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Tech upgrade: Turn your iPad into a full-fledged computer

With more and more companies seeing the benefit of having employees clock in remotely, working from home is becoming the new normal. It can save money and time as well as offer employees more flexibility when it comes to their schedule.

You might be tempted to invest in expensive new computer equipment for your home office setup, but that can become pretty costly — especially if you’re an Apple user. As a quick fix, you might want to consider taking what you already have or purchasing less expensive technology and transforming it to fit your needs. Using an iPad as a full-fledged computer is a great way to do this.

Using an iPad as a makeshift laptop is a resourceful method for people looking to save money, and it’s great for people who need a lightweight device that’s easy to transport when they’re on the go. Let’s take a look at how you can save time and money by turning your iPad into a computer with just a few modifications. 

How to turn your iPad into a laptop

Thanks to hardware and iOS upgrades, many iPads can be easily transformed into the equivalent of a desktop or laptop. There are a lot of resources and equipment options you can utilize to make this upgrade as seamless as possible.

Related: The new iOS fixes annoying bugs; tap or click here to find out more

To complete your setup, you’ll need to gather up some of the following items.

Keyboard

Attaining a keyboard is the first step in turning your iPad into a laptop. Finding a keyboard that a) works with your iPad, b) works for your needs, and c) makes you feel more comfortable with using your iPad as a computer is crucial.

Not every keyboard works with iPads, though. Here are a couple that do.

iPad Keyboard Case for iPad

The iPad Keyboard Case is compatible with iPad 10.2 2019, iPad Air 10.5 2019 and iPad Pro 10.5 2017. It has backlit capabilities, the ability to turn 360 degrees and a slim design to make it easily transportable and automatically conserves its battery life within its durable polycarbonate shell.

Keyboard Case for iPad

The Touchpad Keyboard Case has got it all. With the added bonus of rainbow backlit modes, the tablet holder comes in a unique design that allows the iPad to turn on and off automatically, preserving its battery life. It’s compatible with 2019 iPad 7th generation, 2019 iPad Air 3 and 2017 iPad Pro 10.5.

iPad 10.2 Case with Keyboard

As a detachable wireless magnetic keyboard, the iPad 10.2 Case with Keyboard comes with lots of fun features including various color combinations for its backlit capabilities. Its protective cover and keyboard are magnetic and can be easily assembled and disassembled. It is compatible with the iPad 10.2 7th Gen 2019, iPad Air 3rd Gen 10.5 2019 release and iPad Pro 10.5 inch 2017.

Magic Keyboard options

Magic Keyboards are also a great option for iPads. Note: They only work with certain iPad Pro models. The 11-inch model and the 12.9-inch model both feature a trackpad that offers updated ways to work with iPadOS, a USB-C port for charging, backlit keys and keyboard protection on the front and back.

RELATED: Thinking of buying an iPad? 8 reasons to get the most basic iPad rather than the Pro

Mouse

The latest iPadOS update now supports the use of a mouse with an iPad, which is great news for those of you wanting to use your iPad as a full-functioning laptop. 

To set up your mouse with your iPad, follow these steps.

  • Open Settings.
  • Click “Accessibility” in the left-hand menu.
  • Select “Touch.”
  • Click the “AssistiveTouch” bar located at the top of the screen.
  • Click “AssistiveTouch” at the top of the screen.
  • Scroll to “Pointing Devices” and select it.
  • You have several options for this last step. You can go with either a Bluetooth mouse or the USB-C port to plug in your mouse. If you have the USB-A mouse, you may need to use an adapter.

If you’re in need of a mouse, here are a few well-reviewed options from Amazon to consider.

M510 Wireless Computer Mouse

This M510 Wireless Computer Mouse from Logitech is a user-friendly device with easy-to-use controls from a brand you can trust.

Q5 Slim Rechargeable Wireless Mouse

On a budget? For under $15, the Q5 Slim Rechargeable Wireless Mouse is a well-rated and affordable mouse to pair with your iPad. For those of you who like your working conditions as quiet as possible, this mouse is designed for soundless clicking. It also comes with a built-in rechargeable battery along with a charging cable, so you don’t need to worry about buying batteries.

INPHIC Wireless Mouse

The INPHIC Wireless Mouse is also a viable option for iPad users looking for a quiet mouse to use. This wireless, rechargeable mouse will save power by going into sleep mode after five minutes of no use.

Keyboard stand

If you’re not set up right in your home office, working remotely won’t be very productive. A good iPad stand can help if you have a keyboard that doesn’t physically attach to the iPad. Now you can raise your iPad to eye-level view instead of craning your neck.

AlCase

A stand like this one from AICase allows you to adjust your iPad as needed from wherever you’re working, whether that be from the couch or on the kitchen table. This stand supports both horizontal and vertical viewing; it’s made of a lightweight alloy to make it easy to transport but tough to break.

Spater Metallic Adjustable Stand

This lightweight aluminum, pocket-sized Spater Metallic Adjustable Stand is super easy to carry around — just fold it up and place it in your bag. This stand holds devices up to 13 inches and easily maneuverable with an adjustable range of 270 degrees.

KAERSI iPad Tablet Holder Stand

With an adjustable height of 6.4″ to 10.6″, the KAERSI iPad Tablet Holder Stand can be adjusted 360 degrees. This anti-scratch device comes complete with a weighted base so you won’t have to worry about your iPad tipping over and getting damaged.

Related: 5 new useful iPadOS features you have to try

Apps

Now that you have the right gear, it’s time to install the right apps on your brand-new “laptop.” Before transitioning over, be sure to upload all your important documents to the cloud so you can easily access them.

Common workplace apps, like Microsoft Office or Google apps like Drive, Docs and Sheets, will make the transition much smoother. Workflow will improve, well, your workflow; you can automate your work processes and save valuable time.

Apple also has its own options for similar apps, including Bear and Timepage, which are helpful in streamlining your work processes and manage your time and resources. There are a ton of other professional apps you may also consider, including Zoom, Slack, LumaFusion for video editing, Evernote, TeamViewer and Ulysses for word processing. Notability is another handy-dandy app that converts handwritten notes into files and text.

Multitasking features

For years, the iPad ran on the iOS operating system built for phones. With its own iPadOS now available, there are tons of new capabilities now offered to iPad users.

One of the new features that allow users to multitask more easily is the dock option. With the iPadOS, the tray is no more. Similar to a Mac, iPads can now access a dock that offers shortcuts to your apps and folders. To find the dock, simply swipe up from the bottom of the screen.

The dock also allows for a split-screen option that’s much more user friendly and easy to use than the previews iteration. Here’s how to use it: Open the primary app you want to use but make sure the second app you want to pull up is in the dock. Next, swipe up from the bottom to show the dock, and drag the app to either side of the screen to view both apps at once.

The multitasking features on your iPad include:

  • Use the Dock to work with more apps simultaneously
  • Use two apps at the same time
  • Open an app with Slide Over
  • Use two apps at the same time with Split View
  • Use apps while you watch a video with Picture in Picture
  • Use gestures with iPadOS
  • Drag and drop between apps
  • Turn Multitasking features on or off

The fact that you can easily multitask on your iPad is one of the best features and a large part of why transforming your iPad is even possible. These features mean it’s built to be used as you would use a laptop. With a few modifications, that’s exactly what you can do.

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