iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard as a Laptop – Tips and Gripes

I’ve been using the iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard for a few weeks now. There are plenty of reviews out there, so I’ve just gathered a few things that struck me as annoying / useful / great. Here they are in no particular order.


Drawing setup

If you place the lower edge of the iPad on the lip of the keyboard above the space bar, it’s pretty stable for writing or drawing.

Forward Delete

There’s no dedicated delete key (and no fn button to reverse delete direction), but you can hit control+d to forward delete.

A better Google Docs for iPad

If you’ve been frustrated by the terrible Google Docs app, there is an alternative…

Google Docs is pretty decent in the browser on iPad OS, but I like having a dedicated app instead of using Safari.

I installed the Brave browser app and use that as my dedicated Google Docs app. You’ll have to open Docs links via a long-press to open them in Brave and remove the Docs app so it doesn’t keep hijacking links, but you get the familiar browser UI for commenting and keyboard shortcuts for text styles, which is buried in the iOS apps.

Adjust text size for keyboard vs. tablet mode

My eyesight isn’t great, so I find a slightly larger font setting more comfortable when using the iPad further away in the Magic Keyboard configuration. When I take it off the stand to use it in “tablet mode”, I hold it closer and want to take the text size down a notch.

Luckily you can add the text size option to control center to quickly adjust the sizes. An automatic option would be even better, but it’s pretty convenient.


No way to open DMGs

(Technically not an iPad Pro specific issue, but here it is anyway). Given the long history of .dmg disk image files on the Mac, I still occasionally have to open one to access some files or check the contents. As far as I can tell there’s no way to open one on an iPad. Not something most people will care about, but given their long-standing support on the Mac, a curious omission.

Quitting from ⌘+tab doesn’t actually do anything?

You can hit ⌘+Q to remove apps from the ⌘+tab switcher, but it doesn’t actually force quit the app (yes, I know you don’t need to, but for testing purposes I sometimes explicitly want to test the app in a “cold launch” state). I suppose it’s just there to “clear up” the switcher… or just to appease mac users.

Pinch to zoom tricky on trackpad

The pinch-to-zoom gesture is really tricky to do on the trackpad – it’s just a bit too short to give my fingers enough room to reliably pull it off.

All the other gestures work really well and are super intuitive after a day or two. I was annoyed for about a second, until I remembered I can just reach up and touch the screen instead.

Face ID distance

FaceID on the iPad is great… when using it as a tablet. When I have it in “laptop mode”, it’s set back a bit on my desk and at that distance, I get the “Face is too far away” message a lot.

I hope that is improved before we get FaceID in Macs. Also makes me hope that iPadOS gets Watch Unlock at some point.