Arguably the biggest software surprise of WWDC 2019 was iPad receiving its own platform. Apple announced iPad would be splitting off from iOS and will run on iPadOS going forward.

iPadOS Features

Users can now have multiple windows per open application, in split views. There’s also new link previews when long-pressing. The iPad now supports external disk drives and SD cards natively; just plug in and access from the Files app.

iCloud Drive now supports folder sharing, not just files. The new Files app includes a column view which resembles macOS. Directories from attached storage show up in the Files app. For cameras, there’s a way to launch your favorite third-party image editor — like Lightroom — automatically.

Apple is also bringing “desktop-class” browsing to the iPad, with better compatibility for web-apps like Google Docs, Squarespace, and WordPress. iPad Safari is also gaining new keyboard shortcuts and a download manager.

Apple is adding custom font support to iPadOS. You can download font libraries from the App Store.

There are new three-finger gestures for cut-copy-paste, including a three-finger swipe to undo.

Apple Pencil latency is dropping from 20 milliseconds to 9 milliseconds for even more responsive interactions when using a digital stylus. Markup is integrated system-wide, so you can annotate a screenshot or an entire document. A PencilKit API is also available for third-party apps.

There’s a new compact layout keyboard mode for the iPad, which shrinks down the keyboard to only occupy a fraction of the screen space.

Mouse Support on iPadOS?

One of the rumored iOS 13 features was support for mouse input as an Accessibility option. While Apple didn’t mention it on stage, iPadOS 13 does indeed support mouse input as an AssistiveTouch option.

Mouse input in iPadOS 13 works much like you would expect it to, especially when you consider that it is an AssistiveTouch feature. The mouse cursor resembles other Assistive Touch input options, simulating a finger over the interface.

Mouse input on the iPad works with USB mice connected to the iPad’s Lightning or USB-C port. This includes Apple’s Magic Trackpad, allowing you to navigate through iPadOS without actually touching the display. It is enabled via the Accessibility menu in the iPadOS Settings app.

iPadOS Release Date

iPadOS is currently in beta, but the final version will be released for users this fall.  It will be available for the following iPad models:

  • 12.9-inch iPad Pro
  • 11-inch iPad Pro
  • 10.5-inch iPad Pro
  • 9.7-inch iPad Pro
  • iPad (6th generation)
  • iPad (5th generation)
  • iPad mini (5th generation)
  • iPad mini 4
  • iPad Air (3rd generation)
  • iPad Air 2

Top Stories about iPadOS

iPadOS Stories July 21

Two days after releasing iOS 14.7 to the public, Apple today has released iPadOS 14.7 as well. This update includes enhancements to the Podcasts app, bug fixes for Apple Music, and more.

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iPadOS Stories June 17

Despite the evolution of iPad hardware, the multitasking features are pretty much the same since Apple introduced the first iPad Pro in 2015. This year, although we still have pretty much the same limitations, Apple has added some new multitasking features to iPadOS 15 to make Split Screen and Slide Over more intuitive.

Now we want to know if you like the new multitasking features in iPadOS 15.

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iPadOS Stories June 14

It’s been a week since Apple introduced iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 at WWDC 2021, but we’re still discovering some new features that weren’t mentioned on stage or on Apple’s website. In addition to having widgets on the home screen and new multitasking shortcuts, iPadOS 15 enhances the Files app with a progress bar, NTFS support, and more.

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iPadOS 15 introduces a new Quick Note feature that lets you instantly create and compose a note in a floating window from anywhere. Apple markets Quick Note as an Apple Pencil trick, but all iPad users can take advantage of Quick Note after setting up the feature.

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iPadOS Stories June 7

Apple is showing off iPadOS 15 for the first time. Follow along as we detail everything new coming to iPad.

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iPadOS Stories May 30

We’re a week away from Apple previewing iPadOS 15 at WWDC, and we’re all hoping for a substantial software upgrade for the iPad. Not just the low-hanging fruit from iOS 14 that didn’t come to the iPad, but a significant leap forward for pro users on the iPad Pro.

I’ve spent the first week using the 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2021) with my MacBook Air shutdown and set aside, and the versatility of using a portable screen as a tablet, laptop, and desktop has been really great. It’s not that the iPad Pro can’t already get the job done for me. It’s more that the quality of life accomplishing the same tasks just isn’t as high on iPadOS as macOS. Here’s what I’ll be watching for at WWDC 2021 on June 7:

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iPadOS Stories May 28

Buying a new iPad always brings me to the same gigantic question: What do I do with it? My work life can fit on a MacBook Air, and my personal life fits on an iPhone. If the iPad Pro can’t completely replace at least one of those for me, then where exactly does it fit?

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iPadOS Stories August 30, 2020

Since the Files app was released with iOS 11, it’s become a staple of how I use the iPhone and iPad. I don’t think it gets enough credit for helping bridge the gap between macOS, iOS, and iPadOS. Between the ability to access all my iCloud Drive documents on top of integration with Google Drive, it’s one of the most used apps on my iPhone and iPad.

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iPadOS Stories June 4, 2020

One of the main complaints about Apple keyboards designed for iPad is that they don’t have function keys, so users need to access the Settings app or the Control Center to adjust things like screen brightness. However, this may change soon, as 9to5Mac has found references in iPadOS 13.5.5 beta code that points to new keyboard shortcuts that replace some of the function keys.

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iPadOS Stories May 25, 2020

A new app called Hyperdeck has launched today in beta for iPad that comes with a compelling list of features. In addition to support for creating presentations with Markdown, it also features a clean UI for the times you want a more traditional Keynote-like experience. Music to programmers’ ears, Hyperdeck can understand 121 coding languages making it seamless to include and edit code, highlight specific lines, and more.

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iPadOS Stories May 24, 2020

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The iPad just got quite a bit better thanks to iPadOS 13.4, which added full support for trackpads. Now, attention has shifted to iPadOS 14, which is expected to be announced next month during Apple’s virtual Worldwide Developers Conference. What new features can we expect in iPadOS 14? I have a few suggestions…

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iPadOS Stories May 13, 2020

Facebook has finally added multitasking support to its official iPadOS app in the latest update available. While users can have two apps running simultaneously side by side on iPad since iOS 9, the Facebook app wasn’t compatible with these features until now.

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iPadOS Stories May 6, 2020

Update: Federighi is also interviewed on the same topic in a special episode of the AppStories podcast.

Creating the iPadOS cursor without compromising the touch-first nature of the iPad was no easy task, says Apple SVP Craig Federighi in a new interview.

He says that the project leaned significantly on what the company had learned from Apple TV …

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iPadOS Stories April 2, 2020

Let’s just cut to the chase: if you already own 2018’s refresh of the iPad Pro, you probably shouldn’t upgrade to the 2020 edition. That’s because this latest iPad Pro is more of an incremental update than its predecessors have traditionally been. In terms of specs, it’s probably the most lukewarm upgrade we’ve had in an iPad Pro since the often-forgotten 9.7-inch model was released in early 2016.

With that in mind, if you want a good idea of what to expect from the 2020 iPad, read our in-depth review of the 2018 model. Most of the hardware aspects still apply, but it’s the software updates that have really pushed the iPad forward over the last few years. The release of iPadOS 13, and now iPadOS 13.4 have transformed Apple’s tablet for the better.

If you held off on the 2018 iPad Pro update, this latest 2020 model should make you happy, as it’s an overall better value thanks to increased RAM and flash storage in the base configuration.

And thanks to the new embedded LiDAR Scanner, which ushers in impressive new AR capabilities, the 2020 iPad Pro also provides us with a sneak preview of what we might expect from Apple’s long-rumored augmented reality headset.

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iPadOS Stories March 31, 2020

Apple has updated iMovie for iPadOS with new features including mouse and trackpad support, new keyboard shortcuts, more image format, and more. The new version also prepares Apple’s video editing app for the upcoming Magic Keyboard accessory for iPad Pro.

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iPadOS Stories March 24, 2020

Apple today is officially releasing iOS 13.4 and iPadOS 13.4 to the public. This comes after an extended beta testing period for developer and public beta users over the last month and a half. What’s new in iOS 13.4? Read on to find out.

Apple is also releasing iOS 12.4.6 for older iPhones and iPads today as well. tvOS 13.4 is also being released today.

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iPadOS Stories March 21, 2020

Alongside its new iPad Pro and Magic Keyboard with trackpad, Apple this week unveiled trackpad support in iPadOS 13.4. What this means is that in addition to using Apple’s Magic Keyboard, most other trackpads and mice can also now be used with iPadOS.

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iPadOS Stories February 25, 2020

Apple tries to improve iPad’s multitasking capabilities every year, making the system more powerful to perform multiple tasks simultaneously. But this has also raised questions about the usability of multitasking on the iPad, which has become increasingly complicated for some users.

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iPadOS Stories January 12, 2020

Modern iPads have plenty of storage space for most people, but if you buy a smaller model now, can you add iPad storage later? The short answer is “no,” but that doesn’t mean it’s the end of the story. There are some ways you can extend the practical storage space you have to work with on your iPad — here’s how.

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Last week, I took a look at my 2020 iCloud wishlist. I got several kind words from readers with other things they wanted to see, so I am back this week with another wishlist. This week, it’s my 2020 Apple wishlist across the rest of its software and hardware. Apple was firing on all cylinders in 2019, so I am hoping that 2020 is another excellent year. From new hardware, iOS 14, to the continued expansion of iPadOS, here’s what I am hoping to see from Apple this year. expand full story

iPadOS Stories September 25, 2019

This is a monumental week for Apple and the iPad. After 9 years of existence, the iPad finally gets its own dedicated operating system in iPadOS 13. Why is that such a big deal? It means that software development for the iPad can now truly be iPad-first.

iPadOS 13 is a huge release that gives the iPad more room to grow and evolve into the platform that it’s capable of becoming. Even in this initial release, users are greeted with huge features like multi-window support for the same app, improved multitasking, enhanced copy and paste, and much more. Watch our hands-on video walkthrough as we step through the top new iPadOS 13.1 features, and be sure to subscribe to 9to5Mac on YouTube for more videos. expand full story

iPadOS Stories June 15, 2019

One of my favorite sessions from Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference is the “What’s new with device management session”. It’s usually towards the end of the week, but it’s one that IT managers should always pay attention to. We aren’t getting the earth-shattering changes we did in years past, but that’s simply because a lot of the low hanging fruit has been picked. There are some notable changes coming in the fall updates, though. So here’s what’s new with device management in iOS 13, iPadOS 13, tvOS 13, and macOS Catalina. expand full story

iPadOS Stories June 10, 2019

After fixing volume indicator, Apple may fix another annoying iOS/iPadOS quirk

Apple finally fixed the volume indicator in iOS 13, and Apple’s SVP of software engineering has indicated that the company may fix another full-screen annoyance – at least in iPadOS

iPadOS Stories June 6, 2019

Apple’s SVP of software engineering, Craig Federighi, sat down with MacStories’ Federico Viticci at WWDC to take a deep dive into the new developer tools announced this week including Catalyst (formerly Marzipan), SwiftUI and its purpose, why it was the right time to introduce iPadOS, and much more.

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