Author: Thord D. Hedengren

Author, designer, developer, and editor of Switch to iPad, among other things.

How I wrote a book on my iPad (Switch to iPad #75)

This week’s issue of the Switch to iPad newsletter is close to my heart, and the result of months of writing. You see, I recently wrote, edited, and sent a book to a publisher, using nothing but my iPad, as you’d expect from yours truly.

You might not know this, but when I’m not going on and on about the benefits of the iPad as your primary computing platform, or working at my digital agency, I write books. Those books used to be of a technical nature, about things like WordPress and other digital stuff, but I actually write fiction too. If you’re interested, you can find short stories by me in two anthologies, Cthulhu Lies Dreaming and Haunted Futures, as well as on some other places. 

I write novels too. If you’ve been following me on Twitter this Autumn, you probably noticed me doing some sporadic updates with the #amwriting (and later, #amediting) hashtags, as well as some dedicated hotel writing sessions. I’ve been working on a manuscript, in Swedish, so I won’t be sharing any excerpts, for a publisher’s call. It’s done, it’s edited, and it’s been sent in. Yay me, and all that jazz.

Naturally, this whole thing was done on an iPad, and I’d like to tell you about it.

🆓 Switch to iPad #75 is free for all to read, so no subscription needed. I’d very much appreciate it if you considered one anyway, obviously. Thank you!

Yoink – a review

There was a time when iOS and iPadOS was less evolved, and you needed something commonly called file drawer apps to bounce files around. If you wanted to upload an edited image to a web interface, but you had your edited photo in Pixelmator, you were kind of stuck. It was a mess, filled with workarounds and the like, before the Files app we have today, but honestly, afterwards too because even though it’s getting better, Files isn’t what it should or could be.

So, you installed a file drawer app, and shared (using the share sheet) your files to said app, and hoped that whatever app you wanted to move the file to would support importing it. I’ve written about that in the past, in one of the earliest issues of the Switch to iPad newsletter (please subscribe).

Fast-forward to today, and the Files app will actually do for most people. You can easily get to the most recent files added, which means that downloading and/or saving a file of any kind to Files will make it easy to find. And the Files app has the benefit of being tightly integrated into iPadOS, meaning that it’s easy to, say, upload a file in a web interface from the Downloads folder.

Does that mean that there’s no room for file drawer apps anymore?

Oh, no, there definitely is.

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The 2021 App Store Award winners

Every year, Apple announces the App Store Award winners. These aren’t necessary the most successful or downloaded apps, but apps that Apple feel stand out.

The 2021 iPad app of the year is LumaFusion, a video editing app that definitely stands out. It’s a great choice, so well done, Apple.

The 2021 iPad game of the year is Marvel Future Revolution. It’s a freemium game that I haven’t tried yet, but I guess I should, given the fact that it won this award.

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Notes: Big vs. Small (Switch to iPad #74)

This week’s issue of the Switch to iPad newsletter discusses what iPad sizes work best for note-taking. Note-taking is a topic dear to me, as you probably know by now.

My name is Thord, and I’m taking a ton of notes, as you’ve probably noticed by now. For this, I use my iPads, which are, as you probably also know by now, numerous. The past couple of months, I’ve been attending a course, studying Complicated Things™️, which means I’ve been taking even more notes than usual.

So, which iPad is best for note-taking? That’s not as easy to answer as you’d expect, so that’s what we’ll be talking about in this issue.

📧 Switch to iPad #74 is a paid issue, so you’ll need to be a subscriber to read this one. Do consider signing up, it’s what keeps this site going, after all. Thank you!

YouTube Kids — a review

This week’s issue of the Switch to iPad newsletter was all about setting up an iPad for kids. One of the apps I’ve installed is YouTube Kids. This is an ad-free version of YouTube with parental settings, meaning that it’s unlikely your child will stumble into something truly gruesome. That’s not to say that it isn’t an app without its problems, it’s still YouTube, after all, but I still think it’s one of the better options out there. And, not the least surprising, the kid loves it.

After an extensive onboarding guide, which I’ll spare you, you get to set up the app for your child or children. Yes, there’s support for multiple profiles, which I’m sure is a plus for some. Each child has an appropriate age limit for the videos, and that’s pretty much it for many parents out there, I’d think.

However, if your child happens to watch something you don’t like, perhaps one of those mass-produced toy unboxing videos from Russia, you can block that individual video, or channel, even. And should you stumble onto something that you feel is inappropriate for your age settings, you can flag it.

YouTube claims they use a combination of filters and human curation for the videos on YouTube Kids, and I haven’t really seen anything that makes me doubt this. Overall, it’s a pretty good app, easy to use for the child, with a mix of different types of videos. My one real gripe with YouTube Kids is that there isn’t a language setting. Watching educational videos in Spanish is great and all, but my kid should probably learn his native language first.

📺 📺 📺 out of 5 — Good.

Switch to iPad #73 is about kids and iPads

Have you ever wanted to setup an iPad for kids, but are unsure how to do it? That’s what Switch to iPad #73 is all about.

It’s not just me that loves iPads in my family, it’s the little bonus kid too. He’s great with it, as most kids are with touch-screen controlled devices. To him, navigating an iPad app, and figuring out a game from the App Store, is a lot easier than, say, using a controller for a video game console. It’s a different world than what I had when I grew up, that’s for sure.

The kid’s got an iPad, obviously. He’s been using an iPad mini 4, but with the launch of the new iPads, I figured an upgrade was overdue. It was also time to give him a little more control over what he could do on his own with his iPad, so I set it up from scratch.

📧 Switch to iPad #73 is out now. You’ll need a subscription to read this one, which is $5/month or $50/year. I hope you’ll consider it.

About the app subscription model (Switch to iPad #72)

This week’s issue of the Switch to iPad newsletter discusses the subscription model. It starts like this:

Are you sitting there, muttering over yet another app that goes from a premium business model, to a freemium one? Quite a few clearly did the other week, when Notability changed their business model, essentially forcing all its serious users to sign up for a subscription. They reversed this decision, grandfathering their current users into a reasonable free tier unavailable for new users, but the harm was, for some, clearly done.

So, let’s talk a bit about subscriptions as a business model, shall we?

📧 Read Switch to iPad #72 here.

Why switch to iPad, revisited in #71

The most recent issue of the Switch to iPad newsletter talks about why one should switch, and why that’s something I’m revisiting regularly.

I’m sitting propped up in bed, with chills and a sore throat, as I’m typing this. It’s one of the joys of the iPad, the 12.9” Pro model sitting in the Magic Keyboard at the moment, that portability, it’s one of the things I like the most. However, I could just as well be typing this on the MacBook Air that sits on the sideboard on the other side of the room. It’d work just as well because right now, in the Magic Keyboard, my iPad is a laptop. Literally, a laptop, even, since it’s in my lap.

That got me thinking about why I prefer the iPad, and if that’s still true. I’m in the habit of questioning many things in my life regularly, I think that’s important because it’s all too easy to just accept what you’ve got. Sometimes that’s fine, but if you could change things for the better, wouldn’t you? That includes making hard decisions when need be, and to be okay with things as they are if they’re not worth the hassle.

When it comes to the iPad, and viewing as well as using it as a primary computing device, it’s a fairly simple assessment. I can boil it down to the most common question I get, regarding my choice, which is: Why don’t you just use a Mac instead?

Switch to iPad #71 is out now. It requires an active subscription, so do consider that if you want to support my writing.

Bypass Google Maps with Mapper — A review

I prefer default solutions, and love single-purpose tools and apps, so there should be no surprise that I keep Mapper, a Safari extension by Alex Kitcoff, installed on my iPad. Mapper does one thing (well, two, sort of) and it does it well: Redirecting Google Maps links to its Apple Maps equivalent. If you’re a Google Maps users, that’s obviously pretty worthless, but for me, as an Apple Maps user, it’s great.

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