I’m very satisfied with my current writing setup, as it respects my most important need: whenever I stop writing, I need to be able to get back to it wherever I am, from any of my devices. I write Markdown text, and my desktop saves my files directly on my server, since they’re on the same network; in turn, my server runs Syncthing, and it sends a copy of those files to my smartphone and my laptop. I can edit those files or create new ones from any text editor, be it Ghostwriter on my laptop or Jotterpad v12.11.1B (newer versions suck) on my phone, and they’ll be synchronized with the server and each other. Hell, I can even edit them from nano using SSH, should I ever need it (it happened). And it’s not just text files, anything goes, like images or XMind files, which is the app I use for timelines. Syncthing even has a versioning system, I can go back 10 versions back for every file, and recover deleted ones. Long story short, it’s perfect.
Except for one detail: I also have an iPad, and it doesn’t fit into the equation.

I don’t particularly care about writing on the iPad (6th gen base model), but its large touchscreen is great for creating timelines, especially when paired with an Apple Pencil: actually, that’s how I always start creating them. Then I could get them on my other devices by exporting files from XMind and putting them in the sync folder, but here’s the problem: Apple really hates giving users proper access to their own files.
There’s no official Syncthing iOS app since they didn’t want to bother with Apple’s dumb “security” policies for files (understandable), but someone made a client named Möbius Sync that works. Problem solved then, right? Not really: it only works if the app is in the foreground and the device is not locked, which translates to no automatic backups. It might work for just moving files around, but it’s pointless for anything automated. Versioning won’t work as it can’t track the files in real-time, and if I don’t remember to open the app before leaving the iPad at home (I rarely bring it with me), I won’t be able to keep working on them when I leave.

It’s clear that I like Android and prefer Linux to Windows and Windows to macOS (although I had my years-long Hackintosh phase), but when I got this iPad I wanted to give Apple a chance, especially since when I got my iPad there were no decent Android tablets with a pen and since iOS has way better and way more apps for sketching and drawing (like Procreate); also worth noting, decent Android tablets with a decent pen are considerably more expensive than the cheapest iPad with an Apple Pencil. Now, though, this iPad feels like my biggest waste of money. Sure, I had some fun with it, but I don’t feel like it did anything that I couldn’t have done with an Android tablet, quite the opposite: I can run Syncthing with no problems on Android.

The iPad can be a great productivity machine, many still hope that it’ll get the macOS treatment, but I think that even in its current configuration it works great for some workflows, especially for artists. Even the hardware is great, the SoCs are fast and even older ones still feel fast, the displays are nice and color-accurate even on the cheapest models, I love mine for editing photos. It’s not a matter of hating Apple or iOS, I might not like how some things work, but it’s more of a “different approach” thing rather than being necessarily worse; this issue I’m having, though, is just usual Apple’s petty and anti-consumer behavior. It’s my device, it’s my data: I deserve the right to access it from any app and in the background. You can give me a thousand warnings before letting me do it, even at every reboot, I don’t mind, just let me do it.
Someone might say, “why not use iCloud or Google Drive?” - well, I have very good reasons not to: I don’t really own the data on Apple’s or Google servers, I can’t simply open them without downloading them first then reuploading them manually as they don’t work transparently, and they don’t easily let me access my files offline. If you have any counterarguments: you’re wrong. I tried - you’re wrong. And even if you’re not wrong, I don’t like the way it works as it adds complexity: my setup is great because as soon as you finish setting it up, you forget about it.
What are my solutions? Besides huffing some copium and trying Möbius Sync hoping to remember to open it every time, I have none that involve keeping this iPad: Apple’s philosophy is hostile to anyone who wants to own their own data or devices. And I’ll be honest, not only I don’t have the money to get a new Android tablet, I also hate the idea that I have to get one to solve such a dumb problem. Eventually, I’ll just do it and this iPad will be relegated to the kitchen to read recipes and use Grocy, so it won’t go to waste. For now, I’ll just hope that a future iPadOS version will change something, but I’m not gonna lie: I laughed while writing this last sentence.