Apple Revamps the iPad Multitasking Experience with iPadOS 16

Posted on June 6, 2022 by Laurent Giret in Apple, iPadOS, Mobile with 21 Comments

Apple kicked off its annual WWDC developer conference this morning, and the company unveiled iPadOS 16 alongside iOS 16 and macOS 13. As it was previously reported, iPadOS 16 will be a significant update that will revamp how multitasking works on Apple’s tablets.

If you’ve used an iPad before, you’ll probably agree that multitasking on the iPad remains quite frustrating despite the ability to use two apps side by side. Now that Apple ships its desktop-class M1 chip on its latest iPad Pro and iPad Air models, it was really time for Apple to address the needs of power users with better multitasking features.

Fortunately, that’s exactly what the company is trying to do with iPadOS 16. This new update will bring the same collaboration features coming to iOS 16 including the new shared iCloud photo library and tab groups in Safari, but that’s not all.

Here are some of the biggest new features coming to iPadOS 16 later this fall:

Live Collaboration: Apple demoed today how apps like Pages, Notes, and Keynote will let iPad users collaborate in real-time on documents, similar to the live collaboration features in Office 365 or Google Workspace. These collaboration features are also coming to iOS and macOS.

New desktop-class features: Apple’s various iPad apps will gain various power-user features, such as the ability to customize toolbars and to change display scaling to see more in apps.

Virtual memory swap: Using local storage, this new feature will bump the maximum amount of memory available for the most demanding iPad apps to 16GB

Stage Manager: This new feature also coming to macOS 13 will let iPad users have up to four overlapping app windows at once, which can be resized at will. Using an external monitor, iPad users will be able to seamlessly switch between 8 overlapping apps and drag and drop content between apps across the two displays.

Freeform app: This new digital canvas will launch later this year on iPadOS, iOS and macOS, and it will also let users collaborate in real-time. Overall, the app looks a lot like Microsoft Whiteboard.

Weather app: Yes, it certainly took a while, but iPadOS 16 is finally getting the native weather app that’s been available on iOS for years, and it will be optimized for the big screen

New Gaming features: iPadOS is getting support for the same Metal 3 API also coming to iOS and macOS. For iPad gamers, a new background download API will make it possible to multitask while games download additional packages in the background.

Stage Manager is definitely the biggest new feature coming with iPadOS 16, and it should finally make iPads much more competent devices for productivity tasks. iPadOS 16 will be available in private beta for developers today, and a public beta will be available next month.

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Comments (21)

21 responses to “Apple Revamps the iPad Multitasking Experience with iPadOS 16”

  1. digiguy

    To be noted that Stage Manager and Virtual Memory Swap are for M1 iPads only

    • yoshi

      Yup. I'm pretty pumped that my iPad Air was outdated in a year.

      • digiguy

        if it has 256GB storage at least it will get virtual memory swap (that's the only exception to the M1 line), but still not Stage Manager (= external monitor support / windowed mode)

      • mattbg

        You'll still get the new Weather app.

    • crunchyfrog

      So my two year old iPad Pro with the powerful A-series CPU and 256GB storage is not enough to run Stage Manager? I find that highly suspicious.

      • ianbetteridge

        I suspect the reason is more to do with that generation only having 6Gb of RAM vs the 8GB or 16GB on the M1-equipped versions.

      • broxman

        I'm thinking that Stage Manager will only be available on M1 iPads since the "A" series Apple processors might not support the features that Stage Manager has to work on external displays. I know external display support features in Windows has had a strong dependency on the Intel processor features. Since the "A" series chips were first designed for phones, external display support (other than rudimentary mirroring) was probably not included. I suspect it is some subtle technical reason, rather than an Apple money grab, that is the reason for the limitation to only be available on M1 iPads. The Stage Manager features that work on the iPad itself that don't involve an external display would not seem to be affected by having "only" an A series chip. Lord knows the A chips were plenty fast enough. Maybe Apple will release a scaled down version of Stage Manager for A chip iPads at a later date.

        • digiguy

          Let me explain the real reason why Apple does not and will never allow Stage Manager (=external monitor support) on older A12X/Z chips. It's the same reason why M1 and M2 only support one external monitor instead of several.

          Apple sells 6k and 5k monitors and those monitors require too much bandwidth to run more than 1 plus the device display. M1 and M2 could run 2 4k displays but not 2 Apple displays.

          A12X/Z could probably run 1 4k external display or at least 1440p (Dex on Galaxy Tabs, which are weaker than A12X in GPU power, can run 1440p displays), but not Apple's display. So here you go. Apple could have made them work at lower resolutions with third party displays, but why do that when you can push sales of newer iPads?

          Then there is also the lack of RAM that should have been remedied with swap, but they can always say that the experience "wouldn't be as good as on M1" (same excuse as for not allowing lower resolutions)

        • broxman

          I plan to trade in my iPad Pro 11 1st gen to Apple for an iPad Air 5th gen just so I can use Stage Manager.

    • alissa914

      Time to sell my iPad Mini, I guess. :/ Not buying a new one.

  2. spiderman2

    Welcome to 2012

  3. mclark2112

    This could make the iPad an actual laptop replacement. Still not ideal, but much closer.

    • iAlrakis

      Yep. A couple more releases and the MacOS as we know it will be obsolote because of an iPadOS fork :-)

      • michael_babiuk

        Philosophically speaking, you must lean towards being a creationist (where every organic living thing was created "as is" and never changes) rather than an evolutionist. Personally, I adhere to the belief that each thing evolves into something "better" than its original form - or it dies out. That is a good thing. That is the natural order of things. That is "Life" so if macOS becomes obsolete due to a iPadOS fork - oh well. :-)

  4. will

    Stage Manager looks better on the iPad than it does on the Mac.

  5. Greg Green

    It’s like they’re converging a toaster and a refrigerator. I just want a toaster.