iPadOS 16.1: New features, supported iPads, everything we know

If you own a recent iPad, iPadOS 16.1 is what you want to know — it’s the next version of Apple’s iPad software and will be coming to most iPads later this year.

This new version of iPadOS was unveiled at Apple’s annual WWDC 2022 conference, where the company showed off its new operating system — iOS 16 is the biggest upgrade, showing off a new lock screen and more.

iPadOS 16.1 is the fourth-generation tablet OS since Apple split from its iOS smartphone OS — although iPadOS 16.1 does share many common features with iOS 16.

Recently, Apple announced that iPadOS 16.1 would instead be coming later in 2022, requiring more time to improve Stage Manager, its new way of multitasking on the tablet. There are rumors of an October 24th release date, but we’ll be sure to let you know if that’s true.

Upgrades include improved collaboration tools, including a new joint tagging app, and new features that bring the iPad experience closer to working on a computer. The public beta is still available, but be warned – it’s an early version so may be prone to bugs.

Below we’ve covered all the features Apple announced on stage, along with details on when iPadOS 16.1 is coming and who can get it.

iPadOS16.1 release date

The iPadOS 16.1 developer beta and public beta are already available, but the full rollout will be later this year. Apple has rarely pushed back iPadOS 16.1 to October to make it even more polished — especially with the new Stage Manager feature.

iPadOS 16 compatibility

So which iPads will get iPadOS 16? This is the official list provided by Apple.

If you need to check which iPad you have, go into the Settings app, select the About option, and find the model name.

iPad (5th generation) and newer
iPad Mini (5th generation) and newer
iPad Air (3rd generation) and later
Every iPad Pro model
Not surprisingly, Apple’s current iPad portfolio makes up some of the best tablets in the industry, but thanks to entries like the 2021 iPad 10.2, even some of the cheapest tablets benefit from the latest and greatest that iPadOS 16.1 has to offer function.

iPadOS 16.1 Borrowing Features

Many of the features of iPadOS 16.1 are primarily iOS 16 features and expand upon them.

The other is from Apple Maps – you can create a route in the app on the iPad, then send it to the iPhone – so you can plan your trip more easily on the big screen, then on the smaller one.

You can also schedule emails to be sent at specific times, recall emails you just sent, and set reminders for emails you don’t want to deal with right away.

Apple’s new Weather app is also coming to iPad and macOS Ventura, extending its iOS 14 debut. It showcases an expanded layout that lets you view more information on the tablet’s display, such as forecast rainfall, detailed temperature maps, and more.

Another new app on the iPad is Reference Mode, which is designed to keep the iPad’s screen colors in sync with those of the monitor and other monitors, which is useful for colorists — although Apple doesn’t elaborate.

iPadOS 16.1 collaboration features

Improved collaboration features are the focus of the next iPad update.

Now, when you share a document (from some apps) with your friends or colleagues, you’ll share the actual document, not a copy of it – making it easier for collaborators to edit together.

You can also use FaceTime to work on these documents with others by sharing links and files on the video calling platform. Among other things, this should make working with Freeform super convenient, another feature we’ll cover later.

iPadOS 16.1 desktop focus

iPadOS introduces a new approach to multitasking in the form of Stage Manager, which gives you desktop-like functionality — you can have overlapping windows, and you can move all background apps aside to be in one list To view them, you can resize the viewport.

This feature will work on iPads released after 2018, excluding iPad mini.

Apple also promises to upgrade more first-party apps to be “desktop-grade,” though that seems to involve hundreds of tiny tweaks, like a different way to list files or view folders with different icons.

Thanks to Stage Manager, you can finally connect your iPad to an external monitor. For example, this would allow you to use Ulysses on your iPad while viewing the Photos app on a connected display, but this feature has been delayed to a later release.

iPadOS 16.1 Freeform

Announced the upcoming launch of an app called FreeForm, which will be available in iPadOS 16.1 and macOS Ventura later this year. It’s basically a federated digital message board, or a shared version of the Notes application, so multiple users can draft and jot down ideas.

In its demo, Apple showed a number of people drawing lots of different mind maps using sticky notes, colored lines, and annotations — the Apple Pencil is considered a useful tool for contributing to such documents.

If you’ve used Google Jamboard, this feels like the Apple equivalent, but since it’s for a tablet with a stylus, it should be a little more convenient to use.

Game Improvements in iPadOS 16.1

After detailing the Mac’s gaming prowess at WWDC 2022, Apple revealed that the iPad will also get many of these features.

This includes a feature called Metal 3, which automatically upscales game graphics (essentially boosting frame rates and resolution), and it should make iPadOS games feel more like console replacements. Now we just need Fortnite back!

However, it also means that other games previously exclusive to PC and Steam Deck are coming to Apple platforms, with No Man’s Sky coming to iPadOS and macOS Ventura.

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