I’ve been asked the question, “Can I write my book on my iPad?” since iPads first hit the market. And for the longest time my answer was, “No, please don’t do that.” I’d also echo the same sentiment when clients told me they tried to review their full edit on their iPad or their phone and couldn’t see any of the track changes. I shuttered at the thought of anyone doing anything of importance in regard to their manuscript on anything but a real computer.
Fast forward to 2018 and the release of the new iPad and eerily computer-like iPad Pro models. Not only do these iPads run faster than any previous models, but full versions of the Microsoft Word app and Apple’s Pages app are both available for iPad use—and bluetooth keyboards wirelessly sync with the iPads as well. All of these improvements combined, I do think it is far more feasible to write your manuscript on your iPad than it was a few years ago.
Not only is it more feasible now than ever before, but I also see the value in the portability of an iPad. It’s small and light enough that you can pack it and take it anywhere you go—whether that be your nearest coffee shop, an airplane, or for twenty minute writing sessions at your desk during your lunch break.
So, here are a few ways to set yourself up for success.
4 Things You Need
A newer iPad—older iPad models don’t have the speed or the ability to run newer apps and may not even be able to connect to a bluetooth keyboard.
The Microsoft Word or Pages app—if you’re going to do anything with your manuscript file after you’re done writing it, the document needs to be in a useable format and Microsoft Word or Pages are the most commonly used text editing apps. Don’t type your manuscript in the Notes app on your iPad, you’ll have a difficult time moving your work.
A bluetooth keyboard—typing directly on your iPad will slow your productivity down to almost nothing, so do make sure you have a bluetooth keyboard you can use for your writing time.
A backup method—you don’t want to lose all your hard work.
What Not To Do
Maybe it’s because I know just how intricate editing is and how complex it can be for writers to review editors’ notes, but I highly recommend writers not look at their edited manuscripts on an iPad. Even with a fully functioning Microsoft Word or Pages app, there is so much that goes into accepting and rejecting track changes, reviewing comments from an editor, and making revisions based on those editor queries. I think a lot can be missed during the editing process if you try to review edits and make revisions on your iPad. The screen is much smaller, the touch screen can make it difficult to select the right location within your text to make revisions, and I just see it wreaking havoc on a manuscript that has been carefully edited by a professional.
Do I think you can write your manuscript on an iPad? Yes, absolutely.
Do I think you should work on your edited manuscript on your iPad? Please, don’t do it.