Why I Bought an iPad Mini 2 in 2020

I thought this would be helpful in case anyone was looking at a cheap, secondhand iPad to use for some minor things since I wasn’t able to find much on this particular model when I was considering getting it last week.

Last week, I purchased a slightly used iPad Mini 2, and have been using it pretty regularly for the last three days to really get an idea of how well (or how poorly) it still runs. Altogether, I’m surprised at how capable this model still is considering its internals, and came up with some pros and cons of looking into this model as a low-cost alternative nowadays. Rather than focus on the pros first, then the cons, I’ve kind of talked about various points focusing on both the pros and cons of any given situation.

  • After I first set it up and let everything sync up properly with iCloud on my other devices, I began to switch between different apps and noticed some lagging. I went to the settings and disabled all motions/animations between apps. I immediately noticed a difference navigation around, as apps were opening and closing immediately rather than the second or two delay in doing so. The actual loading of the apps, however, did still take a few moments.
  • The eBooks I’ve been enjoying the last few days are the enhanced editions of the Harry Potter books, compete with animated photos, annotations and interactive features. I elected to test the mini 2 out on these since I knew they were intensive than most eBooks, and it has handled them perfectly fine with no buffering of the sort. There wasn’t a single con towards reading eBooks on here.
  • Video streaming still works fine. I had no issues enjoying YouTube videos in 1080P through the app. I watched an episode of two different shows on Netflix with no issues turning subtitles on/off, or fast forwarding & rewinding the videos. In the Apple TV app, I watched an episode of Mythic Quest as I’m slowly making my way through it. Again, no issues; the mini didn’t particularly have as rich colours as my 11 Pro does, but that was to be expected.
  • While there no cons using the streaming apps, there is a big con that came to me when I tried to use the YouTube website. The website wasn’t loading anything that quickly, and it was clear that it’s not the easiest website to use on a screen of this size with only 1GB of RAM. While I could get videos to play, the speed it took to load them wasn’t pleasant considering they load almost instantly in the YouTube app. Needless to say, I’m sticking to the YouTube app exclusively for this feature.
  • While I’m not intending on playing any games on here, I downloaded a couple of different games simply to see how well the model handles them. I was expecting the worse given how bad the YouTube website experience was, but to my surprise, it held its own. True, the internals are going to limit what types of games you can play, but the two I tried out were mostly fine. There was the occasional stuttering and freezing when a lot of motion happened in the game; this would last for a second or two, and never interfered with the ability to play the game since it was still recording my motions. If it’s for a younger child, they should be fine; more user-intensive games would probably not be a good idea, however.
  • After listening to some music on Spotify, I’ve come to realize the speakers are perhaps the worst aspect of the model nowadays. I may be spoiled from the speakers on my phone, but I almost have to turn the iPad up all the way to get decent sound in videos; the music doesn’t require to be it as loud, but I still have the volume turned up higher than I anticipated.
  • Websites load fine in Safari, though they are a bit slow to load initially. Once they load, however, I can scroll as I please on the pages and click through the links. If I was to go back a page, however, about half of the time, the page would have to reload completely.
  • Downloading apps was no issue. I haven’t come across a single app I use regularly that isn’t still supported in iOS 12, and to be honest, I’m only intending on keeping a few apps on the iPad anyway. The only thing I had an issue with was the length of time it took to actually download an app. I even went in the room where my router is, and downloading an app could take up to a minute.
  • Since it’s only supported up to iOS 12, there is no system-wide dark mode. The only reason I point this out is because both my MacBook Air and iPhone are permanently in dark mode, so the switch to seeing all of the apps with white backgrounds was jarring at first. Fortunately, the two social media apps I have installed – Apollo and TweetBot – have a dark mode theme. As for Books, the books themselves can have a dark theme, but the application is stuck in light mode.

I was aware of some of the limitations of the software, so I knew what to expect going into it. I haven’t had any issues yet with it only containing 16GB of space, but then again, I’ve only used it for a few days. I do use iCloud for everything (and turned off the photo syncing for my iPad just to help it keep as much space as it can), which was also a factor in me not worrying too much about the size.

Overall, considering the low price I paid for it, I’m pleased with my choice to go with it. Some patience is required, but I’d still recommend it if you can get it for cheap and don’t intend to do much with it.

I think I covered everything, but if there are any questions, feel free to ask.

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