Will Apple Fix the Problems with iPadOS?

We have beautiful new and expensive iPads available. The hardware is tremendously capable. The question is, will Apple continue to hamstring the new iPads by failing to address the weakness of iPadOS? I want to think that Apple will take this “AI moment” to address the deficiencies, but given the history, I’m not hopeful.

1 Like

We have been saying for years now that the software is holding the iPad back. Why would they change now? :stuck_out_tongue:

1 Like

Other than a replacement for Siri I can’t think of any major on-device AI features that might excite the general public. Call screening, circle to search, and gee-whiz AI photo editing hasn’t seemed to help sales of the Pixel phone.

1 Like

As long as you accept the iPad for what Apple visualizes its place, there are no problems to fix. The “Problem” is expecting it to be more.


That is the shibboleth that many pundits, and my fellow MPUers, like to herald each time an iPad is released. In fairness, it’s true–but only partially. The iPad is held back by software, but each year it is less and less held back. The software has improved greatly year-over-year. I’ve watched it. I have experienced it.

I have kept a running list of things that the iPad can’t do that I need it to do, which list I update yearly. That list has grown steadily shorter. Every year I have gotten to cross off one or more items. It is now down to just a few items. I can do almost everything on my iPad that I can on my Mac. The largest deficiency for me today is that some third-party apps do not treat the iPad like a first class citizen. My problem is less with iPadOS, but with weak third-party apps. NOT all third-party apps are weak. But some that I rely on are.

(There remain iPadOS improvements on my list, but I think my third-party app needs outnumber them.)


WWDC24, as always, will be the touchstone.

Personally, IDK about iPad and M4, but I’m already totally prepared to see almost no coverage/improvement for anything to do with Smart Home (HomeKit, etc.) other than coincidental collateral improvement in Siri voice commands for HomeKit, if and only if, Siri, overall, is finally improved.

Historically, setting low personal expectations makes WWDC more enjoyable as anything, literally any improvement, is better appreciated instead of extreme disappointment :wink:


It really is individual use-case driven, and varies greatly.

In the past, when I was constantly onsite with multiple clients, I would put up with all the limitations just to have the weight/portability, but now, with the MacBook Air available and my workload shifting away from client and to more content production, the iPad has gotten a lot worse for me.

As David says on MPU, it is much more rewarding to only use the iPad as Apple promotes it instead of trying to be some super-power user “proving” it can do everything.

Even the things it does fine, I ENJOY doing them more on MacOS/laptop and since the higher-end apps I use are not on iPad, I don’t have to keep switching context and juggling so many things just to get something done.


I agree the software has gotten better, but it’s still not good enough. Take the Files app. I am not all in on iCloud, and it works with other 3rd party cloud services…sometimes. I have tons of issues getting it to sync with OneDrive and Synology Drive. Often having to force restart the app. I need a proper file system that works without an app syncing with other apps. This isn’t just Apple though, MS is just as bad here. Office on the iPad works great, if you use OneDrive, not so much otherwise. On iOS I have to use whatever cloud service that company supports. Adobe Cloud for Adobe apps, OneDrive for MS apps, etc. Otherwise getting things to sync is more trouble than it is worth. I don’t have this issue on a Mac.

I have an M2 Pro. Nothing even remotely pushes it. Everything is made to work on the mass market iPad Airs, so the extra power of the M2 is not really used. I could use Photoshop/Lightroom on it, but the Mac versions are still far better there. (And again it is hamstrung by not having a proper file system.)

Games maybe could use the power, but iOS gaming is a hellhole of cash grabs or games that are not supported after initial release. I have mostly given up on games just because I have so many bad experiences with it.

1 Like

At this point, I don’t believe that Apple thinks that ipadOS is broken or has problems. It’s what they want it to be. Yes, the software doesn’t take full use of the hardware, but I don’t think Apple cares.

If you want to do more, they’d suggest you buy a mac


iPadOS has become remarkably robust, but on the edges is incomplete.

I have a work Macbook Pro (last Intel), and work iPadPro (M1), along with a personal Apple Studio Display. Last week, for some reason or other the MBP was acting up, so I decided to connect the iPadPro to my ASD so I could catch up on some emails via Outook. About four hours later, after going through emails, updating PowerPoint slides, moving content around, etc., I realized that I had been doing it all off of the iPadPro. I mean, it was obvious I was on iPadOS, but having it connected to my Logitech bluetooth keyboard and magic trackpad, made it ‘feel’ as productive as on the MBP.

The small updates to iPadOS - like being able to move windows around, and resize them, was very easy. I was able to run the same 4 app window structure that I run on my MBP. Also, it helped that iPadOS enabled a higher resolution in the ASD.

The biggest frustration was with Microsoft Teams App. MSFT haven’t updated the app to account for an external webcam. However - surprise, surprise - when acessing Teams via Safari, the external webcam works!

Overall the incremental improvements have gotten iPadOS to ~70% of what my typical day requires. It is at the point where on my next work trip, I’ll take only the iPad. Yes, most of the efficiency that I felt was tied to the external monitor, but I have access to great monitors at my company work locations, so that solves for that.

My biggest current complaint is the lack of multi-user access. But that’s more on my personal iPadPro (M2). The good thing is there are password protected email clients out there, otherwise I fear handing my ipad to my kid!

edit: spelling


The issue is not that the iPad cannot do this or that. I’ve been working off the iPad Pro for two years now and agree the list of things the iPad cannot do is becoming shorter and shorter.

The problem is that working on the iPad requires jumping through so many hoops for things that would otherwise be just a couple of clicks on the Mac that you end up with quite elaborate and overly complex workflows (read: massive amounts of shortcuts and a total mess of a share sheet) just to account for the iPad’s deficiencies. At that point this leads to frustration, at least for me, that Apple does not see a problem with where iPadOS is today.

And no, they will not ‘fix’ anything this or any other WWDC because they do not feel anything is inherently ‘wrong’ with iPadOS. (Yeah, I’m not optimistic.)


If Apple developed macOS today, it would pretty much be iPadOS optimized for non-touchscreen use and desktop style applications. It wouldn’t be nearly as hackable, you couldn’t install software or utilities from anywhere but the App Store, you’d have limited access to the file system, and you couldn’t easily replace iCloud with the cloud service of your choice.

Mac users would rebel if they tried that now, and a lot of them would switch to other desktop operating systems, but iPad users have never known anything different. A few of them (including folks here) may grumble, but they’ll keep buying iPads anyway, especially since there’s still no other really good combination of tablet hardware and operating system.

1 Like

They aren’t wrong. It’s just that they keep trying to also say it can replace your Mac, and a bunch of pundits/podcasters (and MPU forum posters) love to pose the question of making the iPad their main machine.

I am perfectly happy with my iPad as an entertainment device. The last event trying to sell me on “more power” did nothing for me though. My old 2018 iPad Pro has no problems running anything, it’s just that the battery doesn’t agree.

But do they? I’ve never heard Apple saying, for example, “now that the iPad can run Final Cut, you can ditch that Mac.”

They highlight lots of new things that the iPad can do, but the only people I hear talking about outright replacing a Mac with an iPad are tech pundits and/or a small-ish group of typical users for whom the touch interface makes more sense to them.


They did that add a year or two ago along the lines of “What is a computer?” that showed people using iPads. That generated this same kind of discussion.

What weakness? Can you provide detail?

I highly recommend waiting until the keynote is finished then fast forwarding to any points of interest.

For a lot of people, an iPad is a perfectly cromulent Mac replacement. In fact, I’d guess that a majority of people could get by just fine with only an iPad.

The reason we keep having this discussion (and we keep having it over and over and over again) is that folks for whom the iPad is not a replacement for a Mac are overrepresented in our circles. Tech podcast hosts and the people who listen to tech podcasts are much more likely to do things with their Mac that are more difficult to do on an iPad or can’t be done at all. And that’s fine. That’s why Apple still sells lots of Macs.



Six years ago around 80% of our users could have done their entire job in Safari. Today any number of internet connected devices are potential replacements for a traditional Mac or PC.


I agree. AFAIK, while Apple has said a iPad is a computer (which it is), they’ve never said it can replace a Mac. It’s more that they’ve encouraged people to question whether they really need a laptop or desktop computer for the kinds of things they do.