The iPad’s Biggest Limitation

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 1 min read

Federico Viticci: An iPad User's Journey into macOS with the M1 Max MacBook Pro

I don’t expect Apple to ever support all these advanced options for power users in their native Screenshot tool, but that’s the thing: macOS lets developers build these kinds of apps for users who want them. And I think there are plenty of power users on iPad who would use apps like CleanShot.


If Apple can’t fill those functionality gaps for power users on iPad and won’t let third-party developers do so either, those gaps will remain unfilled. The difference now, compared to, say, five years ago, is that iPad users have solid alternatives in the new generation of Mac computers.

Of all the issues we talk about with the iPad, I think this is hitting on the thing that I feel limits the iPad most: if Apple hasn’t thought of it, then you can’t do it on the iPad.

Take Cleanshot X, for example, which replaces the screenshot functionality built into macOS. This simply can not exist on the iPad because Apple has not explicitly made this available to developers. Cleanshot didn’t need to ask permission to do this or wait for Apple to make an SDK for them, they just did it.

See also 1Password’s new universal autofill feature, which brings system-wide autofill to the Mac, despite there not being an official way for password managers to do this on the platform.

I hope we get windowing and external monitor support this year in iPadOS 16, and that would help a ton, but I think for people who use their iPads as serious computers, this deeper limitation is still a major issue.