iPadOS 16 preview: here it is – finally, Mac-like multitasking

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So last year was a bit disappointing in the iPad world, iPadOS 15 didn’t have much to get us excited about. The Safari web browser got a facelift and that was it really in terms of bigger updates. The multitasking features or desktop apps we hoped for didn’t make it, with Apple is silent about even considering adding those to the iPad. But here we are a year later, iPadOS 16 was recently announced, and finally – that desktop-class multitasking we wanted is coming to your M1 iPad soon!

We’ve installed the first iPadOS 16 developer beta, all in all buggy, so we can show you firsthand the most notable new features coming to the iPad later this year.

Let’s take a look at them. But first the formalities…

Publication date

iPadOS 16 is coming this fall, 2022. We don’t have an exact date, but based on previous iPadOS releases, we can assume sometime in late September, possibly September 20, 2022. As we mentioned before, the developer iPadOS 16 beta is already available for those with a paid Apple developer account, but you should definitely not rush to get it. Wait for the public iPadOS 16 release in the fall, which will be the most stable, and actually aimed at iPad users, not just app developers.

What are the big new features?

Let’s start with the most anticipated and exciting new iPadOS 16 feature…

New Mac-like multitasking on the iPad

Apple calls this interface Stage Manager and you activate it from the Control Center on your iPad. Until you do, you’ll still get the familiar, clunky split-screen and split-view multitasking features of the past, if you prefer them — they’re not going away.

But if you enable Stage Manager, you get this Mac-like windowed app experience – with a fixed dock for easy access to your apps, floating window apps that you can resize (almost) to your liking, and your other open app windows neatly arranged vertically, to the left.

From a new little icon to the bottom corners of those window apps, you can resize them, while the familiar three dots at the top let you change whether they stay in a window or go full screen, and you can move them around. . This works with a finger and with a mouse pointer, if you have a touchpad or a Bluetooth mouse connected, but unfortunately, for now the Apple Pencil can’t communicate with that.

Dragging windows to the left puts them in the vertical row of other apps with open windows, while in the middle you can open a total of four overlapping apps, although you’ll probably end up using three or two, as adding more one bit tricky is clumsy.

However, if you connect your M1 iPad to an external display, Apple says you can use up to eight apps in total, four on each screen.

Again, while it takes a few minutes to get used to and is a bit buggy now, this new (and completely optional) iPad multitasking interface is definitely a step in the right direction. And it feels very close to using a real MacBook, as Macs are about to get the exact same-looking Stage Manager feature as well.

Live Text now works on videos

Live Text used to let you extract and copy text from your photos, and even translate it, but now it’s expanding to videos as well. Supposing you are recording a video capturing street signs in a foreign language, or maybe items in a retail market, you can play the video frame by frame and select any text from those frames. Live Text works just as well as on photos.

Well, almost as good. In beta at the moment it’s a bit difficult to select text from videos, and the Photos app in general is a bit tricky, with some images not loading at all, but hey – it’s just an early iPadOS after all. 16 beta for developers. That’s why we don’t recommend anyone to rush and download it.

Taking someone from an image – great meme potential

This is a really cool new feature that I don’t understand who it’s for, but I see it’s definitely being used for making memes, maybe family cards, and editing cute pet photos.

Starting with iPadOS 16, you can open any photo of a person, pet, or thing, no matter what’s in the center of the photo, long-press, and the iPad will remove the subject from the background, letting you move it to another app. can move… without the background!

It’s pretty fun, works with video frames too, and has very few issues, despite being a beta version of iPadOS 16. Sometimes the software will grab a random shape from the photo and sometimes it won’t detect the subject, but in ideal cases like the example we took above – it works quite well.

Display Zoom (scaling) can be useful for professionals

Like the new multitasking feature above, this one is also completely optional and will likely only be used by professional iPad users who know exactly what they’re doing and what they need.

It’s a new option in Display & Brightness called Display Zoom. You might think it gives you an adjustable percentage, but it’s really just two options: Standard and More Space.

If you select More space, the iPad will reboot quickly and, as expected, will feel a little different – all menus and text will shrink, with the idea that you can see more content at a glance (as long as your vision is great, the mine not).

I’ll be honest, it looks pretty good though, closer to using a Mac or a PC, with less wasted space and padding overall between the UI elements. Well, maybe not in the Settings app yet, but in most other apps, like Safari. Good stuff! Professionals or even just students who use this device for school will probably find this new, more compact iPadOS 16 look useful.

A weather app… Yay, I guess?

So for some reason, Apple made a big deal in its iPadOS 16 presentation at WWDC about the iPhone Weather app finally coming to the iPad. The Cupertino company has only been around for a decade, and I’m pretty sure people have been asking for a Calculator app much more consistently than a Weather app, but here it is anyway. Cool?

List of supported iPadOS 16 devices

  • iPad Pro (all models)
  • iPad Air (3rd generation and later)
  • iPad (5th generation and later)
  • iPad mini (5th generation and later)

Apple is pretty generous with iPads getting the new iPadOS 16 software update, and especially if you ever use an iPad Pro, don’t worry about getting locked out.

Although technically pretty much anyone with a non-M1 iPad is left out a little bit, as they don’t get the cool new multitasking feature nor the real dual screen support.

Thrilled? Disappointed? Let us know!

So that’s roughly what the beta version of iPadOS 16 looks like right now, less than a day after its official announcement and release! The multitasking feature steals the show, although there are a lot of other smaller features coming too, which you can read about in our iPadOS 16 announcement article.

Let us know now – if you’re an iPad user or a tablet user in general – are you happy with what’s to come? Excited to finally take full advantage of your M1 iPad? Or are you disappointed, perhaps because you are not one of the lucky users with an M1 iPad? Share how you feel about this in the comments below.

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