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What is Apple Stage Manager? Awesome Mac and iPad multitasking feature explained

What is Apple Stage Manager? As part of its macOS Ventura and iPadOS 16 announcements, Apple announced a new Stage Manager productivity tool. Here’s the lowdown.

The headline feature of macOS Ventura, revealed at WWDC 2022, is designed to enable users to quickly access whatever they are working on from thumbnail windows gathered on the left side of the display.

However, the best element of the feature is the way groups of apps can be bundled together into a project that can be recalled when you wish to work on it and placed back onto the left side of the screen when not required.

So, for example, if you’re planning a holiday in your own time and working on a study project, you can bundle the multiple windows associated with those tasks together – be it Safari, the iMessage group chat, Calendar showing related dates and bookings, etc..

In its Newsroom post announcing the feature, Apple says: “Stage Manager automatically organises open apps and windows so users can concentrate on their work and still see everything in a single glance. The current window users are working in is displayed prominently in the centre, and other open windows appear on the left-hand side so they can quickly and easily switch between tasks. Users can also group windows together when working on specific tasks or projects that require different apps.”

Stage Manager

On the iPad, Stage Manager enables overlapping windows of different sizes to appear on the display for the first time. So, you can drag the Mail app on to the display, for example, and it’ll appear just in front of the app already on screen. Users will also be able to resize those apps to suit their workflow.

It’s handy if you’re referencing your calendar in reply to a message, for example, and for the first time won’t require iPad users to switch apps or use the split screen features to work with two apps at the same time.

Unfortunately, as my colleague Max Parker points out, only a few iPads will be able to access the feature; specifically those running the M1 chip.

Both macOS Ventura and iPadOS 16 will be out this autumn, but are available to test in beta from today.

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