Can an iPad Replace a Laptop?

Can Ipad Replace Your Laptop Featured

Apple’s iPad lineup is more powerful than ever, and because of that, Apple continues to position it as a potential laptop replacement. If you are not someone with heavy needs like heavy photo or video editing, an iPad can be a really great machine. On the other hand, if you need five applications open at a time, an iPad simply cannot replace a laptop. So how do you know if an iPad is right for you as a laptop replacement? Let’s find out.

The iPad Can Replace Your Laptop

There is an app for that

For many computer users, their laptop or desktop is mostly a means to explore the Web, use Facebook or check email. If that is your case, the iPad can absolutely replace a laptop. With millions of apps available, the iPad has become an incredible productivity machine. Apps for nearly every bank exist, so you can easily manage your finances. All major retailers have apps available, so you can shop till you drop without ever getting off your sofa.

Can Ipad Replace Your Laptop Apple Pen

Desktop browser

What if you want to do work? The iPad is ready for that as well. The release of iPadOS 13 led to the release of a desktop-class version of Safari. That means any website you visit has fewer compatibility issues, and you will see far fewer mobile websites. There is even a download manager for grabbing files that can go right into the Files app which is similar to Finder or File Explorer.

Can Ipad Replace Your Laptop Files App

Office Suite and accessories

The combination of Apple’s iWork suite of desktop-quality applications with Microsoft Office apps makes it easy to duplicate laptop-level work. You can design a PowerPoint, fill in a spreadsheet or write a paper for class, all from your iPad. And with dozens of Bluetooth keyboards and cases available, it is easy to connect a keyboard to your iPad for easier typing. The release of iPadOS 13 even made it easy to connect a mouse. That alone makes it even more believable that an iPad can work as a laptop replacement.


What about multi-tasking? One of the most-need features of laptop users is the ability to have multiple applications open at once. You can have Outlook open alongside Chrome all while you are watching Netflix. While it won’t function the exact same way on an iPad, you can absolutely achieve the same goal.

Multi-window apps enable two apps to work side by side. That means you can have one side open with a browser and the other side of your screen filled with the Notes app. Netflix can play in a smaller window in a screen corner, too, so you don’t miss any of your favorite shows. Instead of Netflix, you can open another app, such as Photos, that will slide over from the side as needed.

The iPad Will Not Replace Your Laptop

While the idea of using an iPad as a laptop is not for everyone, there are specific groups of people that come to mind first.

Underpowered for professional apps

The easiest to identify are those who need professional photo- or video-editing software. The iPad has a number of great photo- and video-editing apps and they come very close to desktop-like support. Unfortunately, they don’t always come close enough, and to make them work on an iPad, compromises have to be made. For millions of professionals out there, that simply will not do.

No proprietary software

If your office runs some type of proprietary software, that too can make it an immediate no for an iPad replacing a laptop. Too many businesses are still using their own software to keep things moving. Even with the millions of apps available, one might not exist to replace that particular software. Even without proprietary software, some presentations require desktop-level Office software. PowerPoint for the iPad is really great, but it’s not desktop great. If you are heavily reliant on this for work, the iPad as a laptop is not for you.

Can Ipad Replace Your Laptop Keyboard Case

Not (as) customizable

The idea of a desktop operating system is that you can easily customize it to your liking. That is not really the case for the iPadOS. While it does come with a dock that looks like macOS, its internal is still pretty locked down with limited customization options.

Can an iPad really replace a laptop? The answer to that question is dependent on your laptop usage. It is not so black and white. It really depends on your needs. Can the iPad replace a laptop for most people? Sure, but in that case, so can a smartphone. For those that really only require a few critical applications and a web browser, a smartphone does a fine job. Anyone who needs professional software should look to the iPad as more of an entertainment device than productivity machine. How about you? Have you used the iPad as a laptop? Let us know your experiences in the comments.

David Joz
David Joz

David is a freelance tech writer with over 15 years of experience in the tech industry. He loves all things Nintendo.

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