iPadOS 16 Announced with Stage Manager, Gaming Improvements, More

BY Chandraveer Mathur

Published 6 Jun 2022

iPadOS 16

Apple announced significant changes and improvements for iPadOS 16 at WWDC 2022. The user interface received a much-needed refresh and you can handle multiple apps more effortlessly now.

Like every previous release, iPadOS 16 borrows a lot of features from iOS 16. For instance, the new and improved lock screen experience, Focus modes, updates to the Messages app, Live Text, Visual Lookup, Family Sharing, and the Home app will be making their way to the iPad as well. Besides, some new features have been added specifically with the iPad in mind. Here’s what Apple’s senior VP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi had to say: 

“iPad is our most versatile device, and we’re excited to take what it can do even further with iPadOS 16. With Stage Manager, which takes multitasking on iPad to a whole new level, plus new ways to share and collaborate via Messages, Safari, and the new Freeform app, and new pro features like Reference Mode and Display Zoom, users can get even more done on iPad.”

Collaboration on Messages

Apple’s latest iPadOS 16 feature allows you to kick off collaborations using the share sheet. For instance, you can just tap on the share icon for any content on Files, Keynote, Numbers, Pages, Notes, Reminders, and Safari. Then, select the Messages group containing the individuals you wish to collaborate with and hit Send. The group members will be able to simultaneously edit the document/file and collaborate. The document and the chat are interwoven. Communication can also be switched to FaceTime. 


Collaboration can be extended to Safari. Just like in Pages, everyone in the group gets access to tab groups for collaborating and working on together. Users can even check update history and update the tabs together. The Collaboration features also work with Notes. Lest we forget, this works with macOS and iOS as well. So, there are no boundaries in terms of the device you could use to pitch ideas to your team for the next project. 


Freeform Preview 

Apple also showcased an early preview of Freeform boards. It allows you to collaborate with mixed media, such as video, text, doodles, and other media. Collaboration on boards will be possible as well. It will be available on iOS, macOS, and iPadOS later this year. You will also be able to start a session on a FaceTime interaction and continue it after the call. Updates can be posted to a Messages thread with all the collaborators. 

Weather App Updates

iPadOS 16 also takes full advantage of the larger iPad display using the Weather app and its beautiful animations. users can see the most important information at a glance, or explore maps to check for precipitation, air quality, and temperature. Alerts for severe weather conditions will be delivered too. 

Gaming Updates

Apple has added two new APIs for gaming app developers. The changes will come as a part of Metal 3. Importantly, the new APIs will help resource-heavy games download assets in the background. The company adds that later this year, iOS and macOS will also get the ability to use SharePlay while gaming.

The Game Center app will allow you to see what friends are playing so you can compete with them. You will be able to see their high scores and in-game achievements too. 


Desktop-Class Features

One of the biggest changes to iPadOS 16 comes in the form of desktop-class features such as changes to the Files app, a redesigned find-and-replace experience, a document menu, and customizable toolbars. The undo and redo functions also deliver a consistent experience across the system with iPadOS 16. Just like on a Mac, you can even go into the Files app and change file extensions and view folder sizes now. 

Additionally, the Virtual Memory Swap feature on the M1 iPads expands the total memory available for your apps. You can supply up to 16GB to the most demanding ones for a smooth and efficient user experience. 


Multitasking Improvements with Stage Manager

Using Stage Manager on iPadOS 16, you will be able to resize windows. It gives you access to recently used apps on the left side, arranged in order of recency. You will also have the ability to use new Layouts and overlap different app windows. Applications will adapt and resize to new apps opened via Stage Manager. The feature also enables dragging and dropping windows from the side, making it easy and effortless to switch between tasks. 


When you hook up an external display to the iPad while using Stage Manager, you will be able to create groups of windows on both displays. This can be a boon when the external display has specific capabilities suited for some kinds of work. However, you will only be able to use eight apps simultaneously, with up to four windows running on the iPad and up to four more on the external display. 


Reference Color and Display Zoom

iPadOS 16 allows colorists and digital media specialists to see an accurate representation of the colors of images and media you are working on. The feature will be available on the 12.9-inch iPad Pro with the Liquid Retina XDR display. It will be able to match the color requirements for workflows such as color grading, compositing, etc. where consistency and color accuracy are critical. The feature works with Sidecar as well.

Display Zoom allows you to get the most out of your M1 iPad, especially when in Split View. The mode lets you set custom display scaling on the iPad, increasing the usable pixel density.


Apple clarified that users will be able to get their hands on the stable version of iPadOS 16 this fall. Developer beta builds are rolling out today and public betas will be available next month. iPadOS 16 will be compatible with a slew of iPads, ranging from the iPad Air to the iPad Pro.