The use of ionic liquids (ILs) for biomass processing has attracted considerable attention recently as it provides distinct features for pre-treated biomass and fractionated materials in comparison to conventional processes. Process intensification through integration of dissolution, fractionation, hydrolysis and/or conversion in one pot should be accomplished to maximise economic and technological feasibility. The possibility of using alternative ILs capable not only of dissolving and deconstructing selectively biomass but also of catalysing reactions simultaneously are a potential solution of this problem. In this Review a critical overview of the state of the art and perspectives of the hydrolysis and conversion of cellulose and lignocellulosic biomass using acidic ILs using no additional catalyst are provided. The efficiency of the process is mainly considered with regard to the hydrolysis and conversion yields obtained and the selectivity of each reaction. The process conditions can be easily tuned to obtain sugars and/or platform chemicals, such as furans and organic acids. On the other hand, product recovery from the IL and its purity are the main challenges for the acceptance of this technology as a feasible alternative to conventional processes.