Upgrade from 2018 to 2021 iPad pro


Nomad is amazing.

Is it worth upgrading from the 2018 to the 2021 iPad pro for nomad? Is it limited By the operating system?

All iPad’s are limited by their software, they all run an iteration of iOS. But as far as the upgrade area concerned, the 2018 Pro is inferior technologically - it’s running the A12X Bionic, a very old chip by Apple standards (but still performs well for iPad general tasks) - versus 2021’s new M1 - there’s about a 30-40% improvement across the board on everything, clock speed, power consumption, neural engine etc. so it’s far more capable. RAM is also the big one, 6GB of RAM versus 8. iOS needs 2GB to run, so 2018 model gets 4 to access apps - 6 on the new one. For workflows like Nomad, the extra memory is essential. A lot of power user apps will be getting a tune up as well to accommodate more memory use and to take advantage of Apple’s M architecture coming into the future, so it keeps the 2021 iPad more future proof essentially coming into the next few years. The 2018 model is not. They’re both very capable machines, but for Nomad, or other portable 3D applications - there’s no contest.

I omitted the 16GB version, but there’s also that option as well - essentially it can hold far more apps in the background compared to the 8, currently, some apps will even seek to harness even more RAM specifically from this device alone, but that will be rarer - it’s just not currently worth the price Apple are asking for it at 2 grand by large public consensus (this models specific MiniLED screen though is mega bright (1,600nits peak brightness) and gorgeous colour wise, it’s a striking visual luxury for true HDRI content).

One more thing to add as well, 2021’s iPad frame is slightly thicker, and doesn’t bend as easily as 2018’s model which is a bit flimsy due to the positioning of its 3 magnetic connectors, their positioning created a weakness in the structure - it’s the main reason those connections were moved from the left hand side of the device to the bottom near the USB-C port (portrait orientation) instead for all future models - it makes the 2018 also incompatible with the Magic Keyboards. JerryRigEverything’s YouTube channel has some excellent demonstrations of their tolerances and stress tests.

Ultimately, the biggest aspect is how much you’re willing to spend, they’re both good machines on a whole - and the 2018 model can find at very good second hand prices, same price as an Air 4 in some places - and it has all the benefits screen wise of its modern 8GB successor (Samsung LCD panel, 120HZ, P3 Gamut, 600nits).

I hope this answer helps with your decision, good luck with your choice.


That answer was perfect. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a detailed response :relaxed:.

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You’re more than welcome, iPads are technologically confusing because of Apple’s marketing strategies, they do baffle consumers needlessly with their iterations and spec difference, so I try and omit some of that stress for people. Take care and best of luck.

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A small precision between the ipad 2019 and 2021, the 2021 16go consumes netement more battery on some app like Nomadsculpt, procreate, affinity Photo and designer and games

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…only pads with 1TB 2018 have 6GB RAM. The others have 4GB.
I seriously think that this is the biggest culprit.
Btw. IOS is taking around 1GB of RAM, not two.

I am on an iPad Pro 10,5” with 4GB and have 3GB available for Nomad.
Nomad is already running great in there as you know. And you learn how to work with a good resolution - result balance. The decimation feature is a big help.
And running Nomad only, no other apps is always a good idea.
I see people posting sculpts with 6 million verts which could have been done same quality with 600000. Here I would say, learn your toolset first, before spending a fortune for a tablet with still limited use.

But those who are able to use all the potential of 8 or 16 GB of RAM will show their magic soon.

That said, 8GB or even 16GB of Ram will be a great advantage, when you know how to use your tool. Processor speed etc. is cool, but for Nomad it is nothing compared to the advantage of more RAM.


iOS needs two for optimal performance, but generally runs on using less, I always give examples by that threshold. 3GB available gives you about 2 to work with in Nomad, it needs around a gig to save and render without problems. Access to 5 in 2021 models makes a large difference, but that is for higher level output work.

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That’s true. Even if there are still 400mb left and you try to render in 4K it can cause a crash.

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