What does your iPad/iOS do better for you than Mac OS

This is not a trolling question about iPad being mac replacement etc. I have both, LOVE both, and use both for work and for play. In the work environment (Booking a lot of travel, making schedules, designing daysheets) a lot of it is fine on iPad, and with shortcuts and a few others things, some things are actually easier for me on the iPad. The only negative for my world at the moment is the lack of textxpander support on the iPad (when using a hardware keyboard). Obviously you can use the textexpander software keyboard from time to time, although I haven’t yet explored a good way of swapping back and forth from the hardware keyboard.

What work related things do you find better on iOS ?

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I’ve actually just discovered one of these things, but it’s become one of my favorite Shortcuts.

Each week I need to check the Revised Common Lectionary for the suggested readings for the coming Sunday. These are published on a web page, but there’s also a calendar that has them too.

For years I have done this on my Mac by going to the web page, finding the link for the next week, loading the readings, and then copying/pasting the readings. And, as it happened, I didn’t like the formatting on the main page, so I would go to another page, which meant copying/pasting the readings to another site, and running a search. It wasn’t difficult, but it was tedious and time consuming, and something that I do every week.

However, now with Shortcuts, it was rather simple to use the built-in features to parse the calendar entries, get the readings, and then go to the other web page automatically, and get the formatting that I want. The end result is that each of the readings gets added into a Bear note.

The whole process now takes about 10 seconds and is nearly error-proof. In fact, I extended it so that I could choose from any upcoming date in the calendar for the next ~30 days, because it’s so easy to do it, that I’m actually working ahead with this part of the work that I need to do.

Would it be possible to do this on the Mac? Sure, but it was much easier to do on iOS.


Some things only work on iOS, for me:

  • Shortcuts - yes, really!
  • Launch Center Pro
  • When Works (though there are alternatives that work on all platforms I’ll grant you.)
  • Cellular everywhere with no tethering.
  • Pencil support.

RE: TextExpander Keyboard - have you tried using apps that enable TE support? Drafts is a great example of this. Then you can use your hardware keyboard but still get the benefits of TE.

For me the key “feature” of iOS though is it’s with me everywhere. There’s nothing that can beat that.


For me, it’s being able to use a computer while lecturing. Taking attendance, drawing on slides and opening diagrams is awesome. Also, reading and annotating PDFs while writing on my Macbook is something I need to do all the time.

Unfortunately, 90% of my work cannot be achieved on iOS. My job involves using either Java IDEs or databases administration tools and neither work on iOS. Some web apps are possible on mobile safari but it’s painfully slow to use compared to a Mac, and both the web apps I use daily at two different universities do not work at all on mobile.

I think the main reason so many web apps are incompatible is simply the user base. I have 300 students this year and not one uses an iPad, so the developers of the web apps are not going to focus on iOS.

I use text replacement instead of Text Expander and this works throughout iOS. I’ve never needed the more advanced features of TE so I’m happy in this respect.

Working on a PDF with LiquidText and Pencil!


I’m enjoying audio editing much more with Ferrite on iOS than I did with Audacity on Mac OS.

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Actually, nothing. But it is pretty portable and has a long running battery. I have the LTE-version and took it for a travel in asia. Pretty good experience so far, but of course, nowhere near being a replacement for my mac work-wise.

iOS helps me focus on writing. I haven’t quite figured it out, but there is enough friction with switching to something else that it seems to keep me in my writing app. Also, any switch to another app (ignoring side by side and slide over), is a complete switch that alerts me to the switch, and thus that I’m getting off track.
On macOS, I can leave the writing app open and do something else. Since I’ve left the writing app open, it doesn’t seem like I’ve lost focus, but I have — a sneaky transition.

  • Note taking / meeting handout markup with pencil + Notability
  • iOS Safari – I like the experience better than macOS Safari; simpler; cleaner
  • The greater variety of Share extensions on iOS
  • Shortcuts – my favorite one grabs calendar info, attendees, etc., and sets up a shell for taking meeting notes
  • Slide over and split screen – done much better on iOS than macOS
  • Downloaded videos from Netflix to watch when traveling
  • Kindle on iOS
  • Pencil. Pencil. Pencil. Best input device ever.

If I had to name but one thing, it would be typing. I am on a 2017 Macbook adorable and ever since I have it, my logitech Create case is my go-to for any long-form text.

• I can use Grammarly to all of my apps since it is easy to switch keyboard
• Drawing storyboard is much faster and with a template, I find it’s easier to lay it out than saving each frame as a document then place them on keynote for presentation.
• I actually enjoy the mobile version of websites on Safari because it is simpler
• Apple Pencil. I hated our work-supplied Wacom. There are hardware problems all the time.
• Single focus apps.
• Since I didn’t install any social network or messaging app on my iPad, it is less distracting (I know I can turn it off on my Mac but not having it installed on my iPad makes it a hassle to install and set-up)
• It is always on. Battery-life is superb. It is light and easy to carry around.
• all my comics collection are on it thru Comixology.
• Annotating PDF.
• taking notes with the Pencil while recording Audio with Notability.
• drawing with Procreate and Apple Pencil.
• Editing videos with LumaFusion and Pencil (I stopped using FCPX since then).
• editing RAW photos with the Apple Pencil.
• following recipes while cooking with Paprika.
• I carry around my magazines and books thru various apps.
• movies purchased thru iTunes or offline saved movies on Netflix.
• Being able to play Civilization VI anywhere you are (it kills your battery though)

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I pretty much use iOS/iPad for 100% of my reading now, both for my profession and for personal enjoyment.

The wiring to the display in my MacBook Pro needs repairing, so I’m in a bit of a “forced” experiment to see if I actually need a MacBook to get work done away from the laboratory, and so far the answer has been no. The iPad has been pretty great for my needs thus far, more than I originally thought it would.

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Reading and marking up PDFs is much better on the iPad than on the Mac. Now that I’ve got the new Apple Pencil I’m also trying to use the iPad for taking notes in meetings. Basically, anything travel related (the iPad has become my primary travel device).

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Mark-ups / sketching/ touch input

Game selection, better gaming experience overall

Built-in 4G connectivity

GPS replacement

Battery life

Reading/streaming (websites, ebooks, movies) anywhere

Cheap(er) computing option for kids

Simpler device management/backups. Easier to lend to newbie to use to do things.

Siri (I regularly set timers and reminders)

Affordability: $329 ($250 this time of year) for a powerful, dependable, portable, easy to use and maintain computer that grandma/grandkid can use? Why not.

Great Replies. Thank folks. I’ll reply directly on a few of the specifics above

Hi Rosemary,
Yes, I use drafts a lot, and when the item starts in drafts, it works really well, but when the item starts somewhere else (emails, updating items in spreadsheets etc), it is not really a viable option to go from the email program (copying message to drafts, processing whatever it is that I need to do and then firing it back to mail to reply. I realize that I can send the email from drafts, but at that point it means having to also retrieve all the sender, subject information etc.

I have toyed with Dispatch a little due to the native Textexpander support, and while I do like some of the dispatch features, I don’t love it as my core email app.

I keep getting sucked back into the stock mail app as it just seems to work. Airmail, Spark etc all have some great features, but all have some sort of major flaw that let’s it down. For me, it is usually the search feature, the others rarely manage to find the items in question even with the most basic of searches.


Jeremy Plotnikoff
Chris Botti Tour Manager

Are you talking about the built in apple text replacement ?. If so, is there a way to get things to be on more than one line ?. It seems like whatever I do it’s forces it to be on a single line. If I were only correcting words from time to time or short expansions, then that would probably work, but then it also conflicts with normal textexpander when I do the same thing

Yes, the built-in system one.

You have to create the text replacement on a Mac to include line breaks. While filling the “with“ column, press option-return to insert a line break and then it works on all devices.


perfect, I knew there had to be a better way. Thanks so much

Jeremy Plotnikoff
Chris Botti Tour Manager

I’ve found it’s faster for me to go through my email using Airmail on iOS. I also like Notability on iPad to take handwritten notes and Twitter on the iPhone to live tweet conference notes.

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