How to Turn Your iPad Into a Laptop [Complete Guide] | 2022

Can you turn an iPad into laptop mode? Yes, you can. The device connects to the internet, runs apps, and has a screen. Apple is also advancing the iPad’s operating system significantly toward the efficiency and power of a laptop. It also includes numerous hidden features that let you do this, such as the Apple magic keyboard which gives users a great typing experience.

For instance, the University of Kentucky opted to give freshman scholars iPads instead of laptops. The institution’s officials believe that the latest iPad Pro can address students’ needs.

The real question isn’t whether it can replace a laptop but if you can achieve the same delivery and performance as the latter. Again, yes, you can, but this requires some effort in terms of setup and usage.

Which iPad Best Replaces a Laptop?

All Apple tablets, cheap and expensive, can turn into a laptop. But the iPad Pro is the best Apple iPad that turns into a laptop. It charges using a USB-C port, comes with the new M1 chip, and is available in 12.9- and 11-inch screen sizes. At 10.9 inches, the iPad Air closely follows behind, but it leverages the older A14 Bionic system-on-chip.

The iPad Pro uses the same chip as the Mac range, but the missing form and cooling factors limit its performance. While the 13-inch and 24-inch MacBook Pro have built-in fans that keep them under load for longer, the iPad Pro disperses heat using the aluminum chassis alone.

The M1 iPads that turn into laptops also manage RAM differently from their MacBook counterparts. While you can choose between 8GB and 16GB of RAM, processes are only limited to 5GB, regardless of the iPad Pro model. Therefore, although the iPad has excellent multitasking performance,  it doesn’t have as much power as the MacBook.

Your preferred screen size also has a significant impact. The 12.9-inch model has more screen space, which is ideal for playing Roblox, 3D modeling, and learning via ABC Mouse. On the other hand, the tablet-like 10.9-inch Air and 11-inch Pro are suitable for handheld usage, like watching Netflix shows and reading comics.

All these options have the magic keyboard alongside other incredible features that could turn them into mac laptops.

How Do You Turn Your iPad Into a Laptop?

As mentioned, the iPad has numerous incredible features that make it work like a laptop. The challenge, however, is getting the most out of these features.

The following tips will guide you on how to turn your iPad into a computer:

Add a Detachable Keyboard and Mouse

The primary limitation that made it hard to turn the iPad into a laptop was the lack of a mouse option. But Apple fixed this with the latest iPadOS update with external trackpad and mouse support.

So get yourself a keyboard and a trackpad. If you have a Bluetooth keyboard, you can pair it to your device and use it for typing. However, a keyboard cover doubling as a case can give your iPad a more laptop-like feel. Fortunately, Apple offers keyboard covers with varying capabilities depending on your device.

The iPad Pro, for instance, uses the trackpad-furnished Magic Keyboard Cover or the trackpad-free Smart Keyboard Folio. Moreover, the Smart Keyboard leverages your tablet’s Smart Connector and serves as an iPad cover, but it doesn’t offer viewing-angle flexibility.

You can also get added functionality through third-party keyboard and trackpad providers. For instance, Logitech’s Combo Touch can turn your device into something similar to the iPad Pro. It comes with a detachable trackpad/keyboard case and an adjustable kickstand that’s better than the inflexible Magic Keyboard.

The Brydge Pro Plus is compatible with the iPad Pro and comes with an integrated trackpad. On the other hand, the Brydge Pro is perfect for lower-end iPads but doesn’t have a trackpad. All these can turn your tablet into a laptop.

Install Apps That Turn Your iPad Into a MacBook

While the keyboard-trackpad combo is excellent for workplace apps, you can achieve a completely new environment by combining it with specific apps. Here are the necessary apps to transform your iPad into a laptop:

  • Yoink – The vital clipboard tool makes life easier by upgrading and simplifying the drag-and-drop feature. It also lets you transfer pics between your iPad and iPhone. Most iPad users overlook it, but it goes a long way in turning an iPad into a laptop.
  • Opener – This crucial app allows you to open links in specific apps if the device fails to recognize the app link.
  • Local Storage – This application helps you chive the simple yet crucial task by creating a “Local Storage” folder inside your Files app to save files the same way as on a MacBook.
  • Zipped – A quick, seamless way to unzip .rar and .zip files you’ve downloaded on your iPad.
  • Termius – This application links your iPad to remote servers. It’s especially crucial if you consider making the iPad your primary device.
  • Bear – The flexible notes app enables seamless task organization and editing, reminder setting, and note sharing as you would with a MacBook. You can combine it with Ulyssess and TeamViewer, which enhance word processing.
  • Video editing apps –  If you’re a video editor, consider LumaFusion.

Use Safari Instead of Google Chrome

Of course, browsing the internet is among the key tasks you’ll perform with your iPad. Safari, iPad’s native web browser, functions great on iPadOS and can deliver the desktop versions of specific sites. This relieves you from specifically requesting the browser to switch to a desktop version like Chrome web browser requires.

The browser’s scaling feature scales web pages down to fit your screen. You’ll also enjoy multi-window support that lets you drag tabs to your screen’s right or left side for added multitasking. With correct scaling, the difference between your iPad and laptop will be barely noticeable.

Get iPad-Specific Peripherals

iPads have one port. The older versions leverage the Lightning connector, while advanced models leverage the USB-C port. Either way, this is limiting as you can’t connect multiple peripherals. The best way to beat this is to enable external connections on your iPad by purchasing a USB-C hub.

Still, replicating the standard laptop setup can leave you frustrated. You’re better off acknowledging the hurdles and perks of the lacking iPad ports. Users who embrace the iPad philosophy will definitely find the advantages.

For instance, you can easily travel with the device, back up, and access your files on different devices via Cloud storage. Moreover, the limited screen size can keep you more focused on tasks. Finally, an iPad can help you ditch a powerful, large laptop for a cheaper, easy-to-upgrade desktop. You’ll get the best of both worlds when you pair your tablet with a desktop.

Learn to Manage Your Windows

Knowing how the Windows app works can be the most challenging step of converting your iPad into a laptop. Unlike the PC version, you can drag an app into specific locations on your iPad screen by simply holding it down and moving it.

You can also leverage the Split View and the Slide Over features to place multiple apps side by side. These capabilities allow you to operate up to three apps simultaneously while dragging and dropping files.

How to Turn Your iPad Into a Windows 10

It’s possible to convert your iPad to a Windows 10 device. To achieve this, you need a second Windows OS computer or laptop to cast or mirror the device to. If you intend to use Windows on your iPad instead of mirroring the device, you may have to be patient until Apple and Microsoft (or some creative IT specialist) figure it out.

But if you’re using MacBook, you can quickly convert it into Windows 10 via the Boot Camp app.

How to Connect Your iPad to a Computer Screen

Connecting your iPad to a second display is excellent for multitasking, especially if you’re an engineer or digital artist. You can do it using a Lightning to USB-C cable. But if the second display lacks the appropriate port, you’ll use the VGA or HDMI cable to connect HDMI and USBC or get an adapter.

If you can’t use the cables, you can link the iPad display to your laptop, SmartTV, or computer screen via Airplay. This feature works like Bluetooth and is embedded into the Apple ecosystem.

Fortunately, many advanced SmartTV models come with a pre-installed mirroring feature. If yours doesn’t, you can use Roku or Amazon Firestick.


Can you use an iPad like a laptop?

Yes. using an iPad as a laptop is possible. The device connects to the internet, runs applications, and comes with a sizeable home screen for external display. Even senior users can utilize it.

What do you need to turn iPad Pro into laptop?

Since all iPads have the Apple magic keyboard, the only hardware you need to use your iPad as a laptop or desktop are an Apple pencil and a mouse or trackpad. However, it’ll be better if you get yourself an excellent Bluetooth keyboard with backlit keys. Lastly, you need a hub to connect iPad to peripheral devices.

Which apps do you need to turn iPad into MacBook?

The keyboard and trackpad combo touch can turn your tablet into a computer, but some apps can also help you achieve that laptop-like experience. These include Yoink, Opener, Bear, Zipped, Termius, and the Local Storage Files app.

Which is the best Apple iPad that turns into a laptop?

Every iPad can turn into a laptop. However, the iPad Pro is the best option since it has a USB-C port, a new M1 chip, and a wide display.

Parting Shot

The iPad is an excellent replacement for the laptop, but you need extra accessories and effort. Fortunately, Apple has done much to enable this flexibility and offers amazing features, such as the magic keyboard and quality trackpad.

The above guidelines will help you turn your iPad into its laptop version. Once you learn how to make your iPad more like a laptop, you’ll easily and conveniently leverage all its benefits.