Best iPad Accessories 2021: Charger, Monitor, Keyboard, Case, Pencil - Rolling Stone
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11 Accessories You Need to Upgrade Your iPad

These accessories pair perfectly with Apple’s 2021 tablets — but work with older models, too

Twelve South HoverBar

Amazon

Products featured are independently selected by our editorial team and we may earn a commission from purchases made from our links; the retailer may also receive certain auditable data for accounting purposes.

In some ways, the iPad is Apple’s most versatile product. It bridges the gap between a traditional laptop and an ultra-portable tablet without many sacrifices. It’s basically a big blank canvas that allows you to use it however you want.

The iPad is a powerful device right out of the box, but having the right accessories can help you get even more out of it. To help, we’ve rounded up the best accessories that’ll work with Apple’s latest-and-greatest iPad.

We’ve also made sure to include gear that’s compatible with current versions of the iPad, iPad Air, and iPad Pro. We’ve also provided alternatives to many of our picks if it only works with one or two devices.

Whether you’re looking for a new way to use your iPad for work, creative pursuits, or leisure, our guide has you covered.

1. AirPods Pro

AirPods Pro

Apple

The AirPods Pro are Apple’s latest totally-wireless earbuds, and they work with every model of iPad, iPhone, Mac released in the past few years. Their most notable feature is active noise cancellation, which uses microphones to filter out unwanted sounds.

This feature is rare in earbuds, and the AirPods Pro do an impressive job blocking out consistent sounds, like noise from a subway, plane, or bus. The AirPods Pro get five hours of battery life, but get recharged every time they’re inside their charging case. The case gives the AirPods Pro an additional 18 hours of battery life before it has to be charged. Apple’s tech rarely goes on sale, but the AirPods Pro are down to their lowest price ever.

If you prefer on-ear or over-ear headphones, we recommend Shure’s AONIC 50 and Marshall’s MID ANC models instead.

Buy: AirPods Pro at $197.00

2. RAVPower 61W PD 3.0 Wall Charger

RAVPower 61W PD 3.0 Wall Charger Fast Charging Type C Foldable Adapter

Amazon

The iPad Air and iPad Pros have have a USB-C port, which means you can connect them to a fast charging power adapter without a special Lightning to USB-C cable.

This one from RAVPower has a USB-C PD (power delivery port), that can deliver up to 61W of electricity. It’s powerful enough to charge your iPad Air, iPad Pro, or even a 13-inch MacBook Air at their fastest charging speeds.

The adapter also has a standard USB-A port on it, so you can charge a smaller gadget (think Bluetooth headphones) while charging your larger device. When both ports are begin used, the USB-C PD’s power output will be limited to 41W.

If you want to use this power adapter to fast charge an iPhone or previous generations of the iPad and iPad Air, you will need a Lightning to USB-C cable.

3. Satechi USB-C On-The-Go Multiport Adapter

Satechi USB-C On-The-Go Multiport Adapter

Amazon

The iPad only has one port, but Satechi’s Multiport Adapter removes that limitation. Plug this adapter into the new iPad Air or iPad Pro (2018 or later), and you can use any of its ports as if they were built into the tablet.

It has two USB-A and a pair of USB-C ports for accessories, an SD and MicroSD card for memory cards, an HDMI and VGA out port, so you can connect your iPad to a TV or external monitor. It even has an Ethernet port, which can be used for faster networking, or if Wi-Fi isn’t available.

Satechi’s Multiport adapter isn’t the only hub compatible with the iPad Pro, but it stands out by having Ethernet and VGA ports, which aren’t commonly available. It also has a built-in slot for the USB-C to USB-C cable required to connect this adapter to your iPad. It’s a little design choice that makes Satechi’s Multiport Adapter stand out.

Buy: Satechi USB-C Multiport Adapter at $99.99

4. Brydge Pro+ Wireless Keyboard With Trackpad

Brydge 12.9 Pro+

Amazon

You can use your iPad with any Bluetooth keyboard, but the new Air (and iPad Pro models released after 2018) support Brydge’s Pro+ Wireless Keyboard With Trackpad.

The Bluetooth keyboard has a pair of rubber-coated hinges, which holds your iPad with a snug fit without the risk of scratches. Once installed, you can move your iPad a full 180 degrees. The keyboard basically turns your iPad into a MacBook.

The aluminum keyboard has the same key layout as Apple’s Magic Keyboard, plus a row of function keys that offer easy access to brightness, Bluetooth, and music playback controls. There’s a dedicated Siri button on the lower-right hand side of the keyboard, too.

Bluetooth keyboards are common, but the Brydge Pro+ stands out because it has a multi-touch trackpad. It’s smaller than the one on Apple’s MacBook laptops, but it’s very responsive. You can swipe between apps, zoom in and out of web pages, and get to iOS’s app switcher without touching the iPad’s screen.

Brydge dramatically improved the responsiveness of this keyboard’s trackpad by releasing a new firmware (software) update. To install the update, you’ll need to download the company’s Brydge Connect App. You’ll also need an iPad running iOS 14.5.

I’ve used the Brydge Pro+ before and after the company’s software update, and it improved the experience of using the trackpad on this keyboard immensely. Brydge’s keyboards have always been durable and ultra-responsive, but adding a highly responsive multi-touch trackpad is a big leap forward.

Buy: Brydge Pro+ at $139.99

5. Moft Float

MOFT Float 2-in-1 Stand & Case

Facebook / Moft

Moft’s Float is a two-in-one accessory that works like a case and a stand.

When it’s completely folded, the Float is a heavy duty iPad case. It’s ultra protective, but adds a fair bit of heft to the iPad. This is especially apparent if you use a 12.9 Pro model, like I do. But this extra weight is entirely justified because the case has a fold-out stand built into the back of it.

You can use the stand to position your iPad in a couple of different configurations. When it’s fully unfolded, the stand will prop your iPad up so it looks like the iMac, Apple’s desktop computer. This mode is ideal if you use the iPad as a second display for your Mac, want to watch a movie, or plan on connecting a Bluetooth keyboard to get some work done.

If you partially unfold the stand, you can prop the iPad up vertically, which is better if you want to read, or video chat with your family or co-workers. Both of these configurations have their merits, and it’s nice to have the option to switch between them.

Buy: MOFT Float at From $49.99

6. Twelve South HoverBar Duo

Twelve South HoverBar Duo

Twelve South

Twelve South’s HoverBar Duo is one of the most innovative iPad accessories we’ve seen in some time.

The stand has a clamp that holds your iPad in place, and an articulating arm that you can move freely to get the perfect angle. This gives you total control over the position of your iPad, and whether it’s in landscape or portrait orientation. If you use your iPad for a lot of tasks, or rely on it as your sole computer, the ability to move it around effortlessly is a big deal.

The HoverBar Duo’s arm can be attached to a flat base, which has a notch for the Apple Pencil, or a clamp that can be attached to the side of a table, desk, or drawer. In my testing, the HoverBar Duo worked well, and never bent or fell when I positioned my 12.9-inch iPad Pro at an awkward angle. This is the type of accessory that I may not use every day, but will always have a spot on my desk.

Buy: Twelve South HoverBar Duo at $79.36

7. Microsoft Xbox Wireless Controller

Microsoft Xbox Wireless Controller

Amazon

You’ve been able to pair Bluetooth game controllers to iOS devices for years, but Apple recently implemented support for the official Xbox Wireless Controller.

This controller was designed for serious gaming, so it’s lightweight, extremely accurate, and comfortable to hold. This is the controller I use with my iPad Pro, and have had excellent results.

It’s important to know that not all iOS games have controller support, so you should definitely check to see if you can use the Xbox Wireless Controller with your favorite titles.

Buy: Microsoft Xbox Wireless Controller at $59.99

8. Samsung Portable SSD

Samsung T7 SSD

Amazon

You can’t upgrade an iPad’s internal storage, but you can connect an external SSD to the tablet, and add more space that way.

Samsung’s T7 gets our recommendation because it’s small, extremely fast, and can hold a lot of files (we’re recommending the 500GB model). Using an external SSD with an iPad is different than using it with a Mac. You can’t do full system backups to it, or use it to store files from third-party apps like Spotify or Netflix.

You can move photos, music, and video files from your personal collection onto the drive, but can’t use it as the primary location for new ones. For instance, if you take a photo on your iPad, it won’t automatically be stored on this drive, you’ll have to move it over manually.

Despite these limitations, the Samsung T7 is an excellent accessory if you need to carry around a lot of large files, or want an easy way to transfer important data between your iPad and a Mac. This drive is only compatible with iPads that have a USB-C port.

Buy: SAMSUNG T7 Portable SSD (500GB) at $83.33

8. Apple Pencil (2nd Generation)

Apple Pencil (2nd Gen)

Apple

The Apple Pencil (2nd Generation) is the company’s first-party stylus. It’s pressure sensitive, hyper response, and charges by magnetically attaching itself to the wireless iPad Connector on the side of your tablet.

While the Pencil is primarily an artists tool, it can be used for any iPad-related task, like opening apps, scrolling through web pages, and editing text or photos.

This version of the Apple Pencil is only compatible with the iPad Air and iPad Pro (2018 or later). If you have a previous generation iPad Pro, iPad (2018 or later) or iPad Air (2019 or later), you can use the first-generation Apple Pencil instead.

Buy: Apple Pencil (2nd Generation) at $124.98

9. LG 27UK850-W 4K Monitor

LG 27UK850-W 27" 4K UHD IPS Monitor

Amazon

If you have an iPad Air, or iPad Pro (2018 or later), you can connect it to a 4K monitor with a USB-C cable. We recommend LG’s 27UK850-W because it’s slim, and has an ample amount of inputs (ports), so you can use it with your iPad, Computer, or a gaming console.

Once connected, your iPad’s screen will be mirrored (copied) onto the monitor, so you can see the apps you’re in on a larger display. In some cases, apps will allow you to “extend” your display, showing different information on the monitor and the iPad’s screen.

If you’d like to connect an older iPad to an external display or TV, you’ll need  Apple’s Lightning Digital AV adapter and an HDMI cable.

Buy: LG 27UK850-W 4K Monitor at $609.99

10. Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

Amazon

Focusrite’s Scarlett 2i2 can help turn your iPad Air or iPad Pro (2018 or later) into a professional recording studio. The audio interface can be connected directly to your tablet’s USB-C port, which will supply power in addition to data, so you won’t need to worry about using an outlet.

The Scarlett 2i2 has one microphone preamp and one 1/4-inch instrument input, so you can record vocals and a guitar or bass at the same time. You can adjust the volume of both inputs independently, and monitor (listen) to your recording in real-time by plugging a pair of headphones into its headphone jack.

This compact audio interface can record 24-bit music at a sample rate of up to 192kHz, which is far better than CD-quality. If you’re a musician who wants an extremely portable rig for producing high quality demos, this is a good choice.

Buy: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (3rd Gen) at $169.99

11. Anker PowerCore III Elite 25600

Anker PowerCore III Elite 25600

Amazon

Apple says all models of the iPad should get about 10 hours of active use per charge, but having a high-powered battery can extend that a lot further.

Anker’s 25600mAh battery holds enough power to fully recharge the previous generation iPad Mini 3 times, and you should expect similar results with Apple’s new model. The battery has two USB-C PD (power delivery) ports, which can be used to fast charge your phone or tablets, and two USB-A ports, which should be used with less power-hungry tech, like Bluetooth speakers.

This battery pack can be used with any model of iPad, and it’s an essential accessory if you travel often, or like to work outside of your home.

Buy: Anker PowerCore III Elite 25600 at $159.99

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