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How to streamline iOS App Design and Development for iPad?


November 3 , 2023 Posted by Admin

Today, we will explore how to adapt an iPhone app for the iPad with minimal effort. This topic holds relevance for many development teams because designing for the iPad often takes a back seat, even though project managers tend to insist on iPad compatibility.

Design and development naturally go hand in hand, which holds for iPhone apps in most cases. However, the same cannot be said for iPad apps. While the code may run on both devices, the layout must often be revised on the larger iPad screen. The question arises: Is this misalignment genuinely significant? So, here comes our iPad app development services USA to guide you on it.

In truth, it is essential. Designing for the iPad ensures that users across all platforms receive the best possible experience. The resultant higher-quality product not only has the potential to boost revenue from iPad users but can also enhance brand recognition and instill a sense of pride and accomplishment among the team.

That said, teams typically fall into one of the following two categories when it comes to designing and shipping iPads:

  1. Rare, but great. Keep up the excellent work! (Shipping for iPad and designing for iPad)
  2. Classic! You want the iPad user base but don’t want to allocate extra resources because your app is iPhone first. (Shipping for iPad and Not designing for iPad)
  3. That’s weird; why are you doing that? (Not Shipping for iPad and designing for iPad)
  4. Fair enough, you don’t want to design for the iPad, and you don’t want to deliver an unoptimized product. (Not Shipping for iPad and Not designing for iPad)

You’re in luck if your team falls into either of the latter two categories. Read on to discover how to ascend the development ladder swiftly.

It all Begins with responsive design…It all Begins with responsive design-01

Responsive design serves as the cornerstone of this endeavor. When you possess an iPhone app that performs seamlessly across various iPhone screens, adapting it for the iPad primarily entails accommodating a few additional screen sizes.

Consider, for instance, the contrast between the iPhone SE and the iPhone 14 Pro Max regarding screen sizes. The Pro Max has a nearly 1.5 times greater size and a substantially higher resolution than the SE. Consequently, it displays higher-quality assets and can put up more content on its expansive screen. It begs the question: Why not leverage this capability to give iOS users with the most quality devices an outstanding experience?

When you’re designing a feature for the large 14 Pro Max screen, you also want to make sure it works well on the smaller iPhone SE. While making every screen scrollable might seem like a good idea, it doesn’t always give the best user experience (UX). When you consider adding different languages, you’ll see why it’s important to design with fixed sizes, even for just one screen size.

Since the advent of iOS 6 in 2012, Apple is a tool known as Auto Layout, which frees us from the constraints of fixed-size containers and elements; it has much simplified responsive design for developers and, by now, should be the standard modus operandi.

It’s fascinating that many designers and product managers, who readily embrace responsive design in areas like web development, rarely consider mobile as a responsive platform.

To bridge this perceptual gap, engaging in dialogue with them may be beneficial, shedding light on the diverse screen sizes encompassed by your app’s user base (SE, Pro Max, iPad, etc.). You can also back up your point by looking at data that shows how many users use each of these devices. Firebase keeps track of this data, or you can ask your Business Insights team to help you get it.

If your team already uses responsive design principles for varying iPhone screens, that’s good! You are on the brink of achieving an iPad app that that looks good too.

Once you’ve made a responsive design guide for iPhones, considering things like text adjustments for different languages and how elements appear on various screen sizes, you can think of the iPad as just a bigger canvas to work on. Here, the designer decides whether to resize components to ensure aesthetic appeal in both portrait and landscape orientations or to slightly reconfigure the layout to adjust on the larger screen. Both approaches hold value, depending on the main business objectives.

With your app now exhibiting a respectable appearance on the iPad, a few additional considerations remain. Due to the larger screen dimensions, multi-finger gestures become manageable; it presents a fine opportunity to improve your app’s usability by introducing intuitive gestures tailored to advanced users. Furthermore, iPad users possess peripherals like keyboards, trackpads, or Apple pencils. Considering these tools, consider upgrading your app’s user experience (UX) to make it work well with them.

Optimizing iPad Design: Optimizing iPad Design-01

Practical Strategies and Proven Hacks

In our ongoing pursuit of crafting iPad-friendly layouts, our mobile application development company experts have dug up a trove of logical hacks, which, while not without their quirks, give practical solutions to the challenge at hand.

If you need help with the complexities of designing iPad layouts for your entire array of screens, consider this time-saving trick: Focus your design efforts primarily on the most key screens. For the remaining screens, limit the maximum width and/or height for the content. This method preserves the same aspect ratio on an iPhone screen, thus maintaining a consistent and appealing layout. While it might not use all the screen space, it proves to be a satisfactory compromise in specific scenarios.

The admired “aspect fill” technique occurs as a reliable supporter when resizing assets. Ensure that your assets appear original on the most high-resolution devices, such as the iPhone Pro Max and the iPad Pro, and trust in aspect fill without a glitch and adapt them to various screen dimensions.

Don’t depend on the UIDeviceOrientation for UI layout decisions. While it may seem convenient with its support for “isLandscape” and isPortrait, a lesser-known aspect is the existence of isFlat that can confuse you. Indeed, when an iPad is flat on a surface, its orientation doesn’t fit the usual Landscape or Portrait modes. Consequently, it is prudent to forgo these checks and instead decide how your layout should be based on the space you have in the current window. For instance, utilize one layout if the width falls below 300 points and another if it exceeds that threshold.

In the same way, avoiding the use of checks like “isiPhone” or “isiPad” for determining how the user interface (UI) should look is vital because the start of split-screen functionality on the iPad has given it a screen shape similar to that of an iPhone. As a result, assuming things about what the iPad can do in a broader sense might be misleading.

The hard task of verifying screen compatibility across light and dark modes, with varying text lengths, different screen shapes, and the entire range of target devices, can be overwhelming. Enter snapshot testing, a potent tool in the store of responsive design developers. It serves to validate that future modifications do not by accident upset the layout. An added boon is the ability to review snapshots for specific screens or, better yet, share them freely with your product designer.

Depending on how big your codebase is, it might be helpful to create different snapshot routines. A quick routine for continuous integration can easily check important screens and make sure they’re working as they should. It also ensures that the default state of all screens remains same. At the same time, a thorough “nightly” routine can examine every possible screen in many different situations, leaving no bug unaddressed.

In the territory of expansive codebases, creating a Gallery-type app garners credibility. Such an app functions as a repository of your views, replete with mock data. It accelerates UI iterations by preventing the need to navigate through the actual application, which often entails significant time expenditure.

Moreover, a Gallery app provides the convenience of simulator compatibility, a feature not universally accessible to apps reliant on unsimulated hardware attributes; it proves invaluable, especially when dealing with uncommon iOS version-related issues. Project managers and designers also benefit, as it provides a visual catalog of existing components, helping to make knowledgeable decisions regarding future layouts.

The merits of SwiftUI’s composability come to the fore when seeking to recycle components for diverse layouts. Crafting components for a particular screen and implementing two independent layouts for broader and narrower screens is intuitive. Maintenance remains a breeze, and the resulting code remains clear and understandable. An added feather in SwiftUI’s cap is the capability to use screen previews, speed up UI development.


Indeed, creating designs specifically for the iPad can be just as simple as making responsive designs for the iPhone, with a few extra steps. If your product team remains convinced of the advantages of responsive iPhone design, extending that effort to encompass iPad support should be reasonable.

Nevertheless, it is crucial to remember that deciding to design for the iPad is fundamentally a business right. Consequently, a thorough assessment of the merits versus the expenditures is imperative. After perusing this discourse, you should be grateful to mitigate the costs of enhancing iPad compatibility, aiming to render it a more economically sound investment.

So, if you want to make an app for your iPad, explore our iPad app development services in the USA and create the most of iPad compatibility.

We are the best app design and development company in the US. With a strong focus on quality, our iOS and Android app developers make the most user-friendly app designs.


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