Can You Use an iPad for Remote Work in 2021?

Remote workers crave portable gadgets so that they can work on the go. Apple’s iPad is becoming an increasingly capable computer device, and the iOS operating system now provides crucial functionality that professionals have craved for years.

Is the iPad ready to handle serious work-from-home activities?

For basic work activities like writing documents and doing research, the iPad does the job as well as a full-fledged MacBook would. But for tasks that require sophisticated software– like programming, graphic design and video editing– the iPad falls short due to software limitations.

Before you take the plunge and invest in the cutting-edge tablet as your primary workhorse, here are a few things to consider.

Using an iPad for Zoom Meetings

Zoom works exceptionally well on an iPad, performing smoothly if your internet connection is stable and fast. Most of the features available in the Mac version of Zoom is available on the iPad.

But there’s one quirky thing you’ll have to put up with. If the iPad is tilted to landscape mode (widescreen), then the camera will be on either the left or right side of the screen. When you look at the screen during a Zoom meeting, it’s going to look as if you’re peering to the side of the camera. Nonetheless, it’s not a deal breaker.

Using a Mouse and Keyboard with an iPad

While the iPad was traditionally tailored towards a touchscreen experience– via fingers or Apple Pencil. The iPad provides full support for bluetooth keyboards and mice so that you can use your iPad as a laptop-like device.

To connect your mouse or keyboard to your iPad, you’ll need to navigate to the Bluetooth settings on your iPad. Make sure that your mouse and keyboard are in pairing mode. Then tap the device on your iPad to pair the device with your iPad.

Connecting an iPad to an External Monitor

If you intend to fully replace your laptop with an iPad, then you eventually may want to connect an external monitor to your iPad. Both old and new models of the iPad can be connected an external monitor.

Older models of the iPad can be connected to an external monitor by using a lightning-to-HDMI adapter.

The newer models of the iPad Pro– which include a USB-C port– can be connected to an external monitor directly via USB-C if you monitor supports a USB-C connection.

Alternatively, if you monitor supports HDMI, then you can use a USB-C to HDMI adapter to connect your iPad Pro to your monitor.

Lastly, you can mirror your iPad screen to be viewed on a larger smart TV via AirPlay. This allows you to wirelessly view your iPad on the TV through the WiFi network, but does not allow you to use the TV as a secondary display.

Google Docs and Google Sheets on an iPad

Google provides a free suite of software including Google Docs and Google Sheets that works directly in your browser. For the iPad, there are native iOS apps for Google Docs and Sheets that provide a sleek and smooth experience.

While the Google Docs interface for iPad doesn’t include all the features of the full browser version, but it’s a clean minimal design that includes the most important features for editing your documents.

The Google Sheets app for iPad also works nicely, too. But the user interface is designed differently and might throw you off. If you’re accustomed to using keyboard shortcuts when editing spreadsheets, then you may need to relearn some of them to effectively use the iPad Google Sheets app.

Graphic Design on an iPad

For a graphic designer, Photoshop is a critical tool for getting graphical work done. For the iPad, you can download the native iOS Photoshop app from the App Store. However, you’ll need to have an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription in order to use the app.

Photoshop for the iPad has most of the key features that you’d expect: managing layers, adding effects and applying smart filters.

Using the Apple Pencil as a stylus makes it a natural experience to draw with brushes on the Photoshop app. The days of using a Wacom tablet might be near an end.

One of the pitfalls of the iPad Photoshop app is the many missing keyboard shortcuts. As shortcuts are such an integral part of the Photoshop experience, many Photoshop professionals might be turned off by this.

Video Editing on an iPad

One of the shocking discoveries about the iPad is that it performs surprisingly well with video editing. The LumaFusion app has garnered a reputation as the best app for video editing on an iPad.

WIth support for exporting up to 4K resolution video, LumaFusion is a must-have for any remote worker aiming to get some work done while on the road.

With the new iPad Pro models sporting fast CPUs and graphical rendering capabilities, you don’t need to worry about running out of memory or having a sluggish experience.

On the other hand, don’t expect to have the full range of editing options that software like Adobe Premiere Pro and FinalCut Pro offer. Video editing apps for iPad are powerful, but very limited in functionality.

Final Thoughts

So can the iPad perform all of your day-to-day duties good enough to serve as a laptop replacement? Almost, but not quite.

While the iPad seems to have the underlying hardware performance capabilities to keep up with modern laptops, the software tends to be watered down compared to the MacOS counterparts.

As the iPad iOS apps become more advanced, we may start to see the iPad as a serious competitor to the laptop market.

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