How many Apple devices/computers do you own, why, and how do you manage them all?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by respectabilia, Aug 15, 2011.

  1. respectabilia macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2010
    I was interested in purchasing a Thunderbolt Display to complement my 11 inch MBA 2011, but realised for the same price I can just purchase the base 21.5 inch iMac instead. But I couldn't see how I would ever use two computers and deal with the hassle of splitting up work between them, especially as I also have an iPad and iPhone.

    However, I've seen some Apple users who own iMacs, Macbook Airs AND Macbook Pros. And then they also have iPads and iPhones, and maybe even iPods and Nanos.

    Now in real life - at least my own real life - this many devices means it's literally impossible to make use of all of them. If you want to work mobile, an MBA should be where does the MBP go? If you have an iPhone, how do you make use of an iPod and Nano? Which of these becomes your main device? Don't you feel cluttered? And how do you justify these without feeling guilty? I'm curious.

    Others prefer the more sensible iMac as main power station and Air as mobile work station. But how do you manage the two and keep them in sync, on top of using your iOS devices?

    Personally, I'm planing the following setup:
    1. MBA 11" 128GB SSD Core i7 as my main and only computer
    2. Thunderbolt Display for home multitasking sessions
    3. iPad for non-work general use and mainly content consumption
    4. iPhone for communications and fall-to device I can always rely on wherever I go.

    Some may find my setup even too much (although I have found my own good uses for them all). I'm just a little curious how others manage anything more than this. It would be interesting to know.
  2. treestar macrumors 6502

    Feb 28, 2010

    I have four Apple products I currently use: 2007 MB, 2010 13" MBP, 2011 13" MBP, 64GB iPod Touch 4. For a while I retired my 2007 MB because the battery died and I was using the 2010 MBP for everything. I use my iPod for music, dictionary, and I sometimes try to snag open WiFi when I am out, so I usually keep it in my bag to check email or maps if I get lucky.

    I had the option of getting the 2011 MBP for a considerable discount this year. I didn't need it and I didn't really want it but I figured I could at least buy it and sell my 2010 MBP and totally break even.

    I figured for now I would keep both MBPs because: 1, they have the same parts and I can use the 2010 to do repairs if it ever comes to it; 2, I take my MBP into sketchy situations where I am never sure it is going to come out unharmed, or come out at all. I'd rather have the 2010 MBP for taking risks and the 2011 MBP for feeling secure. I'm still not sure this method is cost effective.

    As I have only been running both MBPs for about two weeks now, I am very exhausted trying to utilize them both fully. I don't need two. One or the other is simply a backup to me, and I don't really have the space, uses, or the monies to keep both.

    My MB was useless to me for about a year. It has case issues and the battery won't charge. I was going to give it to a friend but I didn't want to give up my precious old school MagSafe charger, or part with the new kind. In trying to use and sync two MBPs at once and with having small SSDs providing little space, I put my MB on my network with my external Firewire storage attached. It isn't very fast with FW400 or over WiFi, but I finally have easy access to all my files without being tethered to external drives.

    Since you are looking for ways to balance and utilize all your devices, this way seems to work. You would use your future iMac to share your iTunes library, your documents, to facilitate your backup, etc.. My MBPs are both set up like a MBA: small SSD, no optical, no significant storage. File/library sharing over WiFi is a must. Sync your iPad and iPhone here. I do manual syncing with my iPod and this makes it easier to sync across multiple docking stations, so if you are traveling or away from home you can use your MBA.

    I have a couple external Firewire drives. One is bus powered and it is my portable work drive for editing on the road. I use my iPod as my portable music drive. I wish there was wireless syncing and wireless library sharing from my iPod to my MBPs, since I share from my iPod to my lightweight notebooks.

    I'd like to get an iPhone because relying on WiFi with the iPod is unreliable. I'd maybe make do with a 32 GB model. I wouldn't want to keep my iPod. I don't like having an armful of devices. Sometimes it just takes up too much space in my bags or is too heavy.

    I'd also like to retire the MB again and use the 2010 MBP for file sharing but I am worried about killing the battery this way or wearing down the hardware. I need my batteries to be in top condition because I do Firewire based field recording where I record 3 hour sessions completely off battery.

    My line of work is photography and art. Audio recording is my hobby. I have Firewire audio interfaces and a pricey Epson tabloid scanner, along with my cameras, lenses, and microphones. I sometimes carry my external drives -- a RAID 1 array to protect my data, and I use a Magic Mouse for editing. I travel with everything in flight cases. One thing about gear is to manage it well and keep it concise and tidy or it gets in the way of production -- one reason to own only the amount of devices you need.

    I know I've been smearing the Apple Thunderbolt display all day, but getting one seems right for what you already have. It is going to far out live an iMac. Apple displays easily last up to 8 years. You can increase the price gap between the display and the iMac by going refurb or clearance. Also, Apple stuff is great, but there are other professional level displays out there that might save you a couple hundred in your currency.

    I think those people that have every Apple device under the sun really love having toys and aren't too concerned with efficiency and money.
  3. wordoflife macrumors 604


    Jul 6, 2009
    I have a MBP and iPhone.
    I also have a desktop PC where I save EVERYTHING to via Wifi. There's almost nothing on my laptop besides a few movies I like. I like having all my stuff in one place and the PC is easy because I can easily add storage when needed.
  4. Sam235 macrumors member


    May 29, 2011
    hi, what do u mean u save everything via WIFI, do u mean that ur pc is like a media server? what OS do u have installed on it? thanks :D
    and to OP, the ppl u see with more computers than they need are mostly computer geeks like myself, i like to own and collect computers as they r my only way of entertainment (other than my social life), i like test different OS's and all versions of them, i like to assemble computers just for fun, i also enjoy testing out beta versions of programs, i earn as much money as most of my friends and the people i hangout with, but everyone tends to spend his money on stuff that makes them happy :D
  5. wordoflife macrumors 604


    Jul 6, 2009
    I have Windows 7 installed on it. I just "shared" my hard drive and mounted it to my Mac. It shows up on my Mac like this.
  6. tootall macrumors regular

    Apr 17, 2011
    Quebec, Canada
    For me the perfect number is 3!

    1) iMac 27" with large hard drive for home, with all my data, music, movies, pictures etc.

    2) MBP that stays at work so I can take it to meetings and class (I am a professor)

    3) MBA for traveling to conferences and seminars

    All contacts, calendar and emails synched with mobile me. All data synched with SuperflexibleSynchronizer through Dropbox.

    p.s.: I tried an iPad2 as a number 3, but it didn't do. However my wife, which hates my apple compulsive buying behavior, fell in love with the iPad. Therefore now I can buy the MBA
  7. Sam235 macrumors member


    May 29, 2011
    Thanks a lot for the quick reply :D!!
  8. treestar macrumors 6502

    Feb 28, 2010
    Good point that I missed. However, I sync my emails, contacts, etc. through Google. Updates get sent to my iPod automatically. I do all the social stuff through my browser. It's totally feasible to sync a Google account to the Mail and Address Book applications.
  9. Sam235 macrumors member


    May 29, 2011
    iCloud is coming out in september so u wont have to worry about syncing :D
  10. iJasonTATE macrumors member


    Aug 2, 2011
    iMac, iPad, iPhone, iPod touch 4TH gen(stolen), iPod touch 2nd GEN(never used). I manage them all by using Dropbox!
  11. njsa04playa macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2010
    new joisey
    mbp 13, ipad, blackberry, ipod touch 4th gen (not stolen), samsung galaxy tab, samsung netbook
  12. tbayrgs macrumors 603


    Jul 5, 2009
    In our house we have:

    1) 2011 Mac Mini i7 quad core
    2) 2009 Mac Mini C2D HTPC with 2 TB of directly attached external HDD for media
    3) 2 iPhones
    4) 2 iPads
    5) 3 iPod Touches
    6) 1 Shuffle
    7) 3 Apple TVs

    Personally, I use both Mini's, an iPad, an iPhone and the shuffle (for cycling, working out instead of the iPhone). I keep contacts, Safari bookmarks and calendars synced over the iPhones/iPads/2011 Mac Mini with Mobile Me and use Dropbox for any necessary files that either my wife or I need access to. Oh, and I also use Back to My Mac/file sharing to transfer occasional files to my Mom's computer up North and Screen Share to assist her with anything she's not quite familiar with, download updates for her, etc.
  13. FredTheDeadHead macrumors member

    Jul 2, 2011
    I have 3 laptops (2 older Alum MacBook Pros and a G4 Powerbook), and a Mac Pro. I also have a 1st Gen iPad, and a iPhone 4. I have a 3rd gen iPod as a source in my car, and I have a 5th gen iPod currently in retirement, but I have plans to use it with my stereo system. In the garage, unused, I have both a PowerMac 8500 and 9600, a Quadra 700, and my first Mac, a Mac 128 that was upgraded to a Plus. I have kept the G4 Powerbook around for compatibility with some older stuff, but will probably sell it soon. Actually, now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure that I also have a Powerbook Duo 280 stored away somewhere...

    I have been using the Mac Pro as my backup and 'sync' point (all 4 drive bays filled). But I will be looking at iCloud with interest.

    Likely will buy a MacBook Air (or next gen MB Pro) in the near future.
  14. Ice-Cube macrumors 6502a


    Jul 27, 2006
    Somewhere over the rainbow
    I have an iMac, MBP, Mac Mini, iPhone, iPad, iPod Classic, iPod nano and Shuffle.

    I use the MBP mostly for work in the office, and the iMac at home to play games or surf the net. The Mini is switched on 24/7 to download my torrents and to serve as a media server to play my movies on the TV. All devices are currently synced using Mobileme and dropbox which has served me faithfully for the last 2-5 years. I use the iPhone for sms and calls, the iPad for reading and games, iPod classic to store my entire music collection so I can listen to it at work and the Shuffle when I go running at night.

    I have a use for all the devices except the nano which I just bought on impulse so its just sitting there looking pretty.
  15. respectabilia, Aug 15, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2011

    respectabilia thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2010
    Curious more about how you use devices as opposed to what devices you have

    Thanks for the responses, especially those that shared why and how they use the devices they have.

    For my self for example, I have my aforementioned setup and use it as follows:

    1. MBA 11" 128GB SSD Core i7
    - As my main and only computer. I prefer to have one computer to reduce clutter in my life. I sometimes work away from home so need the mobility and the power for my needs (multitasking, and the occasional photo/video edit at most). The MBA meets these needs well, especially with the higher-end configuration.

    2. Thunderbolt Display (planned)
    - for those big work sessions with multiple windows that require more screen room, the 27 inch screen is a perfect companion for an Air. All the other drives and peripherals can just be plugged into the display and I simply plug in the thunderbolt/magsafe adapter when I get home.

    3. iPad
    - for non-work general use and mainly content consumption. I use the iPad a lot (as - good for me - I'm not working around the house so much), and it comes in handy for attending some meetings and note-taking sessions, and also as an organiser. Great for the kids too.

    4. iPhone
    - for those quick everyday communications, navigation, as an mp3 player, quick news updates, and general fall-to device that goes with me wherever I go. A little trusty companion, what I think of modern day servants (who needs a servant messenger when your phone can do it for you?).


    Interesting. Photography and art field must demand a lot, and it's not necessarily excessive, but don't you feel you'd be more stress-free if you got rid of the older and less used devices? Less to worry about and maintain?


    I hope the 'stolen' part is just some tasteless humour. Otherwise, best you steer clear of this community of Apple users in real life. One of them is probably your theft victim, and I would happily join him in giving you a much-deserved beating!


    I myself was (and still am to an extent) contemplating using the Shuffle for cycling and gym as you do.

    But how comes you have 2 Minis and 3 Apple TVs? Do you keep all the Minis in full sync with each other (I'm assuming you use dropbox premium account for that?)?


    Wow. That's one collection. I suggest you hold on to these and pass them over to your grandchildren one day as tokens of a bygone era. I wish for example I still had my old NES I could show off to the little ones. I'm sure it'll turn into a collector's item that people pay a lot for after a while right?
  16. velocityg4 macrumors 601


    Dec 19, 2004
    The three I actually use are my Macbook, Home built PC and iPhone. I have many other computers but they just represent different leaps in computing since the eighties and only get used rarely to play different generations of games.

    I keep my address book, calendar and e-mail in sync through G-Mail. For bookmarks I use XMarks to keep the Mac and PC synced. As for other files I just keep them syncronized between the Macbook and PC using SyncToy over my network. I just randomly click the sync button when I am goofing around on the internet.

    If I didn't need a laptop for my business it probably would never get used. Except occasionally trying out a new recipe that I am feeling to lazy to print as well as file as a PDF until I know it is excellent. Actually I probably wouldn't even own one.

    The main computer I use is my PC. I love the big screen, speed and how whisper quiet it is.

    My iPhone is mostly used for checking e-mails and making calls. If I am bored I might browse the internet for a minute but I hate the tiny screen. It is useful for playing music in the car or reading a book while waiting around. If I actually care about a book I grab a real printed version any sort of e-reader just pales in comparison.
  17. Flynnstone macrumors 65816


    Feb 25, 2003
    Cold beer land
    In our house hold : PowerMac G5, G4 mini, 24" iMac, 3 MacBooks (kids college etc) iPhone4, iPhone3, 3 iPod Touch (I think) some Nanos, old shuffles .. a couple Airport Expresses (great for music), an Airport Extreme & an AppleTV.

    Power Mac G5 backed up to FW HD, iMac backed up to FW HD. Plus offsite backups for each. Laptops back up to HD on an Airport Extreme.

    Thinking about an iPad. And replacing the Power Mac with a 27" iMac.
  18. Yumunum macrumors 65816


    Apr 24, 2011
    I've fluctuated between many devices. But at this moment I have slim to none...:

    1. 2011 MacBook Air 13" 256GB i5

    My only and main computer. I don't want to have multiple computers to transfer files to and from.

    2. iPhone 4

    How could I live without it? My iPhone is my trusty companion! Perfect for doing tons of stuff on the go.

    I use to have a MacBook Pro, an iPad 2, multiple Android and iOS devices... But I learned that 1. Android sucks. 2. iPad's are mostly big iPod Touches, and 3. I wanted a solid state drive and a high resolution display on my computer.

    The only thing that could make me happier now is an Apple 27" Cinema Display... Oh, and an iPhone 5 ;)
  19. Dave Felix macrumors 6502a

    Dave Felix

    Apr 9, 2011
    Scranton, Pennsylvania
    I have a Macbook Pro, iPod, iPhone, and i plan on getting an iPad but Im starting to change to mind. As far as managing them I sync them. Works great, especially the iCal on all of them. I have a notification to work out every other day at 5PM. My iPod notifies me as well as my iPhone and Macbook.
  20. njsa04playa macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2010
    new joisey
    thatll keep you in shape!
  21. fxdxt, Aug 16, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2011

    fxdxt macrumors newbie


    Jul 2, 2009
    All in one House

    1. Mac Pro 4.1 for photo/ video stuff
    2. 24" i Mac wife's
    3. Mac mini sever for Movies/iTunes
    4. Another Mac mini in bed room. used to get movies in to TV
    5. 13" Mac Book Pro for travel with camera
    8. i Pad 2 for travel
    9. His and hers i Phones
    10. 3 iPod's mine, hers and my daughters
    11. 3 Airport extremes. To tie it all together
    12. 1 Airport express. used to create WiFi in hotels
    13. 1 i Mac G4 unused sitting in my pole barn
    14. 2 Time capsules. 1 2TB and a 3TB
  22. OllyW Moderator


    Staff Member

    Oct 11, 2005
    The Black Country, England
    iMac, MBP, iPhone, 3 iPods, Apple TV & AirPort Extreme.

    The iMac is the main hub and I keep everything synced using MobileMe, Dropbox and AirDisk.
  23. Macdude2010 macrumors 65816


    Mar 17, 2010
    The Apple Store
    Apple Products I own:

    1. MacBook Pro 13' 09' 2.26GHz C2D, 8GB of RAM, 500GB HDD
    2. PowerMac G5 Late 04' 23 inch Cinema Display 1.8Ghz, 2.5GB of RAM, 320GB HDD
    3. iMac G5 05' 20 inch 2.0GHz, 1GB Ram, 250GB HDD (might have 2 soon)
    4. iMac G4 03' 700MHz, 1GB Ram, 160GB HDD
    5. PowerBook G4 (Ti) 1Ghz, 512MB of RAM, 60GB HDD
    6. iPad 2 64GB Wi-Fi+3G (AT&T)
    7. iPod Nano 3rd Gen, 4GB
    8. iPod Nano 4th Gen, 8GB
    9. iPod Nano 6th Gen, 8GB
    10. iPod Classic 4th Gen, 20GB, U2
    11. iPod Touch 4th Gen, 8GB
    12. Apple TV 2nd Gen

    All synced with iCloud :D
  24. respectabilia thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2010
    But how do you - if you do - put these to use? e.g. How do you work between 2 iMacs?
  25. njsa04playa macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2010
    new joisey
    how did you manage that?

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