Potentially Replacing M1 Macbook with M4 iPad

I use the Magic Keyboard, and I like it. I can’t really describe why I like it so much. :person_shrugging: Perhaps because it is very thin and less bulky. It really gets out of my way.

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I think this is a key point. For many (most?) people who want to go iPad only, it is a far more practical proposition with the largest iPad and a decent keyboard with trackpad.

Personally, I am wed to too many apps that either do not run on iPads or whose interfaces are just too different for my brain to grasp. I use Affinity Photo quite a lot on Mac, but every time I try to use the iPad version, I stumble around for a long time before giving up.

And then there is what to do with the results of your labours. So easy to get a JPEG out of Affinity Photo to anywhere I can think of. Not so much on an iPad.

Yes! On the two days a week I work from home, I have a “work” Space that contains my remote Citrix session. Occasionally I will have local OneNote open in another space. All non-work stuff is ‘over there’ and not a distraction. I also use Spaces when not working to separate stuff out. Email and browser are always on the first one. Social apps on the second. Photo editing on a third or fourth. I can switch with Cmd-Tab or a trackpad swipe.

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I tried Stage Manager on my MacBook and didn’t like it at all. I probably should try it on the family iPad—maybe it’s better there, but I find it hard to believe it’s a better experience than all the multitasking features on a Mac.

Just export to any location? I can export to Files: local files, iCloud, Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox, external drive or my MacMini file server. Or share it directly to Messages or an app: Photos, Mail, Notes, etc. Seems easy enough.

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I used an 12.9“ iPad pro for many years as my mobile device, having an iMac at home. It was totally doable, but I switched back to a MacBook Air in conjunction with an 11“ iPad. For me there are many little things that just go a little bit faster and easier on the Mac. Nothing is dealbreaking, but in sum it is noticeable.
And the large iPad with case and keyboard was actually even a little bit heavier than the 13“ MBA (I had the old model of the iPad Pro though).
Of course it is luxury to have two devices. But having this really thin lightweight iPad for everything „iPad“ (in my case music production, but also reading, note-taking, drawing etc.) and the MBA for everything „computer“ (multitasking, file management, automation etc.) is really the perfect solution for me.
I don’t even have a case and keyboard for the iPad anymore (but of course I can use a bluetooth keyboard).


On iPad, you have both the “Export to Photos” option and a full Files integration right there, in Affinity’s export dialogue.

You also have the choice of multiple formats, resize options, compression levels where applicable.

Agree that the differences between iPad and Mac are frustrating at times.

I’m a dual user and my time is fairly evenly split between a MBP and an iPad Pro. It probably does depend on your work. I do a lot of my reading and “pre-sharing” writing (in Drafts) on my iPad, along with emails and other messaging.

I’m more comfortable with my MBP for Zoom, Google Workspace, etc, but that is mostly just a personal preference - it doesn’t reflect a limitation of iPadOS (although I do think Google Docs is better in web browser for editing than their rubbish app). I use my iPad for “focused work” primarily, and the lack of “multi-tasking” (I.e. doing two things at once) is a plus, not a negative. Split screen is fine for needing two apps open, and @Denny converted me to the powers of Stage Manager for running several apps at once.

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I use Stage Manger on both Mac and iPad. I really like it on the iPad and have not gone back to SplitView and Slide Over (even though I liked using that model just fine.) The experience differs greatly on the iPad from the Mac and for the better. If you use multiple displays on Mac, especially, Stage Manager can be frustrating. Stages are connected to a single display rather than across all displays. That said, my own view, is that Stage Manager is helpful, particularly when working on the MacBook Pro with no external display.

On the iPad implementation of Stage Manager, it’s much easier to move apps in and out of stages, get them to open in the stage that you are working on, move them out of stages, etc. If you have an iPad to try it; it’s worth checking out. Maybe you’ll still find it’s not your cup of tea, but I think you’ll see it’s a smoother experience than on the Mac.

I made a post some years ago about my thoughts on Stage Manager for iPadOS and my wish list.. Some of my review is dated because of the improvements to Stage Manager, but the wishlist part remains accurate. I also wrote about my thoughts on Stage Manager for macOS. No need to trudge through those posts; just putting them here for convenience.


This is not a topic that has arisen on this thread, but thought it was an interesting perspective on the M4’s battery life.

While there has been some criticism because people wanted Apple to increase the battery capacity, this article’s perspective is that it’s pretty impressive that Apple was able to retain the 10-hour battery in light of all the improvements.

The M4 iPad Pros feature a massive chip upgrade. The M4 is not only more powerful than the M2, but also more efficient. Plus, the new Pro tablets pack a Tandem OLED display that will surely use plenty of energy to deliver that unrivaled screen experience with two layers of LEDs.

All of that happens in a much thinner case than any earlier models. The iPad Pros are even thinner than the new iPad Airs. That made me realize how massive the battery upgrade is.

Thanks all for your thoughts. I think I’m going to try working on my current iPad for a week or two before making a final decision.

One thing, though.

This might sound silly, but why so definitive on the 13”?

It’s my hunch that one of the frustrations for those that try to use the iPad as their only mobile device, often in the context of a laptop replacement, is that they choose the 11". It’s a small screen. It makes multitasking more difficult.

Combine the small screen with the thicker, touch optimized interface chrome of iPadOS and it makes the screen feel even smaller if you intend to use multiple apps at a time. If you’re content to just use one app at a time it’s not an issue. If you think you’ll want to use 2-3 apps I suspect things will feel really cramped. Especially true with Stage Manager for two reasons: 1. You also loose a small bit of space around the edges of the screen. 2. The window sizes are not completely free form. It’s better than version 1 of Stage Manager but there are still predetermined size constraints and I’d guess that would be more of a problem on the smaller screen.

Text/writing is likely to be okay. But you mention video and there’s no way I’d want to do video editing on the smaller screen.

Sure, the 11" could be made to work but will you feel cramped or constrained? If so then don’t start off that way.


I own a 2018 11" Pro and a 2022 13" Pro. It seems silly, but when I use the 11" it feels tiny, especially if I use Stage Manager. For non-entertainment uses, I don’t think I would buy an 11" again.

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I can’t fault your reasoning. I’m an 11” cellular iPP user and if I didn’t own an M1 MBA I’d probably buy a 13” iPad Air to leave at home (and a cheap PC to run Arq backup).

I don’t like big iPhones and use mine mainly for tasks, maps, calendar, calls, music and podcasts. So when I’m away from home, for anything more than a trip to a local store, I usually take my iPad Pro. I use one app most of the time but frequently two instances of Files side by side (and keep 1Password and Drafts available in slide over). I like to travel light.

I may be missing something but one thing I cannot do on my iPad is save an email as a PDF. In my paperless workflow, if I get a receipt or something I need to file, I save it as a PDF and put it in my filing system. For short trips this isn’t a problem as I can wait until I get home and do it on my iMac. Sometimes I may be gone for multiple months at a time and don’t want to wait.

I do not use email as a filing system. IMHO that is a very risky thing to do.

Super easy. Open print dialog then use the sharrow to save as pdf.


It’s a little cumbersome, but you can indeed save an email as a PDF in iOS and iPadOS.


I was missing something and that was it. Thanks for the help.

Tom’s Guide just published an iPad article titled “I tried using the iPad Pro 2024 as a laptop for a week — it went exactly as expected”. Spoiler alert he says “the best MacBooks don’t have to worry about the iPad Pro making them obsolete”.

So why didn’t the iPad work for him? He says “I use Google and its various apps for both work and personal use. On a Mac or Windows laptop, I can have Google applications like Drive, Docs, Calendar and so on all in a single browser window containing tabs for those apps. That’s not possible on iPadOS as each of those programs is a discrete app you need to download.” Really?

An iPad isn’t a laptop replacement for most people, but it helps when you know how to use your software.

I just opened Sheets and Drive in 2 different Safari tabs on my iPad. :man_shrugging:t3:


Seriously? I do this whenever I have to use Drive, Docs, Sheets, etc. Did this reviewer even try opening them in the browser? There is so much misinformation about iPadOS’ capabilities, no wonder so many people think it can’t work for them. The reviewer should be embarrassed on that point.