What are your biggest barrier(s) to going iPad only or primary


I share this irritation–both with the absence of such a basic file-management function and that thoughtlessness that went into the decision to exclude it. I find myself using the DropBox app to save files because even it allows you to rename a file.

It’s as if nobody at Apple actually uses the Files.app.

I contrast this with the command line utilities available on Unix, Linux, and (of course) macOS. Some of these have been in existence for decades and it’s amazing how much thought went into how the user (whether it be a human or another command in the pipeline) would use the command. There is a reason those commands are still in regular use today. They were more thoughtfully engineered.

My hope is that Files is transformed substantially in iOS 13. Here is my wishlist:

  1. It should have all the basic file management capabilities of Finder or any other desktop file browser and those capabilities should work flawlessly.

  2. Since iPad envisions a cloud first file-management strategy, it should have a robust search tool that searches across all cloud storage locations.

  3. It should have multi-window (tabs and split view) capability for easy file management.

  4. It should be heavily integrated with Siri Shortcuts to allow the kinds of automation we are used to with tools like Hazel.

  5. Tags and favorites should be fully supported (and sync) across cloud platforms (Hey, Apple, don’t introduce half-implemented features).

  6. The ability to follow symlinks (so long as they are to files/folders that are accessible to Files).

  7. Persistent file tabs (remain open even if app is closed).

  8. Access to external file storage.

  9. Bonus: expand tags to emails and notes and include them in searches (either in the Files app or through Siri Search).

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iPad as Laptop Replacement

This issue is pretty easy to overcome with Shortcuts- e.g. this one



Thanks for linking to this short cut here!



For me, my iPad is …

I tried a 2nd-gen 12.9" iPad Pro and just didn’t like the work flow or even the sizes of windows and components on the screen. I gave it to my niece and bought an inexpensive plain vanilla 6th-gen 9.7" iPad. At this point, I really can’t imagine what would have to happen for me to give up my Mac laptop in favor of (only) an iPad. But that’s Apple’s challenge, not mine.

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Not necessarily; I don’t think there’s very strong evidence that Apple is trying to move everyone over to iPad. Yes, they want people like my Dad to realise an iPad can do everything he needs, my wife to know she can do everything she enjoys on it, and me to use one for media consumption.

But Apple’s challenge, sadly, I think is to make money and if they can get you and me to continue buying macOS computers, if sure they’re fine with that.



If I were to turn off my cynical filter, I would say Apple appears reluctant to remove some seemingly simple barriers that would allow many more to go iPad only.



I tried for about a year to go iPad only. My experiment ended about 6 months ago.


  • Battery life
  • Simplistic workflow / window management
  • Lighter than my laptop
  • PDF annotating workflow w/ PDF Expert

Cons: (very specific for my line of work actuary/applied statistician)

  • Most of the analytic software I use doesn’t run on iOS: R, Stan, others
  • I had to keep a Digital Ocean server available to do my work.
  • While Texpad on iOS is a great editor and can compile LaTeX offline, I really needed an editor with scripting capabilities like Sublime Text.
  • I love the newer 15 MacBook Pro screen size and the overall weight. Easy to use with Duet to expand to a second screen. I often need to look at a few PDFs at a time and a text editor. Impossible with an iPad.

I really wanted it to work. For me I found I had to jump through too many hoops.

A different take…
My son is a junior in high school with a BYOD program. He has been using his iPad Pro since day 1. Zero problems. He utilizes Apple’s office suite which works so much better than Google’s web based suite. When the internet goes down, and it often does in high school, he doesn’t lose any work. The pen worked great for his math and science classes. He went 100% paper free for the last three years. Pythonista has been great for his computer programming classes.

My daughter entering high school next year chose the new MacBook Air. Her only complaint so far is the poor quality of the FaceTime camera. During her extensive facetime sessions with the grandparents she uses a spare Logitech camera.



I have a 2nd gen 12.9" iPad Pro and a 2017 5k iMac, and I love the iPad for media consumption. But when I bring the iPad to a Starbucks to get work done I never feel as “in control” as I do when I’m home on the iMac. I feel bottlenecked by almost every iPad app, and I can’t “move” nearly as fast as I can on the desktop. I find myself constantly thinking “God I would have been done with this by now if I was home on the computer…”

The one thing I love the iPad Pro for is marking up PDF’s with the Apple Pencil. I use an application called ZoomNotes that is very powerful.

Basically, it feels like I have to “work the way the iPad works” – versus making the iMac work the way I want to work – and until that changes I just can’t see myself using the iPad as a primary machine.



Thinking about this, for me it’s the wrong question. Why SHOULD I go iPad-only or iPad-primary? What will the iPad do for me that my MacBook Pro can’t do?

For three to five days of the month I need to be as productive from conferences and hotel rooms as I am in my home office. For that reason, it’s helpful to have the same computer in my home office as I use when I’m mobile.

I like my iPad fine or reading, social media, and for short bits of writing, such as (again) social media. But the MacBook Pro is my workhorse. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

I could see using an iPad as my mobile device if the iMac was my primary computer. But I’d be leery of doing that given my travel schedule and my needs when traveling.

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iPad as Laptop Replacement

I personally choose tasks for Mac and tasks for iPad, because there are things iPad is just great at (reviewing, annotating, LiquidText, notes). I usually do sth. on the Mac and change for a while (part of the project) to iPad. It is also a nice change of pace, I can go outside or just change the room.



Said this before, I could use my Ipad 10.5 for most everything I do. No problem to write long fiction but I did that on a C64 with a 40 column screen. WP web sites, little spreadsheets … on and on.

But I have no intention of abandoning my 27" iMac. It’s bigger with space for many windows. I run WPress test sites on it. And and…

The question I ask is what work works on the iPad. For me lots of stuff so it could be my primary. Might have a different response if I wrote primarily in APA or Chicago speak or wrestled with large spreadsheets. And and…