Decision time: Choosing between the 11-inch versus the 12.9-inch iPad Pros

in iPad edited January 2020
Just $200 separates the 11-inch and 12-inch 2018 iPad Pros. This is a fairly narrow gap, and we've been told it's a hard call -- so AppleInsider is here to help.

2018 iPad Pros
2018 iPad Pros

Both iPad Pros -- regardless of size -- have the same internal specs. That means you won't get better performance for choosing one over the other, so the decision really comes down to screen size.

Of all the different reasons one would prefer a particular size over another, there are three where one model excels over the other.


If you do an abundance of typing, the 12-inch may be the route to go.

12.9-inch iPad Pro with Smart Keyboard Folio
12.9-inch iPad Pro with Smart Keyboard Folio

On the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, Apple fit an entire full size keyboard into the Smart Keyboard Folio. That makes moving from a computer to the iPad Pro entirely effortless. The 11-inch, however, is too small, requiring a more compact implementation.

The shrunken down keyboard of the 11-inch is still a fine typing experience, but takes some getting used to.

Whether you are using the Smart Keyboard Folio or the on-screen keyboard, typing is hands down better on the larger size.


That larger display also lends itself well to multitasking.

The 11-inch display is a beautiful piece of glass for looking at photos, watching movies, or playing games. But when it comes to multitasking, it can become cramped fast.

Simultaneously, you could be watching a video in picture-in-picture, have split screen tabs typing and reading Safari, and accessing Twitter via Slide Over. On the 12.9-inch, there is ample room for each of these tasks.

It becomes even more cramped on the smaller of the two when typing on the screen itself rather than a keyboard. The on-screen keyboard takes up a large portion of the screen, leaving any chance of serious multitasking near impossible,


Apple drastically reduced the size and weight of the iPad Pros this year, but the 12.9-inch is still hefty. If you going to be using it for reading, hold it for long lengths, or toting it around in your bag frequently, the 11-inch shines.

11-inch iPad Pro
11-inch iPad Pro

With the Smart Keyboard Folio attached to the 12-inch model, it actually weighs slightly more than the previous iPad Pro with the Smart Keyboard.

If you want the best screen while still being as light as possible, opt for the 11-inch.

Decision time

There are still so many variables we can't take into account, with personal preference playing a large role. Sometimes you just want the largest screen or aren't worried about the $200 bones that make the difference.

That doesn't make everything so cut and dry, but if you plan on using iPad Pro in one of the above scenarios, hopefully it shores up your reasoning on choosing one over the other.

Where to buy

Apple authorized resellers are currently discounting select 2018 iPad Pros just in time for the holidays. Save $50 on 11-inch models or up to $60 on the latest 12.9-inch tablets. Resellers, such as Adorama and B&H Photo, also will not collect sales tax in many states. For the latest deals and product availability, be sure to check out our iPad Price Guide.

2018 11" iPad Pro deals 2018 12.9" iPad Pro discounts


  • Reply 1 of 12
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 2,775member
    If you need for iPad for mass scale deployment or personal need, go for 11" and for professional(individual or company wide) 12,9". So pretty much simple divide.
    edited December 2018
  • Reply 2 of 12
    jdb8167jdb8167 Posts: 624member
    I had the first generation 12.9” iPad Pro but replaced it with the 10.5” iPad Pro the next year. The original 12.9” was just too big to use as a tablet so I was hesitant to switch back to the 12.9” this generation. The reviews all said it felt smaller and lighter so I went ahead and got the new 12.9”. I’m glad I did. The size change is just enough to make it feel useful as a tablet and the benefits when being used with a keyboard are very real. I may keep my old 10.5” to use as a reading device though. The 12.9” is usable but still slightly too large for that one use case. 
  • Reply 3 of 12
    I assume the 11" is by far more popular given in the past it was a 9.7" or 10.5" screen, so the divide is now even narrower, also given the price at $800 vs $1000, it will be the right size and price for most people wanting an iPad Pro.
  • Reply 4 of 12
    thttht Posts: 4,497member
    When I made the decision to go with the 10.5 last year, I did it because the UI does really take advantage of the larger display space on the 12.9. I felt that I could do everything on the 10.5 just as well as the 12.9.

    If iOS 13 has overlapping windows, the tables will be turned and I would get the 12.9 next year and waterfall my 10.5 to one of the kids.

    I’m on-screen keyboard all the way, and typing on the 10.5 is just fine. The keyboard could be a lot better. The isn’t any reason to not have arrow keys on the 12.9 onscreen keyboard, or to not have meta keys on both. Then, Apple should have a short keyboard layout, like a 3 row keyboard instead of 4 or 5, in order to maximize screen area when using the onscreen keyboard. Oh, aspect ratio should be 5:4 too. Broken record here.
  • Reply 5 of 12
    Am I the only one waiting for a Pro model somewhere right inbetween 6.5” and 11”?
  • Reply 6 of 12
    I purchase two iPad Mini 4s just in case Apple decides to discontinue the Mini. It still fast even if it came out 2015! Apple seems to be hit and miss in terms of updating their small devices like the Mac Mini, iPhone SE and for sure Mini!
    edited December 2018
  • Reply 7 of 12
    svanstrom said:
    Am I the only one waiting for a Pro model somewhere right inbetween 6.5” and 11”?

    I'm sure there are a lot of use cases for that size range. Hopefully, there will be a mini-sized Pro model.

    Personally, I cannot wait to get my hands on the new 12.9" model.

  • Reply 8 of 12
    I opted for the 11" Pro after trying out both in an Apple Store. The 12.9 is just awkwardly big for something that you hold in your hand to use, in my opinion. If I used my iPad in a more stationary way I might try the larger size. Also, I am a pretty fast touch typist and I have no issues with the 11" Smart Keyboard.
  • Reply 9 of 12
    Gonna wait for iOS 13 and see if they can turn the iPad Pro in a real Pro productivity device. The hardware is totally there, but the software doesn’t convince me at all.
  • Reply 10 of 12
    jcshasjcshas Posts: 6unconfirmed, member
    firelock said:
    I opted for the 11" Pro after trying out both in an Apple Store. The 12.9 is just awkwardly big for something that you hold in your hand to use, in my opinion. If I used my iPad in a more stationary way I might try the larger size. Also, I am a pretty fast touch typist and I have no issues with the 11" Smart Keyboard.
    My thoughts exactly. I think the 12.9 is a great size if I were using it as a laptop replacement, but at least for me, the iPad is a device that fits between my iPhone and my 15" MacBook Pro so 11" is the perfect combination of power and portability. 
  • Reply 11 of 12
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,386member
    You really have to try 'em in the store before making a decision. One thing to consider is whether you prefer to use the iPad in portrait or landscape orientation. Both are superb in landscape orientation. Some web sites and apps do not adapt to portrait orientation very well and simply shrink the content rather than adapting the layout. In such cases the smaller iPad can feel cramped or the fonts get too small. This is not a problem with the 12.9" screen. The old 12.9" design was difficult to hold in your hands or lap in portrait orientation because it is tall and heavy. The new designs are a whole new ball game, with the smaller one getting larger and the larger one getting smaller. A test drive is a must. 
  • Reply 12 of 12
    Rev2LivRev2Liv Posts: 7unconfirmed, member
    I'm very surprised Apple hasn't been more aggressive in dropping the margins on the 2018 iPad Pros during the holiday season, especially with the 12.9" model. Heck, HomePod's got slashed by a 1/3rd. to $250 or less. 

    MicroCenter pulled a nice stunt with most  a very limited inventory of aggressively priced models at $150 below the .edu price. 

    eBay had a site wide 10-15% off sale.

    Currently, Apple is honoring all vets and celebrating them by offering a site-wide 10% coupon. and a rumored $15 out the door coupon. iPhones are being slashed.

    Scott Forstlal is sorely missed. Tim Cook is turning into a modern day John Sculley while Sir Johnny Ive has outdone Jean Louis Gassee by any measure.


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