Once we reviewed the 2018 iPad Professional, we have been impressed by the ability and potential of the , however iOS 12 wasn’t as much as the duty of constructing the iPad a real content material creation machine or a every day workhorse. We mentioned it was time for Apple to department out from iOS 13 with an iPad-specific working system.

Only one 12 months later, that’s precisely what Apple has achieved with iPadOS, which launched for contemporary iPads a couple of days after iOS 13 hit the iPhone and iPod contact. Whereas iPadOS doesn’t truly signify that huge of a change beneath the hood, its new nomenclature is a press release of intent by Apple. This launch takes strides towards making the machine extra helpful for energy customers who need to do extra than simply browse the Internet, play video games, watch movies, and write an electronic mail or two.

In order we have tinkered with iPadOS not too long ago and analyzed the modifications Apple made, we revisited the query we answered with a destructive final 12 months: is the iPad prepared to interchange your laptop computer?

One fast editor’s notice beforehand: know this is not a full or standalone evaluate—somewhat, it’s an addendum to our beforehand printed iOS 13 evaluate. Lots of the fascinating options of iPadOS are additionally iOS 13 options. So normally, if we mentioned one thing explicit in iOS 13, we both omit it right here or hyperlink again to that evaluate. The main focus right here is on iPad-specific options that aren’t a part of the iOS 13 bundle for iPhone.

And to expertise these, it helps to have one of many iPads that’s suitable with iPadOS, which launched at model 13.1.

Desk of Contents


As with iOS 13 on iPhones, Apple has ended assist for all units which have lower than 2GB of RAM. After iOS 12 continued to assist all units that iOS 11 supported, iOS 13/iPadOS 13 represents a considerably vital minimize, which notably consists of the favored first run of the iPad Air.

Supported iPad fashions in iPadOS 13 embrace:

12.9-inch iPad Professional
11-inch iPad Professional
10.5-inch iPad Professional
9.7-inch iPad Professional
iPad (fifth era)
iPad (sixth era)
iPad (seventh era)
iPad mini (fifth era)
iPad mini four
iPad Air (third era)
iPad Air 2

Whereas Apple has generally up to now continued to assist older iPads whereas merely limiting sure superior options solely to newer iPads, on this case all software program options of iPadOS 13 work on all supported fashions.

Units used for this evaluate
This evaluate was written primarily based on two weeks utilizing the iPadOS public 13.1 and 13.1.2 releases. We used iPadOS on two iPad fashions, each fairly latest: the 2019 iPad Air and the 2019 iPad. We additionally printed a separate article targeted on efficiency testing on the iPad Air 2 from 2014—the oldest iPad supported by iPadOS.
Why Apple branched out from iOS

Earlier than digging deep on particular person modifications and options, let’s first take a hen’s-eye view at iPadOS—why did Apple do that? Why isn’t this iOS 13? What does this transformation imply, and is it truly that totally different?

To be clear, not a lot has modified beneath the hood within the transition from iOS 13 to iPadOS. You can argue that that is “only a branding change.” Or, possibly extra precisely, you would describe this as a branding change that displays modifications that began some time in the past when the iPad started getting main multitasking options that have been distinctive to the pill. Apple is formalizing what we already knew: the iPad serves totally different use instances than the iPhone, subsequently it wants a unique design philosophy.

iPadOS works from an assumption that whereas iPhone customers are sometimes utilizing the iPhone in short spurts whereas doing different issues in the true world, iPad customers are extra targeted on the display in entrance of them. iPad customers are able to and need to carry out extra complicated duties.

The brand new OS takes that assumption and in addition the drastically elevated display actual property of the pill to introduce extra refined methods of working a number of purposes on the identical time. In iPadOS, Apple has given customers the flexibility to arrange these purposes in customizable methods. Lots of this, maybe unsurprisingly, attracts design inspiration from macOS.

Apple is speaking its intentions with this branding—not only for this 12 months’s replace, however for upcoming years’ releases as effectively.

There’s nonetheless work to be achieved, although. iPadOS just isn’t a radical remaking of the iPad consumer expertise. It’s normally merely one other iterative step ahead for Apple’s current concepts about how one can make the iPad extra highly effective as a workhorse.

Whereas Android tablets have largely stalled, Apple faces quite a lot of competitors from Chromebooks and Microsoft’s Floor units. Each signify two very totally different philosophies, and each have arguably been extra highly effective as multitasking workstations.

Whether or not “iPadOS” is only a identify, this 12 months’s working system replace brings iPads nearer to parity with these two platforms which have their roots within the desktop.

Apple’s technique for this hinges on modifications to the house display, long-press context menus each inside and outdoors of apps, a way more sturdy file administration system and Recordsdata app, displaying desktop web sites by default in Safari, and new keyboard shortcuts. However multitasking heralds essentially the most vital modifications.


Whereas the iPhone does (and may) have multitasking performance, the conditions through which you’d want it are totally different.

On an iPhone, you simply want to maneuver between apps or share info between them, and it simply must be fast and straightforward, since you could be strolling down the road whereas speaking to somebody and making an attempt to catch a practice. The iPhone augments your moment-to-moment actions with out anticipating your full, steady focus, and that has implications for the optimum consumer expertise.

As said earlier than, Apple sees the iPad as a tool that you simply focus your consideration on for extra extended durations of time—or at the least, it’s extra usually going to be that. Multitasking on an iPad must be way more sturdy. You’re not simply eager about particular person fast actions of multitasking; you’re eager about customers who’re actively utilizing three or 4 or extra apps at a time and continually working between them over an extended time period.

In iOS 9, Apple began down this highway with Break up View, Image in Image, and Slide Over. The corporate has iterated on that preliminary push since, and iOS 13 marks a very aggressive transforming of how these and different elements of multitasking work.

Apple has constructed upon beforehand current ideas about areas and app home windows, and the largest improvement is arguably the flexibility to open a number of home windows from the identical app, throughout a number of areas, in varied configurations.

A rethink of app home windows

The crux of a lot of what Apple has achieved with multitasking in iPadOS is centered across the administration of home windows. These home windows then stay in areas, both alone in fullscreen or subsequent to different home windows by way of the present Slide Over or Break up View.

It’s necessary to make clear that there’s nonetheless no desktop as there’s on a Mac, although. You possibly can’t freely resize and stack as many home windows as you need.

You possibly can have as much as three home windows in view without delay, nonetheless: two in Break up View and one in both Slide Over or Image-in-Image. You can even have three home windows from the identical app in view without delay by this technique. There’s not sufficient display actual property to make that sensible normally, nonetheless, so that you’ll usually stick to 2 home windows. However the two-window views work properly, simply as they did within the earlier model of iOS. And the truth that you may cover and re-surface Slide Over home windows makes a form of half-measure to 3 home windows potential.

That was potential earlier than, although. What’s new in iPadOS is the flexibility to open a number of home windows from the identical app. There are additionally some huge modifications to the best way the app switcher shows details about open home windows, and a brand new characteristic referred to as app Exposé.

Opening a brand new window

There are a number of methods to open extra situations of an app in a brand new window, which might both open full display or share an area with one other software—once more, even with one other window from the identical software.

You possibly can pull up the dock with a swipe gesture and drag an icon from the dock to create a brand new window, and this works whether or not it’s an already-open app or an unopened app. In lots of apps, dragging an merchandise like a hyperlink in Safari, an electronic mail in Mail, a single notice in Notes, or no matter else you may count on to one of many standardized create-a-new-window areas will create one other window from that. And in some instances, you may drag notifications to show them into home windows, or you may open home windows by context menus on sure UI components and icons.

You possibly can drag these icons or content material objects to the left or proper fringe of the display to put the window, and iPadOS will create it in Break up View with the presently open app. Alternatively, you may drag content material to some areas in the course of the display to place it in Slide Over, or to the highest fringe of the display to create a brand new house with that app window in fullscreen mode.

Sadly, there’s no method to inform whether or not what you’re dragging can flip right into a window except you do it. In apply, you may generally be shocked by precisely what you get when this characteristic does work.

I criticized this concern throughout iOS 13 as effectively: far too usually with each iOS 13 and this launch of iPadOS, you simply must take photographs in the dead of night to study what’s potential and what’s not. It’s a UX downside that Apple goes to have to deal with as quickly as potential if it desires to maintain claiming that the iPad is as straightforward to make use of (or simpler to make use of) as a laptop computer working Home windows or macOS.

A part of the potential confusion stems from the truth that there appear to be two sorts of home windows: full-function home windows which can be full situations of an app, after which extra targeted home windows which can be oriented round a selected job or view (like a draft of a single electronic mail).

In these targeted home windows, you may’t do something however the job the app developer had in thoughts for you whenever you opened the window. This may trigger some frustration, as a result of you may’t actually inform when a brand new window goes to do the task-specialized window or when it’s going to open a brand new occasion of the full-fledged app till you attempt it.

However that frustration apart, you are able to do some loopy helpful stuff with all this. You may make one piece of content material—say, a PDF file view—persistent throughout all of your areas, all from the identical app. You possibly can have a unique house for each one among your presently related emails. You possibly can have one Notice open in a single half of your display when you browse all of your notes in one other window proper subsequent to it in Break up View. This selection actually opens up some prospects.



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