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I have an iPad6 (running iOS 17.4.1) which just appears to have died (the battery has been running out in a few hours but appears it is not charging - or very slowly). I had planned to get a new iPad, but planned to wait until the new model is released later this year.

My wife has an iPad Air 2 Gold 128 GB (running iOS 15.8.2) which I had just wiped, planning to give away.

My question is it possible to restore from my iPad6 to the older model iPad2?

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You cannot restore a backup from a later iOS to an earlier one. Since the Air2 is not compatible with iOS 17.x, you cannot restore to it.

https://support.apple.com/guide/ipad/ipad-models-compatible-with-ipados-17-ipad213a25b2/ipados

Find an iPhone or iPad that can run the same OS or newer than the backup and you’ll be good to go for restoring this data.

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