Dividing the Work Between Two iPads

It’s amazing how quickly having two iPads becomes a natural thing.

There used to be endless posts online on how to best work with two Macs — how to keep things in sync between a desktop and a laptop — and all the other messes that technology had yet to solve. I was right there with everyone, trying to divvy the work between two computers. In a way, having two iPads reopens this same discussion.

Though, I must say, things have changed considerably for the better.

When I picked up the 9.7″ iPad Pro, I knew only two things about the setup for sure:

  1. I was going to run the iOS 10 beta on the iPad Pro.
  2. I was going to move all gaming from the larger iPad Pro, to the smaller one.
  3. I was going to use the smaller iPad with my Pencil so that I can write on it and take notes throughout the day.

Beyond that, I wasn’t sure how the work would be split between the two. I like the idea CGP Grey pushes: making each device a tool for specific purposes. But it also seems unnecessarily limiting to not have each of my iPads being capable of getting all the “real work” done which the other iPad can do.

Where I Have Landed

For the most part I have the same apps on both devices (except no games on the larger iPad Pro), but I have arranged the home screens completely differently. This allows me to retain the ability to do anything, while still making both devices feel unique to how I use them.

I’ve come to have a really interesting mix with the two devices so far.

12.9″ iPad Pro: This is my primary work machine and where I spend 90% of each work day. It is also the machine where I do most of my writing, and communications. I also do all the photo editing on this device so far.

9.7″ iPad Pro: As I mentioned this is my gaming and note taking machine. It’s also where I do the vast majority of my reading (both books and articles), and most of my outlining and planning for blog posts.

iPhone 6s Plus: I use this device less and less each day. But it remains where I do most of my Twittering and most of my email processing (I respond usually on the 12.9″ iPad but triage on the phone). Importantly: this is still where I manage most of my tasks in 2Do, and for some reason this is my favorite place to conduct task management.

Continuing Down the Rabbit Hole

Yes, I would definitely buy another iPad of any kind to add to my setup — I think it is likely that we do end up computing on many devices instead of one or two. However, the most interesting thing for me so far is how little I use split-view now.

I used to be a very heavy split-view user, with my iPad almost always in split-view. Since picking up the second iPad and using it regularly, I’ve found that I just have less need for split-view on a day to day basis — I certainly still use it, but only when the need arises instead as my default.

(I also have found that I type a lot more on the 9.7″ iPad Pro in portrait and have become quite quick typing like that.)

Hat Tip to iCloud

People like to give iCloud a lot of shit, but it would be near impossible for me to do what I do on a daily basis without iCloud. It is not only fast, but it works well. Remembering back to the days of trying to run two Macs and iCloud seems like a miracle in comparison.

You can argue for any other file syncing service that you like, but nothing will ever be as well integrated as iCloud, and it is that level of integration which makes using multiple iOS devices fun and not tedious.

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