When it comes to enjoying Apple's ecosystem, fewer devices is more

 Apple products against a cream background
(Image credit: ZDL via Shutterstock)


I’ve been an iPhone user since 2018. Leading up to it I had been bombarded with photos and videos of girls my age with their iPhones and MacBooks slathered in filters and cool stickers. I wanted so badly to take part in that, and finally, understand what the hype was all about.

Now I’m all grown up and I’ve had my hands on almost every kind of Apple product the average person would come into contact with. I got through university thanks to an iPad Air, and now with my job, I’ve used MacBooks and Mac minis and I’ve just recently got my hands on an Apple Watch. Safe to say I have used most of the products aimed at the everyday consumer and I must say, the Apple ecosystem is seamless. Not perfect, but incredibly close.

With all these products now part of my everyday life, I’ve noticed they kind of … cancel each other out. I know most people wouldn't actually have this much stuff (I am very lucky my job gives me access to so many fruit-themed gadgets) but it does give me a pretty interesting insight into how one product makes the other one obsolete. If I’ve got a tablet and a phone, I don’t need a MacBook unless something in my life demands it. I can just get a keyboard and a mouse and save a lot of money. If I’ve got a MacBook and an iPhone, I don’t need a Mac Mini. I’ve been thinking about how much we spend on so many products that are not very useful to us in a real-world sense. 

iPad Pro 12.9 (2022) on table

(Image credit: Future)

Do they all have to talk to each other? 

My iPad was my baby for about three and a bit years. I did assignments, job interviews, presentations and project designs on the handy little tablet. It was also my television for most of my university life. And with just the iPad as the only other device besides my iPhone, the ecosystem was useful in that it skipped over all the annoying set-up bits of the iPad and I could always hop between my phone and my tablet whenever I needed to without much fuss. 

One by one, as I added more Apple devices to my collection, the more convoluted things got for me. It can be a lot to keep up with, particularly if you have work or school devices and then your own personal ones. Keeping up with which device has what setting, which Focus Mode every device is in, and the incredibly annoying moment when you get a Facetime Call and everything in your house starts screaming can quickly end up being a bit of a nightmare. 

I know, it's a first-world problem I’m describing here. Again, I only own two of the devices I’m talking about here. It got me thinking though; you don’t need a lot to get the most out of the Apple ecosystem. The more you add to the web of devices the more settings you have to regulate, the more screens light up when you get a call, and the more passwords you need to remember. 

Person holding iPad

(Image credit: Farknot Architect)

Sometimes it's all a bit much

If you’ve got a work or school device you’re getting personal and professional emails on both sides, Slack or BlackBoard messages and then texts from your mates constantly popping up. Even when you put your devices into do not disturb mode you’ve got a load of places now to go to and comb through notifications. Often when I go from my phone to my iPad I’ll have 60+ unread emails on the iPad to delete even though I’ve read them all on my phone ages ago. Plus it can become very overwhelming to be bombarded 

Getting to the point where everything around you has that iconic apple engraved on the back of it is an incredibly expensive journey, so I’m definitely not recommending burying all your money into that. In fact, I am encouraging the exact opposite. I kind of want to start plucking Apple devices out of my life.

The point I’m making is this: less is more. We live in an ever-overflowing consumerist society where every day there is a new product that will seemingly change your life. We buy and buy and buy and end up with a whole lot of stuff we don’t need and end up throwing away or hoarding in our homes because ‘it’ll be useful someday’ and fill landfills in third world countries with e-waste. Every time a new tech trend comes around or a device becomes a status symbol of some kind - think MacBooks and the popularity of AirPod Max headphones among young people for being ‘aesthetic - we’re encouraging each other to buy things we don’t need and spend money a lot of us don’t have. The Apple ecosystem works great, but you don’t need a dozen different devices to experience that.

Muskaan Saxena
Computing Staff Writer

Muskaan is TechRadar’s UK-based Computing writer. She has always been a passionate writer and has had her creative work published in several literary journals and magazines. Her debut into the writing world was a poem published in The Times of Zambia, on the subject of sunflowers and the insignificance of human existence in comparison. Growing up in Zambia, Muskaan was fascinated with technology, especially computers, and she's joined TechRadar to write about the latest GPUs, laptops and recently anything AI related. If you've got questions, moral concerns or just an interest in anything ChatGPT or general AI, you're in the right place. Muskaan also somehow managed to install a game on her work MacBook's Touch Bar, without the IT department finding out (yet).