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Difference between iPad mini 2 and 4

Difference between iPad mini 2 and 4

iPad Mini 2


Apple’s iPad mini 2 and mini 4 are older-generation iPad models still actively supported under the company’s marketing and technical support. The mini 2, officially named the iPad mini with Retina display, launched in 20131, while the iPad mini 4 debuted in October 2015.2 (The mini 3 is a tablet generation between them that soon lost Apple’s support.3) The mini 2 and mini 4 are similar in many superficial specifications, but the mini 4 quickly begins to outstrip the mini 2 in performance and quality details.

Apple no longer sells the iPad mini 2 as of spring 2017, but discounted it starting in Fall 20164, so the model is still available at retailers like Amazon. Refurbished models may be available for even longer.

Physical Specifications

The mini 2 and 4 use the Retina display with 326 ppi and a resolution of 2048-by-1536 pixels; their physical dimensions are therefore quite close. However, the mini 4 is slightly taller than the mini 2 while being thinner and lighter – small adjustments that show the incremental improvements between generations. Precisely, the mini 4 is 0.65 lbs, 8.0 inches tall, 5.3 inches wide, and 0.24 inches deep.5 The mini 2 is 0.73 lbs, 7.87 inches tall, 5.3 inches wide, and 0.29 inches deep.6

Although the resolution of the Retina display on these models is the same, the mini 4 has an anti-reflective coating and an improved color gamut. While the mini 2 has a 62% color gamut, the mini 4 is much closer to 100% – testing puts it within 1 or 2% of the iPad Air 2’s color gamut. During this display upgrade process, Apple also removed the gap of air separating the LCD panel from the front glass (although this comes at the cost of making the display system more vulnerable to damage).7

In streamlining the design of the mini 4, Apple also removed a button that had been on the side of the mini 2 allowing for silencing and locking of the tablet. This functionality was moved to the Control Center within the mini 4’s software.8

The mini 2’s color options are silver and space gray, while the mini 4 also includes gold.9


Like Apple’s other new-generation tablets and smartphones, these models both offer a traditional rear-facing camera and a front-facing camera for selfies. The front-facing camera used in these minis is the FaceTime HD Camera. This camera provides 1.2 megapixels of resolution and 720p HD video. It also comes with geotagging and backside illumination; the mini 4 furthermore comes with burst mode, with which a user can take multiple shots per frame.10

On the rear-facing camera, the mini 4 brings an updated camera with better quality than that of its predecessor. The mini 4’s camera has an 8 MP resolution with an f/2.4 lens, and a panorama mode that stores up to 43 MP in a continuous shot.11 In contrast, the mini 2’s camera is 5 MP (also with an f/2.4 lens and a panorama mode).12 They both offer face detection, geotagging, backside illumination, a Hybrid IR filter, tap to focus/control pictures and video, and a five-element lens. As with the front-facing camera, the mini 4 camera allows for burst mode.13

For video recording, both models offer up to 1080p HD quality, along with 3x zoom, stabilization, face detection, and time-lapse video. The mini 4’s video mode also has the option of Slo-mo mode at 120 frames-per-second.14


Both models feature a frequency response between 20Hz and 20,000Hz, as well as a “user-configurable maximum volume limit.” However, the mini 4 supports Dolby Digital (AC-3) and Dolby Digital Plus (E-AC-3), which the mini 2 does not support – they share all other audio formats.15

Difference between iPad mini 2 and 4-1

iPad Mini 4

Technical Specifications

Apple also made hardware upgrades between the mini generations; while not as noticeable as the camera or interface, these modifications should allow for quicker and cooler operation for the mini 4. The mini 4 sees a change from the A7 chip to the A8, and from the M7 coprocessor to the M8.16

The mini 2 has 1 GB of RAM, while the mini 4 has 2 GB. At this level of memory, the mini 4’s doubling of RAM will have a drastic effect on performance – a point against the mini 2. 17

The mini 2 and 4 are both available at 16, 32, 64, and 128 GB of storage, in WiFi-only and WiFi-and-Cellular models. Apple currently only sells the mini 4 in 128 GB and, as the model is aging, will likely only sell it at this specification. The mini 2 was last sold by Apple with 32 GB of capacity.18 For both models, third-party retailers should still have new and used models with other capacities.

Both models have been tested to the same environmental standards (temperature, humidity, and atmospheric height).19

iOS Support

Each iOS version update by Apple creates a period of activity and excitement for both the technology community and millions of Apple customers, but compatibility could become a concern for the mini 2 and 4 as they age. Currently, Apple continues to support both the mini 2 and mini 4 in iOS 10 and the upcoming iOS 11.

The mini 2 comes pre-installed with iOS 9, but this can be updated from the device’s settings or, if needed, by plugging the tablet into a Mac with an updated version of iTunes to sync up.20 With its slightly newer manufacturing date, the mini 4 is loaded with the current iOS 10.21

Apple has announced that both models will be able to upgrade to iOS 11, the system which went into beta testing earlier this year that is scheduled to launch this fall.22

Miscellaneous Features

The mini 4 includes two other features not available on the mini 2 – Touch ID and Split View Multitasking. Touch ID is a biometric fingerprint sensor that allows the mini 4 to be quickly opened; in newer generations its primary function is for Apple Pay, which the mini 4 can use within apps but not at retailers. Split View Multitasking allows the user to have two apps open on the screen at once, splitting it 75-25 or 50-50. The multitasking is a larger drain on memory and requires the added RAM of the mini 4 to handle multiple active applications without crashing or significant freezing.23

Performance and Differences Summary

The mini 4’s newer coprocessor and doubled RAM provides its biggest performance advantage against the mini 2. The baseline mini 4 performs at least 20% better than the mini 2 thanks to these hardware upgrades.24 The new anti-reflective coating and improved color gamut also improve the display quality of the mini 4, all of which complements the updated cameras. Physically, the mini 4 is slightly slimmed down but taller, and its button layout has been altered since the mini 2 generation. All specifications on the mini 4 are either the same as the mini 2, an update, or an add-on (like burst mode).

Differences between mini 2 and 4

Specification iPad mini 2 iPad mini 4
Rear camera 5 MP 8 MP
Processor M7 M8
Chip A7 A8
Color Gamut Approx. 62% Approx. 98%
Burst Mode (Camera) No Yes
Slo-mo Mode (Video) No Yes
Touch ID No Yes
Split View Multitasking No Yes
Anti-reflective Coating No Yes
Side Lock/MuteButton Yes No – Moved to software
Available Colors Silver, Space Gray Silver, Space Gray, Gold
Weight 0.73 lbs 0.65 lbs
Dimensions 7.87×5.3×0.29 inches 8.0×5.3×0.24 inches

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References :

[0]Xiomara Blanco, “Apple iPad Mini 2 Review,” CNET, March 21, 2017, https://www.cnet.com/products/apple-ipad-mini-2/.

[1]Scott Stein, “iPad Mini 4 review,” CNET, June 9, 2017, https://www.cnet.com/products/apple-ipad-mini-4/.

[2]Lucy Hattersley, “iPad mini 2 vs iPad mini 4 comparison,” Macworld, October 9, 2015, http://www.macworld.co.uk/review/ipad/ipad-mini-2-vs-ipad-mini-4-comparison-3627013/.

[3]Xiomara Blanco, “Apple iPad Mini 2 Review.”

[4]“iPad mini 2 with Retina display – Technical Specifications,” Apple, June 22, 2017, https://support.apple.com/kb/sp693?locale=en_US.

[5]“iPad mini 4,” Apple, 2017, https://www.apple.com/ipad-mini-4/specs/.

[6]Andrew Cunningham, “iPad Mini 4 Review: A lighter, faster tablet with a better screen,” ArsTechnica, September 19, 2015, https://arstechnica.com/apple/2015/09/ipad-mini-4-review-a-lighter-faster-tablet-with-a-better-screen/.


[8]Lucy Hattersley, “iPad mini 2 vs iPad mini 4 comparison.”

[9]Andrew Cunningham, “iPad Mini 4 performance review: A 1.5Ghz Apple A8 with 2GB of RAM,” ArsTechnica, September 15, 2015, https://arstechnica.com/apple/2015/09/ipad-mini-4-performance-preview-a-1-5ghz-apple-a8-with-2gb-of-ram/.

[10]Juli Clovers, “iPad Air 2, iPad mini 4 and iPad mini 2 Updated with Improved Storage, iPad Pro Price Reduced,” MacRumors, September 7, 2016, https://www.macrumors.com/2016/09/07/ipad-pricing-and-storage-updates/.

[11]Michelle PM. RE: iOS 10 is not available in my ipad mini 2 [Online Discussion Forum], October 19, 2016, https://discussions.apple.com/thread/7669489?start=0&tstart=0.

[12]“Differences between iPad mini 2 and iPad mini 4 @ EveryiPad.com,” EveryMac, March 30, 2017, http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/ipad/ipad-mini-faq/difference-between-current-ipad-mini-models.html.

[13]“iOS 11 Preview,” Apple, 2017, https://www.apple.com/ios/ios-11-preview/.

[14]Cunningham, “iPad Mini 4 performance review.”



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