How to use your iPad as a laptop

For many people, the doubt between buying a tablet or a laptop is quite excruciating. Thanks to the latest models of Apple products, it is possible to find a compromise that can satisfy almost anyone. In fact, using an iPad as a notebook is quite simple, following a few tricks!

The Cupertino tablet has as its basic concept the approximation between the aforementioned two worlds, with the most recent models being able to work with a mouse and keyboard , as well as having USB-C ports . Just like a classic laptop!

iPad as a notebook: which model to choose?

The iPad Pro is the most notebook-like tablet produced by Apple. It comes in two sizes, 11-inch and 12.9-inch (with a price change of course), has the new M1 chip adopted by Macbooks inside, and charges via a single USB-C port like most new laptops. .

The 10.9-inch iPad Air comes in second but doesn’t offer the same level of performance. The Air has USB-C charging but is powered by the slightly older A14 Bionic system-on- chip . Both the Pro and Air range are compatible with the new Magic Keyboard accessory , which goes a long way in making the iPad look more like a laptop.

Even though the iPad Pro shares the same chip as Apple’s Mac range, performance is limited by the lack of cooling and the more compact size. The 24-inch iMac and 13-inch MacBook Pro have internal fans that allow them to stay under load longer before clock speeds drop, while the iPad Pro only relies on the aluminum chassis to dissipate the heat .

Another way the iPad M1’s performance doesn’t quite match that of the MacBook M1’s is in the way iPadOS handles RAM. The iPad Pro 2021 has 8GB of RAM or 16GB on the 1TB and 2TB models . At the moment, processes can use up to 5GB of RAM , regardless of which iPad Pro you own – this means that a single app cannot use the full power of the iPad Pro, although more RAM means better multitasking performance .

The display size you choose can also have a big impact. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro offers more screen real estate for better multitasking and is also ideal for artists who appreciate more surface to work on. The smaller 11-inch Pro and 10.9-inch Air look more like a tablet as they are much better suited for mobile use.

Add a keyboard or mouse to any iPad

A key step in making an iPad equivalent to a notebook is to add a keyboard and possibly a mouse . You can do this with both wired and wireless peripherals that use Bluetooth , provided you have the right adapters.

If you have an iPad with USB-C sockets like Pro or Air, you can connect a USB-C mouse or keyboard, or use a standard USB-A to USB-C to accommodate peripherals with the older connector type. There is nothing to enable or install, most keyboards should work fine anywhere you can enter text.

You can also connect a Bluetooth keyboard or mouse. For the appropriate settings you need to go to Settings – Bluetooth on your iPad, then put the keyboard or mouse into pairing mode . When you see it appear in the list, tap it to pair it. In addition to regular Bluetooth mice and keyboards, Apple’s Magic Trackpad 2 can also be used with iPadOS.


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Not only that: keep in mind that there are a number of convenient iPad keyboard shortcuts that you can use to make using iPadOS even easier. These obviously include the classic copy and paste ( Command + C and Command + V , respectively) and the change of app ( Command + Tab ).

To customize the appearance of the mouse pointer, go to Settings – Accessibility – Pointer Control , where you can change the size, color, shape of the pointer, and more.

Specific peripherals for bringing iPad closer to a laptop

If the Magic Keyboard is an ideal solution for making iPad Air or iPad Pro like a laptop, it is not the only solution.

This is a great stand that makes using your tablet on a desk or other flat surface much more enjoyable. In addition, it includes a responsive keyboard, multi-touch trackpad and USB-C port, as well as appreciable solutions in the design field (after all we are talking about Apple).

Unfortunately, the Magic Keyboard is an expensive accessory. If you have a tight budget, look Combo Touch of Logitech for the Pro models from 11 inches and 12.9 inches. It features a Surface- style keyboard and trackpad , with a stand built into a folio design that also protects your iPad.


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IPad docks are also available, allowing you to connect many more devices to your computer. For example, Anker PowerExpand 6-in-1 for iPad Pro includes multiple sockets, including a 3.5mm stereo jack , USB 3.0 Type A , HDMI output, and USB-C port for charging or other accessories. It is small enough to be carried around with you or even left permanently attached to your tablet.

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Pair your iPad with a monitor

Laptops are valued for their portability, but can become as useful as desktops when paired with a suitable external monitor . IPads can also be used with external displays, although their usefulness in this respect often depends on what you’re trying to do or the app you’re using.

Unfortunately, the iPad only displays in 4: 3 aspect ratio when connected to an external display. This may seem a little odd on a standard widescreen monitor , with black bars appearing on both sides of the screen.

If you are determined to use your iPad with an external display, there are three ways to do this:

  • USB-C to USB-C : If both iPad and monitor have USB-C connectors, use the USB-C cable that came with the monitor to connect it. If your monitor has USB-PD, it will play your iPad images;
  • USB-C to suitable connector : You can take a cable from your iPad’s USB-C port to an appropriate adapter for your monitor (such as the aforementioned Anker PowerExpand 6-in-1);
  • Lightning Digital AV to HDMI Adapter : If your iPad has a Lightning port, Apple’s Lightning Digital AV Adapter lets you connect to an HDMI compatible display.

Other iPadOS features that can help you

iPadOS has moved away from the original iOS, with Apple migrating features like the typical Mac dock to the iPad to make it a more productive workspace. These features make it much easier to use the iPad from a laptop perspective, particularly when it comes to multitasking.

You can use up to three apps at the same time on your iPad: two open side by side with Split View and a third that floats up via Slide Over . To do this, open an app, then swipe up to bring up the iPad dock again. Tap and drag your second app to the side of the screen you want it to occupy.

In this mode, you can grab the center divider to decide how much screen space to allow for each app. You can then add a third app by swiping up to reveal the dock, then tapping and dragging the app to the center divider between the other apps.

While you have two apps open next to each other, you can drag and drop them. This allows you to do things like drag and drop an image from Photos into a new email message or upload a file from Files to a cloud storage service like Google Drive .

The dock is also very useful for getting things done. You can remove items by tapping and dragging or add apps by grabbing the app icon and moving it to the dock. The part of the dock to the right of the pinned items will show recently used apps with a number of useful shortcuts.

App substitutes and other flaws

iPadOS has become considerably more laptop-like over the years, but you may find yourself resorting to app substitutes for some tasks. For example, although Safari on iOS is a full web browser, not all websites work well.

Even web apps designed for traditional browsers (rather than touch ones) can have some problems from time to time. There are versions of classic apps that can be used through browsers, but this can be a limit for some users, since they are still tied to a browser for their use. Apple’s approach to the iPhone and iPad limits the operating system compared to macOS .

The selection of apps available to you in the App Store may determine what you can use your iPad for. The situation is much better than it once was, with Adobe, for example, finally bringing a corrected version of Photoshop to the iPad. But forget about the breadth of software accessible on macOS or Windows.

We are not yet talking about a laptop

The iPad is not yet close to replacing a full-fledged laptop. It may never get there due to the restrictive approach Apple has taken with iPadOS.

But if you only use your laptop for surfing the web, taking notes, processing text and other light activities, chances are that such a device can replace your laptop 99% of the time.


by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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