Talk me down from this purchase

The M1 Mac mini would be my recording and processing station. The iPad would only be used for other activities. The majority of my work is done at my desk with some work done away from my office.

This has been my set-up for 3+ years. A now oldish 2012 MacMini and an iPad. The difference is that the Mac is my file server only with occasional use with Affinity Publisher. All else is done with a 13" iPad Pro.

A few things in my transition… I had always used an iPad quite a lot as well as a MBP. About 50/50. But that just gradually shifted and at some point I realized I wasn’t used the laptop and sold it. I mention all that to point out that it was gradual and so I didn’t feel any pressure to make anything fit. It was a natural progression without stress of I have to make this work… by the time I sold the laptop my process was all very comfortable on the iPad.

For my work a keyboard is essential for most tasks. I think if you love the iPad form factor and enjoy it for that you’re likely in good shape. If you’ve spent time experimenting with an iPad already and found that it works (as you indicated in your original post) then go for it. But I think doing the move mostly should be based on do you enjoy the iPad form factor and will it get the job done when you’re away from the Mac? Speaking for myself I love the iPad as a device. Using it in a keyboard case most of the time is great especially with a trackpad. When I want a tablet I pop it out and really enjoy that.


Using words like “rarely” and “unless” in your description screams “keep the portable MBA” to me.
It reads like portability is not what you really look for in your Mac, but may be something you utilise.

Personally, I absolutely crave a high-powered, desktop Mac.
But, I love using my machine wherever I want (which often ties to what my wife is doing at the time).
And I love the simplicity of having only one Mac to look after.
But I crave a high-powered, desktop Mac.
I’ve learned that my M1 MBA is possibly the perfect machine for me because portability wins out (but I’m still tempted to get an iMac and superglue a handle on it or something.)


Until Apple provide at least external support that allows another space to operate separately to the main iPad screen, this setup is impossible for me.

I’ve tried to make it work, however when I’m at a desk with a monitor it just doesn’t work.

Imagine only been able to mirror your MacBook to an external display, with non matched resolution resulting in black bars on big screens.

I also feel I’m fighting with my iPad from time to time, specific apps just don’t work the same way and really slow me down.

Hope if you choose this path you have better success.

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The M1Max may be the ultimate solution there

I think it may exceed the capability of even a Mac Pro in most cases

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The MBP with Max doesn’t really improve on what I currently have with my Air since the M1 Air is already high powered, and, for my use case (single monitor) they are equally capable.
The MBP is faster and has nice conveniences, but they can do the same things.

There used to be more, but my frustrations with the notebook and monitor route I have now are mostly intermittent and minor.

  • Sometimes the webcam doesn’t initialise and I have to unplug and plug in again
  • rarely the notebook screen fails to come on after unplugging
  • I need to remember to unmount backup drives
  • windows shift around when changing screen size
  • Default speakers and mics can be unpredictable

Going to a desktop machine would alleviate these but introduce a different frustration in that I can’t unplug it and walk around (the cause of the frustrations above).

There is no ideal solution.

I’m in a similar dilemna. Those of you that connect to your Mac Mini from your iPP, how do you do that? I’ve purchased and have been using the Screens app by Edovia and while it works, it’s very slow to connect internally over a fast ethernet/wifi connection. I’ve written them and they say that is normal as the screen needs to refresh each time. I mostly use it as a music server and it’s extremely frustrating having to wait, very time I want to change songs on music app on my Mac Mini from my iPad.

I use Screens for some stuff. If I need direct access to files I usually use File Explorer. For controlling Music playing on the Mac you can use Apple’s Remote App. I don’t use it as much as I used to but there was a time when it was one of my most used apps. Very handy! ‎iTunes Remote on the App Store

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Jump Desktop? I only use it a couple of times a week, but it’s always been easy to use and dependable…

Thanks. Apple’s Remote App works great for iTunes, but often I’m using another service on my Mac Mini such as Pandora or Spotify or one of the other streaming music services. That’s when Screens is just too slow and adds too much friction.

Have you considered something like Alfred Remote for things like that?

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Hmmm, thanks Rosemary for that suggestion. I’m a huge Alfred fan and user on my main machine but had never considered using it with the remote app connected to the mini. Great suggestion. I’ll look into it. Thanks!