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iPad mini 2 vs iPad mini 4 (2020): Faster, Richer, And Now With Touch ID

Fans of the smaller iPad size were disappointed at Apple when the iPad mini 3 proved to be essentially just the iPad mini 2 with the Touch ID fingerprint sensor added. With the iPad mini 4 however, there are actually a lot of improvements to talk about, which makes it worthwhile to compare both models.

iPad mini 2 vs iPad mini 4 Comparison Chart

ModeliPad mini 2 64GB WiFi OnlyiPad mini 4 64GB WiFi Only
 Apple iPad Mini 4, 64GB, Space Gray - WiFi (Renewed) 
Price Check Price 

Size & Resolution7.9″ 2048×15367.9″ 2048×1536
Dimensions7.87 x 5.3 x 0.30 inches8.0 x 5.3 x 0.24 inches
Weight331 g299 g
Color Gamut76% sRGB99% sRGB
CPU1.3GHz Apple A71.5GHz Apple A8
Front Camera1.2MP1.2MP with Auto HDR
Back Camera5MP8MP with Auto HDR
Touch IDNoYes
Split View, PIPNoYes
Battery Capacity6471 mAh5124 mAh
Battery LifeUp to 10 hoursUp to 10 hours

Physical Differences

The iPad mini 4 is lighter and as thin as the iPad Air 2.

iPad mini 2 vs iPad mini 4 Physical Differences
Overall, the iPad mini 2 (top) and iPad mini 4 (bottom) look very similar.

Nothing has really changed with the design of the iPad mini even after a couple of years, but there’s really no need considering how good they look. What only becomes apparent after a closer examination is that the iPad mini 4 is now at least 10% lighter and 20% skinnier than the mini 2. It’s actually as thin as the iPad Air 2, and you’ll really feel the difference once you hold the device in your hands.


The iPad mini 4 has a fully laminated display.

iPad mini 4 Laminated Display
The end result adds a noticeable improvement on the iPad mini 4.

Although both still sport the same 7.9″ Retina display with matching resolutions (1536 x 2046 pixels) and pixel densities (326 ppi), the iPad mini 4 has one big difference: its display is now fully laminated with an additional anti-reflective coating. By fusing the glass cover, touch sensor, and LCD together through optical bonding, light doesn’t get reflected internally, resulting in improved color depth, brightness, and contrast ratios. It gives the mini 4 a wider color gamut that makes the already vibrant display even richer in color. In comparison, the iPad mini 3’s screen looks glossy and it’s more difficult to view under bright conditions outdoors.


The iPad mini 4 is faster.

iPad mini 4 Performance
Apps will open faster and run more smoothly on the iPad mini 4.

Apple responded to criticism for not making the iPad mini 3 faster than the mini 2 by ensuring that the mini 4 received a significant upgrade. With an A8 chip featuring a 1.5GHz Typhoon CPU, an M8 motion coprocessor, and double the RAM, the iPad mini 4 is at least 30% faster than the iPad mini 2. This will allow you to run more apps and games with intensive graphics, and further improve the overall responsiveness of the small tablet.


The iPad mini 4 has a better rear camera.

iPad mini 4 Camera
Auto HDR gives your photos better contrast and brightness.

Similar to other generations of the iPad mini, Apple improved the mini 4’s cameras by using those from the previous generation of iPhone. It should be easier to compare the difference by mentioning that the iPad mini 2 has the iPhone 4’s optics, while the iPad mini 4 has that of the iPhone 5s. It’s a significant jump in that the rear main camera now takes 8 megapixel photos and records 1080p videos in slow motion. There’s also a Burst Mode to help you capture the perfect moment (or selfie) as well as Auto HDR to make photos more vibrant.

Other Features

The iPad mini 4 has Touch ID and Split View.

iPad mini 4 Other Features
Touch ID (above) and Split View (bottom) are great features added to the iPad mini 4.

The Touch ID fingerprint sensor on the Home button was the only actual new feature added to the iPad mini 3, and it’s still one of the biggest differences between the mini 2 and mini 4. Touch ID lets you enjoy better security while making unlocking the screen easier, and it also enables mobile payments via Apple Pay. It’s a welcome security feature that Apple has now made a standard on all their devices.

That’s not all though; two other features introduced in iOS 9, Split View and Picture in Picture Mode, is only possible on the iPad mini 4, even though both devices can be updated to the latest iOS version. These facilitate better multitasking by letting you have two apps open at once. Finally, the mini 4 now has a barometer in addition to the accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass of the previous generations.

Perhaps the only category where the iPad mini 2 trumps the mini 4 is battery life, as it has 6471 mAh battery capacity vs the 5124 mAh of the newer iPad. Apple still rates both devices to have a runtime of 10 hours though, so actual usage might not show a bigger difference.


The iPad mini 4 is simply better.

All of the improvements made on the iPad mini 4 places it well ahead of the mini 2, which is just as well since their release dates are two years apart. The 2015 iPad mini offers faster performance, a richer display, better cameras, and several new features. Plus, it’s easier in your hands too, as it’s lighter and thinner.

If you’re choosing between these older iPad minis, and cost is a big factor, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find refurbished or renewed items that are actually priced close enough that it makes the iPad mini 4 simply the better value. Think of it as spending extra on a tablet whose specs and features should last you longer, since new apps and iOS versions will continue to demand more processing power from your device.

Last update on 2020-11-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Derick Bondoc
Derick Bondoc

Managing Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about gadgets, gaming and snacks.