Ask DN: iPad Pro as my main computer, any apps you recommend?

over 7 years ago from , Senior UI / UX Designer at Schibsted

I'm a UX designer and after seeing what the new iPad could do with the Apple Pencil I figured it could replace my laptop 99% of the time. And for the past few weeks, it has. Multi tasking and global keyboard shortcuts really make it productive. I am using a few tools listed below, but I'd love to hear from the DN community what are your experiences and what other tools you might recommend.

For mocking up

  • I'm doing rough mocks with Paper by 53
  • Then I move over to Adobe Comp CC for higher fidelity mocks

For testing

  • I use Paper by 53 for early guerilla testing, I love it because people can easily annotate the mocks and the paper-likeness is very approachable.
  • I will start using Notability to record audio and take notes during interviews. It has this neat feature where clicking on the recording's timeline will highlight the note you were taking at the time and vice-versa. Very useful for me as I am a slow typer and miss a lot when I am also moderating.

For my productivity needs

  • I use 2Do task manager following a very good review at MacStories
  • My clipboard manager is Copied although I don't find it so great, I might give Clip+ another try.

For "arty" things

  • I have sketched in Procreate most but I have a bunch of others that I want to try
  • I make music for fun with my daughter in Fingerbeat


  • Thompson GeorgeThompson George, over 7 years ago

    I can't see myself being very productive on an iPad.

    7 points
  • Jason HegyessyJason Hegyessy, over 7 years ago

    I'm going through the process of figuring out a process after noticing that I never use my laptop at home anymore. Apps not mentioned that I use and that work well for multitasking:

    • OmniOutliner for outlining and lists
    • The Hitlist for task management
    • Evernote for all note needs
    • iA Writer for specs and anything that's not a note
    • Marvel for easy prototyping
    • Coda and Working Copy (Git) for the little bit of code I still do
    • Slack, Hipchat, and Skype for communication needs
    6 points
  • Gadzhi KharkharovGadzhi Kharkharov, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

    I'm mostly using Paper 53 for sketching. Love Notabilty for it's note-taking features and long vertical format, but it needs some kind of shape recognition abilities similar to Paper.

    Reeder + Instapaper for consuming.

    Outlook is great on iPad Pro.

    Coda is a state-of-art pro iOS app. Add Working Copy and you can set up a local WebDAV server and push changes to Git.

    New GarageBand is a lot of fun.

    I'm also playing with Airtable which is awesome.

    I can't wait to see what's coming for us on the pro-side of iOS software!

    3 points
  • scott parsons, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

    These are some of the apps I use

    • Grafio - a diagraming / sketching tool. Great for things like user journeys and process flows, personas etc.
    • Ideament - good for quick process flows, also imports text from omnioutliner
    • Journeys - simple experience journey mapping on the ipad.
    • Omnigraffle - wireframes, clickable prototypes, diagrams and more. Everything from sketches to deliverables (if you are still in that business)
    • appcooker - storyboarding and simple prototyping for apps
    • pixelmator - img manipulation

    I also use several already mentioned here including omnioutliner, slack, protosketch and paper

    2 points
    • Thomas Didrel, over 7 years ago

      I just got Grafio. I really like it, but the performance is just terrible. I don't see myself using it until they fix it.

      0 points
      • scott parsons, over 7 years ago

        Interesting. I have found the same with protosketch, I want to like it but it works too slowly on my ipad. Grafio works fine for me, but it does have some interface niggles.

        0 points
  • Scott SykoraScott Sykora, over 7 years ago

    For 'arty' things you should check out our app Assembly. It's a vector art playground great for prototyping and exploring ideas before getting into production fine-tuning. Or just make fun art.

    Some artists are doing some awesome stuff with it:

    Aaron Smillie


    2 points
  • Adrian HowardAdrian Howard, over 7 years ago

    I've got a Air, not a Pro. That said…

    • Editorial for writing / text editing.
    • Trello & Slack apps, since we use both services.
    • Memopad / Sketch / Adobe Comp for sketching / mockups.
    • Duet Display to use the ipad as a second screen for the laptop when on the road
    1 point
  • Vasil EnchevVasil Enchev, over 7 years ago


    1 point
  • Elliot DahlElliot Dahl, over 7 years ago

    I've been using https://concepts.tophatch.com/ for sketching out UI mockups. It has a lot of awesome tools and runs pretty smooth. Nothing else can do vector as well as Concepts from what I've seen.

    1 point
    • Thomas Didrel, over 7 years ago

      I love that they started over, without trying to fit old (desktop) interactions into a touch/pen interface, but I couldn't manage to get anything out of it. Even drawing simple shapes like rectangles felt convoluted.

      0 points
  • yahoo service, almost 6 years ago

    I am using Grafio, outlook, Reeder. there is more app you can use. Having problem in email recovery of Yahoo just contact us https://yahoocustomerservice.co/fix-common-yahoo-mail-errors/ we provide you the best solution.

    0 points
  • barry saundersbarry saunders, over 7 years ago

    for sketching:



    Adobe Draw / Sketch / Comp


    For writing:

    IA Writer


    Tasks and notes:




    Have tried various but keep coming back to Mail and Calendar.

    0 points
    • Anthony MoralesAnthony Morales, over 7 years ago

      Microsoft Outlook on iOS is, for work email anyway, a fantastic app. Combines email, attachment browsing and calendaring into one nice app.

      0 points
      • barry saundersbarry saunders, over 7 years ago

        yeah I do like it, my only quibbles are that it doesn't actually integrate with OneDrive for Business (it supports OneDrive but only the standard version) and that it doesn't automatically progress to the next email when you delete one. But I am trying it again, it does seem to be the best option for now.

        0 points
  • Mark ProganoMark Progano, over 7 years ago

    Checkout Graphic, its been very helpful – close to Ai

    0 points
  • Cecil Lancaster, over 7 years ago

    Pretty cool that you use an iPad Pro for UX work but what about wireframing or prototyping? And can you really get the same kind of output and (productivity doing it) from an iPad app as from a desktop UI design app like Sketch?

    0 points
    • Thomas Didrel, over 7 years ago

      Wireframing is easy. Before the iPadI used to do wireframing on paper first and then move on to draw stuff in Sketch. But now it is all digital from the beginning. Paper (the app) gives me a lot of added bonuses over paper (undo, duplicate, etc.) while keeping the same spontaneity. And using Adobe Comp I can output pretty high fidelity mocks very quickly.

      Prototyping on the other hand is harder. As of right now I haven't found a prototyping app that works for me. I could still use invision as it is a web app. I'll see. I am only a month in and I will probably encounter more bumps down the road.

      All in all it is a great experience, I can't say I am more productive, but I can say for sure that I am not less. There are huge gains in some parts of my work, and some losses in other areas. But it evens out. And As time goes and I familiarize with the platform, I expect my productivity to go up.

      But the biggest benefit IMO is definitely the hardware. I love the freedom: It weights a third of my already light MacBook Pro 13", has twice the battery life and the Pencil is just a killer.

      1 point
      • Cecil Lancaster, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

        What about exporting assets for developers from your high fidelity mocks made from Adobe Comp? And being limited to 2 apps side-by-side doesn't constrain you if you need to have your design app, wire framing app, browser, and email open? And especially sharing files between those must be more cumbersome on an iPad than drag/drop on a desktop?

        Edit: And also having multiple docs open in each of those applications so that you can switch around to each one easily rather than opening/closing files all the time

        0 points
        • Thomas Didrel, over 7 years ago

          High fidelity mocks are just that, mocks. I work with a visual designer who takes those mocks and creates the actual designs from them. I am not suggesting anyone else should do it, this is an experiment, and I must admit that I am in a very specific position to do so. But I also expect to run into obstacles that will push me back to my laptop in the future.

          Working on an iPad certainly has its constrains, but it works for me. I have never been a fan of having too many windows open on screen at the same time; on my computers I tend to put apps in full screen and use virtual desktops (Spaces) to separate each activity. So I rarely have more than a couple of windows open on screen anyway. But I completely see how other people would feel clostrophobic on iOS.

          And you are right, iOS is a constrained platform, multitasking is only in its infancy and many of the things that one takes for granted on a desktop can be hard or flat out impossible.

          The thing is, I didn't try to translate my desktop habits over to iOS, like I didn't ask Sketch to be Fireworks or my bike to be the metro.

          I am often browsing DN to discover and learn about the tools that other designers are using but there is little talk about iPad apps (probably for good reason) hence the very interesting discussions that we are having right here. :)

          0 points
  • Chris HampshireChris Hampshire, over 7 years ago

    Then you can play flappy bird if you hit a brick wall.

    0 points