Possible Do You Use It? poll about iPad use

I’d be curious to see how many people actually use their iPads.

I’ve always owned an iPad, from the very first version. It rarely, if ever gets used. I can honestly say there is nothing I would do on an iPad I wouldn’t prefer to do on my Mac - despite Apple’s best attempts to convince us it was the future of computing. I wonder how many others have bought an iPad and have it collecting dust on a shelf somewhere.


I use my iPad Air probably as much or maybe slightly more than my MBA. In fact, when I travel overseas, or if I go away for a long weekend, I never carry a MacBook, and the iPad becomes my travel computer.

I’d definitely rather watch movies or video on an iPad than a Mac.


We had a couple iPads since the very first one. But about 4 years ago we decided not to get a new iPad because we just didn’t know what to use it for.

For one, it’s essentially single user (unlike many Android tablets) so we’d need two even though our combined use barely justifies one: we both prefer reading on our phones since they’re always with us and they’re much lighter than an iPad. We prefer watching movies (if not on our large projector in the family room) on a MBP since its speakers and screen are so much better. And when it comes to work, there’s nothing I could do better on an iPad. In fact, most of all my stuff is much easier to do on a Mac than on an iPad. Our last iPad these days sees its only use in the kitchen when we use it to display recipes and even then a MBP is more practical since I can freely adjust the screen. The iPad could disappear from Apple’s lineup tomorrow and I’m afraid I wouldn’t be missing anything.

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my iPad is my main computer with another one for work. Main computer for photos and videos, iPad for pretty much everything else. My 12 inch iPad is a bit large for everyday use, but I find myself reaching for it for browsing, news, email. The iPhone is useful but seems so cramped now.

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I use mine constantly. I only use the computer for things that are easier done there, such as extensive Word or Excel editing, anything other than trivial file handling, editing photos with Luminar, and so forth. Also background type tasks like torrenting, for example. Playing Civ 6 if I feel like using a larger monitor, or Civ 5 at all, is also something that happens.

Finally, much of the time when I want to use the computer I’ll remote over from the iPad


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I agree, but I would have phrased the end of the quoted statement more like despite Apple’s changes making the Macintosh more like an iPad and less easy to use.


This one’s tricky because there may be a lot of categories:

  • Never owned an iPad
  • Owned an iPad in the past but don’t now
  • Own an iPad that’s too old to do many things
  • Own a current iPad but don’t use it
  • Own a current iPad and use it

And a lot of people who have never owned an iPad probably wouldn’t respond at all.

So I’m not sure what actionable information would come out of such a poll.

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I am a heavy iPad user. My 12.9 M1 is my version of a laptop when on the road. My MBPro is only taken when needed and the arrival of pro apps on the iPad has made that very occasional. I also have an iPad mini which is probably my most used device, Mac, iPhone or other iPad. It’s what I check in the morning and spend my time with in the evening.

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I use them entirely for content consumption - essentially as a big iPhone. I have two minis which I used in my airplane which I sold a few months ago and I will probably give them away to friends (they are indispensable when flying for chart storage and a moving map as backup in instrument flight). I also have a 10.5 which I use as a second display for my MacBook Pro.

The weirdness of the iPad App Store results in almost no available apps that interest me. As a retired physicist who still dabbles in occasional calculations and some book writing, the App Store has very little that is useful to me - no compilers (due to Apple’s arcane rules) few CAD, data analysis apps, no Xcode, etc. There is one decent LaTeX typesetter which is still harder to use than various free apps on the Mac which do the same thing.

Marco Arment had an interesting curve plotting ease of use vs complexity and nicely demonstrated that for very simple things the iPad is arguably easier to use but for anything complicated is much harder to use than a Mac. Someone once said that using an iPad for many things is like poking oneself in the face with a stick. I agree.

I would conclude that iPads are no competition for a Mac for almost everything. In fact, I think that an iPad Pro with keyboard is inferior in almost every way to even the cheapest M1 MacBook Air - it is heavier, more expensive (by a factor of 1.5) and the OS is far less competent, particularly for file manipulation and drag and drop.

I have found that the only place where iPads shine is aviation.
(This post has been edited several times).

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For videos when I’m away from my MBP; email, calendar & light web reading during quick overnights, weekends, and extended waiting room situations. Also, when I’m aboard the boat, an iPad at the helm runs two dedicated navigation apps whenever we’re moving.

I read all the digital editions of newspapers over breakfast that I used to read in paper. Advantage is that they are almost always delivered on time which the paper editions frequently were not.

I also love doing crossword puzzles on the iPad, with far less paper waste.


I use my iPad a lot, though I’m noticing that my balance between iPad and iPhone varies depending on which is newer and has better battery life. My iPad (first smaller-sized “Pro”) is getting old and will not run this year’s OS update so I’m on the verge of replacing it. So at this point I use my iPhone a bit more but that won’t last.

I don’t use a laptop so the iPad is what I use whenever I need mobility. I use it on the couch, in bed, when I’m doing a meeting away from my desk, and so on. It’s my primary tool for eBay (since tracking what search results I’ve seen before seems to be device-specific). I use it for games (we have Apple Arcade and I play Minecraft with the kids). I often travel with just the iPhone and iPad.

The biggest limitation (that makes me sometime a borrow my wife’s laptop) is that my work is done via VPN and remote desktop to a VM, and that I can’t do from an iPad. We actually shifted recently to having device management for personal devices and I’ve enrolled my iPhone but so far have managed without enrolling my iPad.

So: I use it a lot, for a bunch of things, and once I have more than 90 minutes or so of battery life I’ll end up using it even more.


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The Pro Apps I use on the iPad are primarily for syncing back to their Mac counterparts, most notably DevonTHINK and Capture One. I love the wonderful screen for watching video when abroad other than that.

I use my 10th gen iPad almost every day when I am indoor rowing (via a Concept2 device holder). With a YouTube Premium (no advertising) subscription I queue up a series of videos and get down to business. Approx. 6 hours per week.

When my partner has the “big” tv, I use the iPad for other video consumption maybe 2-3 hours per week.

Other than those, when on overnight or short trips the iPad works great to for emails, checking news or handling financial stuff.

I have a M1 Mac Mini with a 32" LG monitor as my daily driver.

Could I live without the iPad? Yes, but it certainly makes my life easier and more enjoyable. :smile:

My wife uses her iPad all the time. She started with a 2nd gen, then upgraded to a 1st gen Air and is now using a 7th gen. It gets a lot of use, including as a portable music player (because HomePods still don’t support Spotify and have a hard time streaming Spotify from an iPhone for some reason).

I, on the other hand, never saw a point. I’ve inherited the two older units (the 2nd gen and the Air). I used them for gaming back when my iPod Touch and iPhone were too underpowered for games, but these days, I just use my phone (a 13 mini) for my gaming and I’m happy with it. So the iPads sit on a shelf (on a charger) in case I should want to use them, but they don’t get used. I should probably wipe and recycle them at this point.

My daughter has an iPad Pro, which she used at college for many art classes. She is very good at drawing with it and a Pencil. But since graduation, she tends to use her phone and her desktop PC most of the time, only occasionally using the iPad.

I travel around NYC to various pet-sitting jobs and I like to have my iPad along to keep myself occupied in transit or while hanging out with pets. I would never lug a laptop with me.

I would never try to do serious work on an iPad.

My iPad Mini 6 (replaced my mini 2) is incredibly useful when travelling. It is small enough to carry all day in my backpack, but large enough to write in my journal, compose emails, and serve as a portable library. The screen size allows me to check maps, weather, travel arrangements, tourism web pages etc. far more easily than doing the same on a phone.

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My iPad Pro is my main computer these days. I reach for it much more often than I use my MacBook Air M1 or my iMac Pro.

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My daughter, College bound this fall, is really comfortable with using her iPad Air and a Pencil for notes. Notability is her main tool.

Working with complicated images and page layouts, dealing with complex FileMaker databases, and Excel spreadsheets, MS Word and PowerPoint are what I need a Mac for.

Almost all of my email, ebook reading, checking on my favorite news sources, and just about all of my TidBits Talking is done on my iPad. And now that I’m retired, I have more time for this, as well as occasionally watching stuff on Netflix and other news and entertainment sites.