MacOS on the iPad

Now I know, like everyone in the world that a long time ago Apple tried a touch biased version of MacOS, hated it and decided to never do that.

All of my Machines are currently being used for production workloads so I can’t risk the Catalina update, so I can’t talk about sidecar.

I have been on a quest the last year and a bit to move my workload to a move portable form factor, I have a five month old son who has fuller calendar then I do. The problem that I have is that my work just refuses to move to the iPad.

First I tried straight up moving the work, some of the applications I was already using had iPad apps, but most did not, as the bulk of my work is in big enterprise Java applications and cross platform mobile development there was nothing that even came close to being what I needed.

After failing to find apps, I turned to hardware and got a Luna display, mechanically it was fine, but limited by how it worked and the software. Because it only ran locally it meant that outside of the home or office I still had to lug a full computer with me. I used Astropad Studio with the Luna and I found clicking was a major issue. After giving it a solid go for a few months I gave up on it.

Then about two weeks ago, I was looking for a new Remote Desktop client to manage a bunch of Macs and PCs, and had recommended to me the Chrome Remote Desktop, This thing solved my problems completely. On touch devices such as phones and tablets, there is a mode called trackpad mode, which lets you use the touch display as a trackpad. Swiping moves the mouse, single tap for left click, two finger tap for right click, tap and hold for click and drag, two finger scroll, the works. On a small display like my phone the view is zoomed in and follows the mouse around, on a larger display you can see the whole desktop.

This has properly reduced MacOS to a single app in my iPads dock, the other day I was quoted saying that my Surface Pro was the best MacBook Pro that I owned.

Obviously going the Remote Desktop route for a solution does have its drawbacks, I do burn data at about 400MB an hour, but there are settings that can be tweeked.
Some things don’t work well, there is a noticeable lag but not that much, typing / clicking is fine but don’t watch videos and don’t play games with it. And it’s another google product with access to your data, I don’t know what they are collecting but it does not get much more personal then your desktop computer usage.

I think it’s always important to come back to past decisions to see if they still make sense, in the future MacOS will be a lot more touch friendly, but without waiting it is already a surprisingly long way there.


Have you looked at Screens Connect?
I believe it does everything you mentioned, without the privacy concerns.

This screenshot is busy, but it’s connected to my iMac Pro, swipe keyboard on the iPad in the foreground, pop up menu for Screens at the right, Command, Option, etc. key emulators at the bottom.


I have been using Jump Desktop for quite a while now.

Very easy to setup, it just works.


+1 for Jump Desktop.

Better, IMO, than Screens. (Not the Screens is bad.)

It’s worth noting that both Screens and Jump Desktop are included in Setapp.

I’ve been using Screens for years and find that it works well. I’m also curious to put Jump Desktop through its paces having heard such good things.

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