Does the iPad Work on Windows?

Updated February 21, 2017

The iPad is a mobile device that uses the iOS operating system from Apple. You cannot load a Windows operating system onto the iPad, but you can definitely use a Windows PC to sync and back up your iPad data. You will need the current version of Apple's free iTunes software to sync your iPad with a Windows computer, which means your computer must meet the current iTunes standards.

Proprietary Operating System

The Apple company develops its hardware and software in-house, ensuring that the operating system and any added software work seamlessly together in each device. Microsoft creates the Windows operating system and other software for use on hardware by other manufacturers. This allows consumers more hardware options, but it can lead to glitches, when the hardware and software don't interface correctly. Apple's integrated approach to hardware and software is why you can't run Windows on the iPad.

Interfacing With Windows Computers

Your Windows PC needs Windows XP with Service Pack 2 or any newer Windows system to run iTunes. You will also need 200 MB of hard disk storage available and 1 G of RAM. Your processing chip should be 1 GHz minimum, and you will need a high-speed Internet connection to download any audio or video purchases. Once iTunes is downloaded and installed on your Windows PC, you can plug your iPad into any USB port on the computer and get it configured, then return to your PC, to back up your iPad files or share files between the iPad and computer.

Windows-Related Programs on iPad

Windows-based productivity software--such as Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint--does not run on the iPad in its native form. However, the iPad App Store features several apps you can use to work on your Microsoft documents with the iPad's touch interface. QuickOffice Connect and DocumentsToGo are two of the App store's top-rated apps for running iPad versions of these standard Windows programs. The apps cost little compared to the computer software; while the features are limited, you can perform basic document creation and editing functions.


If you are a Windows-oriented computer user wondering if the iPad can work for you, the answer is yes, it can. You won't be able to use all of your favourite Windows programs, such as Windows Live Movie Maker or the Track Changes feature in Microsoft Word. Yet, not only are there plenty of apps that make file sharing with your PC easy, you can also try any of several remote desktop applications that allow you to control your Windows PC from your iPad. Splashtop Remote, Jump Desktop and LogMeIn Ignition all allow you to control various Windows-based computers, using the iPad's touchscreen environment.

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About the Author

Anne Hirsh has been writing and editing for over 10 years. She has hands-on experience in cooking, visual arts and theater as well as writing experience covering wellness and animal-related topics. She also has extensive research experience in marketing, small business, Web development and SEO. Hirsh has a bachelor's degree in technical theater and English and post-baccalaureate training in writing and computer software.