Is it Worth Buying an iPad for Procreate?


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At $10, Procreate is a steal given how amazing it is for digital art. If you already have an iPad, it’s a no brainer. But, things suddenly get expensive if you don’t have an iPad to begin with. Buying a new iPad is a big investment, which begs the question: is Procreate worth buying an iPad for?

If you’re serious about learning digital art, it is worth it to buy an iPad for Procreate. While the iPad Pro is the best choice for Procreate, as long as your iPad is running iPadOS 13.2 or newer, you can save money by buying used or older iPads in order to use Procreate.

I personally bought my own iPad in order to use Procreate and it was one of the best purchases I ever made. I was a brand new beginner with Procreate and really enjoyed learning to use it.

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Hands down, it was worth every penny.

That said, there are some things you need to think about before diving into a large investment like an iPad. We’re going to talk about everything you need to know so that you can make the best decision for your wallet and your art life.

me with my ipad
Believe me, I know how scary it can be to make such a big purchase.

To get started, let’s talk about your iPad options for using Procreate. It’s not as cut and dry as buying the newest iPad Pro, so it’s important to weigh all of your options.

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Which iPad Should I Buy for Procreate?

The best iPad to buy for Procreate is the largest iPad Pro with the M1 chip. In comparison to the A14 chip in other iPad models, the M1 chip in the iPad Pro allows Procreate to perform better and more efficiently.

The M1 chip is a game changer for Apple products in general, and the iPad Pro is no exception to that. 

Procreate actually released an app update that specifically optimized it for use with the M1 chip. And the benefits are HUGE! Let’s talk through them.

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The Benefits of the M1 Chip for Procreate

1) Using the iPad Pro with the M1 chip, Procreate will run 4x faster than on other iPad models. It also allows for more layers, which is a big deal (source). There’s nothing worse than hitting a layer limit while working.

2) In addition to optimized Procreate performance on the iPad Pro, you’ll also enjoy a larger screen size. A standard iPad has a screen size that clocks in at 10.2”. The largest iPad Pro comes in at a ginormous 12.9”. 

This is a very nice size for drawing, while also still being portable and easy to carry.

3) Lastly, in relation to Procreate, you’ll get a brighter screen on the iPad Pro than the other iPad models. Most iPads have 500 nits max brightness, while the iPad Pro has 600. This will make your art look vibrant and stunning.

Procreate aside, the iPad Pro is a stellar device for so many other reasons. The camera is amazing, the horsepower is insane, and the screen is beautiful. 

If you can afford an iPad Pro, it is definitely worth it if you plan to use Procreate on a regular basis. 

That said, the iPad Pro isn’t your only option for Procreate. If the iPad Pro is too much an investment right now, there are a lot of other iPad choices to consider.

Other iPad Options for Procreate

If you want a new iPad, one that has a lower price tag than the iPad Pro, check out the iPad Air or the standard iPad. You can also look at the iPad Mini, but I wouldn’t recommend it. For Procreate, you want to prioritize screen size and the iPad Mini is just too small.

The most economical option when buying an iPad for Procreate is to buy a used iPad. You can find used iPads on eBay, Craigslist, or more. My favorite place to buy used electronics is Amazon. You can see their selection of used, renewed, and refurbished iPads here.

Just make sure that Procreate works with the used iPad you choose. At a minimum, you need to buy an iPad that runs iPadOS 13.2 or newer. 

It also needs to be one the iPad models listed below:

  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th generation)
  • 11-inch iPad Pro (1st, 2nd, and 3rd generation)
  • 10.5-inch iPad Pro
  • 9.7-inch iPad Pro
  • iPad (8th generation)
  • iPad (7th generation)
  • iPad (6th generation)
  • iPad (5th generation)
  • iPad mini (5th generation)
  • iPad mini 4
  • iPad Air (4th generation)
  • iPad Air (3rd generation)
  • iPad Air 2 (source)

Buying a used iPad can be a great way to test the waters of Procreate without making the huge investment that the iPad Pro requires. 

Important note: no matter which iPad option you choose, do NOT skimp on storage. The amount of storage you have will impact the amount of layers and pieces of art you can store in your Procreate app.

I recommend nothing less than 32gb of storage, with higher storage, if possible. I have a full guide on Procreate and iPad storage that can be helpful to read before making a decision.

how much storage do you need for procreate
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Does the iPad Pro Come with Procreate?

The iPad Pro does not come with Procreate. You’ll still need to pay $9.99 to purchase Procreate, no matter which iPad model you choose. Procreate is not a subscription, so you only need to make a one-time payment of $9.99 for lifetime use of Procreate.

For the iPad Pro’s hefty price tag, it would be a nice perk to have Procreate thrown in there as a free bonus. 

Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

Even though Procreate only works on iPads and iPhones (Procreate Pocket), it’s not run by Apple. Procreate is it’s own company. 

does procreate only work on ipads
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Unless Apple and Procreate strike a deal to offer Procreate for free to iPad Pro users, Apple has no control over this. I also see this as unlikely because Procreate is extremely affordable as is. Making it free to certain iPad customers would likely hurt their business quite a bit.

At a one time purchase of $9.99, Procreate is a steal, so let’s just hope that the price doesn’t go up in the future and work it into the budget.

Speaking of budget, there’s one more thing we need to talk about.

If You Buy an iPad for Procreate, Consider Buying an Apple Pencil Too

Procreate states that the only two styluses that are guaranteed to work with Procreate are the Apple Pencil and Logitech Crayon. If you invest in an iPad, it’s worth it to budget for one of these two styluses as well. Any other stylus may give you wonky results.

If you’re already spending a lot of money to buy an iPad in order to use Procreate, you don’t want to run into problems with your stylus. 

To save some money, you can try the Logitech Crayon. This is a great stylus that will work well with Procreate at half the price of an Apple Pencil.

If you want to stay in the Apple ecosystem though, get an Apple Pencil. 

Make sure that you get the Apple Pencil model that’s compatible with your iPad. In general, iPad Pros and Airs will work with the 2nd generation Apple Pencil, while the standard iPads can use the less expensive 1st generation Apple Pencil.

I have a full article about the styluses that work with Procreate that you can read if you want to learn more.

does procreate only work with the apple pencil?
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Still Not Sure if it’s Worth Buying an iPad for Procreate?

If you’re not sure whether you want to invest in an iPad for Procreate, ask around to see if any of your friends have an iPad with Procreate installed on it. This will give you a good opportunity to test it out before you make a financial commitment.

Having some time to play around with Procreate can give you some good insight into whether you like the program and want to have it for yourself.

If you don’t have access to someone else’s iPad, let yourself dive into the rabbithole of Procreate tutorials and classes. 

See if they make you excited to use Procreate and get you amped up to make art of your own.

My #1 go-to for Procreate classes and tutorials is Skillshare. Grab a free trial of Skillshare and watch as many Procreate classes as you need to in order to figure out if it’s the platform for you. 

If you do decide to purchase an iPad and learn Procreate, you can use the remainder of your Skillshare free trial to jumpstart your Procreate skills. 

I definitely believe it’s worth buying an iPad for Procreate. Personally, it was one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. That said, you are the only one who can make decisions about your own budget. No matter what you decide, keep creating great art!

Diana Fitts

Diana has been an artist for over 25 years and has training in drawing, painting, digital drawing and graphic design. Diana's latest obsession is digitally drawing with Procreate and creating t-shirt designs with Canva. Diana has experience selling her art across a number of platforms and loves helping other artists learn how to make money from their art as well.

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