At its Worldwide Developers’ Conference, Apple has previewed iPadOS 16, an update to the operating system of the iPad making the tablet more versatile. The developer beta is not yet out and the update itself will only be available in a few months. In the meanwhile, Apple has landscaped some of the upcoming features.
“iPad is our most versatile device, and we’re excited to take what it can do even further with iPadOS 16,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “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.”
Better sharing in Messages
With iPadOS 16, features in Messages will improve collaboration and managing shared content across Files, Keynote, Numbers, Pages, Notes, Reminders, and Safari, and third-party apps. When users send an invitation to collaborate via Messages, everyone on the thread is automatically added to the document, spreadsheet, or project. When someone makes a change to a shared file, everyone can see updates right at the top of the Messages thread. And when a user is working on a collaborative project, they can easily jump into the associated Messages conversation or just tap to start a FaceTime call with their collaborators.
With iPadOS 16 everyday messaging will include being able to edit or recall recently sent messages, recover deleted messages, and mark conversations as unread so that they can come back to them later. Additionally, users can begin a SharePlay session via Messages, to choose a shared activity — like a movie, TV show, workout, or game — and enjoy it together in sync while chatting via Messages.
A Real-Time Collaboration Space
Freeform, a powerful new collaboration app with a flexible canvas, gives users the ability to see, share, and collaborate all in one place without worrying about layouts and page sizes, and with full support for Apple Pencil. Users can view others’ contributions as they add content or make edits, all while enjoying a real-time collaboration space. Coming to iPadOS 16 later this year, Freeform allows collaborators to start a session from FaceTime and see the updates from others right in the Messages thread.
Mail Introduces New Smart Tools
In a bid to make the Mail app more conducive to productivity, users are given a moment to cancel delivery of a message before it reaches a recipient’s inbox, schedule emails to be sent at the perfect moment, and move sent emails to the top of their inbox to quickly send a follow-up. Messages can also be resurfaced at any date and time with Remind Later, and users can get notified if they forget to include an important part of the message, like an attachment or recipient. Additionally, an all-new search experience delivers more complete and accurate results by correcting typos and using synonyms for the search terms, and allows users to see a richer view of contacts, shared content, and more.
Collaboration and Security for Safari
Safari will get updates, making it more collaborative, customisable, and secure. Shared Tab Groups allow users to collaborate on a set of tabs with friends and see updates instantly while they work together, share tabs and bookmarks, and start a conversation right from Safari. Tab Groups get dedicated start pages that can be customised with a background image, bookmarks, and unique sections everyone can see and edit.
Browsing in Safari will be more secure with passkeys, an easier and safer sign-in method designed to replace passwords on the web and in apps. Passkeys are kept on iPad and are specific to the sites users create them for. Since passkeys are unique digital keys that stay on device and are never stored on a web server, hackers can’t leak them or trick users into sharing them. Users can sign in to websites or apps on Apple and non-Apple devices with their saved passkey by scanning the QR code with iPad, and using Face ID or Touch ID to authenticate.
The Weather App Comes to iPad
Weather comes to iPad with beautiful animations. With just a tap, users can see the most important weather information, or explore maps to check precipitation, air quality, and temperature. Users can also be notified when a severe weather alert is issued in their area, or check the air quality using a colour-coded scale.
Live Text and Visual Look Up
Using on-device intelligence, Live Text recognises text in images across the system, and the feature now comes to video, making text completely interactive in paused video frames. With a single tap on a video, users can quickly translate languages or convert currencies. And Visual Look Up now allows users to lift the subject from an image or isolate a subject by removing the background with just a tap, and expands its recognition capabilities to birds, insects, statues, and more.
Tackling demanding workflow
iPadOS 16 brings new powerful features that make iPad Pro an indispensable tool for creative professionals. Reference Mode enables the 12.9-inch iPad Pro with Liquid Retina XDR display to match the colour requirements in workflows like review and approve, colour grading, and compositing, where accurate colours and consistent image quality are critical.
Powered by the Apple-designed M1 chip
Display Zoom now allows users to increase the pixel density of the display so they can view more in their apps, which is especially useful when using Split View. With Virtual Memory Swap, iPad storage can be used to expand the available memory for all apps, and delivers up to 16 gigabytes of memory for the most demanding apps, helping to make multitasking absolutely seamless.
Improved Multitasking with Stage Manager and Full External Display Support
Stage Manager is a new multitasking experience that automatically organises apps and windows, making it quick and easy to switch between tasks. For the first time on iPad, users can create overlapping windows of different sizes in a single view, drag and drop windows from the side, or open apps from the Dock to create groups of apps for faster, more flexible multitasking. The window of the app users are working on is displayed prominently in the centre, and other open apps and windows are arranged on the left-hand side in order of recency.
To be available on iPad Pro and iPad Air with the M1 chip, Stage Manager also unlocks full external display support with resolutions of up to 6K, so users can arrange the ideal workspace, and work with up to four apps on iPad and four apps on the external display.
New accessibility tools include Live Captions in FaceTime;7 a new Magnifier mode that delivers richer descriptions of the surroundings;8 Hover Text, which helps users to easily read input fields, menu items, button labels, and other text on iPad; support for over 20 additional languages in VoiceOver and Spoken Content; and more.
Later this year, Game Centre will introduce a redesigned dashboard that allows a player to see which games friends are playing, as well as their achievements and high scores across games, in one place, and with SharePlay integration, a player will be able to start playing multiplayer games with friends automatically on a FaceTime call.
The developer preview of iPadOS 16 is available to Apple Developer Program members at developer.apple.com now, and a public beta will be available to iPadOS users next month at beta.apple.com. New software features will be available this fall as a free software update for iPad (5th generation and later), iPad mini (5th generation and later), iPad Air (3rd generation and later), and all iPad Pro models.