Replacing Docked MacBook Pro with Mac Mini

jordii

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 9, 2008
135
58
I'm a longtime Macbook Pro user. I've been using it in a dock, rarely taking it out (which wastes the fancy screen, etc.).
I'm thinking of getting a Mac Mini, but holding onto my 2015 laptop so I don't feel completely desk-bound.

Any anecdotes from people who've done the same (including creative - i.e. beyond iCloud - ways of keeping laptop synched)?
 

jw1806

macrumors newbie
Nov 10, 2018
5
1
About a year ago, that is exactly what I did.

I had a lot of issues with my 2015 MacBook Pro and my external 4K monitor.

The Mac mini has been much more stable, and iCloud Drive for Desktop / Documents and Git for my software projects has made syncing between the desktop fairly low-maintenance.
 

caskibum

macrumors newbie
Sep 26, 2014
29
29
I have a mini and a Macbook Pro as well (and a Windows desktop and a work PC at the office - lol, too many machines). In mac-land, the mini and laptop work really well together.

I sync my work documentation using OneDrive (crossing platforms with Windows this seems to work best), my personal day-to-day documents with iCloud (works well with sync to the phone as well which is a nice bonus).

Creative work (photography) has a local thunderbolt drive for working, synchronized to a synology NAS for local backup and then I'm currently using AWS Glacier to archive anything that is important and needs offsite "world ending" recovery options - i.e. photos, other critical documentation. The synology handles the upload to the Glacier bucket.

Go for it, the new mini is a great little machine.
 

aZZaneko

macrumors member
Jul 21, 2012
33
24
That's exactly the move I'm considering right now.

Been having laptops as my primary machines since 2003 and I think I'm finally fed up with the experience. Nothing against MBP15, it's a killer machine and my 2012 retina is still doing way better than a 8 year old laptop probably should, but 15 inches just isn't enough for proper work and yet it's too much for carrying around comfortably, plus I absolutely hate the way plugging and unplugging it messes up my windows layout, so I end up using it as a stationary computer 99% of the time and use my iPhone for the work on the go, which seems wasteful and stupid.

Pondering a MacMini & 13 inch laptop combo myself. I'm also wary about having to sync my workflow between 2 separate systems, but I've tried switching between MBP and a spare MBA I had around for a while and it was surprisingly seamless with streaming services, iCloud, Handoff, Universal Clipboard, Git, a NAS etc. It was much better than I imagined.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
18,552
6,281
"Any anecdotes from people who've done the same (including creative - i.e. beyond iCloud - ways of keeping laptop synched)?"

No anecdotes, except,
There's nothing like having a good Mac laptop AND a good Mac desktop.

However -- don't go on a wild goose chase of "synching" the two to each other.
Let each Mac "be its own Mac".
Things go easier that way.

Tips re the Mini:
- Get the i7
- Get 16gb of RAM "from the factory" (instead of 8)
- Get the 512gb SSD
- Consider buying an Apple refurb -- more for your money.
 

Krevnik

macrumors 68040
Sep 8, 2003
3,435
742
However -- don't go on a wild goose chase of "synching" the two to each other.
Let each Mac "be its own Mac".
Things go easier that way.
I generally agree with this, since services like iCloud, Dropbox or OneDrive aren't a great sync solution IMO. It's just too easy to run out of space and pay through the nose for it.

That said, if you can make a NAS work, you can also use the Mini as a quasi-NAS as well. I did something similar for a while until my storage needs pushed me towards a full-fledged NAS.

- Get 16gb of RAM "from the factory" (instead of 8)
Or, if you have a good grip on what it would take to replace it yourself, you can get 32GB for less than what Apple charges for 16GB. Just be careful of the LED and Fan cables. The LED cable especially.

- Consider buying an Apple refurb -- more for your money.
This. Refurb if in stock, or if you can wait a little bit, then consider buying new, IMO.
 

getrealbro

macrumors 6502
Sep 25, 2015
402
146
...There's nothing like having a good Mac laptop AND a good Mac desktop.
However -- don't go on a wild goose chase of "synching" the two to each other.
Let each Mac "be its own Mac".
Things go easier that way....
I had been using my MBP “docked” to a 24” monitor for quite awhile before I added a Mini with a 32” monitor. I was certain that I needed to keep the Mini and MBP in sync. But after a few weeks of trying to keep them fully synced using various methods/services like Dropbox, OneDrive, iCloud drive, etc. I realized that I didn’t use the Mini and the MBP for the same things. So keeping them fully synced was just an added maintenance chore.

So I added the 24" monitor to the Mini and configured the Mini and MBP to match how I actually use them and life got a lot simpler. In the end, I am able to keep the limited things I really need to “keep syncd” on the “free” iCloud Drive. Of course this also makes these documents, etc. available to our other Macs and iDevices :)

GetRealBro
 
Last edited:

WP31

macrumors newbie
Feb 11, 2020
10
2
Just moved from a 2016 13" MBP as my full-time/everywhere computer (via 2 x external screens and a TB3 dock at home), to a 2018 MacMini @ home and the 13" MBP for everywhere else. It works pretty well for me. I may still be riding the high of the new MacMini and trading one-computer-for-everything small difficulties for two-computers small difficulties but for now I like it. I use GoogleDrive, OneDrive, and iCloud to sync everything. Yes, they are all different services but they basically 'just work' and all my data is always available on both computers.

I purchase most (but not all) apps via the AppStore and most (but not all) are downloadable onto more that one device so that makes it relatively simple to keep both computers running the same software. One thing I've noticed is all my little tweaks (keyboard shortcurts, finder settings, backgrounds, individual app settings, etc etc) are different on the new machine and managing all them across two machines is a small nuisance but that is about the same amount of PITA as dealing with the 13" MBP being plugged in and unplugged every day. As a matter of fact, I'd say it's better now. The 13" MBP just didn't like being plugged in and unplugged a bunch, it would relatively routinely freeze, lock up, screw up an app, etc and I was always restarting it just to clear up problems. Now I just switch to the necessary device and it works.

FWIW I tried the laptop @ home and iPad for travel thing but as much as Apple wants it to be the iPad is not a MacBook replacement yet. It never worked for me.
 

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