iPad Starter Guide for Students

iPads are excellent all-around tools that students can definitely maximize on the daily. They’re much more convenient to carry around than pen and paper, and you can easily install powerful apps that will boost your productivity and make the most of the device. 

It also doesn’t hurt that an iPad can provide a ton of entertainment during long breaks!

This comprehensive guide for students outlines the many benefits of iPads and the best apps, accessories, and features that you can take advantage of in 2023 and beyond.


Benefits of iPads for Students

Here are some of the best advantages of having an iPad for school:

  • Digital Notetaking: Type or write down your notes, add screenshots and graphs from lectures, and embed audio or recordings.
  • Unlimited Stationery: Gain access to digital versions of many different types of pens, highlighters, notebook sizes, and paper types.
  • Digital Textbooks: Download digital versions of your textbooks onto your iPad so it will be much more convenient to read, carry around, and highlight
  • Lectures: You can also download your lectures on your device and incorporate them into your notes; no need to print them out.
  • Digital Planner: A digital planner makes it incredibly convenient to plan out all of your assignments, exams, papers, and projects.

There are so many choices in the market today, from different iPad models down to the apps and accessories you can get. It can be challenging to choose the suitable options for your needs. 

I’ve created a quick starter so you can decide on the best iPad version, apps, accessories, and features for your specific needs. You can also check out the YouTube video I made on the topic. 

Let’s dive in!

My Top Picks

So you want to get an iPad but can’t decide which one to get? 

Here’s my top three:

1. iPad (2022)

The 10th generation iPad is the basic version. In my opinion, it provides the best value for money, especially if you’re looking to use it for school. 

It doesn’t have the M1 chip and other more advanced features, but it still packs quite a punch in terms of functionality and compatibility with other smart accessories. 

2. iPad Air

If you have a bigger budget and want better features, the latest iPad Air has an M1 chip, allowing it to power various attachments like the Apple Pencil and Magic Keyboard. 

If you get the 5G model, you can connect to high-speed internet on the go. 

3. iPad Pro

If you’re a creative, like a fine arts student or graphic design major, then the iPad Pro will offer top-notch functionalities that you can definitely maximize. It is also great for students taking up courses that require them to draw or sketch a lot, like engineering or architecture. 

The iPad Pro is a bit bigger, so it provides more surface area for drawing, reading books, and note-taking.

Best iPad Apps for Students

Here’s a rundown of the best apps you can use with your iPad:

  • Notability: Allows you to take notes, sketches, and voice recordings. One of its best features is synced recordings, which times lectures with your handwritten or typed notes, making review sessions a breeze.
  • GoodNotes: Feature-rich note-taking tool for those aesthetic, well-organized notes we love so much. You can use your Apple Pencil or another stylus to create handwritten notes and add stickers, templates, and other elements.
  • GSuite: This includes apps like Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Drive, and more—all providing seamless cloud-based functionalities for free.
  • iBooks or Kindle: Great for downloading and reading your textbooks on the go.
  • Canva: Perfect for creating presentations, reports, and other creative materials with hundreds of templates and elements.


Best iPad Accessories

You can boost your iPad’s functionality and make it even more enjoyable to use with a variety of fun and functional accessories. 


Here are my top picks for the best iPad accessories:

iPad Stand

A sleek iPad stand is a game-changer for review sessions, checking your to-do list, or using your iPad as a second screen while working on your laptop. Opt for a magnetic, adjustable stand for ultimate flexibility and stability.

iPad Case

iPad cases protect your iPad on the go and provide a place to attach your Apple Pencil. Some can even double as an iPad stand.

Magic Keyboard

This is hands-down the best keyboard you can get for your iPad, as it allows you to work seamlessly as a laptop and is ideal for note-taking and writing papers.

Apple Pencil & Case

The Apple Pencil, in my opinion, is a non-negotiable if you’re looking to take notes on your iPad! It can expand your iPad’s functionalities by so much and is very useful when annotating, highlighting stuff, and just working on different activities in general. 

A cute case also protects it from daily wear and tear, as well as ink stains and smudges from daily use.


Perfect for iPad: The Academic Planner

Flourish Planner’s Academic Planner is great for weekly or monthly use. It has templates to:

  • Organize your class schedule
  • Track upcoming projects and exams
  • Set goals
  • Make vision boards
  • Take notes

This is excellent if you’re looking for a clean, minimalist-looking planner layout with pops of color. There are three different cover options to suit your desired aesthetic, shortcut buttons, a yearly calendar with hyperlinks, an important dates section, templates for class schedules, and lots and lots of space for notes!

There is a dedicated Goals section where you can create a vision board, list graduation motivations, and write down your goals and action plans for achieving them. Monthly planner sections have a vision board area so you can set the mood each month, as well as a lot of space for notes and reminders.

Overall, the Academic Planner was designed to give you an all-in-one tool to keep everything in one place, from notes to deadlines. As a bonus, everything looks incredibly fun and stylish. Check out the walkthrough here!