I am thinking about getting an iPad for an external display for a Mac mini and have a couple questions about how it would work:
If you use Fast User Switching to switch to a different user, what happens to the Sidecar display?
If the display sleeps, what happens?
Nobody was able to give me answers to this online, so I tried it with my wife’s iPad and MacBook. Here’s what happened:
When you switch to a different user, the iPad display shows the login screen background, but no login prompt. The login prompt shows on the primary display. After you login with the new user, Sidecar disconnects. And you can’t use Sidecar with a user that is not signed into the same iCloud account as the iPad is.
When the primary display sleeps, the iPad shows the iPad login screen. When the primary display wakes up, the iPad automatically wakes and shows the secondary desktop.
Luna Display/Astropad can’t really switch between two users either. Here’s what their helpful support rep told me: “When you switch to the second user, even without User A fully logging out, the [Luna Display] app will still remain running on the iPad and keeps the last-known screen images on display. This means that User A’s screen contents will still remain on the iPad after User B logs in, and Astropad will remain connected to User A even if User B opens the Astropad app, until the connection is stopped by either quitting Astropad before switching to User B, or closing and restarting the iPad app.“
I only have space left on my desk for something about the size of an iPad. A 10″ IPS monitor of dubious origins costs $120-$140. It would have a lower PPI vs. an iPad, a lower quality display, and not be as generally useful. Though it would allow Fast User Switching. The iPad and iPad Air sometimes go on sale around Veteran’s Day for $279-$289, so for double the price I get a full iPad built into the display. Not bad. I think I’ll get one!
From experience, it takes 2.5 hours to recharge Sony wireless headphones (MDR-XB70BT) from empty to full. This is also stated in the manual. The Sonys give 9 hours of battery life for listening. At 3 hours per day of usage, that’s 3 days between charges.
It takes 1.25 hours to recharge the Apple AirPods battery case. They give 24 hours of battery life when new. At 3 hours of usage per day, that’s 8 days between charges of the battery case.
Like all battery-driven headphones, you need to charge more often as the battery ages. After ~1 year of usage, I’ve found I need to recharge the AirPods battery case every 4 days, instead of every 8.
As an aside, I got the AirPods with wireless charging case, and don’t really like the wireless aspect of it. It’s too hard to position the AirPods perfectly on most wireless chargers. Next time, I’ll get the non-wireless AirPods.
My colleagues and I had trouble AirDropping files from our Macs to our phones. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t.
I figured out that AirDrop would fail with the Cisco AnyConnect VPN client connected.
Specifically, when your Mac’s sharingd service tries to connect to https://yourphone.local:8770/Ask to ask for permission to accept a file, it times out via the VPN. This happens even if LocalLanAccess is allowed in your VPN settings.
The solution was simply to disconnect the VPN client whenever you need to AirDrop something.
I had a problem for months in Apple Mail (both on the Mac and the iPhone) where multiple folders would show up with an Unread mail count, even if all mail in that folder was already read. If you clicked one of the Unread folders, the Unread count would instantly go away. (But it would reappear when re-opening Mail.)
Here’s how I fixed it:
Open Mail on the Mac
Click on the Archive (or All Mail) folder
Select all mail, right-click on the selected mail, and hit Mark as Unread
Repeat step 3, but now hit Mark as Read
Now close and open Mail again and you will no longer see folders with Unread mail in them. If the problem continues to occur, you may need to repeat steps 2-4 on all of your mail folders.
I was trying to figure out why Safari’s Reader animation was smooth on my retina MacBook display (“1680×1050”), and super smooth on my old iPad Pro (1668 x 2224), but jerky/stuttering on my USB-C-connected external 4K monitor in any resolution except “1280×720”. This even happened on simple web sites with very few photos.
Pushing high-res external monitors primarily depends on VRAM size and bandwidth. Integrated graphics have to use system RAM as VRAM which is slower compared to dedicated VRAM. If you only had 8GB system RAM then the shared VRAM would further strain the entire system since less system RAM is available to apps.
Now, the new G7 graphics have more computational performance and are coupled with faster 3733 LPDDR4X system RAM which provides more bandwidth so performance on an external display should be at least somewhat better. However, a discrete graphics card would bring much more improvement. So if pushing high-res external monitors is your goal, I’d recommend you either 1. upgrade to a 16-inch MBP or 2. get a eGPU.
On long web pages, especially when using a high resolution (4K+) external monitor, scrolling takes a long, long time. Feels like you’re dragging the page through molasses.
I found a quick fix for this, buried in Accessibility preferences:
Open System Preferences > Accessibility
Scroll down to Pointer Control
Hit Trackpad Options… and move the Scrolling speed slider to Fast.
Why this isn’t in Trackpad preferences, I don’t know. It used to be, back in 2011. I guess Apple decided the Trackpad preferences were getting too overloaded and hid them deep in Accessibility settings.
Amazon just listed the Apple Watch Series 3 for $169 – on sale. This is a great starter watch for anyone interested in dipping their toe in the waters with Apple’s tech. (They will need an iPhone to use it, though.) Series 3 runs smoothly with watchOS 6, and will be supported by the upcoming watchOS 7. (which includes sleep tracking)
These watches actually come with blood oxygen detection built in, but it isn’t enabled yet due to FDA restrictions. Once the FDA eases their rules, this will be great for early detection of COVID-19-like symptoms.
I tried the iPad-only life for months. Here’s what I found: The iPad gets you about 90% of the way to a laptop. It’s the last 10% of what you might need that is frustrating. For example:
You can listen to music, but if you want to easily trim that media so you only hear the best parts, the Music app on macOS is what you need.
Even if Safari identifies itself as a desktop browser, there are still sites that don’t fully work with it.
I had a PDF that was attached to an email that I was unable to rotate on the iPad without a paid 3rd party app such as GoodReader.
Another email attachment I wasn’t able to see in iPad Mail until I went to the cloud email portal (which barely worked on the iPad).
Tax software on the iPad is even more clunky, expensive, and data-loss prone than on macOS.
I was unable to change the text size of data entered in PDF form fields, thus making a printout of the form unreadable. Had to use a Mac.
My wife used to love her iPad Pro (it was a lot better than the Windows notebook that made her break down in tears), but now she’s selling it because she outgrew Swift Playgrounds. She wants to make a real app in Xcode.
You may say now that you don’t need to do these things, that these are all edge cases, but you will run into your own edge cases where the iPad falls down and get frustrated. Maybe in a few years, the software will be better. But I suspect the Mac will be best for most use cases for many years to come.