iPadOS 16

iPadOS 16
⚔️ Vs.

The iPad has evolved yet again with iPadOS 16. New multitasking features for M1-based iPads paired with advanced collaboration tools and external monitor support transform what can be accomplished on Apple's tablets. Apple has also introduced new Continuity features for using an iPad and Mac in tandem.

● Multitasking with overlapping windows
● Full external display support
● New collaborative tools using SharePlay and FaceTime
● Shared tab groups in Safari
● Freeform coming to iPad later in 2022
● Available later in 2022

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Apple held its annual WWDC conference in June 2022 and announced the usual operating system updates. Changes in iPadOS 16 vary based on the processor in use, with several focused on M1-powered iPads.

Apple introduced several changes to iPadOS during WWDC 2022 Apple introduced several changes to iPadOS during WWDC 2022

Many of the new features announced in iOS 16 were also included in iPadOS 16 like SharePlay coming to iMessage and new APIs for developers. Collaboration and sharing were big themes throughout the WWDC keynote.

The beta cycle has begun for developers. Apple generally releases a public beta in July followed by a full public release in September.

iPadOS 16 Features

Apple continues its tradition of providing significant changes to iPadOS on a two-year cycle. An all-new multitasking system is available for M1-equipped iPads and a multitude of new features enhance iPadOS further.

Stage Manager

Apple introduced Stage Manager as a macOS Ventura feature first during WWDC. It is a system that makes managing multiple windows more straightforward by combining the app spaces concept with resizable windows.

Stage Manager is off by default and must be enabled from Control Center. When enabled, the current app pairs from multitasking shift into a windowed view with recent apps forming a stack on the left side of the display.

App windows

Up to four apps can be added to the active space. Each app window can be resized, stacked, and moved to different areas of the screen. On iPadOS, the app windows are not infinitely resizable and change dimensions based on multiple preset sizes.

Manage up to four app windows with Stage Manager in iPadOS 16 Manage up to four app windows with Stage Manager in iPadOS 16

The system is designed so apps can be arranged in different groups based on the user's preference, and that arrangement will remain even when switching between app groups. Users can perform a three-finger swipe to switch between apps and groups.

The old multitasking system is still present within iPadOS, so users can return to Split View and Slide Over at any time. When Stage Manager is active, each app can be resized to take up the entire screen, or the dock and recent app switcher can be hidden from Control Center.

Full external display support

The iPad can now display content properly to external displays thanks to Stage Manager. Rather than mirror content onto a 4:3 view, the iPad shows active apps on a large 16:9 space.

Connect the iPad to an external display Connect the iPad to an external display

Stage Manager works exactly the same on an external monitor and the four-app limit remains. However, if Stage Manager is active on the iPad too, a user can have up to eight apps running at the same time across the two displays.

Users also have the option of turning off Stage Manager on the iPad to display a full-screen app or use the traditional Split View. There is also an option to select display orientation in settings, although Universal Control doesn't acknowledge the iPad's external display in the current beta.


Stage Manager and external display support are both reserved for iPads using the M1 processor. That means only the latest fifth-generation iPad Pros and the iPad Air 5 are compatible for now.

Several features are restricted to iPads with an M1 processor in iPadOS 16 Several features are restricted to iPads with an M1 processor in iPadOS 16

This restriction has angered many Apple customers with some calling it an arbitrary limitation. Apple has made it clear, however, that the requirement is based on hardware requirements and a baseline for adequate performance.

The limitation isn't based on CPU or GPU performance alone, as the A12Z was used to run macOS in a Developer Transition Kit. Apple hasn't provided any specific examples beyond the new virtual memory swap introduced for M1 iPads playing a part.

Files app updates

The Files app got a handful of useful changes that focus on organization and file manipulation. While it isn't as robust as the macOS Finder, it is capable of performing any basic task with user files in multiple storage locations.

Saving items to the Files app is a lot easier in iPadOS 16 thanks to a new save dialog box. Instead of using the old share sheet system, a full modal window appears that gives the users the ability to choose the save location, rename the file, and add tags.

The open file dialog is also improved with a full navigation window for finding items located deep within a file structure. The Files app and these modal windows also gain better sorting options and a navigation menu.

Using the "Get Info" action on a folder will now reveal the folder's content's total size. Also, there are a number of new quick actions in the file selection menu for duplicating, converting, or renaming the file.

Finally, users can show extensions and edit them directly. Also, a convert file option will provide the most compatible file conversion types in a selection menu. For example, an HEIF image could be converted to JPEG or PDF.

iOS 16 features coming to iPadOS 16

Other iPadOS 16 updates

Apple has also introduced several smaller changes across the operating system and its apps.

  • Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons and Pro controller compatibility
  • Reminders templates
  • Live captions for FaceTime, videos
  • Handoff FaceTime calls from iPad to Mac and back
  • Expanded Spotlight search results
  • Live Activities notifications on the Lock Screen

The developer beta cycle is underway, and new features and updates will be introduced as time goes on. Apple is expected to release iPadOS 16 to the public sometime in the fall.


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