Photographers have a way of ending arguments about which camera is best: “The best camera…is the one you have with you.” It doesn’t matter how good your gear is if you leave it at home.
It’s the same way with our productivity tools: The best tool is the one you have with you.
No one is a bigger “iPad for administrators” guy than me, but I often find that my iPhone is even more indispensable. Why? Because it’s always with me, even when I can’t carry my iPad.
Even better than always having a single device with you, though, is always having your data with you, regardless of which device you’re using. Fortunately, your tablet and smartphone can work well together if you’re using the right apps.
I tend to use my iPhone and iPad for many of the same things, but the iPad really shines for:
- Taking notes in classrooms or meetings (it’s faster and it looks more professional than fiddling with your phone)
- Reading – the screen size makes a big difference
- Planning – I much prefer mind-mapping and writing out detailed notes on the bigger screen
- Email – especially if I have my Bluetooth external keyboard
On the other hand, the iPhone is great for more frequent message-checking and for quickly jotting down tasks.
Since I use both, it’s important that they talk together and share data seamlessly, so here are some recommendations for making that happen.
1. Use “Universal” Apps
A lot of apps work on both the iPhone and the iPad. If you’re not sure if your apps will run on both, fire up the App Store and go to the “Purchased” tab, then select “Not on This iPhone/iPad” to find apps you’ve bought but haven’t installed. Many of these will be apps you bought for iPhone that also happen to work on iPad, or vice-versa.
2. Use iCloud
iCloud allows your Apple products’ apps to sync data and settings. Make sure you’re signed into the same Apple ID on both devices so your data stays in sync.
In the Settings app, go to iCloud to enter your Apple ID email address and password:
3. Use Dropbox
For apps that allow you to create files, documents, or data, iCloud doesn’t always do the trick.
Try Dropbox sync whenever it’s an option in an app – Dropbox will hold and sync the data for the app, so it’s accessible and always up-to-date on all your devices.
4. Use Built-In Sync Services
Some apps have their own synchronization service, so dig into the “settings” section (look for a gear icon) and see if you can share data across different devices. Evernote, Remember the Milk (a to-do list), and Buy Me a Pie (a shopping list) are among the apps that have their own sync service.
Most of the above will apply to Android phones and tablets too.
How do you get the most from your smartphone and tablet?