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iPad Frequently Asked Questions and Answers for 2020-21 School Year
(Updated on 5/1/20)

This is a living document. Check back often for the most up-to-date information. PHS IT cannot say with absolute certainty the support lifespan of Apple Devices. These predictions are solely our estimates based upon our history and experience with such devices. The typical cycle of usability for an undamaged iPad tends to be 3-4 years. Not sure what version you have?  Use this guide to identify your iPad.

Minimum Required Strongly Recommended Warranty / Protection
  • iPad mini 2 (2013), iPad Air (1st Gen, 2013) or better, 16GB or more.
  • iOS 11 operating system or higher
  • It is strongly recommended that any iPad purchased for use supports iPadOS 13+, as iOS 11 support will deteriorate, and may be unsupported for use at PHS in the near future.
  • iPad (7th Gen), iPad Air (3rd Gen), iPad Mini (5th Gen) or iPad Pro (4th Gen), 32GB or more.
  • Protective case or cover
  • Apple engraving (Free with online order)
  • Keyboard (if desired)
  • iPadOS 13+
  • One-year hardware warranty on new iPads from Apple.
  • Two-year warranty and accidental damage coverage available with AppleCare+ on new purchases.
  • Third-party insurance, such as provided by Worth Ave Group.

Equipment and Applications (Apps)

Why iPads instead of Laptops?

There were multiple factors that contributed to this decision:

  • weight
  • battery life
  • durability
  • educational apps for specific learning needs
  • ease and speed of use to access apps and the Internet
  • virus immunity

What apps are required on the iPad?

There will be three required apps all students must obtain:

Can my child use an iPad mini?

Yes, the iPad mini 2, 3 and 4 are acceptable for student use, though it is recommended not to purchase an older iPad mini 2 or 3.

Will digital textbooks be available instead of printed books?

Everywhere that is possible, digital resources are favored over traditional textbooks. 

My child already has an iPad; can he/she use it?

Yes, provided it is an iPad Air (1st Gen) or newer. Students are not required to purchase a new iPad if they already have one that meets qualifications. iPads prior to the iPad Air are considered end of life and do not receive updates from Apple or application developers. iPads must support iOS 11 or higher. It is highly recommended that any iPad purchased supports iPadOS 13+.

My child already has a Kindle Fire or other Android-based tablet; can he/she use it?

Unfortunately, Android-based tablets are not a suitable replacement for the iPad. Not all Apple applications are available on Android. Furthermore, even apps that do exist for both platforms do not necessarily have the same features, behaviors, or appearance between iOS and Android. Some apps are only available on iPad. Finally, the Apple iBooks application and the top-publisher textbooks it provides are exclusive to Apple.

Will data plan iPads be allowed?

Yes. Students may purchase an iPad with data plan through their wireless carrier, but the data connection must be disabled during the school day. Students may only use the Providence wireless system to access the Internet and applications. If students are found using their data connection, the student will be subject to disciplinary action.

Will the iPad be restricted from students installing their own apps?

No. As the iPad is a family-owned device, we will not limit installing most applications. This will allow the iPad to individualize each student’s instructional needs as well as allow creativity to explore new learning applications. However, we do reserve the right to limit functions of disruptive apps while on school grounds. We may require students to uninstall apps that are substantial risk to security. Network access to some apps may be limited when on premises but that will not affect the performance or access to the apps off campus.

Student devices must be provisioned to access the Providence wireless network. Devices in which provisioning has been disabled will be unable to connect.

If my child has a laptop, may they use it at school?

No. The laptop will not be considered a replacement for an iPad, and we cannot support unsecure devices on our wireless network.


How much does the iPad cost?

Will the iPad be part of tuition?

No. The purchase of an iPad and required apps will be treated like a required book.

Where can I buy an iPad?

We suggest families purchase their iPad through Apple’s website for the following reasons:

There is an Apple Store retail location in the Oxmoor Mall.

Apple products are available at many other retail locations.

Will there be a discount through Providence to purchase an iPad?

No. Apple does not provide discounts for families to purchase iPads through schools. However, Apple does now offer discounts of $20-30 for iPads purchased through their Education Store website.

Who pays for the apps and e-books?

The family will be responsible for the purchase of the apps and e-books when needed.

What is the costs of apps and books?

All course required resources will be presented in the digital bookstore as a set required fee, based upon the student’s schedule.  Optional apps or books may be listed separately.

I have more than one student. Will I have to purchase apps for every iPad?

No. With Family Sharing, up to six people in your family can share each other’s iTunes, iBooks and App Store purchases without sharing accounts. Parents can manage purchases from the primary account and approve child spending. (Additional information here)  However, many digital resources such as some textbooks are licensed per access, and will be paid per student in the online bookstore.


Which grade levels are required to have an iPad?

All grades are required to have the iPad.

Why an Apple iPad instead of an Android tablet?

The Apple iOS operating system is a simple, stable platform with a well-defined App Store. Applications available through the App Store are also pre-approved by Apple to be safe, secure, and stable. The Android market has limited controls and limitations on application development guidelines; thus these devices would propose a greater risk for students and faculty at Providence. Android functions vary depending on hardware. Apple comes in very limited configurations making support much simpler.

What is Cloud Computing?

Cloud Computing involves applications and storage that run and are accessed through the Internet. Instead of installing an app or saving a file to a device, the application and/or data would be stored over the Internet and accessible by any device. At Providence, we use Google G Suite for Education to provide student email, storage, and document editing/creation all in the cloud. Docs and email are available from any Internet connect PC, tablet or phone.

What happens if the iPad is lost or stolen?

All iPads should be enrolled in the iCloud program and FindMyiPhone from Apple (family responsibility). This is a free service that will enable the GPS tracking device embedded on all iPads. This does NOT provide the school with GPS tracking, only you or your child after logging in with a valid Apple ID.  Once the beacon is activated and the iPad is turned on and connected to the Internet, the location will become available through the iCloud website or FindMyiPhone app. This will also enable Activation Lock, a feature that prevents a lost or stolen iPad from being used without knowing the Apple ID.

Will there be a loaner program?

The school will maintain a stock of short-term loaner iPads, but this will be primarily for students whose iPads are under repair. Students must sign off on loaner iPads and accept responsibility for that loaner unit while in their possession. Under no circumstances should a student rely on a loaner iPad long term.

Will Providence allow jailbroken iPads?

  • No, these devices will not be allowed as a student option.
  • Jailbroken devices will be detectable and removed from accessing the network.
  • IOS jailbreaking, or simply jailbreaking, is the process of removing the limitations imposed by Apple on devices running the iOS operating system through use of custom software. Such devices include the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Jailbreaking allows users to gain root access to the operating system, allowing iOS users to download additional applications, extensions, and themes that are unavailable through the official Apple App Store. Jailbreaking is a form of privilege escalation, and the term has been applied to privilege escalation on other computer systems as well. The name refers to breaking the device out of its “jail,” a technical term used in Unix-style systems. A jailbroken iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad running iOS can still use the App Store, iTunes, and other normal functions, such as making telephone calls, but no longer has the security restrictions applied by Apple.

Can you print from an iPad?

Yes, under certain circumstances:

  • You have an Airprint compatible printer. (See iOS: Airprint 101 for a list of supported printers.)
  • You use a vendor-provided application to facility printing. (Check your printer vendor’s website for availability.)
  • You use a 3rd-party Airprint facilitator.
  • For detailed information, see this article.
  • Students can print in the Library via the PaperCut app with assistance.

Who will be responsible for backup of data on an iPad?

Every student will be responsible for ensuring their iPad data is backed up regularly.  This is important, for time to time, Apple’s resolution to problems will be to reset and restore the device. Without ensuring backup, data will be lost.

  • Using iCloud. Technically, iCloud is a sync rather than backup but it does allow you to restore data in the event of a needed reset.
  • Using Google Drive or other cloud storage. (only supported on some apps)
  • Using iTunes on a computer.  Allows full backup, but will not be as up-to-date as an iCloud sync.
  • Some applications, such at Notability, have their own backup features that must be turned on to ensure data is protected.
  • Learn more about iCloud and iTunes backup here.
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