How to Successfully Replace a Laptop With an iPad

Tablets have revolutionised the way we work, and Apple’s iPad Pro is now more powerful than many entry-level laptops, not to mention far more intuitive to use.

How to Successfully Replace a Laptop With an iPad

How to Successfully Replace a Laptop With an iPad
In this tutorial, I’ll explain the benefits of replacing a laptop with an iPad, for the average computer user, and suggest both hardware and software to help the transition run smoothly.

Using an iPad Exclusively

Admittedly, an iPad isn’t flexible enough to enable power users like graphic designers, coders and similar to ditch their laptops, Most people, however, will find an iPad more than capable for their needs and a lot easier to use, too.

Here’s three reasons why using an iPad exclusively makes sense for the average user.

1. Portability

Due to its lightweight and compact design, an iPad is extremely portable. It can accompany you anywhere and everywhere you need to go with little hassle.

Weighing just 298.8 grammes, or 0.65 pound, and as thin as a pencil,the iPad mini 4 is Apple’s most compact iPad model, while the 12.9-inch iPad Pro—Apple’s largest iPad—weighs677 grammes(1.49 pounds).

The 12.9-inch Pro iPad is still much lighter than theMacBookat 920 grammes (2.03 pounds).

2. Cost

Depending on the model you buy, an iPad can work out cheaper than a laptop of the same specification. Currently, an iPad Pro is more powerful than an entry-level MacBook, and can even outperform a MacBook Pro on a surprising number of tasks, but at a much lower price.

Despite this, there’s no need to rush out and buy an iPad Pro: a regular iPad is perfectly capable of handling the average person’s computing requirements—I use an iPad Air exclusively, in fact, for both business and personal use.

Apple also sells refurbished iPads, which come with the same one-year Apple warranty as a new iPad. If you’re on a tight budget, then a refurbished model will save you roughly 15% of the cost of a brand new iPad, which can be as much as £170, depending on which model you choose.

You may also find that some apps are cheaper than their computer counterpart, too. To-do list app Things 3, for example, costs £19.99 for iOS, but £48.99 for the Mac version, which is significantly more expensive for what is essentially the same app.

How to Successfully Replace a Laptop With an iPad

3. Ease of Use

Not only is an iPad simple to use, it’s also easy to run and maintain. There’s no need to install drivers, scan for viruses, defragment drives and all that malarkey.

It just works.

In just a few taps, you can access every feature the iPad has to offer, laid out simply, right in front of you. Even young children can navigate their way around an iPad with ease, which is a testament to the iPad’s user-friendly interface.


Once you’ve decided to take the leap from laptop to iPad, there are a few accessories and apps that will help your transition run smoothly.

I must stress, however, that each item featured below is optional, and you can use an iPad just fine as is.


Protect an iPad from the perils of everyday use with a heavy-duty case.

Otterbox’s Defender series provides protection against drops, scratches and dust, and boasts a high-impact polycarbonate shell, durable silicone slipcover and a built-in screen protector.

Griffin’s Survivor seriesis designed and tested to meet or exceed US Department of Defence Standard 810F.

Like Otterbox’s Defender, the Survivor is made up of a shatter-proof polycarbonate frame clad in shock-absorbing silicone with a built-in screen protector. Both are available for all iPad models.

Alternatively, if you prefer something a little less bulky, Apple’s Smart Cover provides good protection against knocks and drops, and is available in a variety of colours that match other Apple accessories.


A keyboard can make all the difference when transitioning from a laptop to an iPad.

Apple’s Smart Keyboard is designed for both the 10.5‑inch and 12.9‑inch iPadPro,and also serves as a screen protector when not in use. Apple also manufactures the Magic Keyboard, which is compatible with all iPad models runningiOS 9.1 or later.

Third-party keyboards, such as the Logitech Keys-to-Go Ultra Slim Keyboard, are generally cheaper than Apple-branded keyboards, but still offer the same functionality at a fraction of the price.

How to Successfully Replace a Laptop With an iPad

USB Adapter

With a USB adapter, you can easily download photographs from a digital camera to an iPad, and share them with family and friends.

Apple’s Lightning to USB Camera Adapter is compatible with all iPad models runningiOS 9 or later, and a must-have for budding photographers.


Although all current iPad models are rated for up to ten hours battery life when surfing the web on Wi‑Fi, watching video or listening to music, an external battery pack can be a useful addition to your arsenal.

Belkin ColourMatch Charge Kit includes an external battery, car charger, home charger, and lightning cable, and is colour-matched to your iPad, while mophie power station mini Universal Batteryprovides hours of additional battery life.

How to Successfully Replace a Laptop With an iPad


Boasting two million-plus apps, the App Store is a treasure trove of software, but it can be difficult to know where to start, and, indeed, which apps to download to replace the programmes you’re accustomed to on a laptop. Here are a few to get you started.

Office Suite

Apple’s iWork is an office suite of free apps, comprising Pages, Numbers and Keynote. Pages is a word processing app, while Numbers and Keynote are spreadsheet and presentation apps, respectively.

Alternatively, Google also offer a similar suite of free apps: Google Docs, Sheets and Slides, as do Microsoft with Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

Photo & Video Editing

Due to the iPad’s simplistic nature, editing photos and videos does not require any expert knowledge.

While the default Photos app does offer some editing functionality, I highly recommend Adobe Photoshop Express for general image editing, closely followed by Snapseed.

Filter-wise, VSCO offers a wide range of filters to make your photos pop, as does Afterlightand its successorAfterlight 2.

iMovie is the best bet for editing video on an iPad. It’s free, easy to use, and can produce high quality home movies in minutes.

How to Successfully Replace a Laptop With an iPad


Wunderlistis the most popular free to-do list app in the App Store, but if you’re after something slightly more powerful,Things 3comes highly recommended.

For general note taking, Evernote takes some beating, and offers more flexibility than the iPad’s default Notes app, whileFantastical 2 is an excellent replacement for theCalendar app.


If you’re a hardcore PC gamer, then opting to replace your computer or laptop with an iPad probably isn’t the wisest decision to make. Casual gamers, however, will enjoy the sheer scope of choice the App Store has to offer, and many games cost less than £5 to buy, or are free to play.

Take match-three puzzle game Candy Crush Saga, for example. Candy Crush Saga is free to download and play, but the app offers a variety of optional paid extras, such as unlimited lives and boosters, to enhance gaming experience.

Sandbox construction game Minecraft is currently the most popular paid game in the App Store, costing just £4.99, as opposed to £17.95 for the computer version.

How to Successfully Replace a Laptop With an iPad

Music & Video

Streaming music and video is where an iPad truly excels, as its portability means you can easily listen to music or watch a movie on the go, as long as you have an internet connection.

Freemium app Netflix is jam-packed with movies, TV shows and documentaries, while users based in the USA and Japan can enjoy the many TV showsHulu has to offer, as well as watch live TV.

Amazon Prime Video is another great streaming service, and free, too, if you’re an Amazon Prime customer.

Music-wise,Spotify is free to use, albeit ad-supported, and has an extensive catalogue of 30 million-plus songs, while Apple’s own subscription-based serviceApple Music allows you to stream music to other Apple devices such as the HomePod.


In this tutorial, I’ve explained the benefits of replacing a laptop with an iPad for the average computer user, and suggested both hardware and software to help your transition run smoothly.

If you’re still struggling to decide which iPad to buy, check out my guide onhow to choose the best iPad for you.