Replace Imac 27 and iPad Air 2 with iPad Air 3

Hi there, I have an iMac 27, which has a 1 TB spinning platter and standard Ram etc. I also have an iPhone SE and my wife has an iPhone 7 an iPad Air 2 and an Ipod.

I am considering replacing the iMac and iPad Air 2 with the new iPad Air 3. We are both now retired and I believe the “upgrade” would prove beneficial. I have access to Telstra internet via their modem.

I was wondering what thoughts this generates with members of Apple Talk.

Along the lines of
(1) Whether I would require internet access via the iPad Air 3, or whether I could get this via a dongle attachment.
(2) Whether I require the largest storage on the iPad.
(3) Could I attach the iPad Air to my phone to achieve (1) or whether this is just not viable

Personally, I’m a big fan of 4G iPads if you’ll ever use them outside the home (i.e. if you have Wifi at home).

Depending on what you do, transitioning to an iPad only lifestyle should be doable - but beware there’s a fair bit of stuff that may be tricky to migrate if you haven’t already done it… (documents to cloud storage, photos to iCloud library, music to iCloud Library, etc…)

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27” iMac to a 9.7” iPad is a hell of a downgrade.


My old 27 inch iMac has died for the final time and cannot be resurrected anymore and I am currently dependent on an iPad Pro.

It’s quite doable if you are prepared to invest in the apps. It is a different way of computing.

Specialist app tools make the difference. This includes additional printer functionality and photo editing tools. Cloud storage (and thus subscriptions) is also a must.

The only reason I haven’t bought a new iMac is because I have other expenses at the moment, and I get by with the iPad Pro. And if I need to I can use my daughter’s laptop. That is not often.

But do not kid yourself it is a computer replacement yet.

  • There is no file system. It can be hard to find files for example unless you remember which app you used them in.
  • You are very limited on peripheral support.
  • The screen is not iMac 27 inch sized.
  • Multitasking is a bit of a cludge
  • Windowing is a bit tricky.
  • Mail needs work. For example how do you have several emails open at once? You might find a better third party app.
  • Cut and paste is not as easy as it could be. It also doesn’t work well in some blog platforms. (Eg OK here, lousy on Appleinsider)

That will do for now

PS: I have a work colleague who is @70 come back to work to help me out. She is iPhone XR and iPad only. That has basically been her home setup for years. That is all she needs although I am always worried she doesn’t back up enough, particularly photos. iCloud photo storage is a must in the Apple ecosystem.

I couldn’t do it, but then I also don’t have my own iPad either (although there are plenty in the house).

The iPad is great for consumption of stuff, video, facebook, twitter etc etc, with a bluetooth keyboard it even makes a great email tool and (basic) document creation. Models with Pencil support can even be used for more creative stuff…

But as has been said, file support is lacking, storing all your photo’s and videos is 100% reliant on online services same for documents. Backup of those things is hard (impossible?)… An iCloud Storage/Office 365/Google drive subscription would be recommended.

I still feel like using an iPad as a single computer, while possible, is just a world of compromise and pain to force it to work. A real computer is still so so much more flexible.

What model is the current iMac?

Assuming it still works without hardware issues and it has USB3.0 (late 2012 onwards), I would do is buy one of these:

Install OSX onto that and boot from there instead of the internal drive, which is what we do with our 2017 27" iMac. Our is then velcroed to the back of the iMac with 3M velcro tape. You can then format the internal drive and use that for extra storage if you need it.

If you’re running a 2012+ machine you already have 8GB RAM which is adequate, upping that to 16GB would likely not give you any real benefit from the sounds of your requirements.

If you were really keen you could pay someone to pull it all apart and install an SSD inside, but this is likely to significantly up the cost for little gain…

So really, for ~$150 you get a pretty quick machine. Buying a new iPad as well gives you the best of both worlds which is what I would recommend.

Agree with The-Hawk on booting from an external SSD drive is a great way to get a big speed upgrade from the 1TB internal drive, and worth giving it a try.

Hi Entropy
Have thought long and hard about your response and that of The Hawk.

Also have had some discussions with my son in law as a graphic designer and is something of a whizz kid on computers.

As a result I think I may be better off putting an SSD portable into my 2015 iMac 27 inch to add to the 1 Tb HDD and put off purchase of an iPad 3 air for a few weeks due to saving issues with the Ipad.

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Hi The Hawk. Really appreciated your response, that and Entropy’s response and talking to my son in law who is a graphic designer really focussed my attention on what I was trying to do.

As a result I think I would add an SSD portable 500 GB to the 1 Tb HDD on my 2015 Imac and put off purchasing an iPad Air 3 for a few weeks.

I have found the responses from all members particularly helpful in focussing me on what I was trying to achieve!