Written by

Josh Ginter


Josh Ginter

For some, choosing an iPad stand is as important as choosing a bag or wallet. I use my iPad far more than I should admit and propping it up has become important for my posture and health.

So, with the plethora of iPad stands on the market, why do I think the TwelveSouth Compass Stand ($39) is the best you can get?

I like the TwelveSouth Compass Stand because I can take it anywhere, I can throw it around, and I can be sure that it looks great in the process.


The TwelveSouth Compass Stand folded up and closed.

The Compass Stand is exactly what it says it is: a compass. The stand folds up into a small and compact — albeit surprisingly heavy — package that can be slipped into the smallest of bags. Despite its heavy weight, I often wonder whether or not I’ve brought the stand with me — the small and compact size of the stand makes it ideal for carrying in a small messenger bag or backpack.



The Compass Stand’s legs extend outward to form an easel. Near the bottom of the two legs, there are two holsters that extend out and hold your iPad in place. While the Compass Stand can fit in just about any bag without being noticed, it also has a small footprint if you want to use it at a small table or desk.


When unfolded and sitting in its upright position, the Compass Stand creates a comfortable viewing angle for your iPad. The upright position is ideal for propping up an iPad to be used with a keyboard or to view movies and TV shows. There is only one angle here for holding your iPad in the upright position, so don’t expect to adjust the Compass Stand’s angle without compromising its ability to securely hold your iPad.


The TwelveSouth Compass Stand holding my iPad Air.

The width of the holding legs when completely unfolded is almost too wide to hold an iPad in portrait orientation, but it does work. The small holding arms hold a portrait iPad right at the iPad’s corners, so I would generally recommend using the iPad in landscape with the Compass Stand.



The back leg of the Compass Stand has a nifty folding leg that allows the Compass Stand to lay at a greater angle. By extending the small leg, you can lay your iPad on the stand for a more comfortable typing experience. I find I use the Compass Stand in this position more often than not, as it’s more comfortable to type on an angled iPad than on a flat iPad.


I have the first generation Compass Stand, which was designed with the original iPad and iPad 2 in mind. The legs of this Compass Stand are thinner than the newer version and the newer version has been designed to be used with today’s thinner and smaller iPads. This doesn’t cause any major hiccups with the iPad Air or iPad Air 2, but I can tell that my version of the stand was not designed with today’s iPads in mind.

As a result, I do notice the small holders extend a bit too far for my liking, especially when the Compass Stand is laid at its flatter angle. When typing, these little arms can occasionally jab your palm or wrist. Although covered by rubber padding and not sharp whatsoever, the occasional bump while typing can cause the entire stand to jar from time to time. This is a small nitpick, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t notice how far these arms extend when in a typing position.


The entire Compass Stand is made of an ultra-solid aluminum that takes bumps and bruises like a champ. This stand is surprisingly heavy, and the added heft reminds you that it’s going to do its job well into the future. I can’t see anyone breaking or bending this Compass Stand even if they tried.

Twelve South Compass Stand


All of the feet, holders, and extenders are capped off with rubber and the holding legs are lined with rubber so as not to cause unwanted friction with the back and edges of your iPad. This rubber is also of the highest quality and has not ripped or worn away in my two years of heavy use.

The Compass Stand holding my iPad when using at my desk.

When buying accessories for my iOS devices, cognitive dissonance often sets in after the fact. I often found something wrong with an accessory puchase.

However, the TwelveSouth Compass Stand has caused me no buyer’s remorse at all. I can quickly fold up the stand and slide it into my bag. Often, I forget I brought the stand with me because of its incredible portability. I love the angles at which the Compass Stand holds my iPad, especially the lower angle where I can type in an ideal position. And lastly, I know this stand will last forever due to its incredible build quality and exceptional materials.


Like any TwelveSouth product, you get what you pay for. This Compass Stand will work with just about any iPad Apple could release in the future and it will look good for years and years. I couldn’t be more happy with my purchase a few years ago.