How to Measure an iPad for a Case
With the introduction of 5 new, refreshed or renamed Apple tablet models in the last 6 months, it's more important than ever to know how to measure an iPad for a case. This post covers several ways to make sure you can match the Apple tablet you own to the case you want.
Recently we've noticed a bit of a trend here at MacCase: Customers ordering iPad Pro Cases and iPad Sleeves and then contacting us to inform us that we have shipped the wrong size. Upon checking their orders, we found we did indeed ship the size they requested. They just ordered the wrong size.
MacCase has been making iPad cases since Steve Jobs introduced the first one back in 2010. Throughout the history of MacCase, the problem of customers ordering the wrong size case was not an issue. What had changed that suddenly customers were ordering the wrong size iPad cases?
No one enjoys the process of placing an order for a case only to receive the wrong size and then have to have it replaced with the correct size. No accessory company wants to ship the wrong size anything and have the customer be disappointed. So we thought, maybe we should do a blog post about how to measure an iPad for a case?
A Brief History of iPad Size
Before Apple created iPads in different sizes, there was only one size. You either had an iPad or you didn't. Buying the right size iPad case was easy. It was either for the iPad or it wasn't. Oh, the good old days of 2010!
Following the product strategy of the iPods, when it came time to refresh the iPad, Apple released the iPad 2 and a smaller sized Mini version. So now we have the original which was one size, the new iPad 2 which was slightly different and a new smaller Mini. We went from a single iPad size to 3 in one step. Yikes!
As the iPad line grew, Apple wisely changed their naming program. They switched it up and followed the strategy of their MacBooks, naming subsequent the newer models based on size of the screen ( 9.7, 10.5, 12.9 ) not on generation (iPad 1, iPad 2, iPad 3). Of course they did this after releasing 3 or 4 versions of the original iPad further confusing things if you were looking for a case for an older model.
The inevitable switch to and current use of naming by size helps when searching for the right size case. "Which iPad do you have" or "What size is it?" is often heard when someone here at MacCase is on a call with a customer. Most of the time the customer knows which size they own and we can get them the right case.
Once you have the iPad or iPad Pro home and you are using it a while and realize you need a way to protect it, the actual size of the iPad you are using can be long forgotten. It's not like the size pops up on the login screen every time you turn it on.
The size isn't even etched into the aluminum on the back. (That might help, if you're listening Apple). So you either know you have a 10.5, a 9.7 or a 12.9 or you don't. And if you don't, you can order the wrong size case.
How to Measure an iPad for a Case
The current Apple iPad lineup has 5 sizes. To make matters worse there is a whole plethora of generations of each size with the exception of the 11" iPad Pro. The 11" tablet was launched in October of 2018 and the current model is the only version (so far) of that size. As for the other sizes, well, that's why we wrote this post.
To make matters even more confusing, Apple has taken older models like the 10.5 that used to be called "Pro" and recast it as the new "Air". Does my old 10.5 Pro case fit the new 10.5 Air? It depends. We suggest calling the case manufacturer and asking them.
The 9.7 and 10.5 are pretty close. It would be very hard to know which size is which without having them next to each other. This can making purchasing a case difficult and can lead to buying the wrong size case.
The purpose of the blog is to give you some guidance in how to measure the size of your iPad so you can then purchase the correct size case. Here is the "Rosetta Stone" of how to measure an iPad for a case: All tablets and laptop computers are measured across the screen diagonally.
This measurement is the size of the product. An iPad Pro 10.5 will measure approximately 10.5 inches when measured diagonally across the screen. The measurement does not include the bezel. If you are measuring, only measure the active part of the screen.
Consequently, a 12.9 iPad Pro will measure just under 13 inches when the screen is measured diagonally as shown in the image above. Many people think that measuring the length of the tablet will give you the correct size. This is not the case. Again, the nomenclature of the product comes from the screen measured diagonally. It's the same system or method used to measure and sell televisions.
Talking 'Bout My 12.9 Generation
If you measure the screen and it shows 12.9 inches, you have a 12.9 iPad Pro and need a case that is designed for the 12.9 iPad Pro. But there is a catch. With the 12.9 though, you have to know what generation is it. Fun, huh?
As of this writing, there have been three including the current one. Generation 1 and 2 use the same outer casing as the form factor remained the same from the first generation to the second.
The third generation released in October of 2018, has the same size screen but the form factor and feature set is radically different. If you've purchased your 12.9 after October 2018 and there is no home button as part of the design, you have the Gen 3 12.9 model.
Cases for the generation 1 and 2 12.9 Apple tablet will NOT fit the 3rd generation 12.9 iPad Pro. The size discrepancy is just too great. Be sure if you are ordering a case for either a generation 1-2 or generation 3 12.9 Apple tablet, you are ordering the right case.
Any website product page listing (worth their salt) should have multiple call outs either on the images themselves, in the feature set or somewhere in the description stating which generation the case is for. Again, be sure to check you're getting the right case for your iPad.
Some sites will have the iPad cases offered by size. Others will have a style and you can pick the size on the product page of that specific style. Some sites might have a combination of the two.
The point is to know what size case you need and be sure to order the correct size for your iPad 9.7, 10.5 Air or iPad Pro 11 or 12.9 inch. And like televisions, same system is used for measuring laptops. Measuring the screen diagonally will yield what the manufacturer considers the size of the computer.
What Size is My iPad?
If you have an iPad that pre-dates the current 9.7, 10.5, 11 and 12.9 sized models, you can find out which model you have,the relative size and generation by turning it over. On the back in very, very small type will be a model number. If you do a search for that model number, you'll be able to find which generation iPad it is and it's respective size.
If you are shopping in a traditional brick and mortar store, the packaging the case comes in should clearly show the size of iPad the case is designed to hold. Now that you know how to measure an iPad for a case is to measure the screen diagonally, buying the wrong size case should be a thing of the past.
If you recently purchased an iPad, Air or Pro, the size should be pretty fresh in your mind. The most popular, current generation of iPads includes the 3rd generation 12.9 whose case can be found here. The smaller, lighter 11" iPad Pro whose case can be found here. A case for the new 10.5 iPad Air can be found here.
If you forget which of the new Apple tablet models you do own, using any of the techniques mentioned on this page for measuring the size of your iPad for a case will yield the correct results.
Please leave a comment below and let us know if this post was helpful. If not. let us know how could we have made it more informative.
"Measuring an iPad for a case is quick and easy!..."