The Right Way To Use The Apple Ecosystem

Use an Android with your Mac or an iPhone with Windows. Here's how.

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How to use the Apple ecosystem

The thing about the Apple ecosystem is that it is seamless. After using a MacBook and iPhone for half a decade, I realized there’s a right way to use the Apple ecosystem. In my 5 years of using Apple products, I never felt the need to switch out of the ecosystem.

It is so because the ecosystem is just so seamless. I never seemed to have needed anything outside of it. That was until the day my MacBook bricked, and I had to switch over to Windows. More on that later. This switch made me realize how tightly I’d locked myself into the ecosystem. Most new Apple users are likely to make a mistake, pairing their M1 MacBooks with their shiny new iPhones and forgetting other gadgets exist.

This state of only using Apple gadgets is when you’re completely submerged in the Apple ecosystem. Since Apple provides a seamless and smooth experience most of the time, it isn’t considered a big deal if the user completely stops using other devices altogether.

So whether you’re a seasoned Apple user, a novice to the ecosystem, or a stranger to it, I believe you can take away something from this explanation of how to use the Apple ecosystem to your advantage.

Before we dive in further, please note that this is from my experience and opinion after using Apple devices for 5 years. If there’s something, you think I’ve missed, feel free to share your inputs in the comments.

The Eutopia

The right way to use Apple ecosystem

If you watched the WWDC keynote, you’d get a good idea of how Apple sees the Apple ecosystem. It is this tightly-knit, self-sustained place where everything works. If you undermine it or think it needs to be broken up, you should use it before making that point.

I used Apple Notes, Safari, iCloud Drive, Pages, iCloud Mail, Calendar, and almost everything else that brought my iOS experience closer to my macOS experience. Honestly, I feel some of the apps in the ecosystem are underappreciated. Take the Notes app, for instance. It is clean, simple, has a good amount of features, and syncs across Apple devices.

Then there’s Safari. It is fast, intuitive, privacy-focused where it should be, and again, syncs across all Apple devices. All you have to do is sign in to a new Apple device with your Apple ID, and everything from your old one happens to appear there. So if I were to leave my bricked MacBook and get a new one, all I have to do is sign in once, and literally everything syncs.

The Dystopia

How to use Apple devices

Everything in the Apple ecosystem works across Apple devices. Emphasis- Apple Devices. This is where the ecosystem becomes a nightmare if even one thing stops working. Think of this as a chronograph with a broken stopwatch hand. It becomes utterly painful to look at this broken hand every time you check the watch.

For me, the dystopia began with my MacBook Air suddenly dying on me. Switching to Windows, I had to face a lot of difficulties getting similar performance and efficiency. I don’t mean to comment that Windows PCs aren’t that competitive, but an initial transition always affects long time Mac users.

Another thing I missed was the Preview app. The oh-so-sweet Preview app from macOS is an all-in-one tool that can open PDFs, convert JPGs to PNGs, mark up documents, and much more. It is just painful to see the scarcity of such a tool on Windows. But I digress.

If you use the Apple ecosystem with all the apps in it, you’re getting a world-class experience, as long as you’re within the ecosystem. But step out, and you’ll feel firsthand what shackles look like. So is there a right way to use the Apple ecosystem?

The Right Way To Use The Apple Ecosystem

What I’m about to say might sound dumb to some, but I learned this the hard way. No matter how good and seamless an ecosystem feels, if you’re completely in it, you’re going to have to stick to it exclusively. It is alright until you want a sweet gaming phone like the ROG but back out because your notes and documents won’t open.

As an Apple user myself, I appreciate the premium build and experience. The hardware is one of the biggest reasons to stick to it. Apple also published a paper on what could go wrong if you sideload apps on your iPhone.

So with the hardware, here’s a list of the apps I used and suggest you switch to use the Apple ecosystem the right way. These are the basic apps that will give you seamless flow across all devices, not just Apple devices.

  • Evernote For Notes because you can’t move Apple Notes outside Apple kingdom. This is a good alternative and lets you access your notes from any device you use. Evernote has a free basic plan with decent features for 2 devices, and you can also opt-in for the paid plan.
  • Microsoft Office or any other office suite that works across devices. If you’re always around an internet connection, you can also go for the Google G Suite. I personally recommend an office suite that you can use offline.
  • Google Drive, or OneDrive, or any other solution that works for you. Google Drive is inexpensive and readily available across devices. The new Google Drive for Desktop makes it a good choice across devices.
  • Google Chrome is the browser choice for many, but if you want a privacy-focused browser, you can check out our list of Google Chrome alternatives.
  • Google Photos or any other Photos app alternative that suits you.

In essence, the mantra is to go for apps that work across everything and not just your Apple devices. This won’t only help you on a rainy day but will ensure you’re into Apple only if you want to. No doubt, some apps give Apple an edge over others, but these need not necessarily be THE apps for you.

So if you’re already using your iPhones and Macs with cross-platform compatible apps, good for you. If you’re not, give it a chance. Setting up these apps will take some time initially, but once you do it, your dependence on one company’s hardware and software will be far less decisive than what gadgets you choose to buy.

Manik Berry

Manik Berry

With a Master’s degree in journalism, Manik writes about big tech and has a keen eye for political-tech news. In his free time, he’s browsing the Kindle store for new stuff read. Manik also adores his motorcycle and is looking for new routes on weekends. He likes tea and cat memes. You can reach him at [email protected]

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