Things Your PC Can Do That Your iPad Can't

Don't give up your PC yet

Man and woman looking at monitor with tablet on desk

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The iPad is versatile enough to make you want to cut ties with your PC, but there are still some tasks you can accomplish on your desktop or laptop computer that you can't do on your iPad. There are plenty of benefits to having an iPad, but if you are thinking about going iPad-only, you should be aware of the things you can do with a PC that you can't do with an iPad.

Upgrade to Add Years to PC Life

Tablets aren't built to be upgraded, although many Android and Windows tablets support flash drives, which can upgrade the existing storage. In the PC world, upgrades are standard, and they often add years to the life of a computer. Even laptops, which aren't as upgradeable as desktop PCs, can have their life span extended by upgrading the memory or adding additional storage.

Use a Mouse

The camera connection kit allows you to connect a variety of USB devices to your iPad, including wired and wireless keyboards and MIDI devices, but don't expect it to work with your mouse. The iPad doesn't support a virtual pointer, which means no hooking up your mouse to your iPad. The touch screen may make this seem irrelevant, and the introduction of the Apple Pencil has given some iPad users additional capability. However, the mouse still has its bright side, especially in gaming.

Store Your Entire Photo, Music, and Video Library

The top of the line iPad Pro maxes out at 1TB of storage, but most models have considerably less storage capacity, so unless you are just starting your collection, an iPad probably won't hold all your movies, music, TV shows, and photos. You can buy a compatible external drive to get at these files or upload them all to iCloud, but if you want to store them locally, you are out of luck with an iPad.

Share Documents

For years, iPads lacked a file manager, so sharing documents between apps wasn't possible. With the launch of iCloud Drive in iOS 9 and the Files app in iOS 11, the situation improved considerably, but it still isn't up to the many sharing options available on a PC.

Play DVDs and Blu-Ray Discs

If you have a movie collection on discs or you want to play that wedding video you recorded years ago, you are out of luck on an iPad. Many PCs still include a drive that accommodates discs, and if not, they support the addition of an external drive that can play discs. You need to convert DVDs and Blu-ray discs to a digital format if you want to play them on your iPad.

Connect Multiple Monitors and Multitask

If you are a person who likes to multitask or loves the screen real estate offered by a PC, you'll probably feel restricted using an iPad. If you regularly use multiple monitors and open multiple programs at once, you'll almost certainly want to use your iPad as an accessory and not your primary computer. Even the largest iPad has a screen that is smaller than a PC's. Recent iPads support a split screen feature that displays two apps at a time, but it isn't the same as having a monitor full of open windows.

Run Proprietary or Desktop Software

This one may be a no-brainer, but it deserves mentioning because it is the number one reason why some people can't give up a PC for an iPad. The iPad can't run Windows or Mac software, which means no access to software that requires Windows or macOS, which includes many of the most popular games. Beyond gaming, many people bring their work home with them, and work often involves proprietary software.

Develop Apps

While you may enjoy great apps on your iPad, you won't be designing them on your iPad. It may be possible to build simple apps via a website, but you can't build full-fledged apps without a PC. While you might design HTML 5 apps that can work on tablets, you won't be designing PC software from your iPad.

Run Multiple Operating Systems

The PC is the king of customization, and nothing says this more than running multiple operating systems on the same device. It's easy to set up a boot manager and run Windows, Mac OS, and Linux on the same PC. The Mac operating system has software packages that allow you to boot Windows while still running macOS so that you can have a Mac application and a Windows application open side-by-side.