Apple iPadOS: A cheat sheet

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Apple's OS for iPad includes features that marque it easier to usage the iPad arsenic a laptop replacement. Here's what you request to cognize astir iPadOS.


iPadOS 15

Image: Apple

Since the motorboat of the first-generation iPad successful 2010, Apple has dominated the tablet market. Originally launching with iPhone OS 3.2, the first-generation 9.7" iPad was architecturally akin to a ample iPhone. With successive models, Apple has differentiated the iPad from the iPhone by adding enactment for input methods specified arsenic the Apple Pencil, and antithetic surface sizes specified arsenic the 7.9" iPad Mini, and the 11" and 12.9" iPad Pro and the 11" and 12.9" iPad Pro with M1 chip.

As the iPad lineup has expanded into a wholly abstracted merchandise category, Apple announced astatine its 2019 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) that it has rebranded iOS for iPad arsenic iPadOS starting with iOS 13 to item and people the features that differentiate the iPad from different devices. This follows Apple's naming inclination of watchOS for Apple Watch and tvOS for Apple TV.

TechRepublic's cheat expanse for iPadOS is an overview of the software's features. This nonfiction volition beryllium updated periodically arsenic caller accusation astir iPadOS becomes available. You tin besides download this article: Apple iPadOS: A cheat expanse (free PDF).

SEE: Apple's Sept. 2021 event: What concern pros request to cognize (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

What is iPadOS?

For the merchandise of iOS 13, Apple rebranded the variant of iOS for the iPad arsenic iPadOS, efficaciously making it a superset of the phone-oriented iOS. iPadOS includes each of the improvements disposable with iOS 13, arsenic good arsenic caller features and optimizations circumstantial to the iPad.

"It's go a genuinely chiseled experience," Craig Federighi, elder vice president of bundle engineering, told CNET successful an exclusive interrogation astir iPadOS. "It's not an iPhone experience. It's not a Mac experience. The sanction is simply a designation of that."

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What are the main features of iPadOS?

iPadOS brings the iPad person to diagnostic parity with the entry-level MacBook, making it much imaginable to usage arsenic a laptop replacement. iPadOS includes the pursuing features.

  • Tablet-oriented location screen: The iPadOS location surface present supports persistent widgets. The iPadOS location surface volition enactment Home Screen widgets connected iPadOS 15 and newer. Users tin spot and signifier widgets connected the location surface the mode they would an app (similar to widgets connected Android tablets since Android 3.0). 

  • Improved multitasking: Users tin determination betwixt Slide Over apps by swiping on the bottommost oregon swiping up to spot each the apps successful the Slide Over view. Slide Over apps tin beryllium moved to afloat surface by dragging them to the apical oregon closed by opening to the app switcher and flicking the app upward. The Multitasking diagnostic disposable connected iPadOS 15 and newer makes it easier to find and usage apps connected iPad. Users tin usage a azygous app successful afloat surface mode oregon usage aggregate apps simultaneously successful the Split View oregon Slide Over mode. The caller halfway model diagnostic allows users to interaction and clasp to bring notes oregon messages to the halfway of the surface without leaving the existent task. With casual paper options, users tin entree further options without interrupting immoderate task they're presently moving on. At WWDC 2021, Apple besides introduced the "shelf," a tray that displays unfastened apps that users tin entree astatine the bottommost of their iPad screen. 

  • Desktop Safari: Safari present loads the desktop mentation of web pages, optimized for touchscreens, arsenic good arsenic amended enactment for Google Docs and WordPress editor. Some 30 caller keyboard shortcuts were added to Safari.

  • External thrust support: USB drives and SD cards are present supported successful Files, making it imaginable to plug successful to an iPad straight without needing a third-party programme oregon an intermediary Mac for record management.

  • Improvements to Files app: Files adds a file presumption akin to Finder connected macOS, arsenic good arsenic enactment for SMB shares.

  • Camera support: Cameras tin beryllium connected straight to the iPad, and photos tin beryllium imported for editing connected iPad apps, specified arsenic Adobe Lightroom.

  • Font support: Fonts tin beryllium downloaded from the App Store for usage successful assorted apps.

  • New gestures for faster editing: Copy, paste and undo tin present beryllium performed utilizing three-finger gestures, with three-finger pinch to copy, three-finger dispersed to paste, and three-finger swipe to undo, disposable for first-party and third-party apps.

  • Apple Pencil improvements: Swiping from the country of the surface with Apple Pencil opens the markup view, allowing users to annotate thing connected the surface and export it. Latency for Apple Pencil was decreased from 20ms to 9ms. At WWDC 2021, Apple announced caller capabilities for the Apple Pencil. Users tin adhd notes by swiping up connected the surface with the Pencil and past penning a Quick Note. Users tin besides adhd links/URLs to prevention a Quick Note for each tract they visit. The Quick Note volition automatically beryllium disposable erstwhile the idiosyncratic returns to the aforesaid website. Quick Notes are besides accessible via Notes. The Apple Pencil Quick Notes diagnostic is disposable connected macOS and iPadOS and tin beryllium accessed connected iOS. 

  • Sidecar: Users tin widen their macOS desktop onto the iPad arsenic a 2nd show oregon reflector contented betwixt some displays. When utilized successful conjunction with the Apple Pencil, Sidecar tin marque the iPad usable arsenic a drafting tablet. Sidecar works via a wired transportation oregon wirelessly wrong 10 meters.

  • Trackpad support: There is enactment for Apple's Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse 2, Magic Trackpad 2, arsenic good arsenic third-party accessories connected implicit Bluetooth oregon USB. According to ZDNet's Jason Cipriani, "mouse enactment is an AssistiveTouch diagnostic and besides works erstwhile a Magic Trackpad is connected to the iPad," and that it provides "a circular cursor that moves crossed the screen, acting arsenic a digit would erstwhile touching the screen. It's unclear however multi-touch gestures would enactment with a rodent pointer."

  • Scribble: This diagnostic successful iPadOS 14 for Apple Pencil volition let Pencil owners to handwrite successful immoderate substance tract and person it automatically translated from handwriting to type. On launch, it volition enactment English and accepted and simplified Chinese, and tin adjacent separate betwixt the 2 erstwhile utilized unneurotic successful the aforesaid substance field.

  • Translate: Apple's Translate app is disposable with caller features successful iPadOS 15. iPad uses a caller auto-translate diagnostic that detects erstwhile a idiosyncratic is speaking truthful nary fastener pushing is required successful bid to construe spoken words. Users tin construe substance from anyplace wrong their iPad surface (email, Safari/web browsing, texts etc.).

  • Swift Playgrounds: At WWDC 2021, Apple announced Swift Playgrounds, which allows developers to physique apps straight connected iPad via Swift UI. Using Swift Playgrounds, developers tin instantly spot their coding changes reflected successful preview mode. Those who are caller to app improvement are successful luck—Swift Playgrounds offers a usher to creating your archetypal app, and it tin adjacent beryllium submitted straight to the App Store for iPhone and iPad. 

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Which devices tin usage iPadOS?

iPadOS is disposable for the 12.9" and 11" iPad Pro with M1 chip, the 12.9", 11", 10.5", and 9.7" iPad Pro, the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th procreation iPad, the 4th and 5th procreation iPad mini, and 2nd, 3rd, and 4th procreation iPad Air. The Apple iPad Pro 2020 ships with iPadOS 13.4 preinstalled, and the 4th gen iPad Air and 8th gen iPad volition vessel with iPad OS 14 preinstalled. Apple notes that iPadOS 15 is simply a escaped bundle update that is disposable for iPad mini 4 and later, iPad Air 2 and later, iPad 5th procreation and later, and each iPad Pro models.

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When was iPadOS released?

Apple archetypal announced iPadOS astatine WWDC 2019. The institution announced iPadOS 14 astatine WWDC 2020; developer betas were made disposable connected June 22, 2020–the time of the announcement. The nationalist beta for iPadOS 14 was released connected July 9, 2020, and the last merchandise was connected Sept. 16, 2020. Apple released iPadOS 14.5 connected April 26, 2021.

iPadOS 15 was announced astatine WWDC 2021 connected June 7, 2021; the nationalist beta was released connected June 30, 2021; and the last merchandise of iPadOS 15 was disposable for download connected Sept. 20, 2021.

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How bash I get iPadOS?

The update is present disposable connected compatible iPad models. To update, unfastened the Settings app, and spell to General | Software Update. For users of LTE-capable iPads, connecting to Wi-Fi is advisable to debar overages oregon throttling arsenic a effect of downloading the update. 

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Image: Apple

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