Do I Need Cellular on My iPad? [The Pros and Cons]

Many people are torn between choices when buying a device, for instance, deciding whether or not to buy a cellular iPad. Apple has provided two iPad types from which users can choose: (1) the WiFi-only iPad and (2) the cellular+WiFi iPad. Both versions are great, but people’s choices vary mainly based on the differences in price and functionalities.

So, do you need cellular on your iPad? In this article, we have compiled all you need to know about having or needing cellular on your iPad so that you have enough information at your disposal when looking to get an iPad. But, first, let’s see if you need cellular on your iPad!

Do I Need Cellular on My iPad?

You may or may not need cellular on your iPad depending on your usage type, that is, how you use or plan to use your iPad.

There may be no need for cellular data on your iPad if you will use your iPad at home; a WiFi iPad using your home WiFi network will work just fine.

On the other hand, if you will have to take your iPad with you when you travel, especially for work purposes, or you’re always going from place to place where the possibility of finding a WiFi network is low, you may need to have a cellular connection on your iPad to gain access to the internet. In this case, you will need an iPad model with both Wi-Fi and cellular.

What Is iPad With Cellular?

iPad with cellular is a model/version of the Apple iPads enabled with cellular connection capabilities. Unlike the WiFi-only iPad, cellular iPad (or iPad with cellular) can connect to the internet over Wi-Fi and cellular data, which is a plus, especially for those who are always on the move due to work.

How To Get Cellular Data On iPad

To get cellular data on your WiFi+cellular iPad, you need to set up a plan with a participating carrier. To set up a plan on your iPad, go to Settings > Cellular Data > Set Up Cellular Data. Next, you choose a carrier, then select a plan and create an account, or add your iPad to an existing plan. Finally, tap “confirm.” Wait a few moments for your plan to be activated.

Alternatively, you can scan a QR code from your carrier. To do this, go to “settings,” then “cellular data,” and tap “add cellular plan.” Then, scan the QR code provided by your carrier using your iPad. If you’re asked for the confirmation code for eSIM activation, enter the number provided by your carrier.

Note: If you do not see your preferred carrier when choosing a carrier, contact them for a SIM card or an eSIM. 

Pros and Cons of iPad With Cellular

As with any device, cellular iPad (iPad with cellular) has advantages as well as downsides. This knowledge will help in informing your choice of iPad purchase.

Pros of iPad with cellular

  1. iPad with cellular is like a phone, and it uses SIM card with a phone number; hence, you can use it instead of a phone. It can help cut the cost of buying and maintaining two devices and the hassle of handling them.
  2. You have the option of using a cellular connection whenever the need arises, instead of relying on a Wi-Fi connection only. 
  3. Another device can use your iPad’s hotspot to connect to the internet.

Cons of iPad with cellular

  1. iPads with cellular are not as cheap as the WiFi-only models, they cost some bucks more.
  2. For cellular iPads, you will have to bear the costs of a data plan, that is, if you want to have a separate plan. Otherwise, you can opt for the pay-as-you-go plan from your carrier.                           

Difference Between iPad WIFI And Cellular

The major difference between the WiFi-only iPad and the cellular iPad is that the cellular iPad has a SIM slot just like your phone and can connect to the cellular data network. In contrast, the WiFi-only iPad does not have a SIM slot and can only connect to the internet via a WiFi network.

Other differences include additional functionalities such as in-built GPS for cellular iPad. Also, the WiFi-only iPad is cheaper than the cellular iPad.

Is It Worth Getting Cellular on iPad?

Yes, it is worth getting cellular on iPad. Having cellular on your iPad means that if, in any case, you leave the WiFi network area, you will still be able to connect to the internet via cellular.

Additionally, it is worth getting cellular on iPad considering that only the cellular version of the iPad has built-in GPS, while WiFi-only iPads do not. 

Can You Use an iPad Without A Cellular Plan?

Yes, you can use an iPad without a cellular plan, regardless of whether the iPad is a cellular+WiFi model or a WiFi-only model. Both models can connect to the internet over WiFi, and you can even use an iPad without WiFi when the app you are using does not require internet access.

Read also: Why is Cellular / Mobile Network Not Available for Voice Calls on Android and iPhone?

Can You Text on iPad Without Cellular?

You cannot text on an iPad with or without cellular if it is not paired with an iPhone. This is because iPads generally cannot directly access SMS text messages features, instead, they have the iMessage feature, which allows you to send messages to other Apple devices. 

Many people feel they need cellular on their iPads and choose to get the cellular iPad despite the cost (cellular iPads are usually more expensive than WiFi-only iPads) mainly for two reasons, which are (1) the everywhere-you-go cellular connection, and (2) the in-built GPS.

So if you have extra dollars to spend, why not go for a cellular iPad? But if you feel you do not need those additional functionalities of the cellular iPad, such as inbuilt GPS or cellular connection, a WiFi-only version will work just fine for you.

And I get if you cannot afford to spend extra money on a cellular iPad, you can get the WiFi-only model within your budget and still enjoy it; however, you will miss out on the additional functionalities of the cellular iPad.