A Bunch of Exclusive New IPadOS Features Just Released

After an extra month or so of delay, Apple has finally released iPadOS 16 to the public. Well, technically it’s iPadOS 16.1. The wait means we’ve already skipped the version and are on a “spot update” and that’s before anyone other than beta testers has even been able to try iPadOS 16. Regardless of how Apple calls it, there are now new features and changes for your iPad and are definitely worth an upgrade.

The truth is, there’s not much new in iPadOS 16.1 that you haven’t seen in the iPhone, iOS 16 , and iOS 16.1 versions yet. Highlight features like editing and undoing iMessages , instantly retrieving an object from any photo , and iCloud Photo Library , which have been around since September, so updating your iPad might feel less like a fresh experience than an iPhone déjà vu.

That’s the way things are at Apple right now. The company is constantly working to bring the iPhone, iPad, and even Mac experience together to make the whole ecosystem feel whole. (You might be surprised that many of the features of macOS Ventura are also features of iOS and iPadOS 16.)

However, there are a few features exclusive to the iPad. These features, combined with dozens of others common to iOS and macOS, offer you plenty to explore in iPadOS 16.1.

But first, which iPads are compatible with iPadOS 16.1?

Apple hasn’t made too many cuts to iPadOS 16.1 this year. The only iPads running iPadOS 15 that haven’t made it to the next generation are the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 4 . I still love my Air 2, even if it’s slow and no longer supported.

Here is the official list of supported iPads from Apple:

  • iPad Pro (all models)
  • iPad Air (3rd generation and later)
  • iPad (fifth generation and later)
  • iPad mini (fifth generation and later)

Knowing that, here are the iPadOS 16.1 exclusive features coming to these devices:

Producer

Without a doubt, the biggest new feature in iPadOS is the Stage Manager. This is Apple’s latest attempt to improve the multitasking experience on its tablets by moving closer to the traditional computing experience without having to install macOS on the iPad. (Apple also included Stage Manager with macOS Ventura.)

Stage Manager is a complex beast, which is probably why Apple has delayed iPadOS 16 and macOS Ventura by a month. This might be why this feature is disabled by default. If you want to use it, you’ll need to enable it under Home Screen & Multitasking in Settings. Once launched, things work like this: When you open a new app, it appears in the middle of the screen, rather than the normal full screen you’re used to. You can then add up to three other applications to the current window, which ties all applications together in a “heap”. Although only one stack can be displayed on the screen at a time, other stacks can run in the background and you will see them and other open applications on the left side of the screen.

All windows are resizable to some extent. Apple still has preset sizes, but they’re much more robust than they were in iPadOS 15 and earlier. While not a true desktop window management experience, this is the first time you can have multiple floating windows open at the same time on your iPad, and I’m here for it.

You can also customize the Stage Manager to your liking. You can hide apps and stacks on the left side of the screen, as well as the dock. If you need even more space, select More Space from Settings > Display & Brightness > Appearance , which will affect the display settings for your entire iPad.

From my brief experience with Stage Manager, here’s an important tip: you can switch open windows with Globe + ` instead of Command + ` as you would expect on your Mac.

This feature is only available on iPad Pro 11-inch (all generations), iPad Pro 12.9-inch (third generation and later), and iPad Air (fifth generation).

Reference Mode

If you are working with color on a computer, it is very important to properly calibrate your display. With a 12.9-inch iPad Pro M1 running iPadOS 16.1 or later, you can use its screen as a reference display for “popular color standards” as well as HDR and SDR video. You can also use this feature when working on the iPad itself.

The weather app is finally here

It only took twelve years, but Apple finally brought the Weather app to the iPad. There’s nothing that makes the app specific to the iPad other than the fact that it’s huge. This is the Weather app you know and love from your iPhone, complete with animations, severe weather alerts and lots of data for you to browse.

However, the Calculator app is still missing. Apple even added it to macOS this year. Go find out.

Desktop class applications

Apple really wants you to think of the iPad as a computer replacement without actually providing the device with a computer-like operating system. However, this year the company is touting new app updates that make them “desktop”. I think it’s a bit of a boast, but the updates are certainly helpful.

First, you can now customize toolbars in apps like Notes and Reminders to rearrange or remove items to your liking. You’ll see new menu options like Save, Close, and Duplicate in apps like Pages and Numbers. Find and Replace is now supported on your iPad, making it easier to edit text in apps like Mail, Messages, Reminders, and Swift Playgrounds. Finally, Calendar has a new Availability view that will show you the availability of the attendees you’ve invited for the event.

External display updates (coming later this year)

iPadOS 16 will support full-screen external display support, including for Stage Manager. You can add up to eight additional windows to an external display and move files between iPad and monitor. Unfortunately, this feature is still in development and will not be released until the next update. Normally, I wouldn’t include a feature that isn’t in an available update, but this feature has been touted as part of iPadOS 16 since launch, so it’s important to clarify.

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