Does Family Tree Maker Work On An iPad? (Workarounds)

Family Tree Maker will not install and run on an iPad. The software only runs on Windows or Mac computers, whereas iPads have a different operating system.

There is a separate application called FTM Connect that does run on the iPad. However, it is read-only and does not display all tree details.

Read on to learn about the advantages and disadvantages of FTM Connect. We’ll also give you technical workarounds that let you use your iPad and work on the full Family Tree Maker software.

But first, we’ll explain what the problem is.

Why Doesn’t Family Tree Maker Work On An iPad?

MacKiev, the software company behind Family Tree Maker, states clearly that their software only runs on a Windows or a Mac operating system.

Apple’s iPads run on a different operating system known as iPadOS. This is not supported by MacKiev.

The iPadOS is a version of the operating system that is also an iPhone. You can’t use FTM on an iPhone either.

MacKiev has no current plans to develop a version of FTM for iPads.

FTM Connect Works On An iPad

FTM Connect is a separate application from the full Family Tree Maker software.

It is a lightweight version that lets you view your current family tree if it has been uploaded to Tree Vault.

The app is free but you do need to pay for the Tree Vault features. If you don’t want to use Tree Vault, then FTM Connect won’t work for you.


There are plenty of limitations to FTM Connect that makes it unpopular with some users. These are some of the features that people miss:

  1. You cannot make changes to your family tree
  2. Not all fields are displayed
  3. The relationship calculator is not available
  4. You cannot check for duplicates


MacKiev says that they released the app for people on the go who can whip out their iPad and show their trees to relatives.

I must admit that I’m not a fan of the interface. I prefer to use Ancestry in a browser. I describe this method in the next section.

Simple Workaround: Use On Your iPad Browser

tree profiles with highlighted green leaf hint and potential parents

Many people like to use their iPad for a commute or journey, but also keep a laptop or desktop computer at home.

If you’re in this category, then there is a simple solution. Use the browser on your iPad to log into the Ancestry website where you can view and work on your tree.

If you make changes via the website interface, you can sync the changes to Family Tree Maker on your home computer when you’re next using it.

Before you leave for a journey with your iPad, you can use the FTM sync to make sure the online version of your tree is up to date.

Don’t like regular syncing?

I know that plenty of FTM users prefer not to use the sync feature frequently. People with larger trees can experience delays and problems.

However, if you’re going to visit a cousin or other family member, you could consider carving out a smaller section of your tree for their perusal.

You can achieve this by exporting part of the tree in FTM as a GEDCOM file.

Then you would import this smaller tree into to show your family online.

Workaround: Use Your iPad To Dial Into Your Home Computer

If you don’t mind leaving your standard Windows or Mac computer running at home, then this option could be good for you.

This method is a little more complicated than others. But if you’re comfortable installing apps, you won’t have a problem setting it up.

The easiest solution is to install the free TeamViewer app onto both your iPad and your home computer.

This lets you connect remotely from your iPad to your main machine. Once you’ve connected, you can merrily work away on Family Tree Maker from your iPad.

Always running

Note that the home machine must be switched on even though you are away. And when I say “running”, it can’t be in sleeping or hibernation mode.

Most computers now are set up by default to go into sleeping mode if left unattended. You have to go into your settings to turn this off.

If you’re using a laptop and keep it running over a prolonged period (like a year), you may find that your battery degrades until it’s faulty. I speak from experience!

So, I advise you to re-enable the power-saving features when you don’t need remote access.

Lightweight Alternative To An iPad

If you’re thinking of purchasing an iPad because it’s so light, then you could check out some alternatives that let you run Family Tree Maker directly on the machine.

I’ve heard several FTM users praise the Mac mini range. I don’t have one so I can’t give a personal recommendation.

However, I quizzed one user with a large tree of over twenty thousand entries (well, that’s very large to me!). She was very happy with the performance of the software on that size of tree.

Other Systems

Check out these articles on other operating systems:

Margaret created a family tree on a genealogy website in 2012. She purchased her first DNA kit in 2017. She created this website to share insights and how-to guides on DNA, genealogy, and family research.

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