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Is An iPad Good For A Freelancer?

An iPad is a great tool for a freelancer. When you’re working on your laptop, it can function as an effective second screen, allowing you to run a quick fact check, write a quick message, or read up on some key topic without multiplying the tabs on your main computer. Whether you have an iPad mini in an iPad mini 6th generation case or a 12.9 inch iPad  Pro complete with all accessories, it’s great to have a responsive device to serve as your extra research aide. 

When you’re away from home, it can function as a laptop replacement, depending on what exactly you wanted your laptop for. Some freelancers even report ditching the computer all together and using just an iPad for their freelance projects. Writing and drawing are two things especially well suited to Apple’s mobile productivity powerhouse, and if your clients don’t require time tracking you might be  able to buy yourself a nice keyboard or Apple pencil and take your iPad to the beach. 

What an iPad Can’t Do

But while your iPad is a great freelancing tool, it may not be able to do entirely everything you want it to. You’re limited to the programs in the App Store, so if you’ve got a design job, for instance, that requires other software, you’re out of luck. True, there is an app that will allow you to access your desktop computer through your iPad, but it’s not quite the same thing.

Time tracking is another issue on iPadOs. Apple designed the iPad to be impenetrable to spyware, which means time tracking apps that keep track of your computer activities don’t work on the tablet. If you work on the Upwork platform, for instance, you’ll have to stick with fixed rate jobs or do manual time entries whenever you work on your iPad. 

There’s one workaround: use software like TeamViewer to access your computer from your iPad, and you’ll be able to track to your hearts content. The only issue with this method of logging time is that your computer has to be on and connected to network at all times. Still, it’s great not to be tied to the desk. 

What an iPad Can Do

Now that we understand what an iPad can’t do, let’s look at a more sanguine question: what can an iPad do? Answer: pretty much anything else. Almost any task you might usually do on a computer you can do on an iPad, though you might need to do it in a slightly different way. 

An iPad is especially good for:

  • Internet research. Whether you’re reading up about black holes for an article or researching the history of district 11 judges, the iPad is great for internet research. If you’ve got a larger iPad, you’ll even be able to do split screen and take notes as you read. You’ve got an iPad mini 6 (in an iPad mini 2021 case) you’ll be working with a smaller screen and might not want to multitask, but browser plugins like Google Keep can still help you keep track of all the information you’re gleaning. 
  • Networking: LinkedIn, Asana, and Slack all have iPad apps,  which allows you to access your work-related networks anywhere you go. Upwork, for that matter, has an iPad app too, which you can use for job searches, applications, and messaging— just not time tracking. Hanging out in a cafe sipping an iced caramel latte with oat milk and filling out job applications just got that much more convenient. 
  • Video Conferencing: Some people have bought an iPad just for the video conferencing; it’s that good. Center stage allows you to stay the focus of your selfie camera, no matter where you walk in the room, and some great sound specs make the voices you’re hearing that much easier on the ears. You might not be able to see everyone in a meeting on you iPad mini— the screen size is a little limiting— but  on the larger iPads you can see as well as any laptop
  • Art: Internet research, networking, or video conferencing you can do on your computer or on the iPad, but drawing is something that is almost exclusive to your tablet. The Apple Pencil is a great tool for freelance artists, and combined with an app or two— take Procreate, to begin with— you’ll be able to craft any sketches or illustrations you might need. 
  • Writing: With the Apple Magic keyboard, writing is an almost-desktop experience— with the invaluable add-in that you can take it anyway. Well, you could take your laptop anywhere too— but the iPad is just travel friendly, especially if you’ve got it in an iPad case. When inspiration hits you, you want to be able to jot down your thoughts, right away, no matter where you are. That’s when the iPad becomes your best friend, especially if you’ve learned to type semi-comfortably on the in-screen keyboard. 

As a freelancer, you’ll love having an iPad to increase your reach and improve your productivity. You might not want to be throwing away your MacBook tomorrow, but you’ll be able to do so much more than you could do when you had just that computer. After all, freelancing is about freedom on the job. Do your work lying on the couch, hanging on the ski lift, or up at a mountain cabin somewhere. You can sketch an illustration for a new book while flying to Mount Everest, or write a news article while training across Europe.  Have fun with your iPad, and don’t forget to get it a shock-proof protective case!