Do You Need an iPad for Graphic Design? [A Simple Answer]

In the modern world, there’s a lot of things that it seems like everyone has and needs, when from the outside, it doesn’t seem like it’s all that important. Not to mention, there are some serious brand loyalists out there that make it seem like certain tech is absolutely required in order to progress in different areas of life. The same is true even in Graphic Design where some people wonder about the necessity of having an iPad.

You do not need an iPad for Graphic Design. However, some people and companies do like to use them even though they aren’t strictly necessary for the job.

The fact of the matter is that everyone should be using the technology that is best suited for the job at hand as well as what they are most comfortable with. Sometimes that might be an iPad, sometimes it might be something else. With the inception of online graphic design tools, you can now choose any device with internet connection to do your graphic designing. Keep reading to find out more.

Benefits for Having an iPad for Graphic Design

While it may not be needed, having an iPad is still a useful tool when working as a Graphic Designer. Depending on personal preferences, an iPad could really be a boon. It’s even a device of choice for many freelancers and illustrators due to some of the resounding perks.

Such perks include:

  • Portability
  • Friendly User Interface
  • Powerful
  • Commonly Used
  • Many useful apps beyond the typical
  • Works great as a graphics tablet for illustration
    • Is also cheaper than most of the really good ones
    • Can do many (or more) of the same things
  • Can double as a small laptop
  • Many of the same programs that are compatible with a Mac are also compatible with an iPad
  • Tons of accessories

It might not be the perfect device by a long shot, but it is still an extremely useful and powerful tool that can really help. This is especially true if the designer really needs to be on the go. Those who use internet based graphic design tools tend to love iPads because it allows them to create on the go with a larger screen than a smartphone.

Reasons to Avoid Having an iPad for Graphic Design

Even though it is useful as a Graphic Designer’s tool, an iPad also has many flaws. One of which being that they don’t support the most commonly used Graphic Design software (another reason many are switching to internet based graphic design tools). Not to mention, just about everyone is aware at the high cost behind any Apple product.

Some reasons to avoid using an iPad for Graphic Design include:

  • High Price
  • Needs accessories to do everything
    • Apple Pencil
    • Keyboard
  • No Adobe Suite products
    • Photoshop
    • Illustrator
    • InDesign
  • Not strong enough for large projects
  • Grievances against the brand
  • Older models stop being supported
  • No keyboard shortcuts

Apple doesn’t have the greatest reputation. They might do a lot of things right, but they also tend to frustrate potential and former customers with some of their questionable business practices. Thankfully, an iPad is not necessary for people with such strong grievances against the brand.

When is it Best to Use an iPad for Graphic Design?

The best use out of an iPad for Graphic Design is illustration. Popular programs such as Clip Studio Paint work amazingly well on it, and the price is much sweeter than a fancy graphics tablet. While there are some graphics tablets out there that are significantly cheaper, very few are able to be looked at while drawing under the price point of an iPad. The lag is very low, and the Apple Pencil even has palm rejection so it can be used without fudging if a hand is laid on the screen at the same time.

It’s not the greatest for big projects or something needing a ton of layout and formatting, but it’s still good enough for keeping logs, doing art, and tracking valuable information. It’s a fabulous companion device and one of the best options for illustration that won’t completely break the bank. That is at least as long as a million accessories aren’t added onto the overall cost, which can happen easily with any Apple product.

Can an iPad Replace a Computer for Graphic Design?

It depends on what the intended use of the device is as to whether or not anything is a suitable replacement for another device. In the instance of Graphic Design, it really matters what the overall needs of it is as to whether or not an iPad can suitably replace a computer.

Here are some examples of when an iPad can and cannot replace a computer for Graphic Design:

Can ReplaceCannot Replace
IllustrationPage Layouts
Record keepingLarge projects
Client interactionStudent needs

An iPad isn’t necessarily a suitable replacement for a computer in most situations. However, it can be a perfect replacement for one if there is less demand on the overall system, or if you opt to use an online based graphic design tool because it does not require you to download software to your device. In the end though, it really depends on whether or not the user is comfortable using it and is able to produce quality work in a timely fashion.


Very few things are definitely required in any profession. That includes Graphic Design, where it’s well known that someone is going to be spending a ton of time on a digital device in order to make their product. That being said, many people are going to assume that the best of the best is the only thing worth having, which is not entirely true. While having an iPad for Graphic Design is a great supplementary tool, it’s not always going to be useful for everyone with every project.

Online graphic design tools are becoming more and more popular, and they work fantastically with iPads. These tools are internet based, so you can use them on any device and you don’t need to download software to the device. This means artists can use an iPad to have a larger screen, while still being able to design on the go, or have a large screen that’s more portable than a laptop or computer.

When performing a job, including Graphic Design, the best and most comfortable tools are the ones that should be used in order to provide the best outcome. If that means using an iPad for drawing, recordkeeping, and the like, then it’s a good choice. If it means getting angry and being unable to utilize, it isn’t worth it. An iPad isn’t needed for Graphic Design, but it can be a useful tool if the designer likes and is proficient with it.