How to turn your iPad into an iMac

If you love your iPad, there’s no reason to buy a second computer. Add a few accessories and the tablet turns into an iMac mini, a small desktop computer that can easily be used for personal purposes.

I use an iPad as my primary computer, so I have some recommendations for taking your tablet to the next level.

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Start with a solid iPad stand

Add a good stand to your iPad and you’re 90% of the way to becoming a desktop computer.

Allow me to recommend the Elago Magnetic Stand for iPad ($110.99). Simply attach the included magnetic ring to your tablet and the iPad will cling firmly to the mount. Or you can put the tablet in Elago Magnetic Folio Case ($26.99). Either way, once you’re done using the iPad as an iMac mini, it becomes a tablet again with nothing more than a twist and tug.

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Elago sincerely flatters the design of the 24-inch iMac’s built-in stand. The look is nearly identical, and there’s the same hinge allowing the iPad to swivel to point at the user.

The stand is available in a range of colours: blue, dark grey, light gray and sand pink. Unsurprisingly, Elago offers the Magnetic Folio Case in these same colors.

It’s time for a quality keyboard

No desktop computer is truly complete without a keyboard. Sure, you can type on the tablet’s touchscreen, but you’ll be much more productive typing on the physical keys.

I use the Logitech MX Mechanical Mini. There are no wires to manage and the keys are backlit. I gave away this keyboard a very positive review. It’s a high-quality product, and at $149.49, it’s priced to match.

Alternatively, you can use the same Apple Magic Keyboard ($99) that you would use with an iMac. It also works with your iPad. If you want something more affordable, consider the Logitech K380 at just $29.99.

But you are not limited to these options. iPadOS supports virtually any Bluetooth keyboard, with no additional software required. Just pair one of them with your iPad and start typing.

Also add a mouse

If you really want to turn your iPad into an iMac mini, you’ll probably want a mouse to go along with the keyboard. It’s not a requirement – I used my iPad as a desktop without a mouse for many years. But a mouse is part of the full iMac experience.

I use the Zagg Pro mouse because it works on a wide variety of surfaces and allows me to pair it with multiple computers. But it is a premium model and costs $79.99. I saw him again if you want to check that.

Apple’s magic mouse is another option, just like the Logitech MX Master 3S.

Of course, there are many cheaper possibilities. You can pair just about any Bluetooth mouse with an iPad.

Use a stylus instead?

A mouse isn’t your only input option. How about a stylus? THE SwitchEasy EasyPencil Pro 4 ($69.99) can be used to type accurately on your iPad screen and comes with a range of different tips for general use, writing or drawing.

If you already have an Apple Pencil, your iMac-like setup might include Elago’s stand for this accessory. Place it next to your computer and the pen will always be ready to type.

One benefit of using an iPad as a desktop computer is that you can quickly turn it into a tablet, where a stylus will prove even more useful.

Your iMac mini also needs power

This charger is better for iPad than Apple.
Photo: SwitchEasy

When you’re using your iPad in a desktop setup, there’s no reason not to keep it plugged into a power outlet all the time. That way it’s always ready and ready to grab the tablet and go.

Sounds harsh, but the charger that Apple comes with the iPad is lame. There are so many better options.

This includes the SwitchEasy PowerBuddy 30W Wall Charger with Cable Storage ($29.99). As that mouthful of the name suggests, it can put out 30W through its USB-C port, which is close to the maximum an iPad can handle. And, unlike the Apple version, it includes both USB-C and USB-A charging ports. But what sets it apart is the built-in cable organizer.

iPad to iMac: think about it

In most situations, the best computer is the one you already own. An iPad takes care of your messaging, web browsing, and social networking needs. There’s no reason to buy an iMac if all you want to do is the same things except on a desktop computer.

Just add the right accessories and you’re ready to go.

And with a tweak, the iPad becomes a tablet again. Don’t try this with an iMac.

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