iPad for Writers: iPadOS 13 Review

I’ve never reviewed an operating system before. It’s daunting and there’s no way I’d be able to devote months of my life to discussing every little feature inside. Instead, this review was written with a very specific demographic in mind: writers. I’ve broken it down into sections based on my own use case and what I think would benefit any writers interested in switching from a PC or Mac to the iPad.

  1. Introduction
  2. Homescreen
  3. Multitasking
  4. Files and iCloud
  5. Shortcuts
  6. Safari
  7. Apple Pencil
  8. Text Editing and the Keyboard
  9. Fonts
  10. Dark Mode
  11. Conclusion

At this year’s WWDC, Apple unveiled the newest operating system to its already growing lineup. In addition to WatchOS, tvOS, MacOS, and iOS, we now have iPadOS, a dedicated platform disconnected from the iPhone’s own operating system.

As soon as the betas got relatively stable, I installed iPadOS on my iPad Pro to really see if it would be possible to migrate away from my MacBook Air and use the iPad as my primary computing machine.

I’m a writer. I used my MacBook Air for writing and research on Cabinet of Curiosities, and I wrote half a dozen novels and short stories in Scrivener on it. It was how I got work done for a long time, but the iPad lifestyle intrigued me. Writers like Federico Viticci and Matt Gemmell saw the possibilities of an iPad-only future early on, even before iPadOS offered such expanded functionality. They altered their workflows and made use of clever hacks to achieve their goals. I figured I’d give it a shot, too.

I love the iPad. It’s slim, light, and versatile. This review won’t go into detail on every feature and app enhancement iPadOS brings. For that, I suggest you take a deep dive into Federico’s review on MacStories. It’s enormous and thorough and incredibly thoughtful.

I’m tackling this review from the perspective of a writer, discussing the features and apps I use and determining whether other writers looking to make the switch can—and should.

So, let’s get to it, shall we?