My experience using an iPad as my main computer

Francesco Pretelli
4 min readJul 25
Photo by Unsplash

Last month, I went back to Italy for a few weeks and planned to work from there for one week before switching to full holiday mode.

Since it was only a week, I made the bold decision to leave my MacBook at home, thinking that the iPad should be more than enough to handle the tasks required by my workflow.

My workflow mainly consists of:

  • Slack
  • Google Docs/Sheets
  • Google Meet
  • Emails
  • Other internet-based services (Jira, Confluence, Github)”

As you can see, there is nothing in that workflow that specifically requires a MacBook. The iPad should be more than sufficient for completing all my tasks.

What further boosted my confidence was the fact that I would not be using my iPad mini. Instead, I would be using a 6th gen iPad Air with M1 silicon, along with an external display, mouse, and keyboard.

In case you are unfamiliar, M1 iPads support Stage Manager on an external monitor. This feature allows you to drive an external display independently from the iPad screen, giving you access to two monitors and increasing productivity.

I was actually quite excited to try it out.

While there have been complaints about Stage Manager, I wondered how bad it could really be, as long as it can display apps or websites on an external monitor, it should be sufficient to cover my workflow.

It turns out, it was not.. 🥲

I struggled with Stage Manager on a daily basis. The first time I connected the external display, it automatically started in mirror mode, which is likely intentional.

To resolve this, I accessed the iPad Settings, disabled screen mirroring, and voila! The external display appeared in all its glory.

Unfortunately, I had to keep turning off mirroring mode at least once or twice a day, especially after the iPad went to sleep.

Eventually, I discovered that the keyboard and mouse were going to sleep, causing the iPad to revert back to mirror mode. While understandable, it would be helpful to have a setting to choose the default option since I often used…

Francesco Pretelli

Engineering Manager - Tokyo. I write about everything, from tech to daily stuff.