Things Your PC Can Do That Your iPad Can't

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 just 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 may want to look over this list to see if it contains any important tasks.


Tablets, in general, aren't built to be upgraded, though many Android and Windows tablets support Flash drives, which can upgrade the existing storage. In the PC world, upgrades are pretty standard, and they often add years to the life of the PC. Even laptops, which aren't quite as upgradeable as desktop PCs, can have their lifespan 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 a wired keyboard or even MIDI devices, but don't expect it to work with your mouse. The iPad doesn't have any support for a virtual pointer, which means no hooking up your mouse to your iPad. The touchscreen may make this seem irrelevant, but the mouse does still have its bright side, especially in gaming.

Store Your Entire Photo, Music and Video Library

The top iPad maxes out at 128 GB of storage, so unless you are just starting your collection now, it probably won't hold all of your movies, music, TV shows and photos. You can buy a compatible external drive to get at these files, but if you want to store them locally, you are out of luck with an iPad.

Easily Share Documents Between Apps

The iPad also lacks a file manager, so sharing documents between apps isn't possible. The workaround here is the ability to open a document in another app, which actually creates a copy of the document rather than sharing the original. The iOS 8 update should have alleviated some of these woes, but true file sharing may not come to the iPad for a while.

Play DVDs and Blu-Ray Discs

If you have a big collection of movies, or you just want to pay that wedding video you recorded years ago, you are out of luck. DVDs and Blu-Ray may be going the way of CDs and tape cassettes, but you'll still need to convert them to digital if you want to play them on your iPad.

Connect Multiple Monitors

You will probably be restricted and disappointed using an iPad if you are a person that likes to multitask or love the screen real estate offered by a PC. If you regularly use multiple monitors and have open multiple programs at once, you'll almost certainly want to use your iPad as an accessory and not your primary computer.

Run Proprietary/Desktop Software

This one may be a no-brainer, but it deserves mentioning on this list because it is the number one reason why some people can't give up their PC for an iPad. The iPad won't run Windows or Mac software, which means no access to software that requires Windows or Mac OS. Yes, that means no World of Warcraft or League of Legends. But beyond gaming, many people bring their work home with them, and work often requires proprietary software.

Develop Apps

And while you may enjoy a lot of great apps on your iPad, you won't be designing them from your iPad. While it is possible to build simple apps via a website, you won't be able to build full-fledged apps without a PC. And while you might design HTML 5 apps that can work on tablets or a PC, you probably won't be designing too much in the way of 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 actually quite easy to set up a boot manager and run Windows, Mac OS and even Linux from the same PC. Mac OS even has software packages that allow you to boot Windows while still running Mac OS, so you can have a Mac app and a Windows app side-by-side.