Apple iPadOS 16 gains powerful new productivity and collaboration features

At today’s developer conference, Apple took the wraps off iPadOS 16, and it’s a huge update, with loads of exciting new features.

There’s a new multitasking experience with Stage Manager that allows multiple overlapping windows, full external display support, Messages improvements and big updates to Mail and Safari.

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A new Freeform app provides a flexible canvas for users to brainstorm on together, and new pro features include Reference Mode and Display Zoom.

Safari gains a new passkeys feature which is designed to replace passwords on the web and in apps, and there’s a smart new Weather app too.

Additional iPadOS 16 highlights include:

Dictation offers a new on-device experience that allows users to easily move between voice, touch, and Scribble with Apple Pencil. Users can type with the keyboard or write with Scribble, tap in the text field, move the cursor, and insert QuickType suggestions, all without needing to stop Dictation. Dictation also features automatic punctuation and emoji dictation.Siri adds the ability to automatically run shortcuts from apps, with no setup required. Users can now insert emoji when sending messages with Siri, and can skip the confirmation step when sending messages by enabling the feature in Settings. Siri can now process more types of requests offline without an internet connection, and users can now hang up a call completely hands-free by simply saying “Hey Siri, hang up.”The Home app gets an all-new design that makes it easier to navigate, organize, view, and control smart home accessories at a glance, as well as Matter support, a new smart home connectivity standard that allows compatible accessories to work together seamlessly across different platforms, and provides more choice and interoperability, all while maintaining the highest level of security.Desktop-class apps enable new capabilities optimized for the iPad display, from system elements and interactions to new features available on Mac, including a consistent undo and redo experience across the system, a redesigned find-and-replace experience, customizable toolbars, the ability to change file extensions and view folder size in Files, and more. Apple News introduces My Sports, allowing users to follow their favorite teams, leagues, and athletes, and see curated and personalized stories from hundreds of the best local, national, and international sports publications, all in one app.Notes allows users to create neater handwritten notes with the ability to automatically straighten the handwriting, use their iCloud password to lock personal notes, add screenshots in Quick Note, and take organization even further with powerful Smart Folders and filtering capabilities. Handoff in FaceTime allows users to start a FaceTime call on one of their Apple devices and seamlessly hand it off to another Apple device nearby. When switching to a different device, the connected Bluetooth headset transitions simultaneously so users don’t miss any of the conversation.New accessibility tools include Live Captions in FaceTime; a new Magnifier mode that delivers richer descriptions of the surroundings; Hover Text, which helps users to easily read input fields, menu items, button labels, and other text on iPad; support for over 20 additional languages in VoiceOver and Spoken Content; and more.Later this year, Game Center will introduce a redesigned dashboard that allows a player to see which games friends are playing, as well as their achievements and high scores across games, in one place, and with SharePlay integration, a player will be able to start playing multiplayer games with friends automatically on a FaceTime call.

“iPad is our most versatile device, and we’re excited to take what it can do even further with iPadOS 16,” said Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering. “With Stage Manager, which takes multitasking on iPad to a whole new level, plus new ways to share and collaborate via Messages, Safari, and the new Freeform app, and new pro features like Reference Mode and Display Zoom, users can get even more done on iPad.”

The developer preview of iPadOS 16 is available from developer.apple.com starting today, with a public beta available next month at beta.apple.com.

New software features will be available this fall as a free software update for iPad (5th generation and later), iPad mini (5th generation and later), iPad Air (3rd generation and later), and all iPad Pro models.

Author: Martha Meyer