iPadOS 16 makes significant changes to how an iPad operates, but it isn't enough – AppleInsider

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

iPadOS 16 makes significant changes to how an iPad operates, but it isn't enough. Here is why!

About The Running iPadOS 16 

Stage Manager and virtual memory enable a lot of new capabilities for M1-equipped iPads running iPadOS 16, but there are still plenty of limitations Apple needs to address in future updates.

The evolution of the iPad and its operating system has been slow moving. Everything from having multiple apps on the same screen to a manageable file system had to be added over the past seven years.

Apple has recently positioned the iPad as a computer replacement, even posing the question, “what’s a computer?” Fans and professionals alike have embraced this vision of a modular device that becomes a tablet, laptop, or desktop on command, but with some sacrifices.

With the 2022 WWDC keynote behind us, iPad fans have to evaluate how things have changed yet again. Below, we examine what we had with iPadOS 15, what’s new with iPadOS 16, and what still needs to be done.

The iPad started as a consumption device in 2010 meant for watching videos and reading media. It wasn’t until 2015 that Apple acknowledged that users might want to use the iPad for productivity, but the updates came slowly.

Split View, Slide Over, and Picture-in-picture arrived in 2015 alongside an iPad Pro, Smart Keyboard Folio, and Apple Pencil. This interaction paradigm didn’t change much over the years, even when iOS and iPadOS split in 2019.

With iPad 13, Apple added the Files app and support for attaching external storage. Later, in iPadOS 13.4, proper cursor support was added, and the Magic Keyboard for iPad was introduced.

Jump Ahead To The 2022 Year 

Jump ahead to 2022, and customers can purchase a 12.9-inch iPad Pro with 1TB of storage running an M1 processor. Yet, despite costing over $2,000 with the Magic Keyboard and Apple Pencil, there were tasks just out of reach that even the entry MacBook Air could handle.

Apple’s announced updates for iPadOS 16 are still months away from reaching a majority of users, so iPadOS 15 is still the iPad’s reality. Updates made throughout 2021 and early 2022 didn’t do much to change how the iPad worked or what could be accomplished.

Apple improved multitasking by making it more discoverable, but little else was addressed. With iPad's 15, users could tap an ellipsis at the top of the screen to select various Split View configurations.

So, with seven years of iPad Pro and three of iPadOS, users have seen a slow trickle of improvements. However, there’s still plenty that fans want Apple to address.

AppleInsider asked various iPad users what they wanted from a future update before WWDC, and this is what we found: Apple managed to give us three of the requested features with iPadOS 16 windowed multitasking, external monitor support, and better background tasks.

The new windowed multitasking system is called Stage Manager, and it is reserved for iPads running an M1 processor. So, the 2021 iPad Pro and the iPad Air 5 get the feature while any older models were left out.

Proper external monitor support is a direct result of Stage Manager and also requires an iPad with an M1 processor. Older iPads running iPadOS 16 can connect to an external monitor but will only get the previous mirrored 4:3 experience.

Apple Addresses The Two Ways In Details 

As for better background tasks, Apple addressed this in two ways, though more details will be needed to understand the implications fully. First, M1 iPads can now access virtual memory, and second, some processes can be run from the Lock Screen.

Previously, if all the available RAM of an iPad was used up, an app or process would get kicked off and restarted. Now, apps can switch to virtual memory, utilizing a portion of the device storage as temporary RAM.

Apple announced a new Lock Screen for iOS 16 that isn’t coming to iPadOS 16, but the new Live Activities notification widget is. Developers can build Live Activities notifications for their apps, so some piece of information appears on the Lock Screen.

We have learned that a small amount of the app’s code is running in the background for Live Activities to work. That means some processes will be able to continue with the device locked as long as the app supports the new feature.

We’ll need to finish the beta cycle and see what developers release in the fall to understand the impact of iPadOS 16 fully. However, several things still need to change with future updates. Now that WWDC is over, the most obvious issue people have taken with iPadOS 16 is nearly every new feature relies upon the M1. There’s little chance this limitation is going to change; instead, Apple will just introduce M1 to more iPads in the future.

About The Recent 2022 iPad Pro 

Customers who use older devices, even the recent 2022 iPad Pro, won’t have Stage Manager or virtual memory and likely never will. This is a direct result of the technology involved and how apps for iPadOS are written.

The majority of mobile game genres saw a decline in sending and downloads in the first half of 2022, with the total mobile gaming market falling 9.6% year-over-year. You may have reasons to keep your iPad or iPhone on for an extended period of time. But, the open questions are why you would want to do this and if it will harm your device. If you are a student and have both a Mac and an iPad, you can make class and revision time way more productive with Universal Control. Here's how to take advantage of the feature.

More Tech