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Explore the Latest iPadOS 16 Update: Maximize Your iPad's Potential

NextPit iPadOS 16 2022
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On October 24, 2022, Apple unveiled the new iPadOS 16, featuring a brand-new weather app and an innovative floating window for true multitasking. However, not all iPad models support this feature. In this article, we provide a comprehensive overview of the latest Apple iPadOS 16 update.

Update note: On March 28th, Apple released the highly anticipated iPadOS 16.4 update. Be sure to explore the 'Current Version' section to learn more about the exciting new features and enhancements that are included in this latest update for the iPad's operating system.

iPadOS 16 at a glance

Apple's latest update to iPadOS marks a significant turning point for the tech giant's product line. With the introduction of the new Stage Manager, Apple has brought true multitasking capabilities to its tablet devices. This development makes selected iPad models a compelling alternative to the company's MacBook line, particularly when paired with a keyboard accessory.

As this update is particularly noteworthy, we have compiled a comprehensive overview of all the new features in one convenient location. For those interested in the latest updates for iOS 16 and watchOS 9, we have provided corresponding overviews in the links provided. If you're eager to get your hands on the new iPadOS, jump straight to our section on the operating system's feature release.

Apple iPadOS 16 overview board from WWDC 2022 keynote
These are the key features of Apple iPadOS 16 that were announced during the WWDC 2022 keynote. / © Apple

Overall, the new iPadOS update promises to enhance the user experience and productivity for Apple tablet users. The introduction of true multitasking capabilities through the Stage Manager will open up new possibilities for iPad users, making the device more versatile than ever before. With regular updates and new features planned for the future, Apple's iPad range remains a top contender in the tablet market.

New features in iPadOS 16

Stage Manager for M1 iPads

Let's start with the biggest feature that iPadOS 16 brings to iPads. With the Stage Manager, you can use a new window management, which is also introduced in macOS 13. With this, one window moves to the center of the screen, while all other applications move in batches to the left side of the screen.

Apple emphasizes with Stage Manager that you can group applications that you want to use at the same time. For example, you need to transfer a text from Safari to a Photoshop image—so you need these apps side by side. At the same time, though, you need to communicate with a client via email. Thanks to Stage Manager, you can switch between the app pair and your mail program.

Apple iPadOS 16 screenshot showing how the Stage Manager feature works
Stage Manager finally brings real multitasking to the iPad! / © NextPit

What makes Stage Manager special, however, is the ability to open up to eight programs in windows at the same time. You can resize and move them freely on the display, just like on a desktop PC. Since iPads are only available with a maximum of 12.9 inches, you can also use the feature with an external display. According to Apple, displays with a maximum of 6k resolution are supported thanks to the M1 SoC.

With a keyboard cover, your iPad might become a better MacBook alternative—but with one big limitation: Stage Manager can only be used on iPad models with the powerful M1 SoC. It's a pity, but Apple probably wants to ensure the performance of the iPads this way.

New Hover features added to Apple Pencil

The Apple Pencil Hover feature was introduced with the 2022 iPad Pro variants, and allows you to preview your mark when using the Apple Pencil up to 12 mm (0.47-inch) above the display's surface. This feature is compatible with the 2nd generation Apple Pencil.

With the iPadOS 16.4, Apple has enhanced the preview feature of Apple Pencil Hover. Now, you can preview with tilt and azimuth support. If your pencil is at an angle, the preview will give a wider mark target. You can adjust the preview mark size by using the pinch gesture.

Apple Pencil Hover with preview markings
Apple Pencil Hover shows preview markings up to 12 mm above the display on last year's Pro variants. / © Apple

Currently, the Apple Pencil Hover feature works with the Notes app and selected third-party photo editing apps. So, you can utilize the hover feature while interacting with tools and controls of these apps, such as picking the color in Procreate.

The Weather app

The next "big" feature is actually minimal: Apple brings its own weather app to the iPad. If you've been using Apple's tablets for a while, you know that it hasn't been ported to iPadOS yet. If you already want to see weather information on the iPad, you can find an overview of the best weather apps in the linked article.

Screenshots displaying how the Weather App display more info on iPad now
Just like iOS 16, iPadOS 16 also brought new features when it comes to the Weather app: the more information the better! / © NextPit

Freeform and new collaboration features

Apple sorted out the presentation of new features for collaborative work at the iPad event—so we're including it here as well. The reason for this is certainly the new application "Freeform", which is a kind of digital whiteboard. You can create graphics, mind maps and link all kinds of documents on it with the Apple Pencil.

The Apple Pencil 2 also shows what to expect before touching it in the iPad Pro 2022.
Freeform is a tool for collaborative work. / © NextPit

From now on, Apple will not send documents as copies but will grant other Apple users access to them. As with documents in Google Drive, you can then work together on the file and do not have to merge different versions afterwards.

Reference mode and display zoom

Since Apple's products are often used in creative jobs, the company has introduced two new display features. The reference mode is supposed to bring you constant color fidelity on the tablet when you work with a MacBook or a Mac including an Apple monitor. Unfortunately, the mode is only available on the Liquid Retina XDR display of the iPad Pro 12.9".

The display zoom, on the other hand, changes the pixel density on iPads with an M1 chip. This allows you to see more screen content on the tablet, which should be especially helpful in split view. This is where it becomes crucial to how you can activate the feature. If Apple comes up with a gesture, the display zoom could be really handy to briefly show more information in apps.

Apple iPad Pro
Only devices packaged with the M1 processor have the display zoom feature. / © NextPit

Apps on desktop level

If you use both a Mac and an iPad, you know that Apple usually restricts its apps to make them clear on smaller displays. With Desktop level apps, select apps are meant to be more like full-fledged apps. As an example, you can see folder sizes in the Finder or configure taskbars in the Mail app.

A rather small feature, but one that I wanted to mention. This brings Apple's iPads closer to the MacBooks.

Other features from iOS 16

In addition to the iPad or Mac exclusive features, there are other innovations that Apple carries over from iOS 16. Among them, the new possibilities in Live Text or the extended functions for the Messages app. Since we have already published a large overview of iOS 16, I will refer you to it at this point:

iPadOS 16: Availability and download

iPadOS 16 was released on October 24, 2022, and is currently available for compatible iPad models. To find out if your model is among the iPads that will receive the update to the new software version, simply go to Settings > General > About, this way you can check the name of your model. Another option is to access the software settings for updates, by clicking Settings > Software Update.  It is recommended to back up your device before updating to ensure a smooth installation process.

iPadOS 16 supported devices

Which iPad models will get iPadOS 16? Even though many new features in iPadOS 16 will remain exclusive to the M1 and M2 variants, the new operating system is coming to quite a few models. Apple describes the availability as follows:

  • iPad Pro 12.9-inch (1st generation and later)
  • iPad Pro 11-inch (1st generation and later)
  • iPad Pro 10.5-inch
  • iPad Pro 9.7-inch
  • iPad (5th generation and later)
  • iPad Air (2nd generation and later)
  • iPad mini (4th generation and later)

As mentioned, not all features of iPadOS 16 may be available on all compatible models. It is important to check for compatibility and review the new features before updating to ensure that your device can handle the update and that it meets your needs.

iPadOS 16 Current version

The development of iPadOS continues even after the official update package has been shipped. This means that during the lifespan of iPadOS 16, the operating system will receive regular updates for bug fixes and security optimizations, and may also receive new features. The latest versions of iPadOS 16 and their corresponding update notes are listed in the table below for your reference.

Date Version Changelog
March 2023 iPadOS 16.4
  • Tilt and azimuth features added to the Apple Pencil Hover on the iPad Pro 2022 models.
  • 21 new Unicode emojis.
  • Voice-over on maps and weather
  • Fixes to Matter-ready thermostats on the Home app.
  • Web app notifications.
  • (Find out more about this update)

That's it for our overview of iPadOS 16! What features do you like the most so far? Do you think the Stage Manager turns the iPad into a better MacBook alternative?

Last updated in March 2023. Please note that previous comments have been preserved for reference.

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Camila Rinaldi

Camila Rinaldi
Head of Editorial

With over 10 years of reviewing smartphones and wearables, I recently became addicted to smart home gadgets. Even though I dove into the Apple ecosystem two years back, Android remains as one of my passions. Previously editor-in-chief of AndroidPIT and Canaltech in Brazil, I now write for the US market. I love my records and I believe that the best way to get to know a place is through its food.

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