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iPadOS is now available — here are all the best new features

At its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June, Apple announced iPadOS, which is a new operating system created specifically for the iPad. The new iPadOS is aimed at offering much of the simplicity and ease of use of iOS, while also making for a more productive and powerful experience.

iPadOS is now available to consumers, meaning you can get it for yourself. Here are all the new features found in iPadOS.

Multiple apps in Slide Over

Slide Over is a great way to keep an app ready to go — and you can now keep multiple apps in Slide Over, and switch between them quickly and easily — kind of like you would switch between apps on an iPhone. You can then drag an app in Slide Over to the top of the display to make it full screen, which is a nice touch.

Sidecar

You can now use your iPad as a secondary display with your Mac — or at least you will be able to once MacOS Catalina gets released to the public. Sidecar works in both wired and wireless modes and supports touch, so you’ll be able to interact with your Mac through touch — though touch support is a little limited.

Mouse support

While Apple didn’t announce mouse support for iPadOS on stage, developer Steve Troughton-Smith confirmed iPadOS supports USB mice. That said, there are a few caveats.

When a mouse is plugged into the iPad, you will see a cursor that looks similar to the button that shows up on the screen when the iPhone has a broken Home button. In other words, it looks more like a virtual finger than an actual mouse cursor. Troughton-Smith also confirmed Apple Magic Trackpad support.

New Home Screen

iPadOS Hands-on
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The changes to the iPadOS are pretty far-reaching, and they start with the Home Screen. It will now offer a ton more information, thanks to the fact that widgets can be pinned directly to the iPad’s Home Screen. That means that you can get access to things like news headlines, weather information, calendar events, and more, straight from the iPad Home Screen. Apps are also now arranged in a tighter grid.

Multi-window apps

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Perhaps the most exciting features for many users come in the form of productivity updates. For starters, the iPad now supports multi-window apps. In other words, you can now have multiple windows of a single app open. For example, you might want to have two Safari windows side by side, which will be handy for productivity.

There are other new productivity features too. Notable are the new copy, paste, undo, and redo gestures. On the iPad, you can now pinch with three fingers to copy and spread with three fingers to paste. You can also swipe left or right with three fingers to undo or redo.

An improved Files app

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The Files app is getting a whole lot more helpful. The app now supports a new column view, which allows you to get a better look at folder hierarchy. The Files app also now (finally) supports USB drives, meaning that you can import files directly onto your iPad. Not only that, but iCloud Drive, which is accessed through the Files app, now supports folder sharing, allowing you to share entire folders of files with friends and family. In the Files app, you’ll also be able to see rich metadata, and you can zip and unzip folders for sharing.

Safari

Safari is getting a few changes on the iPad too. Notably, Safari will now automatically request desktop websites, which ensures that you don’t have to deal with mobile websites when you’re using the iPad. In particular, that’s perfect for using web apps like Google Docs or WordPress. Not only that, but Safari on the iPad has also gotten a download manager, and allows you to set per-site settings. It will also warn you of weak passwords and offers a full toolbar, even in Split View.

Apple Pencil

The Apple Pencil is used by many artists and graphic designers on the iPad, and the experience of using it on the iPad is about to get a little better. To date, using the Apple Pencil with the iPad has resulted in an already-low 20 milliseconds, but Apple has managed to bring that latency down to 9ms, which should make for smoother and more natural drawing and writing. The Apple Pencil can also now be used to mark up entire web pages, and a new, redesigned tool palette has also been released.

Text editing

Apple has given iPadOS a number of new gestures for editing text. Now, instead of using the magnifying glass to scroll through text, you can simply drag and drop the cursor to where you want it. You can also use three fingers and swipe left to undo, or right to redo, and you can copy with a three-finger pinch, and paste with a three-finger spread.

And everything in iOS 13 too!

iPadOS is also getting almost all of the features found in iOS 13 as well. For a full list of features in iOS 13, check out our roundup, but here are a few key additions.

  • A system-wide dark mode
  • Better location permission control and ability to control permissions for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
  • HomeKit is getting HomeKit Secure Video — cameras that can be controlled in HomeKit.
  • Find My Friends and Find My iPhone has been rolled into one app — Find My.
  • The Camera app is getting a number of new features, and there are new photo-editing features in the Photos app.
  • Apple Maps is getting a Street View-like feature called Look Around.
  • CarPlay is getting a revamped dashboard to show maps and Now Playing information on one display.

Updated on September 24, 2019: iPadOS is now available to the public.

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