Thinking about going Mac only

I don’t think the iPad and Mac are mutually exclusive, and don’t understand the desire to be “iPad only.” I need my Macs more than I need an iPad, but I have no desire to be Mac only.
Similarly, I recently bought a Kindle. I can read books on my iPad or Macs, but it’s a better experience on the Kindle. There’s no need to jettison a device because I now use the Kindle.
It’s kind of like having a table saw and a bandsaw, and debating whether to go bandsaw only.


While I am by no means iPad only (I have three Macs at the moment and the only one I foresee the iPad replacing in the near future is the laptop) I can see why people are interested in the possibility.

  • Maintaining multiple platforms can be expensive monetarily
  • Maintaining multiple platforms requires a greater time investment
  • If you’re only going to use one platform the iPad offers capabilities that the Mac does not (tablet form factor, cellular connectivity, battery life, more active software ecosystem)
  • The iPad is gaining functionality faster than the Mac.

While going entirely iPad only is not for me, I can certainly see why it appeals to others.

For me, everything hinges on IOS’s maturing: its being able to better handle peripherals (like my photo printer, or external storage) and pointing devices (like my Magic Trackpad), how the springboard finally (finally?) matures past a big, space-wasting block of icons, better background multitasking, better handling of paired aide-by-side apps (so I can set up ‘spaces’ where one app can pair with more than one app), improved filesystem abilities (eg extracting individual files from a zip archive without needing a 3rd-party workaround), standardized commands/techniques for things like undo, etc etc.

I held off on getting an iPad Pro last fall primarily because iOS 12 remained so half-baked for my own needs and uses, and I’m perfectly happy with my current desktop macOS setup. I think it’ll be a while before I’m tempted away to anything else for the majority of my computing.


The way I see it is there is no harm, no foul for those who want to go iPad (or iOS) only. There are many advantages for lots of people, especially depending on their computing needs. For others, such as yourself, it’s clearly not an option.

I don’t begrudge anyone for trying to switch to iPad full time, nor do I see it as some kind of judgment against those who can’t/won’t switch. To each their own!

For what it’s worth, I’m about 98% iPad, but the other 2% is probably going to be around for a long time, therefore necessitating some kind of Mac. Having my iMac means I don’t need a laptop anymore, though, since Screens allows me full-time acces to MacOS. Additionally, the iMac gives me piece of mind on ensuring my data is triple backed up. I’m not yet comfortable relying ONLY on cloud-based sync features to ensure my data is safe.

When my iMac dies, I could see going to a headless Mac Mini — that would be a sweet setup!

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The iPad is gaining functionality faster than the Mac.

The iPad is gaining functionality to catch up to the Mac. New iPads are marvelous devices that do amazing things, but…

This is the same position I found myself in. I’ve got an older iPad Pro (1st gen) that I haven’t felt the need to upgrade because the overall OS experience has yet to change, and getting a smaller and faster unit wouldn’t alter my experience of that.

Going truly iPad only would mean that the work world evolved to a higher, less fiddly and typing-oriented leve of computing, similar to the arrival of the mouse to desktop computing. I want to be part of that. I don’t know if the cellular tablet will be the device that succeeds the desktop/laptop for primary work device but it is a strong competitor right now. I don’t want to go iPad-only because it became backwards-compatible with macOS; that seems like a missed opportunity.

In some areas. In others I’d say the iPad is already ahead.


In 2010 when Steve Jobs introduced the iPad he positioned it in it’s own, new slot, it’s own category. I don’t think it was intended as a replacement but nevertheless it put forth the question - could it? For most people the answer was very obviously no.

But really, I think it’s just that it captured people’s imaginations. It’s a beautiful form factor that sort of continues to beg the question. Can this simple slab of glass be all I need?

I made early attempts to push my work to it just to see if I could. I found I couldn’t. But I remain interested. Over time more of my work could be done there more easily. 3 years ago it did become my primary computer. I still have a Mac (2012 Mac Mini) and as of 3 years ago still used it quite a bit because the iPad still had holes. Today, my Mac still has a place but it is an even smaller one than before though still essential. It performs functions that are ideal to it’s form factor as a small desktop computer, it is a file/media server and local back-up. That’s pretty much it. I expect to have a Mac for years because these are functions I’ll need for years.

I did not seek to go iPad only but rather the iPad, as the most mobile device I had became more and more capable. At some point I just realized that my MBP was going unused. Weeks would go by and I’d only open it to update the OS and apps. Then I sold it to a family member that needed a new computer for school.

People should use the computer they are most comfortable with that helps them do the things they need to do. It’s that simple. The “iPad
Only” label became a thing because it became an idea that people wondered about. It just got traction. I think it solidified as more people did it and push-back against the idea only reinforced it. If you’re a happy iPad user, excited about your platform, there’s nothing more irritating than people saying “you can’t get work done on an iPad.” Just like the Mac users of 20 years ago pushed back. It’s a weird human dynamic apparently.

Anyhoo, I think as time goes on “computers” are just going to increasingly become devices. Just tools we use. We’re still in the era of fascination… we are the cats that just like to play with shiny things. We look for the pretty, the delightful… nothing wrong with that. But it’s also a phase when the new and shiny are associated with social status and fashion and dynamics related to identity. Just like cars, homes, clothes, etc, for many, these various computing form factors have become something more, they’ve become entangled with identity because they are personal attachments. Or maybe it’s the other way around.

I’ve gone off down a rabbit hole.


I had the same thought. Just the nature of the form factor I think! Though it’s not just hardware… iOS has had it’s own innovations. Sometimes I’m not sure where the attraction is, hardware or software.