Coming back to macOS

I trashed my beloved iPad Pro 10.5″ and my iPad mini 2 is proving frustrating trying to do production work so I’ve switched back to the 12″ MacBook that’s been sat unloved mostly for the last few years. It’s a base model and comes with that original (badly thought of) keyboard. Here’s my experience of switching from iOS full time back to the macOS.

Specs:

  • Early 2016 MacBook 12″
  • 1.1 GHz Dual Core M3
  • 8GB Ram
  • 250GB SSD

I picked up this MacBook refurbished from Apple back in early 2017 and although it’s only just over 3 years this processor is showing it’s age worse than my 3 year old iPad Pro was, it’s mostly ok for what I do though to be honest. The storage space is a step up from the base model and as I don’t store pictures or music on it I’m finding space to not be a problem at all. I’m out of Apple Care+ now but in the time I’ve had it I haven’t had any problems, not even with the keyboard. I guess now is the time to test that theory as I’ll be using as my daily machine for now.

My workflows:

  • Recording my podcast and editing in GarageBand
  • Editing images using Photos
  • Writing on the blog
  • Browsing the internet
  • Listening to music with the Music app
  • Apple Notes, Calendar and Reminders

Performance is varied, very much depends on the activity that I’m doing. For recording my podcast (even when I tested with Logic Pro) and editing the performance holds up for me. Editing images in Photos isn’t amazing, if you go full screen with thumbnails scrolling isn’t too smooth and there is lag on opening up the image to edit. Anything browser based is fine as you’d expect and also Notes etc. all run fine too. Overall for my use it’s ‘fine’ as I’d expect from a few year old machine, macOS holds up well and it’s only really the Photos app that I can’t believe is so slow compared to what I can do on an iPad.

Getting back using macOS has both it’s positives and negatives as I’m learning each day I get back used to using it.

Pros:

  • File management beats Files on iOS hands down, here’s an example. I recorded a voice memo on the iPhone and moved it onto the files app on iOS. I found that managing this file was a lot slower. I couldn’t rename the file and move it into the Music App. I ended up going to iCloud on my Mac, pulling them onto the desktop, renaming and then importing into Music all on my Mac. I could then see it show up on my Music app on the iPhone
  • A trackpad built in, yes I know it’s a silly one given iPad cursor support but having a trackpad under my keyboard is great
  • Screen adjustment, I forgot how nice it is to be able to adjust the angle rather than the Smart Keyboard being fixed
  • Pro apps, I know it keeps coming up but where are the pro apps on iOS? Even an app like GarageBand is better on macOS, it’s not like for like between the platforms. There’s no doubting the hardware and iOS as a professional platform but I’d like to see Logic Pro moving over to iOS with as close functionality to the Mac as possible
  • USB-C, it’s nice to be able to share a power cable between my laptop, Nintendo Switch and work phone

Cons:

  • Less flexible than an iPad in terms of helping with posture and RSI. I like the flexibility of my iPad in that I can use it as a tablet or laptop style with a keyboard. I do miss the touchscreen a lot when trying to sit and relax so tending to use my iPhone when I’m not in my office
  • I miss the Apple Pencil…
  • I’m not a huge fan of the keyboard on the MacBook (it’s very flat) and I prefer the Smart Keyboard cover
  • I miss the speed of iOS, I mean (for me) I get work done quicker on an iPad and used to flying around apps and functionality of the apps
  • I don’t get my iOS apps I’m used to so falling back on Apple apps, which most are fine but I still find them a little limiting in places e.g. Reminders tagging but both Calendar and Notes work great on both platforms
  • Battery life isn’t as good as my iPad was although I’m still testing this one. As I mentioned above though as I mostly have my Switch plugged in (thanks, Animal Crossing) I can easily reach over and plug my MacBook in
  • Missing TouchID

This isn’t meant to be an iOS vs macOS post but just my experience on coming back to the Mac after being on iOS for so long. I think I’ll be ok for now and want to give it a go.