Apple has just released iPadOS 16.1 and macOS Ventura alongside iOS 16.1. If the latter is a minor update that follows the release of iOS 16 last month, iPadOS 16.1 and macOS Ventura are two major updates for iPad and Mac users.
This year, Apple chose to delay the release of iPadOS 16 to October, which is why the version we get today is iPadOS 16.1 instead of iPadOS 16.0. If iOS and iPadOS still share a lot of code, the latter is getting a new Stage Manager feature that’s also available on macOS Ventura. But let’s first take a look at what’s new in iOS 16.1.
What’s new in iOS 16.1
The main new features in iOS 16.1 include the iCloud Shared Photo Library, which lets up to six family members add photos to a separate library. Apple is also bringing its Fitness+ app to the iPhone, and it can be used without an Apple Watch.
iOS 16.1 also brings a new Clean Energy Charging feature that optimizes charging times for when the grid is using cleaner energy sources. This update also brings support for Matter, the new smart home connectivity standard that will allow people in the Apple ecosystem to connect supported devices in the iOS Home app.
If you use Apple’s Wallet app, iOS 16.1 adds support for sharing car, hotel room, and other keys using Messages and other messaging apps. Apple Card users in the US also get access to a new high-yield savings account from Goldman Sacks where they can deposit their Daily Cash rewards.
For iPhone 14 Pro users, iOS 16.1 also brings support for Live Activities from third-party apps in the Dynamic Island on the Lock Screen. Apple has also fixed a bug that made Dynamic Island content not available when using Reachability, the system-level feature that lets you reach the top of the screen with one hand by swiping down on the bottom edge of the screen.
What’s new in iPad OS 16.1
It only took 12 years, but iPadOS 16.1 finally brings a native Weather app to the iPad. The OS is also getting a display scaling setting that lets users see more in their apps by increasing the pixel density.
iPadOS 16.1 gets the same Messages and Mail app updates that previously shipped on iOS 16, including an Undo Send feature. The Mail app is also adding support for email scheduling, rich links, and more.
The main new feature in iPadOS 16.1 is probably Stage Manager, a new multitasking experience that lets users interact with a group of windowed apps. The feature received a lot of criticism since it launched in beta, and it remains exclusive to iPads with M1 and M2 chips.
In addition to Stage Manager, iPadOS 16.1 brings support for “desktop-class” apps with customizable toolbars, the ability to change file extensions, view folder size in Files, and more. There’s still a long way to go until iPadOS can rival macOS or Windows in terms of productivity, but developers now have new tools to make their iPad apps even more capable.
What’s new in macOS Ventura
There’s a renewed interest in Macs since Apple kicked off the transition to Apple Silicon two years ago, and macOS Ventura is a feature-packed update. The desktop OS is getting the same iCloud Photo Library and Messages and Mail improvements we mentioned earlier, and Apple is also bringing its Weather and Clock apps to the Mac. The redesigned System Preferences app also takes some inspiration from the same app on iOS and iPadOS.
The iPadOS Stage Manager is also available on macOS Ventura, where it integrates with existing macOS windowing tools including Mission Control and Spaces. “To create the ideal workspace, users can create groups of windows or apps when working on specific tasks or projects,” the company explained.
The last big new feature coming to macOS Ventura is Continuity Camera, which lets users use their iPhone camera as a webcam. Continuity Camera also brings innovative features like Center Stage, Portrait mode, and the new Studio Light — an effect that beautifully illuminates a user’s face while dimming the background — to all Mac computers,” Apple explained.
If Gaming remains a niche use case on Macs, macOS Ventura brings a new Metal 3 API that brings big performance improvements on Apple Silicon Macs. This will allow AAA games like Resident Evil: Village to run and perform well on the latest Apple Silicon Macs, and it will be interesting to see if more blockbuster games will follow.
Apple also releases tvOS 16.1 and watchOS 9.1
If you have an Apple Watch Series 4 and later, watchOS 9.1 brings battery life improvements and more flexibility when downloading songs from Apple Music. The update also brings support for Matter, the new smart home activity standard also supported on iOS 16.1 and iPadOS 16.1.
As for tvOS 16.1, this update brings a new Siri interface with a more compact design that doesn’t hide what you’re watching in the background. On tvOS 16.1, Siri is now capable of recognizing each user’s voice, and users with AirPods can now use the “Hey Siri” command to bring the assistant without having to use the Apple TV remote.
That’s it for Apple’s latest software updates. The new M2 iPad Pro and 10th-gen iPad will come with iPadOS 16.1 pre-installed, and the 3rd-gen Apple TV 4K that will ship next week will also come with tvOS 16.1 out of the box.