What device (iPad) should I use with Canvas?

The Short Answer

We offer two hardware options for using Canvas with the iPad: using a LiDAR-enabled iPad, or adding a Structure Sensor to a compatible iPad model. 

In short, for most users, Scan To CAD results will be highly comparable with either option, but using Canvas with Structure Sensor will generate higher-detailed 3D meshes (which is helpful if you intend to make heavy use of the 3D scan data itself). You can learn more about the difference between using Canvas with a LiDAR-enabled iPad or a Structure Sensor here: Should I use Canvas with a LiDAR-enabled iPad or a Structure Sensor?

For most users, if you don't have an iPad, the absolute easiest and cheapest way to get started will be with the 11-inch iPad Pro 2nd Generation, which starts at $799 and, as it has a LiDAR sensor embedded into the device, doesn't require a Structure Sensor. You can simply download Canvas and start scanning.

If you already have an iPad, you can "upgrade" any of models listed below to be able to 3D scan by attaching a Structure Sensor. The iPad 7th Generation (starts at $329) is a great trade-off for cost vs. experience and speed, and we offer it by request as a bundled option in the Total Set-Up for Canvas package (which includes an iPad 7th Generation, 32GB, Wi-Fi Only for $899 and comes pre-assembled, pre-calibrated, and delivered scan-ready with a custom foam carrying case). You will need to do a few extra steps to assemble and calibrate your sensor to your iPad, but this process is quick, and you can see it in detail here: Getting Started with Canvas.

Canvas is currently only compatible with the iPad. If you would like to be notified about support for other devices (including iPhone, Android, or Windows), please reach out to us at support@canvas.io! We can't promise any immediate plans (as support for each new device requires totally new brackets, a very large amount of software changes, and additional support infrastructure), but knowing which devices are most in-demand helps us prioritize efforts to bring Canvas to them.

The Long Answer

Canvas is compatible with the following iPad models:

11-inch iPad Pro 2nd Generation (2020, LiDAR-enabled and doesn't require a Structure Sensor): Models A2228, A2068, A2230, A2231 (A12Z Processor)

11-inch iPad Pro 1st Generation: Models A1980, A2013, A1934 (A12X Processor)

iPad Mini 5: Models: A2133, A2124, A2126, A2125 (A12X Processor)

10.5-inch iPad Pro: Models A1701 and A1709 (A10X Processor)

iPad 7th Generation: Models A2197, A2200, A2198 (A10X Processor)

iPad 6th Generation: Models A1893, A1823, A1954 (A10X Processor)

iPad 5th Generation: Models A1822 and A1823 (A9 Processor)

9.7-inch iPad Pro: Models A1673, A1674 or A1675 (A9X Processor)

12.9-inch iPad Pro 4th Generation (2020, LiDAR-enabled and doesn't require a Structure Sensor): Models A2229, A2069, A2233 (A12Z Processor)

12.9-inch iPad Pro (pre-2020): Models A1584 or A1652 (A9X Processor) for 1st Generation; 1670, or 1671 (A10X Processor for A1670 or A1671) for 2nd Generation; (A12X, A1876, A1983) for 3rd Generation; 

iPad Air 3rd Generation (2019): Models: A2152, A2123, A2153, A2154 (A12X Processor)

iPad Air 2: Models A1566 and A1567 (A8X Processor)

iPad mini 4: Models A1538 and A1550 (A8 Processor)

iPad Air (not recommended): Models A1474, A1475, A1476 

To identify what iPad you have, take a look at the model number on the back cover:

The "right iPad" will be different depending on the use case, but the biggest factors to consider are RAM, storage, portability, and integrated sensing.


This stands for "random-access memory," and it basically means "How much can your iPad do at once?" 3D scanning is a very memory-intensive process, so having sufficient RAM is important to ensure good iPad doesn't run out of RAM while scanning (if it does, your scan will be auto-saved, but it will take more scans to cover a given area).

Most iPads have 2GB of RAM, though some of the iPad Pro models have 4GB of RAM. 2GB of RAM will be able to handle most residential-sized rooms just fine, but if you want the absolute top-line hardware, a 4GB-RAM model is a good option. We always recommend scanning on a room by room basis for the best, most accurate results, regardless of whether or not your iPad can technically scan more with more RAM. 

It is for this reason that we don't recommend buying the iPad Air (1st Generation) for use with Canvas. With only 1GB of RAM, you may have trouble scanning full rooms in one scan, and as it is an older device the iPad itself will be slower. 


Storage refers to the amount of data your iPad can hold at one time, and the options typically range from 16GB to 256GB. When using Canvas, it affects the number of scans or homes you can hold on the device at one time. 

While the total storage footprint for a home can be all over the place, in our experience the average typically ranges from 500MB to 2GB. Since the operating system usually takes up 8-11GB (according to Apple's website), that means that if you have only 16GB of storage, in the worst case you might have only 5GB available for Canvas, which may correspond to only a few homes. If you had a 256GB iPad, you would be able to store several hundred homes.

Generally speaking, this is rarely a practical concern for our customers, unless you are using the iPad for a lot of other photo, video, or audio files that also take up space, or scanning multiple full homes every day. If you're using Scan To CAD, the scans are emailed to you along with your CAD models, so most customers clear their iPad of a home after it goes through Scan To CAD (2 business days). If you are clearing your scans regularly after they go through Scan To CAD (or exporting via email or Airdrop if you are using them in other workflows), then you shouldn't have to worry much about storage unless you are scanning multiple full homes every day. We do recommend going for at least the 32GB models for convenience, but even with the 16GB you should have enough storage to scan a few homes, upload/export your scans for safe-keeping, and then delete them to make room for more. 

Many customers prefer to keep their scans on-device for the duration of a project. If this is the case, you may want to choose an iPad with more storage, so that you can hold more scans on your iPad at one time.


If you're traveling from job site to job site, using Canvas multiple times per week or month, portability is also something to factor into your decision.

The 12.9-inch iPad Pro models are very big devices, and this can make them fairly clunky to transport. Additionally, because the iPad is so large, we had to make a special adhesive bracket for Structure Sensor that sticks to the back of the iPad instead of our normal, latch-on precision bracket, meaning that taking Structure Sensor on and off is less convenient. You can see the difference on our accessories page

The iPad mini 4 is probably the easiest to transport, but in our experience, it's not a huge benefit vs. other models. 

Set-Up Ease:

NEW: Canvas now offers the Total Set-Up for Canvas, which includes an iPad along with your Structure Sensor and comes pre-assembled, pre-calibrated, and scan-ready for $899. You basically skip to Step 4 in our Getting Started with Canvas guide.

The Total Set-Up for Canvas package is by far the fastest and easiest way to get up and running with Canvas, and it's a great option if you need an iPad anyway, but we're here to help every step of the way whether you buy the iPad from us or not. This option is currently only available for the iPad 7th Generation (32GB, Wi-Fi Only) for customers in the United States, and you can purchase one by emailing support@canvas.io.  

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to drop us a line at  support@canvas.io. Happy scanning!

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