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iPadOS 16: All the biggest and best features you need to know about

Apple has just unveiled the next iteration of its iPadOS software in the form of iPadOS 16 and it brings with it a whole host of new features. Here’s everything we know so far.

While much of the focus might go on the iPhone and its iOS 16 software, there’s still a lot to be said about the slightly modified version of iOS that runs on all of Apple’s tablets.

After a fairly modest round of updates in 2021, Apple has seemingly put more of a focus on its range of iPads this year with a bunch of very welcome upgrades adding more features to the tablets. While this announcement only teases what we’ll be getting later, it does show the direction the iPad is going in.

When is iPadOS 16 out?

Apple might have announced iPadOS 16 today, but unless you’re an Apple registered developer then don’t expect to be downloading the software onto your devices just yet.

While a developer-focused beta should arrive today, followed by a public beta in July, the full release won’t come probably until September.

iPadOS 16 features

Updated Messages app

Apple has really ramped up Messages this year, adding in some features users of apps like WhatsApp will be familiar with. Accidentally texted something inappropriate to your boss? With the new Messages app in iOS 16, you can quickly recall that message before it does any damage.

There are new machine learning skills in the app too, like the ability to pull out parts of an image to share them.

A Weather app

Finally, Apple is bringing a native weather app to the iPad. It looks very much like the iPhone app – just a whole lot bigger. There are sleek weather effects for rain too, which take over the whole screen and look fantastic.

Collaboration skills

One of the big new features of iPadOS 16 is working with others. A new Freeform app lets multiple people add ideas to the combined whiteboard. You can add links, pictures and videos along with documents into Freeform and all see them at the same time. You can now work on Pages documents live over a FaceTime call, too.

Gaming

Metal 3 support has been added to the iPad, featuring the MetalFX Upscaling feature that can use AI skills to automatically upscale games to improve performance. There’s also a new API that’ll allow games to download extra parts in the background.

Desktop-like features

Apple is making iPadOS a little more like a laptop. Apps like Files have been expanded, with more options like viewing file sizes. A new Reference Color app lets you use your iPad Pro 12.9-inch as a reference monitor, giving it the most accurate colours for digital professionals.

New display scaling

You can now alter the display scaling, allowing you to cram more information into your apps. This should work nicely with the Stage Manager feature detailed below.

Stage Manager

This is the big one. Stage Manager lets you resize windows like you can on a Mac, and you can create individual spaces using multiple apps at once with overlapping windows. This is true multitasking like we’ve never seen before on an iPad.

External display support is much better too, taking up the whole of the additional monitor rather than forcing you to work with a small letterboxed area. Stage Manager requires an iPad powered by an M1 chipset, so it won’t be much use if you haven’t upgraded your iPad in a few years.

This is a breaking story, we’ll update it when we know more information

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