I have an iPad Pro 9.7 inch (1st gen, 2016) which will not get the new update. My question is: for how long is it safe for me to use my iPad? I only use my iPad for Goodnotes, Procreate, web browsing, emails, and Google Drive. So I'm not downloading various apps, etc.

How long is my iPad still safe to use? I'm especially worried about my files and folders in Google Drive. I don't want to have them deleted by a virus.

  • Which iPadOS is it running?
    – lhf
    Commented Sep 17, 2023 at 16:42
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    @lhf My interpretation of OP's post is that it's on 16.6.1 but it won't be able to update to 17 when it's released tomorrow. Commented Sep 17, 2023 at 22:26
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    Nothing startlingly 'unsafe' but you have no updates for 7 years. One of the biggest problems you will have is websites with TLS certificates signed by CA certificates that are newer than anything in your iPad, which will give you endless security warnings.
    – user207421
    Commented Sep 19, 2023 at 10:18

2 Answers 2


iPads are a very safe computing device. You can't install any apps from outside the App Store (the so-called 'walled garden'), and they are checked before they are allowed onto the store.

The OS is highly compartmentalized, so that it is very difficult for one app to affect the files of another app.

There are no known 'viruses' for iPadOS. Other forms of malware exist, like adware (which puts adverts into webpages); and spyware -- though someone would need access to your iPad to install it, or get you to install it yourself.

It's very common to prescribe any unusual problem on your device as "a virus". But it's probably just something gone wrong. Malware usually wants to hide its activities (with the exception of ransomware).

The most important advice I can give you is to make sure that you have another copy of your files somewhere other than Google Drive.

Over the next 3 years (by which time your iPad will be 10 years old), you may find that you can't install new apps that you want, and that will be the main factor in deciding to get a new one, rather than security issues.

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    Is there a reason why you mentioned 3 years? Will my ipad get some security updates for the coming 3 years?
    – Artus
    Commented Sep 17, 2023 at 12:03
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    @Artus You may get security fixes for the next year or two, but 3 years was just a nice number that brings your iPad up to 10 years old. As said, at that point, security isn't going to be the main reason you'd want to upgrade.
    – benwiggy
    Commented Sep 17, 2023 at 12:11
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    This answer is sort of true, but not really. Computer OS's are very complex, and there are "zero days" discovered that put you at risk of having your device compromised. When those are discovered, the vendor usually fixes them. For very old OS versions, the vendor may not still support them and provide security patches. (Microsoft did this with Windows XP several years ago, and it is so full of security holes that it is like digital Swiss cheese.) I would research the OS version you are using and see if Apple is still supporting it with security patches.
    – Duncan C
    Commented Sep 17, 2023 at 20:42
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    There was very recently an iMessage exploit that allowed zero-click compromises of iOS devices that Apple issued an emergency patch for. bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/… I wouldn't want to run an iPad that's out of security support.
    – ceejayoz
    Commented Sep 18, 2023 at 1:23
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    @ceejayoz And that is kind of a sequel to a similar iMessage exploit from last year that has not been fixed in anything lower than 16.2.X. Even though iOS 15 has been receiving security updates since 16 came out, 15 is still vulnerable to that original no-click exploit.
    – Logarr
    Commented Sep 18, 2023 at 15:30

When any device stops getting operating system updates, it is no longer protected by the manufacturer’s active monitoring and fixing of security vulnerabilities.

Severe security vulnerabilities, some of which even allow attackers to take full control of the device, are regularly discovered in all devices and operating systems. Apple is no exception. Attacks originate from many sources: websites, over wifi, plugged in devices, etc. Many of these known issues are publicly documented, some are not.

Having said that, Apple products are generally relatively tough, due to a combination of hardware and software features. Because your device is old, some newly discovered vulnerabilities may not to apply to you. Generally, “black hat” security researchers tend to focus their attention on the most popular, most vulnerable targets. Your old iPad may be different enough from the latest devices that they are not a sensible target for expensive research. It is, however, still possible that new vulnerabilities are discovered that can be exploited on your device.

Overall I would say the risk is relatively low, but if I were you I would not:

  • use it for purchases
  • store or access sensitive data on it (banking, etc)
  • log into accounts without 2FA
  • connect to public wifi
  • visit websites known for unscrupulous security practices (warez, porn, etc)

It’s also a good idea to use a strong wifi password, and keep other devices on the network up to date, which will protect the old iPad somewhat.

Hope this helps.

  • While "black hat" researchers may aim solely for most popular/vulnerable targets, that does not apply for state sponsored malware, which is becoming more and more of a threat as time goes on, and honestly I'd say these days is the main threat actor with consumer electronics.
    – ave
    Commented Sep 18, 2023 at 9:32
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    @Artus the risk of connecting to any specific network depends on how likely there will be bad actors on the network that would be able to connect to your ipad. This is affected by many factors, including partitioning ("subnet" size), exclusiveness (whether you need an account to connect), and whether there the network is managed by an active and effective IT team. Personally, I wouldn't hesitate to connect to most private wifi networks, even large ones, because access is gated and users are accountable for their activity.
    – aaaidan
    Commented Sep 21, 2023 at 1:15
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    Probably also worth adding that, while my advice in my answer above is based on real threats, it's also given "out of an abundance of caution". Since getting hacked can be a really, really bad day (or week, or year), it makes sense to limit the potential impact of such an event, even if it's relatively unlikely. Not unlike wearing a helmet when you ride a motorcycle.
    – aaaidan
    Commented Sep 21, 2023 at 1:19
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    Also, I just realised you asked about the safety of your files in google drive. This might seem a bit ridiculous, but one practical way to balance risk and convenience is to take a copy of your google drive to an external drive from time to time (perhaps every month or so). That way, if the worst happened, you would lose at most a months worth of work. It's also possible that in the event of an attack, Google (a "drive specialist") would be able to help you restore your files, even if they were deleted from the trash. I don't recommend you rely on that!
    – aaaidan
    Commented Sep 21, 2023 at 1:26
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    @aaaidan my point was more that state sponsored programs don't solely focus on easy targets, and being on the latest and greatest does not necessarily protect you to the same extent that it does with most other attackers.
    – ave
    Commented Sep 21, 2023 at 8:11

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