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A spirited defense of Apple’s Stage Manager

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Hands on: Stage Manager in iPadOS 16 brings the floating app windows we asked for
Stage Manager isn't perfect but it doesn't deserve all the criticism being heaped on it.
Image: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The new Stage Manager multitasking system is Apple’s answer to requests for floating app windows on iPad. It’s drawn a lot of criticism, much of which is undeserved.

I use the new system all day every day. Here’s why there’s a lot to like in Stage Manager, although there are undoubtedly some problems, too.

Apple releases important iOS 15 security patch

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iOS 15.3 is here for your iPhone bugs
iOS 15.7.1 takes care of a long list of security bugs.
Photo: Cult of Mac/Egor Kamelev/Pexels

iPhone users not on iOS 16.1 can now update their handset to iOS 15.7.1. Apple says it “provides important security updates.” It closes almost 20 security holes in the OS.

There’s also iPadOS 15.7.1 that does the same for iPad.

4 great iPadOS 16.1 features that aren’t Stage Manager

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4 great iPadOS 16.1 features that aren't Stage Manager
iPad users get many new features in iPadOS 16.1 without Stage Manger ever being activated.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple finally released iPadOS 16.1. The debut of the Stage Manager multitasking system has drawn most of the attention, but plenty of other new features are worth checking out, too.

Monday’s launch is extra-significant because iPadOS 16 never launched. Version 16.1 is the first replacement for last year’s iPadOS 15.x.

Apple confirms iPadOS 16 delay [Updated]

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iPadOS 16 Stage Manager
iPadOS 16 is turning out to be more difficult than Apple expected.
Image: Apple

Apple seeded iPadOS 16 beta 7 to developers on Monday, and its build number confirms that the release of this new version has been pushed back several weeks. This is in-line with an earlier leak that iPads wouldn’t see an update until October.

In addition, there has now been no new macOS Ventura beta for over two weeks, showing it’s also not close to release. That’s not surprising, however.

iOS 16, watchOS 9 and tvOS 16 are in the final stages of beta testing, and are expected to become debut in September, as expected.

iPadOS 16 might be delayed until October

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iPadOS 16 Stage Manager
iPad users could be waiting longer than expected for iPadOS 16.
Image: Apple

iPadOS 16 reportedly won’t be introduced in September, as expected. Instead, the next major iPad upgrade has supposedly been pushed back by a month.

The upcoming version is packed with new features, including giving iPads with an M-series processor support for floating app windows on the tablet screen and on external displays

Dive in: Latest iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 public betas are stable enough to try

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Dive in: Latest iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 public betas are stable enough to try
iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 bring some welcome new features. And you can try them out now, if you can tolerate their bugs.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Tired of just reading about the new iPhone Lock Screen and want to try it? Really eager to make full use of an external screen with your iPad? There’s good news: Apple released new public betas of iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 this week, and my testing shows they’re stable enough for average users to try them out.

That said, be cautious. These are prerelease versions — they still have bugs. The final versions aren’t expected for months, and there’s still plenty of room for improvement

Apple explains why Stage Manager is not coming to non-M1 iPads

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Why the best iPadOS 16 features are limited to M1 iPads
You can't have iPadOS 16's Stage Manager multitasking system without one of the capabilities of the M1 processor.
Graphic: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac
WWDC22 - Brought to you by CleanMyMac X

Many of the best features of iPadOS 16 like Stage Manager are only coming to the M1 iPads. This angered a lot of non-M1 iPad users since they believe Apple is intentionally trying to limit the feature to newer devices.

The company has now provided an in-depth technical explanation behind Stage Manager not coming to older iPads.

Why the best iPadOS 16 features are limited to M1 iPads

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Why the best iPadOS 16 features are limited to M1 iPads
You can't have iPadOS 16's Stage Manager multitasking system without one of the capabilities of the M1 processor.
Graphic: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac
WWDC22 - Brought to you by CleanMyMac X

iPadOS 16 gives Apple tablets some powerful new capabilities, but there have been protests that these are limited to iPad models with the M1 processor. Apple promises this isn’t a trick to force people to upgrade their computers.

The iPad-maker says that only the M-series processors can deliver enough RAM to display eight applications at once.

With iOS 16 you cannot use your iPad as a HomeKit hub

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Apple discussed its overhauled Home app and HomeKit at WWDC22.
Apple discussed its overhauled Home app and HomeKit at WWDC22.
Photo: Apple
WWDC22 - Brought to you by CleanMyMac X

Apple rebuilt its Home app from the ground up for iOS 16, ensuring it will make managing HomeKit a breeze and support the upcoming Matter home-automation standard.

But for those who’ve been using an iPad as a hub for HomeKit, the house party’s over as of iOS 16’s release.

Hands on: Stage Manager in iPadOS 16 brings the floating app windows we asked for

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Hands on: Stage Manager in iPadOS 16 brings the floating app windows we asked for
iPad gets a lot more Mac-like in iPaOS 16. Here's what it's like to use the new multitasking features.
Image: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

One of the most-requested iPad features is here. Stage Manager in iPadOS 16 puts applications in resizable, floating windows. I’ve tested the first beta of the new system for several days now, and there’s a lot to like. And there’s plenty of frustration too. But some of that comes from this being an early beta.

Here’s my hands-on experience with the iPad’s new multitasking system, and why I think it’s going to change the way many of us use our tablets.