My Favorite iPad

The iPad Mini continues to move through my life, and I think I know why.

iPad Mini 6

If I can give you a true TL;DR for this post, it is that the iPad Mini (6 currently, but previous models also apply) is my favorite iPad of all time. I have loved the iPhone since its inception, and the Mac has been in my life since 2008, 6 years after moving to a MacBook from Dell. The iPad, though, I didn't pick up until the 1st Generation iPad Mini, and to this day, I think the Mini is the best iPad. Sure, the iPad Pro is amazing.

The 2020 11-inch model is my main computer right now, and I truly love using it. Since going iPad-only, I have been very happy. But when I want to use a tablet, the iPad Pro is not ideal for me. The ProMotion and display are fantastic, but the size is what I think gets to me.

When the 9.7-inch iPad came out, and future models with smaller bezels and chassis, I think Apple did right by starting with that size. At the time of the first iPad, the bezels were large, making the entire size a little too big. But over time, the bezels shrank, and the iPad started becoming better and better.

iPad Mini 6
Apple’s smallest tablet gets a refresh.

Even with the first iPad and future better versions, it wasn't until the 1st Generation iPad Mini that I finally jumped on the iPad train. The 7.9-inch size made way more sense for a tablet, especially when you had an iPhone at 5 inches. Some Android phones were larger, but the difference between a tablet and a large phone is important.

Before getting an iPad Mini, I did have Google's Nexus 7, which I loved a lot. This was probably when I first saw the potential of having a tablet included in my setup alongside a laptop and smartphone. Once Apple came out with an iPad Mini at the same time the Nexus tablet line petered out, I preordered it as soon as it was available.

If you read my work regularly, you might be thinking, "Paul, why do you keep buying and selling the iPad Mini if it is your favorite iPad?" This is a valid question and something I thought about a lot when I started thinking about writing this post.

Buying the iPad Mini Again

iPad Mini lock screen.

After returning the Kindle Scribe and deciding not to get a different Kindle, I knew I still wanted to get something to read books. The iPad Pro, as stated earlier, is a fantastic tablet, but not for what my needs require. I wanted to get something more compact that I could read books on for long periods comfortably.

A Kindle is a perfect solution for this, especially since that is where my almost entire ebook library lives. But I also had some other things I wanted to consider when purchasing a new device that fits between my iPad Pro and iPhone. Reading is of big importance to me, but I also saw other ways a small tablet could help me.

I have mentioned this many times before, but I have a love/hate relationship with Social Media. Since Twitter was taken over by Musk, I am no longer addicted to that platform and never use it. Part of this has to do with my disgust with the new owner, but mostly because the people I followed on Twitter (I am refusing to use the new name) are elsewhere now.

Home screen, Kindle, and TikTok on iPad Mini.

But, I do enjoy TikTok. A lot. I know there are problems with this platform too, but I follow very entertaining people on TikTok and it is a guilty pleasure that is hard to give up. I also am on Threads and Mastodon, but TikTok and YouTube remain my most-used apps on my iPhone. Which can be a problem when I am trying to stay focused at work or at home.

This isn't a novel idea, but the thought of having a tablet where I could keep all my social media apps was tempting. The iPad Mini is also the perfect e-reader for not only books but RSS feeds and news. So these were the reasons I decided to buy an iPad Mini again and keep it this time.

So that is the reason why I bought the iPad Mini again, but why did I keep getting rid of it in the past? After thinking about this for a while and after using the iPad Mini once again and really enjoying it, I think I know the answer. In my opinion, the iPad Mini is pure want over needs. For my use of the iPad Mini, I see it purely as a tablet that I can consume and do stuff on; it is not for working, being productive, or getting something done.

2019 iPad Mini
A mighty device in a small and familiar package.

I have a new post I am working on that will extrapolate on this a bit more, but because I saw the iPad Mini as this fun device that I considered extra, I never felt I deserved it. My wife and I have many goals for our future and where we want to be financially for ourselves and our growing family, so I felt it was irresponsible for me to own something that didn't provide some kind of utility.

Again, I plan to go over this more in a new post I am working on, regarding my guilt of wanting to own a laptop I don't feel I need or deserve, but in the context of the iPad Mini, this is why I always either returned or sold the iPad Mini after some time. Similar to other things in my life like cameras, game consoles, etc., if I didn't find myself using it every day, or if it didn't provide utility in my or my family's life, I felt obligated to get rid of it and use the cash elsewhere.

We are at a different point in our lives right now, financially, so I don't feel as guilty about buying something that I want–that may also fall into the category of something I don't necessarily need. So cost-wise I am not bothered buying the iPad Mini this time, but I am also trying to allow myself to keep it even if it doesn't provide any actual utility besides enjoyment.

This is why I bought and have kept my Nintendo Switch, which I haven't played much of in the last few months. It provides a ton of joy when I use it, and even though it doesn't move the needle in terms of my household, it doesn't mean it isn't important when I want to use it. Same for the iPad Mini; it has become my all-things consumption device, and I love it.

My Favorite iPad Explained

iPad Mini in hand.

I know this is a bit of a longer post, but after all of that preface on why I ended up back to the iPad Mini, I want to explain in more detail why I am now claiming it as my favorite iPad. You can argue it is now my favorite device that I use at home right now, in what I have turned it into.

As I mentioned above, my addiction to Social Media can get ahead of me sometimes, and having it available on a device that I constantly have on me can be problematic. Especially when I am at home after a long day of work and my son is distracted by the TV. I can find myself scrolling for hours not realizing the time, then rushing bedtime, which never turns out well.

Instead, the iPad Mini has become a more intentional device. Do I still scroll through TikTok on the iPad Mini when Bluey is on in the living room sometimes? Sure, but I am not as likely to lose track of time as when I am on my phone.

It is also easy when I am on the floor playing with my son in his room, and he gets distracted by something without me, I pull out my phone. Now when I am home, I put my iPhone on the MagSafe charger in my room, and the iPad Mini is available if I have a chance to use it, intentionally.

After creating this setup for myself, I am less tempted to pull the iPad Mini out and instead focus on whatever my son wants to do. It is only a few hours that I have with him before he goes to bed, so when I do have time to go on the Mini, it is when my son is sleeping, and I have some downtime in bed or on the couch.

Goodnotes and iPad Mini with Apple Pencil 2nd Gen.

My iPhone has become a thing that is just always there and always available. The iPad Mini has become more intentional. It can be just as accessible as the iPhone, except it doesn't fit in my pocket, and I treat it differently than my phone. It has helped me refocus on what is important during family time but still provides me the entertainment I need when I am ready.

Other than intentionality, the iPad Mini has also provided other benefits. For one, it has become my reading device for books, news, and RSS feeds. Reader 5 is fantastic, Apple News and NYTimes apps are great, and Kindle continues to shine for my book needs. Kindle's whispersync and being able to read and listen at the same time have always been a bonus when using the Kindle app on the iPhone and iPad.

I also have all my streaming services available on the iPad Mini and recently finished The Morning Show on AppleTV+ and rewatched Knives Out on Tubi. I am planning on finishing the last season of Foundation soon and will probably start Slow Horses next. The iPad Mini is great for watching shows either when I am eating lunch at my dining room table or propped on my lap in bed.

Some other things that I have been considering with the iPad Mini are journaling again and creating a Dashboard-type home screen for personal and Techuisite stuff. I don't want to force the iPad Mini to be a productivity machine, as I stated earlier, but exploring some ideas for having fun with it overall.


iPad Mini on iPad Pro 11-inch.

After going back to the Kindle, reconsidering another Kindle, to ultimately landing on an iPad Mini again has been a journey, to say the least. I do this to myself a lot, but am grateful to land somewhere that I am happy.

I know a new iPad Mini has been rumored to come out this year, so coming back to the iPad Mini now seems a little late, but we will see if the upgrades are worth me replacing this one so soon. I did get an Apple Smart Cover for it, and an Apple Pencil 2nd Generation with the idea of using it to journal again, but we will see.

As a tablet, the iPad Mini to me is perfect. It isn't a phone and isn't a computer that you will want to do work on (not saying you can't, but many would prefer not to including me). The iPad Mini is a tablet first and foremost, and even though that sounds a bit simplistic, I think it is what makes it my favorite iPad.

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Jamie Larson