New 11inch iPad Pro (M2) - Ways to stretch and extend how I use it?

Ok, so my newest iPad (11in iPad Pro, M2 chip) seems to be a lot more capable than my iPad Air 2 or iPad 2. Previously, I’ve used it as a consumption device (reading ebooks, comics, web browsing) and some web-based work (moderating some groups, reading and grading papers on my schools learning management system). I’ve done some writing (Word, which I hate, Drafts, etc) and note taking. I’ve also used it for personal management and productivity (calendar using the built in as well as Fantastical and sometimes BusyCal, OmniFocus, Due, Reminders occasionally). This new iPad seems to have a lot more capabilities.

Beyond light work and consumption, what are y’all using your iPads for? What can I do to push myself and get more out of this machine?

I wouldn’t mind using it to learn to draw and I’ve seen some of the suggestions in for Procreate… so I’ll be getting that today. Any free tutorials that y’all recommend?

I’ve considered paying for GoodNotes to see if using one of the template planners that syncs with calendars is worthwhile, but I don’t know if I need to add another layer of complexity to my productivity. I’ve been moving some of that into Obsidian anyhow, so not sure adding another “note” type system is worth while.

I’m not quite sure this is quite ready to replace carrying my laptop around, but it’s pretty darn close.

Thoughts? Ideas? Ways to extend the use of my iPad?

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Well, what is it that you use your Mac for? In terms of hardware an M2 iPad can do anything the Mac can do. The question is what tasks do you need to do and are there apps for those tasks? Along with that, if it’s not obvious, keyboard, trackpad, mouse, stand are all things that are essential if you want to get the most from an iPad. An external display helps for some tasks and workflows and this would be especially true for the smaller 11” iPad.

Another factor is that the form factor and OS be something you enjoy and fit with. For a lot of folks iPadOS just doesn’t seem to click and they end up frustrated. I’ve been using the iPad as my primary work computer for 5+ years and find it the easier device to use over my Mac but it wasn’t something I forced myself into. Rather it was a gradual process that just happened. I slowly stopped using my MacBook Pro because I felt hindered my the form factor, specifically that the screen and keyboard could not be separated.

My favorite and most used apps:

  • Textastic for set-up, creation and management of websites.
  • iA Writer and Taio for blogging and text oriented tasks.
  • Numbers for invoicing, accounting, and most recently helping a client manage his yoga retreat which entails mailing lists with thousands of contacts as well as managing spring/fall workshop registrations and invoicing.
  • Affinity Photo, Designer and Publisher for the design/layout of client documents ranging from postcards, newsletters, annual reports, posters, etc.

All of these apps run smoothly on the iPad with no compromise.


I’ll second what @Denny said and add: one feature he didn’t mention that distinguishes the iPad Pro from the Mac is cellular data access (assuming you bought a cellular model). For me, that’s a real game-changer.


I use Drafts, Obsidian, Superhuman etc.

Nothing I do on my iPad pushes it’s perf limits. I do video and audio editing on my Mac.

My 2020 iPad rarely feels constrained by CPU etc. Limitations are screen real estate and iPadOS killing apps to save battery. I love the few seconds I wait every time Obsidian restarts.

Goodnotes template that syncs with a calendar? I’ve never heard of that- can you elaborate? Thanks

This is pretty much a non-issue with the 2021 M1 and 2022 M2 iPads. I have the M1 iPad Pro with only 8 GB of RAM and almost never see apps have to reload. I would go a step further and say that the launch time of apps on the iPad is far faster in my experience than it is on the Mac. Up until recently I was still using the Mac to use Affinity Publisher. Launching that app on my M1 Mac mini with 8 GB of RAM typically takes 7 seconds or so, with an equivalent number of bounces of the app in the dock. In contrast to this the iPad opens that app in about four seconds. In general, I find that apps open on the iPad instantaneously. Again, this contrasts to opening apps on the Mac, where I typically have to wait and watch app icons, bouncing several times for almost any app.

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How interesting. On my iPad the wait time for Obsidian is the dread waiting for iCloud to sync.

You know, now that you mention it the last time I used obsidian I remember seeing that wait time while it synced up with iCloud. It’s not an app I use on a regular basis but I tried using it in the past and that stands out as something I remember waiting for.

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I use the Juno app for Python notebooks on my iPad:

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This may not help when using the iPad while away from your desk, but it’s definitely something to consider incorporating when you are in a place where you can be docked.

I’ve been using my iPad Pro extensively with my 27" display at home and it works quite well. It’s like Stage Manager was custom designed for using your iPad with an external display. It works so well, I’ve often found that I momentarily forget that I’m not working from my Mac (this usually occurs when I’m looking for a Mac App that does not exist on the iPad). Anyway, if you have access to an external display, give it a try. Having eight total apps available in a windowed format has really opened up the iPad for me.

I do this periodically, but I’m going to spend the next few weeks trying to work solely from my iPad to gauge where the gaps still lie (between Mac and iPad). Every iteration there are fewer and fewer of them.


I have the same experience, At first I didn’t like stage manager, but it’s great with an external monitor. I like that you don’t have to use it on the iPad while using it on the external monitor.

Which monitor do you use?

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I’m still rocking an Apple Thunderbolt Display. I’m looking at upgrading, but this display is holding strong. It’s really good for me because the display is also a hub and I even have access to my wired network through the ethernet port. That’s nice. It’d be better with USB-C ports, of course. How about you?

I have Stage Manager active on both, but I also like the option of turning it off on the iPad while having it on the external display.

I’m using an old Dell monitor that needs to be replaced. The Studio Display would be perfect, but I’m not sure if it is worth the price.

I’ve been using mine (iPad Air 4) to take church sermon notes via Notability with the Pencil. When I start trying to write again (I attempted NaNoWriMo a couple years back) I’ll use a distraction-free app with the iPad for that.

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Question on using the external display. I’ve found an external display to be super helpful with my 13” MBP. It typically requires me to use either a dock with ports that “match” the screen. With that in mind, if I am either using a dock or an adapter, can I use a screen that is not USB C?

Second question - does the monitor serve as a second monitor? We got my daughter an earlier version of the 12.9 inch iPad Pro (like 2018, I think) and got her a USB C external display, but the external display is just a replication of her screen. Perhaps that’s changed with the stage manager app…

I believe the 2018 iPad Pro 12.9 ran on an A12 chip (not an “M” series), so all it’ll be able to do is mirror on an external display, rather than extend…


To do better with an external display, you need an M1 (or later) iPad and iOS 16.2.


To synthesize what @jsamlarose and @mlevison wrote, the answer to your question is a qualified yes.

So long as you have an M-series iPad (Pro or Air)—which you have but your daughter does not—the external display is a true second monitor. The external monitor will run Stage Manager. But, as discussed above, you can have Stage Manager disabled on the iPad itself, h/t @McWimmish.

Assuming that you have Stage Manager active on both iPad and external display, you can have eight active apps: four on the iPad’s active stage; and four on the external display’s active stage. If not, then you can have four on the external display, plus three on the iPad: two in Split View and one in Slide Over.

Plus, it’s very easy to drag an app on the iPad over to the external display and vice versa. For someone who has waited for this a long time, it’s really stunning to see in action.