Being productive with iPad Pro

Is it possible to be productive at work using only an iPad Pro?

OK. My MacBook Pro got stuck in limbo. Tried every boot routine there is in the OS X universe and it just kept dying. Managed to keep it awake long enough to run a diagnostic which left a bleak testimony for the battery. So now it’s in for a battery repair.

Enter iPad Pro.


I have been thinking about it for quite some time. Could I get by with just an iPad at work? I have been curious but also quite skeptic. In my work I feel like a deal a lot with file management. Creating files, changing files, distributing files, organising files.

When I worked for TIDAL I used to laugh at all the old audiophile farts being obsessive with file management. “Forget the files and just enjoy the music. You don’t have to think about the files anymore. The service does all that for you”.

At work. A little different. Or is it?


There’s also the topic of dragging your MacBook to meetings. Unplug all the attached devices. And on the other hand sketch, make notes, share things, be creative – is it better with and iPad Pro than a MacBook Pro in meetings?

Getting Started

So I got out and got an iPad Pro 12.7inch 256Gb Wifi model. Why not the cellular? I am never away from my phone and the phone is a WiFi hotspot with unlimited data rate. Bam!

I’m not going to go through the setup of an iPad. If you read this you know how that works. The only thing to mention is the consideration of what apps to bring. This is going to be my iPad. Not a kid friendly entertainment station. I refer to it as “Dad’s computer” to my kids so they don’t get the idea of borrowing a HUGE iPAD!

So I can allow myself to focus entirely on productivity and organise for working. Which means Trello, Workplace, Work Chat, Skype,, Paper, Notepad+ Pro, Keynote, PowerPoint, Slack, Excel, Figma, the full Google suite, Invision, WordPress, Dropbox, Pixelmator and so on. In addition to the basic things like calendar, contacts and email of course.

Storing Stuff

As mentioned – organising files is part of working. I’d love it to be completely in the background and handled by iCloud Drive and Dropbox, but reality isn’t fully so. Well, it helped me clean up my Dropbox (2Tb) a bit to make things easier. And also allowing for certain apps to use iCloud (1Tb) for storage. As a notorious store-it-on-the-desktop-while-it’s-hot type of guy, it’s a good habit builder to not have a desktop to be lazy with. So most things go to Dropbox. Good boy.

The First Days

The first days are a hybrid between tidying up, being clumsy and slow, finding functions you know on desktop but where are they here (if they are) and getting used to things. There are times where I really miss the mouse and MacBook Pro. It’s mostly when mocking up designs that should look pixel perfect and almost ready to go. Or in Keynote for presentations. Don’t get me wrong – you can make super smooth things in Keynote for iPad, so it’s more that I feel slower than normal. Probably just training and time between the two.

Getting Into It

Bringing it to meetings is sweet! For some reason working in Trello on iPad feels really good, even though the UI is more or less the same. It just feels more…contained. Tamed. Productive. So using it in meetings and making notes and follow-ups in Trello is a winner. I thought it would be sketching things by hand, taking notes by hand with the pencil etc would be. But it is certainly the thing that changes the most, to have Trello up at all times in meetings. Set deadlines, designating members, make check-lists. Bam!

iPad Pros & Cons

To conclude. Yes, it is possible to work on an iPad Pro, unless you use extremely specific software (I’m dearly missiSketch, and the ability to use Invision or Figma fully functional on the iPad). It can give you great focus in meetings and allow you to keep your MacBook at you desk and ready for when you come back (and then use the iPad Pro as a second screen using Duet). The price tag is hard to chew, but the screen and experience hopefully long lived and worth the investment. It’s of course also destined for a happy after life as entertainment machine. It’s slim and nice in the bag and a MacBook’s best friend. It’s a little tedious with file management, but that’s perhaps a pro since you have to clean up and fully allow for a cloud based life.

All in all. Yay.

Next experiment will be to dock my Samsung Galaxy S9 and only work using the mobile phone.

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