Two years ago I was gifted an old discarded iPad. It was a generation 2 iPad running iOS 9.3.5. Released in 2011, the iPad 2 was supported by Apple up until 2016. Of course I first tried to install common entertainment applications: YouTube, Netflix and such, but it was out of the question, and the iPad was not compatible with latest versions. And unfortunately, iOS does not allow installing older versions of applications.
I then looked into jailbreaking, and it rapidly appeared that this generation of iPad is difficult to jailbreak, especially recently since Apple changed how apps are signed. I might check again in the near future if some progress has been made to jailbreak second generation iPads. Now you have to understand that there is also a risk one might compromise their iCloud/Apple account or lose performance when jailbreaking. Side loading applications using Phoenix is another way to gain access to apps, but if you make the mistake to shutdown the iPad or let it go until the battery dies, you will have to side load the apps again with Phoenix using your computer.
Therefore, the iPad kind of fell out of use. That is until I finally found the energy to find ways to use the iPad for entertainment as well as for coding. I dug out ways to consume basic entertainment (understand here YouTube and such), code and write, and other do miscellaneous stuff; all of this for free. So for those who don’t want to go into the hustle of jailbreaking or side loading, stick around.
A quick side note: one should be aware that running a device with a version of an operating system that is not supported anymore exposes them to security vulnerabilities.
Social media and entertainment
YouTube’s mobile website does not work on Safari under iOS 9, so we have to install a browser capable of a better result. Dolphin web browser does the job perfectly going to m.youtube.com. It is even able to display twitch.tv: Dolphin Web Browser for iPad by MoboTap Inc. https://apps.apple.com/fr/app/dolphin-web-browser-for-ipad/id460812023?l=en
I was quite surprised to see TikTok, though I assume they want to be on every device possible. The app has bad rep nowadays, even though there is no evidence it is spying more on you than other social networks. In any case, it is compatible with iOS 9, and young and teenage kid might be grateful to be able to share moments with their friends and look at videos from their favourite people: TikTok — Make Your Day by TikTok Inc. https://apps.apple.com/fr/app/tiktok-make-your-day/id835599320?l=en
Twitter is mind numbly slow on Safari and other web browser available on iOS 9 it is impossible to use as such. Only a few apps manage the social network and I found Albatross to be the most efficient at that with even a dark interface: tweet with media, retweet, like and see tweet replies, search content and look up global trends. The only drawback is there is no notifications on iPad: Albatross For Twitter by Nick Nack Development https://apps.apple.com/fr/app/albatross-for-twitter/id1454564587?l=en
While a lot more simplistic, Lite for Facebook and Twitter is useful if you need Facebook (this is the only application to do so) and Twitter in the same place: Lite For Facebook & Twitter by Thi To Oanh Bui https://apps.apple.com/fr/app/lite-for-facebook-twitter/id1374745251?l=en
The front page of the Internet, as it likes to call itself, is still accessible using the old.reddit.com web address but it would be a chore to open links and typing this every time.
Slide used to be the best solution to browse Reddit, but it is now highly unstable, at least on my end. You can still try it though and tell me if it works for you: Slide for Reddit by Carlos Crane https://apps.apple.com/fr/app/slide-for-reddit/id1260626828?l=en
Another app to use Reddit is Redditor, it has a different user experience as to Slide, but offers the same functionalities and is still somewhat stable: Redditor — the perfect client by Tyanya Software LLC. https://apps.apple.com/fr/app/redditor-the-perfect-client/id596236434?l=en
I was also pleasantly surprised to find that Pinterest is also available on iPad 2 and iOS 9 onwards: Pinterest: Lifestyle Ideas by Pinterest https://apps.apple.com/fr/app/pinterest-lifestyle-ideas/id429047995?l=en
For image-only experience that is Imgur, imgapp. I personally enjoy the place for comments from users that more often than not display witty jokes that hit right. You will be able to upvote and favourite, but not comment or upvote others’ comments: imgapp for imgur by D & S Software https://apps.apple.com/fr/app/imgapp-for-imgur/id501416446?l=en
Communicate with encrypted messaging app Telegram: Telegram Messenger by Telegram FZ-LLC https://apps.apple.com/fr/app/telegram-messenger/id686449807?l=en
I was surprised to see Facebook’s Messenger still compatible with iOS 9 for chats and calls: Messenger by Facebook, Inc. https://apps.apple.com/fr/app/messenger/id454638411?l=en
Open and organise your PDF collection with PDF Reader: PDF Reader — Document Expert by Kdan Mobile Software LTD https://apps.apple.com/fr/app/pdf-reader-document-expert/id422798908?l=en
Read and Edit documents (Word, spreadsheets, …) with Documents (Office Docs): Documents (Office Docs) by Savy Soda https://apps.apple.com/fr/app/documents-office-docs/id306273816?l=en
Manage compressed files: Zip & RAR File Extractor by Penghui Zhao https://apps.apple.com/fr/app/zip-rar-file-extractor/id769409043?l=en
Open any video or audio file with: VLC for Mobile by VideoLAN https://apps.apple.com/fr/app/vlc-for-mobile/id650377962?l=en
With SSH client Reflection, you can log into remote servers via SSH and save login credentials and connections. The major issue I have with the app is the 90 seconds window before any connection is closed as soon as you leave the application. SSH client Reflection for UNIX SSH Client by Attachmate Corporation https://apps.apple.com/fr/app/reflection-for-unix-ssh-client/id920472514?l=en
CodeHub — A Client for GitHub by Dillon Buchanan https://apps.apple.com/fr/app/codehub-a-client-for-github/id707173885?l=en
If you are an absent-minded developer like me, the developer cheat sheet below might interest you. It displays common practices for any language and program (Linux, Wordpress, …) and is useful for example to lookup Git commands.
Developer — Cheat Sheets & Swift Sandbox by Qian GuoQiang https://apps.apple.com/fr/app/developer-cheat-sheets-swift-sandbox/id382247064?l=en
Writers’ pen and pencil
It is difficult nowadays to share content between devices under different operating systems. We already have an FTP client allowing to share files between devices. Now let’s get writers and bloggers to work on multiple devices with Standard Notes, each note syncing changes. This open-source note taking application is available on iOS 9 and newer. It is also highly customisable so you can for example apply your own extensions and themes, I personally enjoy using Rich Markdown Editor to better structure my writings, combined with Gruvbox Dark Theme. Consider upgrading to a paid plan to support the developers and have access to more features.
Standard Notes by Standard Notes Ltd. https://apps.apple.com/fr/app/standard-notes/id1285392450?l=en
In order to read your daily dose of news Free RSS Reader is the way to go.
Free RSS Reader by praveen mohandas https://apps.apple.com/fr/app/free-rss-reader/id290537970?l=en
Reading PDF files using iBooks can become quite a chore when you have so much files to look at and manage. With PDF Reader you can sign PDF documents, add notes, add text and shapes, and highlight text.
I was surprised to see there are no calculator by default on iOS. You can rectify that mistake with Basic Calculator+.
Basic Calculator+ by Best Free Apps https://apps.apple.com/fr/app/basic-calculator/id539356791?l=en
The excellent drawing app Tayasui Sketches is still available for iOS 9 users. The free version already offers enough to play around.
Tayasui Sketches by Tayasui.com https://apps.apple.com/fr/app/tayasui-sketches/id641900855?l=en
For stringed instruments, Elegantune Chromatic Tuner Pro does the job.
Elegantune Chromatic Tuner Pro by Liyi Cheng https://apps.apple.com/fr/app/elegantune-chromatic-tuner-pro/id690614145?l=en
Simple Meme Creator — Memes Face Sticker Generator with Photo Text Editor App by Jian Yih Lee https://apps.apple.com/fr/app/simple-meme-creator-memes-face-sticker-generator-photo/id1055384753?l=en
As of this day, this comprehensive features apps still available for download. Some of them may disappear from the App Store after this article is posted, let me know in the comments so that I can update the list (and find similar apps when possible). Among apps that I had the chance to download before they were pulled from the App Store. First we have Opera Mini, a simplified version of the light weight web browser. Then there was Feeder, a RSS feed manager that recently released its third iteration while offering the previous version for free; the app does what you can expect from a RSS feed manager and it’s a shame it was taken down from the store.