Is the iPad getting smaller app icons?

Is this an iPadOS 14 bug or a sign of things to come?

Check out the Formula 1 icon, it’s a nice size and more importantly smaller than the usual app icon size on iPadOS. I’m thinking one of two things

  1. This is a beta bug (most likely) and it’ll be corrected in the next version

  2. This could be a preview of what we have to come with the iPad in smaller icons and widgets on the Home Screen. If you scale down the icons you’ll have more space to play with and I have to think that internally Apple are playing with widgets on the Home Screen of an iPad. Personally I want them to trust us to use them and bring widgets to the Home Screen on the iPad like we do on iPhone and can position them anywhere rather than in their little prison on the left hand side.

What do you think?

Moshi iVisor for iPad Pro review

I’ve not been a fan of screen protectors but after seeing a few people with matte finishes on their iPads I wanted to jump in with my 11″.

I picked up the iVisor and I have to say after a week in I’m impressed.

As you can see it’s a matte finish and installed bubble free as promised. You can take kit off to wash under the tap but I’m not ready to try that out yet.

The quality looks high and once I started to use it I can see why it’s more expensive.

With us being in summer now and even though we aren’t out and about I’m using it outside in the garden and the finish helps to keep off reflections. It does have an impact on clarity but not too bad to want to take it off. I now personally prefer a matte finish on my iPad screen.

Using the pencil also feels better to me than using the naked screen. There is a little more friction and the texture feels good, not like paper but again better than the glass.

I didn’t have a concern about scratches but that’s obviously a nice side effect of switching to a protector.

At over £20 for one it is on the pricier side but I recommend spending a little more to get the Moshi.

Magic Keyboard for the 11” iPad Pro – First impressions

I like to quickly write down my thoughts as I use a product rather than write up a big review so here are my first impressions of the Apple Magic Keyboard for the 11″ iPad Pro. I’ve had the 2020 iPad for a couple of weeks and enjoying it but it didn’t feel complete as I was waiting for the keyboard to arrive and today it did.

Even on the smaller iPad Pro it’s got some weight to it but for me at least it’s fine to carry around with the iPad like I did my Smart Keyboard cover on my 10.5″ iPad Pro.

Before even plugging it in the build quality feels amazing (as you’d expect for almost £300). The keys are good, more travel than my 12″ MacBook so I’ll need to adjust but enjoying the typing experience. The hinge to hold up the iPad is stiff and that’s a good thing, the trackpad is also a little stiff to click – but it’s only day 1.

Here’s a summary of things I’ve spotted from my first hour with this new setup

  • It really highlights the apps that embrace the setup, if your app doesn’t have secondary click support I cant use it – I’m currently working out which of the apps I use are good or bad in this respect (would you be interested in a post about this?)
  • My writing style means my hands are quite high so my nails are hitting the bottom of the docked iPad, I just need to adjust to this – no big problem
  • I like the flexibility of using whichever method I feel like – keyboard, trackpad, undocked or pencil, it’s one of the main reasons I love the iPad so much
  • The trackpad is actually bigger than I was expecting on this smaller iPad and I’m enjoying using it
  • The keys feel cramped to begin with but I’m getting used to it
  • I miss the function row that I had with my MacBook
  • It feels a little top heavy on the lap but totally doable for me I don’t think it needs to be a desk only accessory on the 11″
  • I wish the hinge had some more angle to it but understand why not – it would topple over…

Using this setup really makes me appreciate my choice to stick with the iPad and means that I have so much flexibility. I’m looking forward to seeing what iPadOS 14 brings up in terms of iPad support even more now.

Getting your devices ready for WWDC

It’s that time of year when those early adopters amongst us trash our data and devices with beta software for a few months. Every year I tell myself I’m not doing it and always end up enrolling in the developer program again. I’m preparing for this year I’ve gone all in and installed iOS, iPadOS and macOS betas across all of my devices.

I’m embracing it this year and planning to write up more of my thoughts on the new software versions and its impact on my workflows.

Almost all of my apps use data in the cloud so I never even back my devices up. This makes restoring non stressful knowing all my data is either in iCloud or a third party. If you’re new to the beta train then make sure you have an iCloud backup before doing anything! And if you can also do it make sure you’re photos are exported out somewhere separately.

Tips for using an iPad Pro with a mouse and keyboard

First off here’s my setup so you know what I’m relating this post to

  • 2020 11″ iPad Pro
  • Bluetooth vertical mouse (with scroll wheel, left and right mouse buttons)
  • Apple keyboard (taken from an iMac)

Since getting my new iPad with USB-C I’ve been plugged into a USB hub with attached mouse and keyboard way more than I did when I had a lightning equipped iPad and finding new ways to work with it everyday. These might seem like a small list (I’ll be adding as I discover more) and if you’re used to using it this way may seem basic but I’m hoping others like me using it properly for the first time will find it useful.

MOUSE

  • Left click the little white bar at the bottom of the screen to go HOME
  • Make use of the right click in apps as you would the right click to access options on an element on the MAC, you’l be surprised at the number of apps that have this feature enabled
  • Don’t forget to use the scroll wheel in Safari and apps, it even works in the iPadOS settings app

KEYBOARD

  • CMD+H to go home
  • If you’re using a MAC keyboard then the function keys work (brightness and media controls)
  • Hold down the CMD key within apps to get shortcut help
  • CMD+TAB to bring up multitasker (then use CMD+Q to quit any apps you want to close)

If you have more please let me know and I’ll test and add them to this page.

IPadOS 14 wish list

We are less than a week away from WWDC’20 and after moving back to the iPad full time I thought I’d have a think about what I’d like to see in the next version of iPadOS.

Keyboard enhancements

Ability to remove the typing suggestion bar at the bottom when a keyboard is attached.

Multi-user support

I know this comes up a lot but after moving my iPad Mini 5 back into the family rota it got me thinking again why can’t we have multi-user support like on macOS? I’d love to be able to log into an iPad and see all my stuff or be able to hand it over to a family member without thinking about losing anything.

Better external monitor support

One thing I’m loving about the new iPad and USB-C is the ability to dock into my home office setup and instantly have a 34” monitor, keyboard and mouse. The issue for me is that the resolution support isn’t great so you get the iOS interface in the centre with big black bars on the left and right hand side of the screen.

Podcasting improvements

As a lot of people have documented you can’t record your local audio and also have a Skype conversation with others. This makes recording on the iPad with others almost impossible without spending a large amount of money on USB interfaces.

Improved Files app

The files app is pretty basic and does these basics (like creating folders and renaming files) well but I’d like to see the option to be able to change the view to list (more like Finder on macOS).

A change of home screen

I think the days of icons on a home screen are very much a dated idea and I’d love to see more of an Android approach where I can add more widgets and place then wherever I want to. I just see a few on the left and I can scroll but I’d prefer to have the option to add cleaner versions in different places on the home screen.

Apple competing with their own apps

I’ve been saying this for years but I want Apple to split out their apps from the operating system and let them compete in the App Store. Google do this and they actually update them, if you use Notes/Reminders/Mail/Calendar etc.. you need to wait for an operating system update to get an update. I’d love to see Apple pull their core apps out of the operating system, put dedicated teams on them and let them compete like they do with Pages and Numbers, I don’t see why they cant do this with the likes of mail and let us see more updates.

So here are some of my hopes, what are some of yours?

How to put a 2020 iPad Pro into recovery mode

I always like to restore my new iOS devices to a fresh iOS install when I get one from the factory, but like the iPhone X it’s not obvious how to do this on the 2020 iPad Pro.

You’ll need your Mac to connect your iPad to.

  1. Power down your iPad by holding down the power button and volume up button at the same time then swipe to power down
  2. Once powered down hold down the power button and volume up at the same time and plug in the USB-C cable
  3. Keep holding until you see the restore image on your iPad

The Mac will then ask you to click restore and it’ll go ahead and download the latest iOS version and restore the iPad as new.

Switching to the 2020 iPad Pro

If you’ve been following along you’ll know I destroyed my beloved 10.5″ iPad Pro a couple of months ago. Since then I’ve been using a combination of a MacBook, iPhone and iPad Mini. This worked well but I’ve been missing the larger iPad screen. When our family iPad mini 2 stopped being able to run the apps we needed the mini 5 got reset and put into it’s place (Apple, please can we have multiuser support in IPadOS).

I decided to finally put in an order for a new iPad. I decided to go for the 2020 iPad Pro 11″ in silver 256GB. I contemplated the 12.9″ but in the end the added cost and size put me off. I use my iPad mostly in tablet mode and for me portability is the number 1 priority.

On first opening I was shocked at how big it felt and to be honest still does. A couple of months with the iPad Mini and I really came to love the form factor. This actually feels like a 12.9″ to me right now, I’m loving it.

I also picked up the 2nd generation Apple Pencil and a smart folio.

I’ve switched a lot of my personal journaling and productivity over to the iPad from my iPhone and finding I’m using the Apple Pencil a load more. I’ve found that with it attached to the side it’s always there and charged. I’m making more notes (especially in work) than I did before and I can’t believe how much better Pencil 2 is. The decrease in weight, matte finish and shorter stem means it feels a lot more like a errrr Pencil.

Battery life is a lot better than my years old iPad Pro 10.5″ was so added bonus.

Performance is great as you’d expect. I haven’t got a 2018 to compare with but it feels slicker than my 10.5″ but to be honest in my day to day use I’m not seeing much. I don’t game on it or do video editing but will soon be recording music so I’ll see how it handles and report back.

The only real downside so far is losing my home button and TouchID. I’m finding that unlocking my iPad with FaceID is slower and I’m constantly blocking the camera. This is teething problems for me rather than the iPad but wasn’t something I thought I’d have issues with.

I’m only a few days in but really liking the new form factor and Pencil. I’ve also ordered a Magic Keyboard so I’ll report back with how I’m doing.

Using iOS and macOS every day

As you most probably know I’m bigger iPad’less at the moment and have fallen back to macOS for a lot of my production stuff. My current setup hardware wise is as follows:

  • 2016 MacBook 12”
  • iPad Mini 5
  • iPhone 11 Pro

What I’ve realised is that with the current creative projects I have going on these devices are working a lot better than I expected and I’m less and less interested in spending the money to get a 2018/20 iPad Pro.

Here’s how I’m currently working.

Writing

This is something that is probably 50/50 between an iOS device and macOS device. This post I’ve written up using TOT (review coming soon…) i.e. I want to write something up a bit longer form so I went for my device with a keyboard attached. The posts that come from my iOS devices are shorter where I want to quickly get something off my chest or share some cool links.

Podcasting

I have to be honest and have completely given up trying to podcast from an iOS device. I can’t afford the additional hardware I need when I have a Mac in front of me that is better (for me) at this task. Even when I recorded the audio into my iPad or imported audio files then I still struggle to edit on the iPad Mini. I tried Ferrite but I just couldn’t make it work for me. I find that Garageband on the Mac just works better for me in terms of efficiencies as I literally edited one podcast in an hour compared to half a day on the iPad and I still wasn’t happy with the result. My other issue with using an iPad for podcasting is that my podcast requires guests, this is a nightmare on iOS and I find an already out of my comfort zone activity is made more stressful when using something I’m not completely happy with.

Photo Editing

I take a lot of images on my iPhone and DSLR and have found that my iPad Mini or iPhone is where the editing happens. My MacBook just isn’t up to running the Photos app well, I have 8GB ram and it can’t keep up with my 40,000+ photo library. I end up just flying through them on iOS.

Consumption

iOS is the hands down winner here, whilst I have watched Disney+ and YouTube on the Mac I much prefer the lay back form factor of the iPad here although I am missing a larger screen for video. I tend to listen to music evenly across the platforms with my Mac connected to the office HomePod in the day and then my iOS devices in the evening.

Guitar

I’ve recorded using an iPad and MacBook and there isn’t a lot between them but I prefer macOS simply for the reason that I prefer to use Logic Pro to edit. That way I’m not transferring any files around. I plug in my MIC, record and edit all in the same app.

Comfort

I quite like the keyboard on the MacBook now I’ve adjusted to it and for writing longer posts it’s the best experience for me in the current setup. I like also being within a fingers reach away from the trackpad, which helps my RSI. Having the iPad is a big win for my RSI also as I can simply take it with me and lie on the sofa or even pop outside in the garden and still get stuff done. If the monitor support was better on iPad I’d say it’s a winner overall but I can’t get over the black bars on the iPad when plugged into an external display.

Summary

So my overall setup here is something I’m really happy with right now. I have three devices that adjust to me, I prefer smaller devices and when I want the bigger display I plug my MacBook into a dock attached to a 32” widescreen monitor. The only thing I miss is a larger iPad display for watching video. I’m tempted to actually have a go at repairing my 10.5” iPad Pro somehow and have that as my larger iPad rather than spend £1000+ on a new setup that won’t fulfil all of my needs.

iPad Mini Smart Cover (cactus)

Now I’m using the mini pretty much full time to complete the look for the journal I picked up a Smart Cover.

I really like the colour and these covers although expensive are great. I like the feel of the soft material on the inside when it’s folded back and you’re using it in book reading mode.