iPad mini 6 (2021) vs. iPad mini 5 (2019): What has changed?

iPad mini 6 vs iPad mini 5

At the California Streaming event, Apple surprised everyone by announcing a new iPad Mini 6. Apple has successfully placed the iPad mini 6 on its pedestal of “modern iPads” with a host of features, upgrades, and refreshed design. Against the old iPad mini 5, the new version sees massive improvements in display, camera, processor, and connectivity!

But… it comes at a price!

If the new sixth-generation iPad mini has made it more difficult for you to choose from Apple’s iPad lineup, this article has got your back!

We have compared the latest iPad mini 6 (2021) and the iPad mini 5 (2019) to help you make a well-informed decision. Here’s how two devices stack up against each other!

iPad mini 6 vs. iPad mini 5: Specs comparison

SpecsiPad mini 6iPad mini 5
Display8.3-inch Liquid Retina Display7.9-inch Retina Display
Resolution2266 x 14882048 x 1536
Dimensions (inches)7.69 x 5.3 x 0.258.0 x 5.3 x 0.24
Weight0.65 pounds0.66 pounds
ProcessorA15 BionicA12 Bionic
Storage options64GB, 256GB64GB, 256GB
Rear Camera12MP rear camera with Quad-LED True Tone flash, f/1.8 aperture, Smart HDR8MP Wide rear camera, f/2.4 aperture, Auto HDR
Front Camera12MP Ultra-wide, f/2.4 aperture, Smart HDR 37MP front camera, f/2.2 aperture, Auto HDR
ConnectivityBluetooth 5.0, 5G (sub-6 GHz), Gigabit LTE, and Wi-Fi 6Bluetooth 5.0, 4G LTE, Gigabit LTE, and Wi-Fi 802. 11a/b/g/n/ac, 
Battery LifeUp to 10 hoursUp to 10 hours
Charging PortUSB-C portLightning port
Accessory SupportApple Pencil Second GenerationApple Pencil First Generation
Centre StageYesNo
ColorsSpace Gray, Pink, Starlight, PurpleSpace Gray, Gold, Silver
Price$499$399

As you can see on the specs sheet, the iPad mini 6 brings considerable improvement over its predecessor. Especially the jump from A12 Bionic to A15 Bionic, the same chipset that powers the latest iPhone 13 series.

Big changes in design

iPad mini 5, with its thick bezels and the Home button, was screaming for a design upgrade for a long time now. Apple finally refreshed the design with the launch of the iPad mini, and now the new iPad looks more like modern iPads.

Screen size

Apple has also increased the screen size by a minuscule change in the device’s overall length. The new iPad now measures 8-inch in length in comparison to the 7.69-inch iPad Mini 5. 

This was made possible by shrinking the bezels and eliminating the Home button. Now, Touch ID has been integrated into the power button on the side of the iPad.

Volume buttons

Another significant change that you would notice in the newer model is the volume button’s position. Earlier, the volume rockers were located on the side, but now Apple has positioned them on the top. A change that would favor those who use iPad in landscape mode.

Overall, you get a modern design with less noticeable bezels and a bigger display in the new iPad mini 6. If you are planning to upgrade from the previous generation, you will notice a considerable change in the overall look and feel of the iPad. 

The display front

iPad mini 5 vs iPad mini 6- Better display
Source: Apple

The new iPad mini 6 features a new Liquid Retina display against the older generation Retina display in the iPad mini 5. It is the same display that you get in iPad Air and iPad Pro. Notably, the display type is still LCD and not OLED. Now that Apple has increased the screen size from 7.9-inch to 8.-3-inch, the resolution of the new iPad has also changed.

While the iPad mini 5 boasted a screen resolution of 2048 x 1536 pixels at 326PPI, the new iPad offers 2266 x 1488 pixels at 326PPI. While the PPI has remained the same, you get more pixels which translates to better display quality.

Also, the screen aspect ratio of the iPad mini 6 is 4.6:3 whereas, the iPad mini 5 features 4:3.

Performance: A12 vs. A15 Bionic

One area that has witnessed the biggest upgrade in the sixth-generation iPad mini is the processor. Apple has included the latest A15 Bionic SoC in the iPad. It is the same chipset that powers the latest iPhones.

In its release note, Apple promises a 40% jump in performance and an 80% leap in graphics performance compared to its predecessor. 

In comparison, the iPad mini 5 offers A12 Bionic, a three-year-old chipset. It doesn’t mean that the iPad mini 5 is slow, but the A15 features a 6-core CPU and 5-core GPU to deliver much-improved performance even in the heaviest tasks.

According to MacRumors, Apple has also bumped the RAM in iPad mini 6 from 3GB to 4GB, making it even beefier.

Coupled with iPadOS 15, A15 can excel in multi-tasking and deliver a smooth experience if you are performing any graphic-heavy task on the new iPad.

Moreover, Apple has once again proved that it is trying to blur the line between iPads and computers by adding the latest processor to the iPad mini lineup.

Besides performance improvement, the A15 chipset also makes it future-proof. You can easily rely on the 5nm chipset to last for 5 years.

Battery and port

USB-C Type Port in iPad mini 6
Source: Apple

Nothing much has changed in terms of battery life in the new iPad mini 6. Since Apple doesn’t disclose the battery capacity and relies mainly on the continuous video playback time to boast about its battery, there is no official information about the battery capacity in the iPad mini 6.

Apple is still promising up to 10 hours of video playback on the latest iPad mini as it did for the previous generation.

However, one big change in the battery and charging department is the shift from the proprietary Lightning port. iPad mini 6 has a USB-C type port for charging. It’s good to see that after updating its iPad Air and iPad Pro with USB-C type port, Apple has given the same preference to its iPad mini lineup.

The presence of a USB-C type port allows you to connect more third-party accessories like cameras directly without needing a connector.

iPad 6 mini vs. 5 mini: Camera

Say hello to new ultra-wide camera
Source: Apple

Another major upgrade has arrived in the camera department. The rear camera has been bumped to 12MP ultra-wide from 8MP wide in the iPad mini 5. It seems that the company has set the 12MP ultra-wide lens as the minimum camera specification for all iPad models, including the new entry-level iPad.

Now, you can shoot 4K videos from the rear camera instead of 1080p from the previous-generation iPad mini. Here are the options available for video recording: 4K at 24fps, 25fps, 30fps, 60fps, or 1080p HD at 25fps, 30fps, 60fps.

The selfie camera has also been boosted to 12MP ultra-wide with video recording capacity up to 1080p which was 720p earlier.

However, the highlighting feature of the camera upgrade is the introduction of the Centre Stage feature.

The Centre Stage feature uses machine learning to follow the subject in the frame even if it is continuously moving. With this feature, you can attend video calls while walking, and the front ultra-wide lens will follow you along.

Network connectivity

Apple wants you to use the blazing fast internet on your new iPad mini 6, which is why it has added the 5G support to its new member of the iPad mini family. With 5G rolling out in different countries at a fast pace, the 5G iPad mini makes sense.

However, it is noteworthy that the 5G iPad mini costs $649, whereas the Wi-Fi-only model starts at $499. So, there’s a steep $150 price push if you opt for 5G.

There’s something you must know about 5G in iPad mini 6. MacRumors has discovered that the mini 6 doesn’t support a faster 5G mmWave and only supports the sub-6 band. This should be concerning, especially for U.S.-based users, planning to upgrade to the new iPad.

Nonetheless, choosing the 5G compatible iPad mini 6 makes it future-proof!

Accessory support

Apple has also added the support for Apple Pencil 2 in the iPad mini 6. The sleek stylus attaches magnetically to the iPad and charges wirelessly. The iPad mini 5, on the other hand, supports only the first-generation Apple Pencil. 

The absence of a smart connector in the mini 6 means that it won’t support the smart folio keyboard, which could have been a better feature given the iPad now comes with an A15 Bionic and can be used as a mini PC.

Price

Here comes the most important part: price! The iPad mini 6 starts at $499, which is a staggering $100 up from the price of the previous generation. If you opt for the 5G supported model, the price further escalates to $649.

I believe the price has been drastically increased, and this could affect the buying choices of users. However, one of the biggest benefits of shelling out another $100 on the latest iPad is that you are getting the latest Apple chip, aka A15 Bionic.

Moreover, camera and design upgrades are also worth the price if you are planning to buy a new iPad.

iPad mini 5 vs. iPad mini 6: Should you upgrade?

If you are planning to upgrade from the iPad mini 5 or any previous-generation iPad mini, the latest model surely brings a host of useful changes that could change the way you use the iPad altogether.

For example, the Apple A15 Bionic brings performance upgrades, and the Centre Stage camera feature is also something that could be useful in the day-to-day scenario.

If you are a new user planning to purchase a new iPad, the price of the latest model could seem inflated, but for this price, you are going to get the bang for your bucks. It could be a great buy if you plan to use the device for at least 3-4 years.

What are your thoughts about the new iPad Mini 6? Will you upgrade? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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1 comment
  1. Superbly written Nidhi. Got to understand all the major spec differences thanks to the high clarity of language and technical know-how. 🤠

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