Share your iPad desktop setups? (Monitor, Keyboard, Mouse)

With iPad OS 13.4, we finally have the tools we need to “dock” an iPad at a desk and use it with an external monitor, keyboard, and pointing device.

I’m curious if anyone has gone all-in on this yet, and if so, what hardware they are pairing their iPad with.

What keyboard, pointing device, and monitor are you using?

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I’ve got a 2nd gen iPad Pro with Magic Mouse 2, Magic Trackpad 2 (specifically since the 1st gen didn’t work with gestures for ipad), and an old apple wireless keyboard. I’ve got my ipad in a stand rather than a monitor. The stand can rotate between portrait and landscape which is convenient to switch depending on what I’m doing.

When I’m “on the go” (read: on the couch) I’ve got a Brydge keyboard. I’ve also got an Apple Pencil, but now with pointer support I find myself using the trackpad more.


For my part, I’ve got a 12.9" 2018 with smart keyboard, along with (just today!) a Magic Trackpad.

I’d like to supplement that, eventually, with an external keyboard and monitor. But I’m taking my time to decide on which.


  • I’m pretty settled on 4K with USB-C
  • Not sure of the size. Maybe 24” is plenty, maybe 27”, maybe 32”
  • May also use this with a Mac mini someday


  • Intrigued by mechanical, so considering a variety of boards, everything from an HHKB to a Preonic, to an Drop Alt,

And I’m trying to keep things flexible. If Apple gets proper external monitor support in iPadOS 14, there are many posibilities…

I’m looking to pick up a new 2018/2020 iPad Pro this year. Out of curiosity is there any way to mirror an iPad Pro screen to my 2017 27" Retina iMac?

I like how your iPad stand rotates. There are still some apps that don’t use landscape mode.
Did you mean “magic trackpad 2”? Do you use both the trackpad and the mouse? I do not like using the trackpad as a pointer so I am thinking of using the trackpad for gestures and the mouse for most everything else.

I borrowed my Magic Trackpad from my iMac to test out iPadOS 13.4. Now I’ve got a Magic Keyboard on order. Stupid Apple! (So, yeah, all in.)

@bowline There are a few apps to get AirPlay on your iMac (for some reason that doesn’t seem to be a feature that Apple includes in MacOS). Or, you can connect your iPad with a cable and use QuickTime Player. It’s strange, but it works.

I didn’t try any of the apps so I have no recommendations on that score

I did mean that, now updated!

I do use both trackpad and mouse (I do the same on my desktop setup too). I really like the trackpad for gestures, scrolling, and less precise things. But in a spreadsheet or inserting in text or things where precision is more important I still like a mouse, so I just use both. (Mouse on right, trackpad on left).

The rotating is also good for zoom/webex/GoToMeeting/FaceTime, so the camera is centered (at the expense of it being a portrait orientation).

I am going to try your setup but will connect my iPad to a 27" monitor.

I have a Magic Trackpad 2, an Apple wireless keyboard (latest version) w/o number pad, and a Logitech mouse.

Please post and let us know how this works for you! (And what monitor you’re using.)

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Just saw this and thought I would go ahead and share my iPad setup. BenQ GW2765HT 27" monitor and iPad Pro 12.9", Magic Trackpad and Magic Keyboard with number pad. I am loving this.



I think you’ve got the same Brydge keyboard there as I do - for the 9.7" iPad, or maybe the 10-11" Pro?

Hey Scotty!

Are you using the magic keyboard via bluetooth? Or do you have it wired? If you use bluetooth, I’m wondering if you have issues with they iPad thinking it’s connected when you aren’t actually “docked” (like if you are on the couch in another room and need to use the on-screen keyboard).

PS - I’m enjoying Nested Folders


Using by bluetooth, yes. And yes, that means I have to be diligent about either turning the keyboard and trackpad off at the end of a workday/desk session or turning off bluetooth on the iPad (which I tend to do mostly). I also have the Smart Keyboard folio for the iPad, though, so sometimes this is all happening and I don’t even realize it, or I decide that using that folio keyboard is the easier fix.

Glad you’re enjoying the podcast! I love doing it.



I’m trying to evaluate whether, for a docked iPad desktop setup, having a wired keyboard (plugging into a hub or dongle that also allows the iPad to connect to the monitor) is better or worse than having a bluetooth keyboard.

Its for the 12.9 2nd gen iPad Pro. Someday I’ll update now that the magic keyboard is out, but waiting on upgrading my laptop first (2012 MacBook Air, so needs it more than iPad).

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Since 2018, I’ve essentially used my iPad as my primary computing device anywhere but at my desk. With the iPadOS 13.4 update, I started using my iPad as my principal machine even when I am at my desk.

My setup consists of either my 11” or 12.9” iPad Pro, Apple Magic Keyboard and Trackpad, and an inexpensive desktop stand from Amazon. I usually use whichever iPad is not in the stand with the Pencil to take notes or scribble out ideas.

When away from my desk, I am now using the Magic Keyboard for iPad, which has really come through in terms of giving my iPad almost completely the functionality of my Mac (even in tasks like coding and server administration)


Found this setup on Twitter. looks just about ideal to me:


This is my scruffy ‘make do’ setup as I’m currently overseas and living in a converted ISO container. The ability to airplay videos or documents to the big screen has been very enjoyable as I can go sit down to take a break without unplugging anything. Also useful for reviewing large mind maps or documents with colleagues.

I also have a 1TB wireless HDD tucked in the corner that I bought in 2014 for a previous deployment. For many years it was torturous to use because of the bespoke Samsung app. Now I use FileExplorer and its as seemless as any NAS. Perfect for storing movies and tv shows for trips without filling the ipad. I also use it as a (laborious) backup solution while away.

Overall I think the ipad can fit well into a desktop setting while still being unbeatable for portability and I don’t anticipate I’ll ever buy a laptop again. I’m looking forward to getting home and creating a permanent workspace in this vein.