Since Apple has released iPadOS 14, the iPad has become a great option as a desktop and laptop replacement. However, for those who are used to the desktop setup, making the shift to an iPad as a desktop replacement can be a huge shift. To help you get started, we’ve collected some of the things that you need to think about when using an iPad as a desktop replacement.
Keyboard and a Mouse
One main difference between your iPad and a desktop or laptop is that it is made of glass and aluminum slate, while a laptop resembles a clamshell with a keyboard attached to its screen. If you want to make your iPad like a laptop your first step is to replicate its clamshell appearance.
There are different keyboard styles available for purchase. There is a keyboard with a simple and minimalist look that can be placed beside your tablet or you can get those with docks that can act as a stand for the iPad. You can get a keyboard that has a plastic or fabric case which is also bigger and heavier.
If you want to use your iPad as a PC or desktop replacement, you need to get external hardware like the keyboard and a mouse. Without a functioning keyboard and mouse, you will have a hard time using your iPad as a laptop or desktop replacement. Thanks to the latest iPad OS update, external mouse and trackpad hardware are now supported, which allows you to use your tablet with a desktop or laptop-like cursor.
You must get a keyboard to go with your mouse. A Bluetooth keyboard can be paired with your iPad, so you can type easily with no worries. You can also get a keyboard cover that works as a case and make your iPad look like a laptop. Apple offers keyboard covers that come with various features, depending on the type of iPad you are currently using. If you have an iPad Pro, you can get a Smart Keyboard or a Magic Keyboard case. The Smart Keyboard connects to the smart connector of the tablet and also works as a cover when you are not using it. However, it does not come with flexibility features when it comes to viewing angles.
Third-party keyboards can be used with your iPad, depending on the features they offer. You can look into keyboard options that can turn your iPad into a desktop. These come in a detachable keyboard and track cover setup for your iPad. You can also get one with an adjustable kickstand which can be more useful depending on your user because of its flexibility and its ability to be adjusted according to your viewing angle preference. You can also look into keyboard options that come with a combined trackpad, but if you have a limited budget, you can get one without a trackpad.
Look for app substitutions
Apple limits the kind of software that you can install and use on your iPad, however, there are iOS versions of apps that are available. Cloud-based applications are also available through the web browser, so you can use them accordingly. Media-streaming services have iOS apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Spotify, HBO, YouTube, etc. which you can easily stream on your iPad.
If you use apps to send files or open links in different apps and web browsers, you can download an app like Opener, which allows you to use the iOS share sheet. You can also use an app like 1Password so you can access protected online accounts on different devices whether on iOS or PC. Another option is TextExpander, which can help you save time from typing the same email messages, names, addresses, or forms by making shortcuts that correspond to longer sentences and paragraphs you can use while working.
If you need to create a to-do list, you can use Apple’s Reminders app, which is free to use and perfect for your daily tasks. You can also use Todoist or Omnifocus which allows you to arrange your priorities such as tasks and projects that you want to accomplish daily. If you need a word processor, you can use Google Docs or Microsoft Office Online, which are both free and flexible and works with Word, Excel, etc.
You can also use iA Writer and Scrivener, which you can use to write, create drafts, or organize your word files. If you need a text editor, you can use the Drafts app, which allows you to send the text that you have written to other apps so that you can save time and increase your productivity especially if you have limited time to work on your tasks.
If you need to edit your images, there are plenty of apps to use, such as VSCO, Adobe Lightroom CC, Snapseed, or Pixelmator. If you have an Apple Pencil, you can easily replicate a lot of image editing you do on your laptop.
The Apple Pencil is great for creating digital artworks and sketching if you are an artist. You can use Procreate, Autodesk SketchBook, and Photoshop Sketch. You can also use Adobe Photoshop if you need detailed edits, which is quite common for professional designers and graphic artists.
If you need work apps, you can download Slack. LumaFusion can be used to edit videos, while Evernote, TeamViewer, and Ulysses are minimalist word processors. Notability can help you convert your notes into text and files. Other apps can be used, like iMovie, which is video editing software, while GarageBand is a digital audio workstation.
Get game accessories
You can get accessories like a game controller if you want to utilize your iPad as a gaming console like your laptop or desktop. Apple supports gamepad-style control pads. While the support for these types of devices is not yet perfect, you can still use them to get a PC-like feel for your iPad games.
Understand how to manage app windows
To use your iPad as a replacement for your laptop and desktop, you need to understand how to handle your app windows. Window management on the laptop or desktop can be easy, while on the iPad, you have to drag apps and hold them in place, and swipe them to a specific part of the screen to keep multitasking.
You can use the Split View feature of the iPad so that you can use two apps side by side. The Slide Over feature uses an iPhone-shaped version of the apps on a section of your iPad’s home screen or on top of the app that you are currently using, this allows you to use up to three apps simultaneously and you can drag and drop items such as images and files among them.
You can start using the iPad’s multitasking feature by opening an app and placing it on your iPad dock. Then, you can choose another app in the dock, you need to perform a long press then drag it up on the top of the current app you are using or next to it by using the Split View feature of your iPad. You can adjust the size that each app uses by adjusting the central divider from either the right or left direction. You can also open a third app and place it on top of the two apps. For example, you can open the word processor, image editor, and messaging app simultaneously.
If you are not used to the Split View feature, make sure to study it so you will not become frustrated by switching from one app to another as not every app supports the multitasking mode.
Purchase a stand for your iPad
Using an iPad on a stand can help with your posture. Being hunched over while your neck is tilted downward can cause neck strain, painful back, and unpleasant posture. You can get an iPad stand with an articulated arm or swiveling head that will allow you to place your iPad in portrait or landscape mode. Make sure to pair it with your Bluetooth keyboard and mouse or trackpad so that you can control it accordingly.
Purchase a hub for flexibility
If you need to attach different devices to your iPad you can use a hub. A USB type C hub will allow you to connect different devices like digital cameras, USB flash drives, external hard drives, etc. If you need to use your iPad for a conference call, you can connect it with an Ethernet port so that you can enjoy a seamless lag-free conference call.
You can also use a hub that comes with an SD card slot so that you can easily transfer your images from the card to your iPad to an app of your choice or the cloud. You can also connect a wired keyboard if you do not want to use a wireless model. You can also use the hub to connect your iPad to a bigger display like a monitor. This will allow you to display photos, presentations, and use editing tools easily. An iPad can be used for your everyday tasks which normally involve using the internet, watching online videos, writing, reading e-books, and editing images.
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