid Retina XDR display, and compatibility with the latest Apple Pencil, this iPad provides an unparalleled drawing experience.

For those who want a similar experience but are looking for a slightly more budget-friendly option, the Apple 2022 12.9-inch iPad Pro is a great alternative. It has many of the same features as the 2021 model, including the M1 chip and compatibility with the Apple Pencil, but it comes at a slightly lower price point.

Finally, if you're starting with digital art and want a more entry-level option, the Apple iPad 2021 10.2-inch is a solid choice. While it doesn't have all the bells and whistles of the iPad Pros, it's still compatible with the Apple Pencil and has a large enough screen for drawing. Ultimately, the best iPad for drawing depends on your budget and needs, but these three options are definitely worth considering. Dive in to learn more.

1. Best Overall: 2021 Apple 12.9-Inch IPad Pro

2021 Apple 12.9-inch iPad Pro (Wi‑Fi, 256GB) - Space...
  • Apple M1 chip for next-level performance
  • Brilliant 12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR display with ProMotion,...
  • TrueDepth camera system featuring Ultra Wide camera with Center...
  • 12MP Wide camera, 10MP Ultra Wide camera, and LiDAR Scanner for...
  • Stay connected with ultrafast Wi-Fi

For any artist looking for an iPad to create and express their digital art ideas, you are definitely in for a surprise if you choose the 2021 Apple 12.9-inch iPad Pro. I had never experienced capability from a device like this before. This iPad surpasses any of its predecessors and assures you power when ranked with other drawing tablets, iPads, or, arguably versus, Apple laptops.

Best IPad For Drawing

With the new M1 chip, I experienced the next-level performance, with its beautiful 12.9 Liquid Retina XDR Display, hailed as one of the best screens ever to grace this kind of device. I also appreciated how it was equipped with a 12MP wide and 10 MP Ultra-wide camera, giving clear photos for reference or artistic ideas. These cameras gave me the best immersive AR (Augmented Reality) courtesy of their LiDAR scanner, adding more realism and depth to my pictures.

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You will also be spoiled for choice, with its ability to choose from the 12.9-inch and 11-inch models, whatever suits your artistic needs. However, I found that you only get the XDR Mini LED display with a larger size. This 2021 iPad Pro is my top choice because it offers all-day battery life, ultrafast WiFi, and extra hard drive options for your internal storage.


  • Amazing Mini LED screen
  • High-Level performance CPU
  • Incredible camera quality
  • Great audio
  • Great battery Life
  • Fast WiFi and 5G capability


  • Expensive
  • Not the best at multitasking
  • It doesn't have substantial apps on the OS
  • Offers no dual monitor support

2. Best Alternative: Apple 2022 12.9-inch iPad Pro

Apple 2022 12.9-inch iPad Pro (Wi-Fi, 256GB) - Silver...
  • Brilliant 12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR display with ProMotion,...
  • M2 chip with 8-core CPU and 10-core GPU
  • 12MP Wide camera, 10MP Ultra Wide back camera, and LiDAR Scanner...
  • 12MP Ultra Wide front camera with Center Stage
  • Stay connected with ultrafast Wi-Fi 6E

If you want an alternative iPad to bring your artistic visions to life, I found the Apple 2022 12.9-inch iPad Pro to be perfect. This iPad is a powerhouse that surpasses all of its predecessors, and its capabilities make it stand out among other drawing tablets, iPads, and even some laptops.

Equipped with Apple's new M2 chip, I noted that this iPad Pro delivered unbeatable performance, allowing me to work with even the most demanding applications and software easily. While working, I also enjoyed the stunning 12.9 Liquid Retina XDR Display, hailed as one of the best screens ever to grace a tablet. With this display, I enjoyed rich colors, deep blacks, and a level of detail that made my artwork pop.

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One of the standout features of the 2022 iPad Pro is its impressive camera system. With its 12MP wide and 10MP ultra-wide camera, I could capture high-quality reference photos or snap artistic shots. The iPad Pro also featured a LiDAR scanner, which enabled immersive AR experiences while adding more depth and realism to my pictures.

The 12.9-inch model also includes the XDR Mini LED display, which takes the device's screen quality to another level. Aside from its incredible performance and display, you will love that the 2022 iPad Pro offers all-day battery life, ultra-fast Wi-Fi, and multiple storage options. I found it perfect for artists who want to create on the go without any limitations.

The 2022 Apple iPad Pro qualifies as one of the best alternatives for iPads for drawing and digital art. Its powerful performance, exceptional display, and impressive camera system make it a must-have for any artist who wants to take their work to the next level.


  • Superfast processor
  • Expansive liquid retina display with Promotion technology
  • Apple's M2 chip
  • Improved cameras with Center Stage
  • Supports second-generation Apple Pencil
  • Great storage options


  • It can feel big for others

3. Best Screen Ratio: Apple iPad 2021 10.2-inch

Apple 2021 10.2-inch iPad (Wi-Fi, 64GB) - Silver (9th...
  • Gorgeous 10.2-inch Retina display with True Tone
  • A13 Bionic chip with Neural Engine
  • 8MP Wide back camera, 12MP Ultra Wide front camera with Center...
  • Up to 256GB storage
  • Stereo speakers

When it comes to art, the difference in screen size sometimes makes all the difference. If you need the best screen ratio to create and express your ideas, the 2021 Apple iPad 10.2-inch is one of the best options. With its 4:3 aspect ratio, this Apple iPad offered me a different drawing experience from the larger screen, unlike the more common 16:9 or 16:10 aspect ratios found on most tablets and laptops.

I also appreciated the 10.2-inch Retina display, which was bright, clear, and sharp, making it excellent for drawing, painting, and sketching. It also offered me accurate colors and a wide viewing angle. Another impressive feature was the True Tone technology which adjusted the display's color temperature according to the ambient lighting, making the colors appear more natural and reducing eye strain.

I also loved that the iPad 10.2-inch came with Apple Pencil support, allowing me to draw, paint, and sketch precisely and easily. The responsiveness of the Apple Pencil and the palm rejection technology made drawing on this iPad feel natural and intuitive.

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In addition, I found the A13 Bionic chip to be powerful enough to handle most drawing and painting apps without lag or stutter. With its 8-megapixel rear camera and a 1.2-megapixel front camera, I could take reference photos, video chat, or record your art creation process time-lapses. I could also use it to draw and paint for a full day since it has a battery life of up to 13 hours.

If you want an iPad with the Ipad screen ratio for drawing and creating art, the Apple iPad 2021 10.2-inch is an excellent choice. With its bright and clear Liquid Retina display, Apple Pencil support, and powerful A13 Bionic chip, I found it a great device for digital artists on a budget.


  • Supports first-generation Apple Pencil
  • Plenty of space with a 10.2-inch display
  • Has full sRGB coverage
  • The battery lasts up to 13 hours
  • Apple Pencil Support
  • Affordable iPad


  • A13 is outdated compared to other Ipad models
  • It only works with first-generation Apple pencil

4. Best Budget: Ipad Air 5th Gen, 2022

Apple 2022 iPad Air (10.9-inch, Wi-Fi + Cellular, 64GB)...
  • 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display with True Tone, P3 wide color,...
  • Apple M1 chip with Neural Engine
  • 12MP Wide camera
  • 12MP Ultra Wide front camera with Center Stage
  • Up to 256GB of storage

As someone who has used the product, I can confidently say that the 8th-generation iPad is an excellent choice for beginners looking for an affordable entry-level iPad. Even though this basic Ipad has the older A12 Bionic chip, it still delivers exceptional performance, making it a top contender for budget-friendly drawing devices. If you're someone who enjoys expressing their art ideas without sacrificing quality, I recommend this device for you.

On the other hand, the iPad Air 5th Gen boasts a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display that provides a brilliant and clear screen for all your artistic needs. I particularly love the True Tone feature, which automatically adjusts the display's color temperature to match the surrounding ambient lighting. This makes viewing your artwork in different lighting conditions easier, providing a more precise and accurate representation of your work.

Image Credit:

As a proud user of this amazing device, let me tell you about its standout features. The 12MP rear camera and 7MP front-facing camera are perfect for capturing reference photos or taking selfies. With the high-quality images and videos they produce, you can use them for reference or easily share your work with others.

But that's not all! I found the Apple Pencil 2 a game-changer for artists since it offered unrivaled precision and control when drawing or sketching. Also, because it magnetically attaches to the side of the iPad, I loved how I could access it easily whenever I needed it.

If you're an artist on a budget, the iPad Air 5th Gen is the perfect device. Its impressive specs and features deliver excellent value for money and are powerful enough to handle all your artistic needs. Don't miss out on this incredible device!


  • Lighter than iPad Pro
  • Great color choices
  • Laminated true-tone display
  • It has a sleek design


  • Limited storage options

5. Best Portable: iPad Mini 2021

Apple 2021 iPad Mini (Wi-Fi, 64GB) - Space Gray (6th...
  • 8.3-inch Liquid Retina display with True Tone and wide color
  • A15 Bionic chip with Neural Engine
  • Touch ID for secure authentication and Apple Pay
  • 12MP Wide back camera, 12MP Ultra Wide front camera with Center...
  • Available in purple, starlight, pink, and space gray

As an artist, inspiration can hit me anytime, so I love my iPad Mini. It's small, lightweight, and compact, so I can carry it everywhere. The Apple iPad Mini is perfect for artists on the go who want a device that's easy to carry yet still offers powerful drawing capabilities.

The 7.9-inch Liquid Retina display provides vibrant visuals that showcase my artwork beautifully. And with the Apple Pencil 2, I can create precise and responsive digital illustrations no matter where I am.

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With the A15 Bionic chip, my iPad Mini runs my favorite drawing apps smoothly, without lag or stutter. Plus, the all-day battery life means I can work on my art for hours without worrying about recharging.

The 12MP back camera and 7MP front camera are great for capturing reference photos or taking selfies for my artwork. The Touch ID provides secure and easy access to my compact ipad, and Wi-Fi 6 ensures fast and reliable internet connectivity.

Overall, the Apple iPad Mini is the perfect choice for artists who prioritize portability and ease of use without sacrificing powerful drawing capabilities. Whether sketching in a coffee shop or working on my next masterpiece while traveling, my iPad Mini is always with me.


  • PortableA15 Bionic
  • Good battery life
  • Better cameras with Center Stage
  • New 8.3-inch Liquid Retina display
  • Second-generation Apple Pencil compatibility


  • Small screen size is not ideal for everyone

6. Best Value: IPad Air 4

2020 Apple iPad Air (10.9-inch, Wi-Fi, 64GB) - Green...
  • Stunning 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display with True Tone and P3...
  • A14 Bionic chip with Neural Engine
  • Touch ID for secure authentication and Apple Pay
  • 12MP back camera, 7MP FaceTime HD front camera
  • Available in Silver, Space Gray, Rose Gold, Green, and Sky Blue

As an artist, finding the perfect balance between price, performance, and screen size is crucial. That's why I love the new iPad Air 4! With a 10.9-inch display, I have plenty of room to draw and paint while still having a lightweight and portable device to take.

But it's not just the size I love - this iPad is also compatible with the Apple Pencil 2, which means I can access all the latest features and functionalities. Plus, with the A14 Bionic chip, this device is lightning-fast and can handle even my heaviest-duty art apps without lag or stutter.

Image Credit:

The laminated True Tone display is a game-changer for me. It produces stunning images with a more vibrant color range, and True Tone adjusts the display's temperature to the ambient lighting, so I always get the best viewing experience. If I need to turn it off, it's easy to do from the Control Center.

While the iPad Air 4 lacks Face ID and a ProMotion display, I still get a new dual-camera array, which includes a LiDAR sensor and an extra 10MP ultra-wide rear-facing camera. Overall, this iPad is the perfect choice for any artist who wants a powerful yet portable device that won't break the bank.


  • Superb balance of price and power.
  • Fairly large screen.
  • Apple Pencil 2 support.
  • Great display.


  • No ProMotion display.
  • No Face ID.

Factors To Consider When Buying The Best IPad For Artists

1. Apple Pencil Support

The Apple Pencil is what makes it all possible. It's an intuitive and easy-to-use stylus that feels like a real pencil in your hand. It's excellent for taking notes, drawing, designing logos, painting, and editing photos and videos. The iPad-Apple Pencil blend is perfect for fleshing out your most creative ideas.

The Apple Pencil is arguably the best stylus you can get for drawing on an iPad. Currently, there are two generations of Apple Pencils available. Both are practically the same, although the 2nd gen has more advantages.

First, it has better, more ergonomic charging. While you had to stick the 1st generation Apple Pencil into a Lightning port, the 2nd Gen attaches magnetically to the side of your iPad to charge. Furthermore, its feel is more similar to a real pencil, making it more comfortable.

The size is also slightly different, with the 2nd Gen Apple Pencil being lighter and shorter. The finish is also not as glossy, giving it a firmer, non-slip texture. In true Apple fashion, the 2nd gen can be said to be more user-friendly and practical.

That being said, both pencils are remarkable styluses, taking the digital drawing experience to a new level. The obvious choice between the two would be the Apple Pencils 2nd gen. However, it's worth considering that it is a bit more expensive and only compatible with some iPad models.

a). Apple Pencil 2nd generation is compatible with:

  • iPad Air (4th generation)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd and 4th generation)
  • iPad Pro 11-inch (1st and 2nd generation)

b). Apple Pencil 1st generation is compatible with:

  • iPad (6th, 7th, and 8th generation)
  • iPad Air (3rd generation)
  • iPad mini (5th generation)
  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (1st and 2nd generation)
  • iPad Pro 10.5-inch
  • iPad Pro 9.7-inch

2. RAM

The processor and RAM are critical for performance when running drawing and painting apps. The faster the processor and the more RAM an iPad has, the smoother the experience will be when working with large files or complex artwork. This also means more layers, especially in creative apps like Procreate and Adobe Fresco.

If you're working on complex art projects that need an extensive palette and intricate layers, you'll need at least 4GB RAM on your iPad. If it's more of a hobby, you don't particularly need the best memory allocation. Aim for an iPad with an A14 or A15 Bionic chip.

Unfortunately, Apple doesn't provide the specific RAM specifications on their products; we'll have to trust this source for detailed technical information.

  • Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch 20206GB
  • Apple iPad Pro 11-inch 20206GB
  • Apple iPad Air 20204GB
  • Apple iPad 8th Gen 2020 3GB
  • Apple iPad Mini 20193GB

3. Storage

If you plan to use your iPad for reference photos or taking photos of your artwork, look for an iPad with a good camera. While memory focuses on the short-term, storage is more about the long- but the same principle applies.

The amount of storage you need depends on the type of art you create and how much media you plan to store on your device. Larger files, such as high-resolution images and videos, require more storage.

More storage is always better. Generally, even your most frequently used app will only take up about 20GB a year for regular users.

128GB of storage should be sufficient to hold all your favorite drawing apps and your work over many years. A heavier user might then need around 256GB.

4. Display

A high-quality display is essential for artists who want to produce accurate and detailed work. The screen size, resolution, and color accuracy are all essential. A larger screen size can make working on more detailed artwork easier, while a high resolution ensures that your artwork looks sharp and clear. Color accuracy is important for ensuring your artwork looks the same on different devices and when printed.

Look for a device with a high resolution, sharp colors, and good brightness, as well as features like True Tone, which adjusts the display to ambient lighting for more accurate color representation.

5. Battery

Battery life is one of the most critical factors when choosing a drawing tablet. The last thing you want is your 'canvas' running out of juice after a few hours of use. The good news is iPads generally have very impressive battery life.

Apple ensures that a single, full charge can last about 10 hours if mostly web surfing. However, drawing on an iPad is a more demanding process that consumes more resources and power. But you'll still get a more than decent 6-7 hours of drawing on a fully charged iPad Pro.

6. Connectivity

LTE is one of those features that aren't particularly critical for digital art but still useful if you have them. It's mostly needed if you're drawing outdoors or at a place without Wi-Fi. But this simple problem can be solved by connecting the iPad to your phone's hotspot.

In fact, if you own an iPhone, the latest iOS updates have made it remarkably easy to set up a personal hotspot with your iPhone or iPad. In that case, you could save money by opting for an iPad with no built-in LTE.

7. Apps Compatibility

There are plenty of outstanding drawing apps nowadays. And you might be wondering which ones are compatible with your iPad. Well, you'll be happy to hear that all of them can work with your device. It seems like both major and smaller apps work just fine on iPads. You can run Procreate and Adobe Fresco to ArtRage and Graphic.

Frequently Asked Questions About The Best Drawing And Painting IPads

1. How Is The IPad Display Suited To Drawing?

It's always hard to tell actual colors from stand-alone drawing tablets unless you have a better monitor for comparison. However, iPad displays are great for drawing, thanks to exceptional resolution, color accuracy, range, and subtlety. The iPad Pro, in particular, is quite outstanding in this respect.

2. How Are The IPads With Glare And Parallax?

Glare and parallax can be annoying and frustrating for an artist. For anyone unfamiliar with these terms, glare is the reflection of light from above or behind the screen, making it harder to see and make out details. On the other hand, parallax is the gap between where a stylus' nib comes into contact with the screen and where the corresponding image appears.

The iPad Pro, Air, and Mini feature an anti-reflective coating for glare and fully-laminated screens for parallax. Combined with bright screens, that brings out some of the best drawing tablets we have seen on the market. You'll never have to worry about making out the finest details.

Furthermore, all the iPad features on this list are well-engineered and designed to suit an artist's needs. They have accurate, sensitive, and responsive pencil-screen interaction to ensure glare and parallax never break your sweat.

3. What Is The Expected Latency With These IPads?

The expected latency when using an iPad for drawing will depend on several factors, such as the model of the iPad, the stylus used, and the drawing application.

In general, the latest iPad Pro models (2021) have the lowest latency when drawing with an Apple Pencil. These iPads have a 120Hz refresh rate and a 5ms latency, making them ideal for artists and designers who require precise and responsive input.

However, the previous generation iPad Pro models (2020) also have a very low latency of 9ms, which is still considered very good for drawing.

The other iPad models, such as the iPad Air or iPad Mini, can also be used for drawing, but their latency may be slightly higher due to their lower refresh rates and processing power. If you're looking for the best iPad for drawing with the lowest latency, you should consider getting the latest iPad Pro models.

4. Which Model iPad is Best for Drawing?

The 2021 Apple 12.9-inch iPad Pro is the best iPad for drawing. I highly recommend it to any artist looking for a powerful and versatile device to create and express their ideas. Please refer to our review above for more information on its features and capabilities.

5. Is an iPad or Drawing Tablet Better for Drawing?

IPads and drawing tablets have their own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to drawing.

iPads have become increasingly popular for drawing due to their portability, convenience, and versatility. With the Apple Pencil, iPad users can achieve a natural drawing experience with pressure sensitivity, tilt recognition, and palm rejection. iPads also come with various drawing apps that offer a wide range of features and tools for digital artists.

On the other hand, drawing tablets are specifically designed for drawing and provide a more natural and accurate drawing experience. Drawing tablets have larger screens and more advanced technology for better pressure sensitivity and precision. They also often come with more advanced features like customizable buttons and hotkeys for quick access to frequently used tools.

Ultimately, choosing between an iPad and a drawing tablet will depend on your needs and preferences. If you value portability and versatility, an iPad might be your better choice. However, a drawing tablet might be a better option if you're a professional digital artist who requires the highest level of precision and accuracy.

6. Which IPad is Best for Gaming and Drawing?

If you're looking for an iPad that can handle gaming and drawing, the iPad Pro 2021 or 2022 models would be your best bet. These iPads have powerful processors, ample storage, and large, high-resolution screens, making them ideal for gaming and drawing applications.

The iPad Pro models also come with the Apple Pencil 2, a great tool for artists to create their art with precision and accuracy. The iPad Pro's powerful hardware can easily handle graphically intensive games, making it an excellent choice for gaming enthusiasts.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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