iPadOS 15: New features, compatibility, release date
38 'iPadOS 15' stories
April 2021 - April 2022
iPadOS 15 received its first preview during the WWDC21 keynote and launched three months after this on September 20. The iPad software focuses on productivity features, bringing a new Home Screen design with integrated widgets and the App Library. Here’s everything about Apple’s latest iPadOS update.
Table of contents
- New features in iPadOS 15
- Redesigned Home Screen: Widgets, App Library, Focus, and Notification Center
- FaceTime and iMessage even more useful on iPadOS 15
- SharePlay and Shared with Me
- Multitasking, Keyboard Shortcuts, Quick Note, and redesigned Notes app
- Swift Playgrounds as an app builder
- Redesigned Safari with iPadOS 15 and extensions support
- Additional features on iPadOS 15
- iPadOS 15.1 features
- iPadOS 15.2 features
- iPadOS 15.3 features
- iPadOS 15.4 features
- iPadOS 15.5 features
- iPadOS 15 device compatibility
- How to install iPadOS 15 public beta
- Release date: When will iPadOS 15 come out?
- iPadOS 15 Review
New features in iPadOS 15
Over the years, Apple has made changes to its internal development process for iPadOS updates that make it easier for the company to add and remove new features. This makes each yearly release more stable because the company can remove features that aren’t ready for primetime. Now it’s time to meet all the new functions on iPadOS 15.
Redesigned Home Screen: Widgets, App Library, Focus, and Notification Center
With iPadOS 15, Apple introduced several new features to the Home Screen. It’s now possible to add widgets wherever the user wants on the Home Screen.
In the bottom right corner, users can finally find the App Library, introduced with iOS 14. Swiping to the last page also opens App Library.
Another feature announced with iPadOS 15 is Focus. With this function, users can select what kind of notifications they will receive while working or having some personal time. If a user selects “Do Not Disturb” or “Work” on a device, all other Apple devices will follow the same settings.
The new Notification Center uses machine learning and your Focus settings to better show relevant notifications throughout the day. The notification icons are now bigger and clearer.
FaceTime and iMessage even more useful on iPadOS 15
With a delay, Apple introduced a handful of new features to iMessage and FaceTime. Functions people would expect to use while in quarantine are finally arriving in iMessage and FaceTime.
On iPadOS 15, FaceTime group calls can finally appear in a grid, so it’s easier to see everyone. It’s also possible to share your screen, listen to Apple Music songs together, or watch Apple TV+, HBO Max, Disney+, and others while in a call.
iMessage now brings pinned messages, a new gallery grid for multiple images, and there are several new Memoji customizations.
SharePlay and Shared with Me
Still talking about iMessage and FaceTime, Apple introduced two new features called SharePlay and Shared with Me. While SharePlay is the possibility to share your screen, listen to Apple Music songs together in a FaceTime call, etc., Shared with Me is a new section on Safari, Apple Music, Podcasts, and Apple TV+ that brings all content shared with you by friends using iMessage.
The cool part of this feature is that you can take your time to listen to a song, watch a TV show, or hear a podcast, and then click on it to reply to the message sent to you a few hours or days back.
Multitasking, Keyboard Shortcuts, Quick Note, and redesigned Notes app
In the productivity section, Apple, unfortunately, didn’t bring all the features pro users wanted to take full advantage of their new M1 iPad Pro, even though Apple made it easier to rely on multitasking features.
There’s a new multitasking menu on the top of the screen. When you click there, it’s possible to see what configurations you can use on Split View or just go to Slide Over with just a tap.
The experience with an external keyboard allows users to get more done with all-new keyboard shortcuts and a redesign of the menu bar.
With Universal Control, it’s possible to arrange the devices together and use the same mouse and keyboard on multiple Apple devices.
With the Quick Note feature, users can use the Apple Pencil to add a quick note. They just need to slide the pencil through the bottom right corner to the center of the screen and start writing.
Notes also have new ways to organize, collaborate, and capture information. tags make it easy to categorize notes and find them quickly with the new Tag Browser and tag-based Smart Folders. For users working with others in shared notes, mentions create a way to notify collaborators and link them back to the note, and a new Activity view shows recent updates in the note.
Swift Playgrounds as an app builder
Users have been asking for Xcode for quite some time on the iPad. Apple, on the other hand, offers updated Swift Playgrounds for users to have the tools to build iPhone and iPad apps right on their iPad and submit them directly to the App Store.
Code is immediately reflected in the live preview while building apps, and users can run their apps full screen to test them out. A new open project format based on Swift packages can open and be edited in Swift Playgrounds for iPad as well as within Xcode on Mac, offering users even more versatility to develop apps across iPad and Mac.
Redesigned Safari with iPadOS 15 and extensions support
Safari gets a new tab design on iPadOS 15 that lets users see more of the page as they browse. The tab bar takes on the color of the webpage and combines tabs, the toolbar, and the search field into a single design.
Tab Groups offer, for example, a new way to easily save and manage tabs. It syncs across Mac and iPhone so users can continue their projects from anywhere or easily share them with friends and family.
Safari on iPad also supports web extensions, available from the App Store.
With iPadOS 15 beta 4, Apple brought a similar approach to the Safari on macOS Monterey beta 3. It shows separated tab bars, so when users start browsing, they will see the main URL at the top, and then all the different tab bars open just below. It’s possible to change back to compacted tab bars.
Additional features on iPadOS 15
Live Text: On-device intelligence can recognize text in a photo and allow users to take action, such as place a call, search for an address, and more.
Translates on iPad: The app Translates is now available on iPad starting with iPadOS 15. It brings a new feature called Auto Translate, which detects when someone is speaking so users can converse naturally without having to tap a microphone button.
Photos: Memories have a new look and integrate with Apple Music.
Maps: Apple is enhancing details in cities for neighborhoods, commercial districts, elevation, and buildings, new road colors and labels, custom-designed landmarks, and a new nighttime mode with a moonlit glow.
Privacy: Mail Privacy Protection helps users on iPadOS 15 to stop trackers from snooping on an email. The App Privacy Report provides transparency into how apps are sharing information with other companies.
Siri offline: On iPadOS 15, Siri can now work offline. It process requests entirely on the iPad by default making it faster. Siri also adds Announce Notification on AirPods.
iCloud+: iCloud got new premium features, including the Hide My Email feature, expanded HomeKit Secure Video support, and a new internet privacy service, iCloud Private Relay, at no additional cost
iPadOS 15.1 features
Apple released iPadOS 15.1 on October 25. With this version, the company finally brought SharePlay for all users as well as reverting Safari to its old design. Even though, users will be able to select the new look or stay with the old one.
iPadOS 15.2 features
Five weeks after releasing iPadOS 15.1, Apple is releasing iPadOS 15.2. It brings more features that were expected to launch alongside iPadOS 15 but, unfortunately, Universal Control is still nowhere to be seen. Here are the top features of this version:
- Apple Music Voice Plan is a new subscription tier that gives you access to all songs, playlists, and stations in Apple Music using Siri
- App Privacy Report in Settings lets you see how often apps have accessed your location, photos, camera, microphone, contacts and more during the last seven days, as well as their network activity
- Communication safety setting gives parents the ability to enable warnings for children when they receive or send photos that contain nudity
- Digital Legacy allows you to designate people as Legacy Contacts so they can access your iCloud account and personal information in the event of your death
- Apple TV app: Store tab lets you browse, buy, and rent movies and TV Shows all in one place
iPadOS 15.3 features
Six weeks after releasing iPadOS 15.2, Apple is releasing iPadOS 15.3. This update foregoes new features in favor of under-the-hood bug fixes and improvements. One of the most notable changes here is a fix for a Safari vulnerability that may have been leaking your browsing history and Google ID data to the websites you visited.
iPadOS 15.4 features
iPadOS 15.4 finally brings one of the most important features expected from iPadOS 15 and that got delayed: Universal Control. Here’s everything new with iPadOS 15.4:
- Universal Control: This feature allows you to control your Mac and iPad using the same keyboard and mouse/trackpad. Universal Control needs iPadOS 15.4 and macOS Monterey 12.3;
- New Siri voice: Siri has a fifth American voice. Apple says a member of the LGBTQ+ community recorded the voice and it’s non-binary;
- More emoji: iPadOS 15.4 also brings new emojis. You can discover all of the new characters here;
- Shortcuts automation: Adds support for running Personal Automations in the background without requiring a pesky banner notification.
iPadOS 15.5 features
Different from other software updates, iPadOS 15.5 only improves the Podcast app experience, as Apple focused on Wallet changes for the iPhone this time:
- Apple Podcasts includes a new setting to limit episodes stored on your iPhone and automatically delete older ones
The company is testing iPadOS 15.6 as well as iPadOS 16.
iPadOS 15 device compatibility
All the iPads compatible with iPadOS 14 will be able to upgrade to iPadOS 15. Even older models, such as the iPad Air 2, iPad mini 4, and fifth-generation iPad will receive this update if users want to.
Here’s the full list:
- iPad Pro 12.9 (5th gen);
- iPad Pro 11 (3rd gen);
- iPad Pro 12.9 (4th gen);
- iPad Pro 11 (2nd gen);
- iPad Pro 12.9 (3rd gen);
- iPad Pro 11 (1st gen);
- iPad Pro 12.9 (2nd gen);
- iPad Pro 10.5 (2nd gen);
- iPad Pro 12.9 (1st gen)
- iPad Pro 9.7 (1st gen)
- iPad Air (5th gen);
- iPad Air (4th gen);
- iPad Air (3rd gen);
- iPad Air (2nd gen);
- iPad mini (6th gen);
- iPad mini (5th gen);
- iPad mini (4th gen)
- iPad (9th gen);
- iPad (8th gen);
- iPad (7th gen);
- iPad (6th gen);
- iPad (5th gen).
How to install iPadOS 15 public beta
On June 30, Apple released iPadOS 15 public beta for all users. Even though the official version of iPadOS 15 is already here, the Software Beta Program is great for those who want to try iPadOS 15.1 or newer before everyone else. Here’s how to enroll on iPad’s beta program.
- Make a fresh backup of your iPhone or iPad with your Mac or PC in case you want to downgrade your device at any point (you can’t restore from a backup made in iOS 15 if you downgrade to iOS 14)
- On your iPhone or iPad, head to Apple’s public beta website
- Tap the arrow in the top right corner, sign in if you’re not already
- Now make sure you’re on the iOS “Guide for Public Betas”
- Swipe down and under the Get Started section, tap enroll your iOS device
- Swipe down again and tap Download Profile
- Tap Allow to download the profile, hit Close
- Head to Settings on your device and tap Profile Downloaded near the top
- Tap Install in the top right corner, enter your passcode if needed
- Read the consent agreement, then tap Install two more times
- Your iPhone or iPad will prompt you to restart to complete the changes
- After it reboots, head back to Settings > General > Software update
- You should see iOS 15 public beta available, tap Download and Install
Release date: When will iPadOS 15 come out?
iPadOS 15 was introduced at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference,
The iPadOS 15 developer beta program started on the same day as the keynote, June 7. On June 30, Apple released the public beta of iPadOS 15.
Apple launched iPadOS 15 on September 20.
iPadOS 15 Review
In our review post about iPadOS 15, we say that iPadOS 15 solves many of the problems with iPadOS although it’s not the update “pro users” were asking for:
iPadOS 15 finally brings a redesigned Home screen with widgets, but after Apple announced the M1 iPad Pro, many people had higher hopes for this year’s software updates. (…) Pro apps like Final Cut Pro and Xcode are nowhere to be found, and the only thing Apple will give to developers, is another version of Swift Playgrounds where they can create an app and send it to Apple to publish on the App Store. With all the power and fancy features the M1 iPad Pro has, Apple seems to be holding back for the next big step. Maybe next year.