30 days exclusive iPad experience: I ditched the Mac for the iPad, and I’ll never go back

This is timely given the new iPads. Depending on one’s work, this is not possible for everyone but I suspect more could make this switch than they realize. There is another thread about using the iPad exclusively for 10 days. I’ll not repeat that but I’m going to try 30 days with the iPad only, some of which will be on the new iPad once I receive it.

Thoughts on the article? Anyone want to joint me on this iPad “spirit quest”? :slight_smile:



I went iPad only with my iPad Air 2 and had to abandon the project because of software limitations. When iOS 11 came out and I got a 12.9” iPad Pro was able to go “iPad only” for all my mobile computing needs. I use only my iPad Pro when traveling, in court, at meetings, and even at my desktop in the office. I have a PC, but its sitting on the floor and is not even plugged in.

I do have a docked MacBook Pro in my home office with a 27” Apple Thundebolt Display, but there are only a handful of things that I need to use it for. Those few things, generally fall into two categories.

First, there are some programs that I use, which have very powerful desktop features which have not migrated to iPad. I’ll give you an example that I find annoying. I vastly prefer using OmniFocus on my iPad; however, there is one feature I use a lot that is only available on the Mac: modifying the completion date of a task. Were it not for that feature, I’d probably never need to use OmniFocus on the Mac. A second example is a frustration I have with MS Word. In my work flow, I often need multiple Word documents open at the same time. I reference material and need to copy/paste from one document to another. Since MS Word only allows you to have one document open at a time, I still have to use my Mac to handle major writing projects, such as contracts and briefs. I have developed some workarounds, but there should not have to be work arounds. Lastly, there are some background utilities, like Hazel, that I use on my Mac and for which I’d love to have available on iOS.

Second, there are some things that are easier to do on a really, really large screen. Another example for this point: it’s better to use the large screen when I work though my financial records, like reconciling accounts. It’s nice to have my financial software, dozens of PDF windows, and Safari logged into my financial institutions and see it all on two screens. This is also true for file management. Sometimes it helps to have multiple finder windows open. I think if Files in iOS could adopt a tabbed or split view, like Safari, I could see that problem solved.

The first category will be eliminated as third-party software on the iPad improves. The second category will never go away. Some things just benefit from a really big screen. But with USB-C, I may even be able to have access to that directly from an iPad Pro.


My monitor is hardware-calibrated and I use a photo printer to print from Lightroom and Photoshop. There’s no serious equivalent yet on iOS to the color management and printing abilities a Mac/PC provides right now.

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It will be interesting to use the new iPad Pro and the USB-C connections. I need the desktop for apps with multiple windows. I wonder what Apple will do to take advantage of USB-C? Will they finally provide APIs for multiple tabs and multiple windows in an app? The iPad experience has been a single window experience. We’ve nudged a little when we got split screen but only for two separate apps. Multiple windows in a single app still aren’t here yet.

If Apple allows us to have apps with multiple windows or a single app that can go split screen with two documents side-by-side, I’m all in.

For most of my work, I have been using the iPad a lot. When I’m at my desk, I have the option of switching between the iPad and my Mac Mini. It’s great to see how iPad apps have slowly improved over the years. They’re approaching desktop level power. Heck, I’m using Ulysses and my Invoices app on the iPad more often now.


I don’t really see the appeal of ditching the Mac. iOS has made improvements, but it’s still nowhere near a Mac replacement for me.

I have an iPad and use it, and I’m enjoying Shortcuts (although that’s mostly on my iPhone), but there’s still a lot of stuff that iOS just can’t do that the Mac can, or can do more easily.

Clearly there are some folks who are more comfortable on iOS and who enjoy using it exclusively, and to them I say “Great! Carry on!” But for me, it will remain my second platform.


I did the same thing Tuesday this week - exchanged my 2013 MacBook Air 13" for a 5 months old 10.5 Pro - so I’m still getting used to working entirely on iOS, and still deciding on a keyboard to get, but loving it so far.

Look forward to hearing your thoughts after the 30 days have passed.

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A couple things you cannot do efficiently? Not doubting there are some but curious about your concerns.

The keyboard is a must-have!

At this moment, it’s a complementary device. I use different devices in different scenarios. I use the iPhone when I’m outside or if I need to quickly look something up. I use the Mac Mini when I need to work in a multiple window scenario. But I’ve seen a lot of my work that I used to do on my Mac Mini going to the iPad with a bluetooth keyboard.

I like using Affinity Photos and Affinity Designer on my iPad because of the touch screen interface. When I am writing in Ulysses, I go to the iPad for single app mode. I know I can go full window on the Mac Mini. But the screen is so large, I need to move my head from left to right.

Different devices for different scenarios. I don’t know if I can subscribe to a one device for everything anymore.

I’m thinking more about preparing for the future. If I learn how to use the iPad and iOS, I am getting more proficient and gaining new muscle memory. I remembered the day of command line interfaces. The mouse was considered a toy and the Xerox/Mac interface was considered overkill. People could type in command lines to open a directory or delete file father than they would drag and drop. But as adoption grew larger, we adjusted to a point-and-click interface. Now we’re going towards a gesture-based interface with the Magic Trackpad and touch screen. The UX is still evolving within iOS. It’ll improve over time.

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I don’t think iPad only will ever be a choice for me. I consider it a consumption device, and to be honest, is a source of distraction. With the keyboard and pencil, an iPad is pretty much a touch screen laptop, without the bottom case. Except it is also hamstrung by iOS (in my opinion), rather than running macOS.
Several things are just harder or impossible on the ipad, such as running MATLAB and processing neuro data.
They’re fine for what they are, but are limited in my eyes.

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After the Keynote this week, I want a new iPad SOOO badly… yet I know that I won’t be able to fully complete one of my primary functions as a researcher: write quality publications that rely heavily on citation management software for references and bibliography building to get the job done.

EndNote has a great app that does indeed allow you to insert a citation placeholder, so to speak, on a document, in the end you still need a desktop version of the software to get your references and bibliography to auto-populate.

So the new Pro hits all the right spots for content creation aspects of writing and annotations, but in the end I still need a desktop or laptop to fully complete the objective. And that’s where my argument for getting a new iPad trips… if it can’t do the primary thing I need it for, do I really need it?


Yeah, I orders the Smart Keyboard after the Apple Event - still waiting for it.
Hope I’ll like it - otherwise I might get the Brydge keyboard - heard a lot of good things about that one as well

Since I’m going to use the iPad exclusively for 30 days, I decided to make sure I am familiar with ALL of the features. While I knew many of these gestures, I learned several new tricks and was reminded of a few that I’d forgotten. You may discover a few tricks from this YouTube video produced by 9 to 5 Mac.


Software development.

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Thanks @Bmosbacker for the link to this video. I have learned so much. Will be so useful when my new 12.9 iPadPro arrives.

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I’m hoping that it can drive a bigger screen. A reasonable expectation I believe.

I forgot that you can set the default for Apple Note styles or change the style as needed.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m almost iPad only. However, I recently discovered a lot of my music and some of the movies I’ve purchased on iTunes was missing.

This isn’t the first time that this has happened, and the solution is to go into iTunes and unhide my purchases. Question: Does anyone know how to do this in IOS?

I can’t find a way to do this on my iPad/iPhone. The only solution that I can find on Apple.com says to use iTunes on a Mac or PC. Tell me it isn’t so. :frowning:

There’s still a place in this world for a desktop, I think.

I’m more prone to using a desktop when I need to. I used to carry a MBP 13" for my travels but I’ve been more than able to work with my iPad 9.7" and a bluetooth keyboard. iTunes is one of those things that still requires a computer for me.

Missing music might have something to do with licensing agreements with the music publisher and Apple. Some artists may have chosen not to renew or are still negotiating better contractual terms for allowing their music on Apple Music. The Beatles took forever to get on Apple Music. There are still a few holdouts that will wait. Some TV shows and movies will disappear and re-appear after awhile. It’s all about the business side. The only way to get your movies and music now is if you connect to the Mac.

Thanks, but I guess I wasn’t clear. I’ve always been able to unhide the music & movies when this happens, but I have to use desktop iTunes. Eventually my old 2011 mini will pack it in and I’m looking for an IOS solution in case I don’t replace it.

But, I’ve always suspected that desktop iTunes is the culprit . This problem may go away when/if I stop using macOS iTunes.

*My Beatles music is safely packed away. I wish I had purchased multiple copies when it was released back in 1964. Would have been worth a lot more if I had some I didn’t play :slight_smile:

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