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Hands on with Stage Manager improvements in iPadOS 17

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Hands on with Stage Manager improvements in iPadOS 17
With Stage Manager in iPadOS 17, you can arrange app windows however you like.
Graphic: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple is making significant improvements to its Stage Manager multitasking system so iPads can work even more like Macs. The iPadOS 17 version offers additional freedom in window sizing and position.

I’ve been testing the update since Apple began releasing beta versions of iPadOS 17 in June. I already liked the original version of Stage Manager — but the new one is even better.

Apple explains how to use Stage Manager on iPad

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Stage Manager on iPad
A tutorial video from Apple Support demonstrates how to get started using Stage Manager on iPad.
Photo: Apple Support

Stage Manager puts iPad applications into floating, resizable, overlapping windows. It’s the most significant change to iPadOS in many years, and Apple Support created a video that walks through the possibilities.

Watch it if you’d like to get started with this multitasking system.

iPadOS 17 could make Stage Manager a lot better

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2022 iPad Pro launch: Stage Manager, Apple's multitasking feature that finally brings resizable windows to the iPad (and an external monitor), hasn't been that well-received so far.
Apple has not given up on Stage Manager yet.
Photo: Apple

Apple reportedly will make meaningful improvements to the Stage Manager multitasking feature in iPadOS 17. Tweaks and additions include support for streaming multiple audio/video sources simultaneously, external monitor webcam support and more.

These changes should make Stage Manager much more useful, especially when connecting your iPad to an external monitor.

How to get started using Stage Manager on iPad

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Hands on: Stage Manager in iPadOS 16 brings the floating app windows we asked for
iPad can now show applications in resizable floating windows. Here's how to use the new multitasking system.
Image: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Stage Manager in iPadOS 16 makes Apple’s tablets act much more like a Mac. The optional multitasking system puts applications into floating, resizable, overlapping windows.

Even better, the system can also be used on external displays, greatly increasing the available space to work in.

Here’s how to get started using Stage Manager.

Get way more done with full external display support in iPadOS 16.2

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iPad finally gets floating windows in Stage Manager on iPadOS 16
More than double your iPad's useful screen area with iPadOS 16.2.
Screenshot: Apple

iPadOS 16.2 just launched, and for many users of top-tier iPads, the standout feature is full external display support. This makes Apple tablets far better at multitasking than ever before.

There are other improvements in iPadOS 16.2 as well, including the Freeform collaboration app.

iOS 16.2 and iPadOS 16.2 beta 2: All the new features and changes

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iOS 16.2 beta 1 receded developers on Tuesday.
iOS 16.2 and iPadOS 16.2 beta 2 are here with some new features.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple seeded the second iOS 16.2 and iPadOS 16.2 beta two weeks after the first beta dropped. The first beta packed plenty of new features and enhancements, and the second beta is no different.

Below is a look at all the changes and everything new in iOS 16.2 and iPadOS 16.2 beta 2, followed by an archive of the new features of beta 1.

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 relents on Stage Manager, adds new multitasking system to older iPads

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iPadOS 16 Stage Manager
Some non-M1 iPads will support Stage Manager too.
Image: Apple

Apple listened to a chorus of user complaints by bringing support for Stage Manager to some older iPad models that don’t have the M1 processor. That gives more tablets access to the system that puts iPadOS applications in resizable, floating windows.

But the news isn’t all good. The company also decided to delay full support for external displays until later. The feature won’t be part of iPadOS 16.1 when it launches.

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.

Internal mode in iPadOS 16 enables Stage Manager on older iPads

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Why the best iPadOS 16 features are limited to M1 iPads
The Stage Manager controversy refuses to die.
Graphic: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Code in iPadOS 16 indicates Apple has an internal mode to enable the upcoming Stage Manager multitasking feature on older A-series iPads.

Stage Manager aims to improve the multitasking experience on iPads by adding floating, resizable app windows and other features that make the tablets more like Macs. However, Apple’s decision to keep the feature exclusive to iPads with M1 chips has caused quite a bit of controversy.