Skip to main content

iPadOS 16 arrives to give the iPad a productivity boost

The next version of Apple’s iPad software, iPadOS 16, was announced on stage during Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference keynote presentation. Better known as WWDC 2022, this year’s keynote was home to numerous big announcements — including updates for iOS 16, watchOS 9, and macOS Ventura. For this article, we’re focusing on iPadOS 16. iPadOS 16 will come to various iPad models before the end of the year and includes a variety of new features that will enhance productivity and ease of use, bringing the iPad closer to a laptop than ever before.

New collaboration features

The FreeForm app that allows collaborating users to access a digital whiteboard of sorts. The app is displayed across an iPhone, iPad, and MacBook.

Following the lead of iOS 16, iPadOS 16 is adding a lot of new collaboration features that allow multiple people to be together digitally by viewing the same Safari tabs, enjoying content at the same time through SharePlay, and through the newly-introduced FreeForm app. FreeForm is a project-based organizational app that allows collaborators to all work together on a digital shared whiteboard of sorts. There are a plethora of apps that will support SharePlay and other forms of online collaboration, including Messages, Pages, and Keynote.

Related Videos

The new collaboration features that have been introduced with Apple’s most recent round of major software updates will work across device types like the rest of Apple’s software. This means that collaborative apps can be worked on by someone using a Mac alongside someone on an iPad, and so on.

Stage Manager

An iPad and an external display using Stage Manager in iPadOS 16.

Stage Manager debuted during the showcase segment that presented new features coming to macOS and it’s also making its way into iPadOS 16. The software is a windowing system that allows tabs to be resized and reordered to make the most of multitasking. It works similar to managing and resizing tabs on a computer, however, Stage Manager also holds recently used apps on the left side of the screen, making the transition between using different apps seamlessly.

When working on a larger display with an iPad, Stage Manager instantly transmits all of its saved tab information to the display. This allows the iPad to function as a separate smaller screen that can hold ready information not immediately necessary for completing larger tasks without having to navigate too many tabs and other apps.

A renewed focus on gaming

Although Apple isn’t known for being a powerhouse when it comes to gaming, the company is looking to continue its gaming support with iPadOS 16. Introduced during the WWDC 2022 keynote, Metal 3 is the newly updated gaming software that iPadOS 16 will be running. Metal 3 brings a lot of the quick loading API and MetalFX upscaling found in the latest Mac update but scaled down to fit into a tablet. The new API introduced with iPadOS 16 will allow devices to download bigger assets in the background allowing users to run other apps and programs while downloads complete.

Game Center is also getting a facelift of sorts as being updated to include live activity information. From the new Activity screen, users will be able to find their friends’ achievement information, high scores, and game progress. SharePlay integration will also help make co-op gaming a much smoother process as it’ll be handled by Game Center itself instead of relying on every app developer to create their own online multiplayer support.

Desktop-class apps

Like Google’s recently launched Android 12L update, Apple is doubling down on prioritizing its tablet app optimization. Craig Federighi mentioned during the presentation that many iPad apps “have their origins in iOS,” which causes many to not make full use of the iPad’s processing power and exclusive features like its large display. For iPadOS 16, Apple looked into requested features that exist on Mac that could be integrated into the iPad ecosystem to make it feel less like a stretched-out iPhone.

Features coming to iPadOS 16 include undo/redo, availability view in Calendar, card merging in Contacts, and a major Files app update. Now on iPads, file extensions can be edited, folder sizes can be viewed easily, and Federighi promises more is to come. Other system-wide changes are coming to make iPadOS feel closer to macOS, like the addition of find/replace commands and a document menu for Files, Pages, and Keynote that provides common actions like export or print. A customizable toolbar will also be added that allows users to make their most frequently used systems easily available.

Editors' Recommendations

The Pixel 7’s best camera trick is coming to the iPhone and all Android phones
Erasing items in Magic Eraser.

The Google Pixel series of phones, specifically the Pixel 6 and Pixel 7, have an exclusive feature called Magic Eraser. With Magic Eraser, you can get rid of unwanted objects in a photo, such as people in the background or things like power lines. As of today, Magic Eraser is becoming available to all Android phones and iPhone users through Google One.

Magic Eraser debuted on the Pixel 6 lineup, which includes the Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro, and the more affordable Pixel 6a, which is still available to purchase (the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro have been discontinued). If you have a Pixel 7 or Pixel 7 Pro, you also have the Magic Eraser feature. One of the reasons I had always wanted a Pixel device is because of Magic Eraser, and it is something that I desperately wished Apple would implement.

Read more
Microsoft is already expanding Bing Chat to Skype and phones
Microsoft Edge browser showing Bing Chat on an iPhone.

Bing Chat, the AI chatbot powered by ChatGPT, is one of Microsoft's most exciting products, and the Windows developer is wasting no time in incorporating artificial intelligence into more of its products, including three of its mobile apps: Skype, Bing mobile, and Edge.

Microsoft announced the news in a blog post this morning. The Edge browser and the Bing app are obvious choices for adding AI-enhanced search, and early access users will begin seeing Bing Chat in those apps soon. We'd seen hints about Bing Chat on mobile, just two days ago, so Microsoft is moving quickly.

Read more
SMS 2FA is insecure and bad — use these 5 great authenticator apps instead
Twilio Authy 2FA app running on an iPhone.

You probably have what seems like a million accounts across the internet these days, right? At least, that’s what it feels like for me — with all these social media, email, and banking accounts, plus digital storefronts, and more. Regardless of where I access these from, whether it’s my iPhone 14 Pro or my Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus, or even my Mac, the first step is to make sure that I have a strong and secure (preferably randomly generated) password. But for extra peace of mind, everyone needs to look into two-factor authentication (2FA) to really keep people out.

Recently, Twitter has made the news yet again because it’s forcing everyone who uses SMS 2FA to either remove it from their account or subscribe to Twitter Blue to keep it. SMS 2FA is when you get a code sent as an SMS to your phone, and while it's convenient, this is the least secure 2FA method available. SMS 2FA is susceptible to numerous vulnerabilities, including SIM swapping (where someone takes over a mobile phone number by convincing a carrier to link that number with the SIM card), SIM duplication attacks, and more.

Read more