It’s finally possible to code web apps on an iPad Pro

Owen Williams
6 min readJun 4, 2019
It doesn’t look like much… until you realize this is a 11" tablet running iOS.

2021 Update: Thinking about coding on your iPad Pro? It’s gotten even easier than since I wrote this post. Check out my 2021 guide to coding on the iPad Pro here.

The iPad Pro unexpectedly caught my eye when Apple released it in late 2018 — the iPad Pro looked unlike any tablet that had come before it, with ultra-thin bezels around the display, and most importantly, all-day battery life.

I’ve been surprised by how much I like it, despite trying it out and returning one, then buying it all over again a few months later. I get more done, and it’s so much less distracting than my laptop — a refreshing change of pace.

The problem with this iPad Pro is that it’s an incredible piece of hardware that feels so held back by the software. iOS 12 felt like it kneecapped otherwise incredible hardware, limiting its potential in frustrating and unpredictable ways .

I always knew that coding was probably out of the question, but things that aren’t on iPad, like Figma and Soundtrap didn’t work either, because Safari wasn’t much more than a glorified iPhone browser.

At WWDC, Apple changed that story: the iPad is now a serious enough focus for the company that it’s breaking away from iOS and getting its own ‘OS’ — providing the space for the iPad to grow up a little bit.

As a part of iPadOS 13, Safari is growing up too: Apple says it’s now a ‘desktop-class’ browser, without really elaborating about what that means. Oh, and they added mouse support — seriously.

Believe it or not, that change means you can build web apps using the iPad Pro, despite the lack of a real IDE or environment, and it’s actually not that bad. Behold, Visual Studio Code ‘running’ on the iPad, and it’s about as good as the real deal:

Owen Williams

Fascinated by how code and design is shaping the world. I write about the why behind tech news. Design Manager in Tech.