What is new in iPadOS? Should I upgrade now?

Good news! Apple has now pushed the latest version of its software live. It’s the first time Apple has made a piece of software that’s specifically designed for iPads. It’s now ready to download around the world, and it should come up as iPadOS 13.1 when you’re ready to download it.

The new operating system is a big change for Apple, which finally committed to splitting the iPad’s software from the iPhone’s iOS it had run on since the tablet first came out.

The update means iPad owners are finally able to play Apple Arcade, the new gaming subscription service – and enjoy all the new tricks and tweaks coming to Apple tablets.

Which iPads work with iPadOS?

The following iPads can get an update to iPadOS now:

  • iPad Pro 12.9 (2018)
  • iPad Pro 12.9 (2017)
  • iPad Pro 12.9 (2015)
  • iPad Pro 11 (2018)
  • iPad Pro 10.5 (2017)
  • iPad Pro 9.7 (2016)
  • iPad Air (2019)
  • iPad Air 2
  • iPad (2018)
  • iPad (2017)
  • iPad Mini (2019)
  • iPad Mini 4

Below, we have a list of the best iPadOS features you’re now able to experience when the new software hits your slate. It “builds on the same foundation as iOS,” according to Apple, but expect iPadOS to grow more into its own operating system over time.

iPadOS brings a variety of critical improvements to the tablet UI. Some of these make better use of screen real estate while others introduce new gesture controls (and even mouse support) for a better tablet experience.

1. New iPadOS home screen

(Image credit: Apple)

The first big change over you’ll notice in iPadOS is on the new home screen. The grid of app icons is tighter, allowing you to fit more on the screen and reducing the amount of dead space on the display.

With a tighter grid of apps, there’s now an option to show Today View alongside them, for a more useful overview screen.

It can be added to the Home screen for quick access to widgets with a simple swipe from the left side of the screen, and you can switch out the widgets pinned here to display the ones most relevant to you.

 

2. iPadOS gets USB drive and SD card support

(Image credit: Apple)

External storage fans rejoice! iPadOS allows you to plug a USB drive or SD card reader into your iPad, and the Files app will be able to read the plugin and allow you to easily manage data between the iPad’s internal storage and the external drive.

Files gets a Column View to better take advantage of the iPad’s wide screen, and the iCloud Drive allows folder sharing, and will show content from a USB drive or SD card if they’re plugged in.

There’s good news for photographers too, as support is being built into iPadOS to allow you to plug your camera into your iPad and import images directly into editing apps such as Lightroom.

3. DARK MODE

Apple put some care into getting this right, it’s far more than just an inversion of white and black. You’ll find a surprising number of apps support it — even if they are still in the minority, it’s more than I expected at this point.

I especially like that you can just set it on a schedule, just like with Night Shift. I still think that dark mode is more of a UI trend than a genuine improvement, but that’s not a knock against it. User interfaces have trends just like fashion, but I think dark mode is going to last if only because it makes the screen so much nicer to view at night.

4. New FILES APP

When Apple switched the iPad Pro over to USB-C, everybody started thinking about that port as useful for something other than a charger. And with iOS 12, very few things actually worked.

With iPadOS, that port has been allowed to do more things, and the best set of features is in the Files app. It can read USB drives and cards directly now, and you can even unplug those devices without the operating system chiding you.

But Apple did much more than that. It added a column view, set it up to work better with external servers, and finally allows you to just set up and organize local folders more easily.

Related: Safari has a proper download manager now that can download nearly any file, not just the limited set that iOS allowed before.

5. iPadOS performance boost

Your current iPad could get a performance boost when iPadOS arrives, with Apple claiming that its tablet-specific operating system is quicker than iOS 12.

It says Face ID unlocks are up to 30% faster, while apps launch up to twice as fast as on iOS 12 – and apps themselves should be smaller in download size (by up to 50%), taking up less of that precious storage space.

6. Desktop-quality websites and browsing on iPadOS

The Safari web browser is also improved with iPadOS, because it’s no longer purely tied to iOS and a mobile ecosystem.

That’s right: you’re no longer just viewing mobile sites, as iPadOS views websites in a modified desktop view that’s a bit cleaner and optimized for touch.

It doesn’t just work with Apple’s websites either – the likes of Google Docs and WordPress web apps will also work better with Safari on iPadOS.

Apple’s browser will also get a download manager, 30 new keyboard shortcuts, and improved tab management when iPadOS lands later this year.

7. New iPadOS gestures

In some apps, you’ll also be able to two-finger-pinch the keyboard to shrink it to iOS mobile size and move it around. Plunk it next to the side of the screen and boom: you can type on it with one thumb.

Add to that the new gestures for the home screen and multi-tasking, and there may be a learning curve required to get used to all the new interactions which come with iPadOS.

8. Markup and much more on iPadOS

Markup also gets an update, and you’ll be able to mark up entire web pages, documents and emails.

A simple swipe up from the corner with your Apple Pencil launches markup and brings up the newly-redesigned tool palette, which can be dragged around and repositioned anywhere on the screen.

And speaking of the Pencil, Apple has reduced the latency of its input from 20ms to 9ms, which means you’ll get a more natural, pen-like experience when using it.

9. Mouse support for iPadOS

iPadOS does support connecting a mouse to your iPad, though it’s not something you’ll find front-and-center on the official iPadOS features list.

Developer Steve Troughton-Smith initially tweeted out instructions he’d discovered to connect a mouse through new Accessibility settings, and Tom’s Guide successfully activated a mouse on an iPad.

While it doesn’t seem to be the smoothest thing, we’re excited for a serious leap in the iPad family’s productivity potential and accessibility.

 

Conclusion

Again, you should not judge what you are installing today based on this, but you might want to be prepared for some weirdness still. I can’t help but think that iPadOS is getting pushed out a little early because it needs to go out with iOS 13.1 — which itself needs to be rushed out because iOS 13.0 is super buggy.

Luckily, the most catastrophic bugs (like losing data in iCloud) seem to have been well and thoroughly quashed. But you might have some apps crash or freeze. Waiting a little longer to install — or at least avoiding installing on day one — is never a terrible idea.

What you need to know about iOS 13? Top 10 new features

At WWDC 2019, Apple unveiled the new version of iOS 13 that is going to release in July 2019.

According to Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, iOS 13 is the “next big release for iOS,” and it will offer a variety of improvements to the operating system.

The focus is on much improved performance, Apple sign-in, a new (and long-awaited) Dark Mode and a completely overhauled Maps app.

However, please note that iOS 13 will be available to iPhone devices (starting with the iPhone 6S, meaning that iPhone 5S and iPhone 6 users will be left behind)

Top 10 iOS 13 new features:

  • iOS 13 will load apps up to 2x faster, thanks to improvements to how apps are architected.
  • A new Dark Mode can help save battery life while making your photos, messages and other content pop.
  • You finally get swipe typing with a Quick Path keyboard option.
  • Reminders are getting smarter, as they can automatically recognize dates and times.
  • A new Sign in With Apple feature lets you sign into apps easily without sacrificing your privacy.
  • The revamped Maps app offers a lot more detail and new features like Collections.
  • The Photos app is getting new browsing options that removes clutter, including Month and Year views that highlight your best photos.
  • Siri is going to sound less like a robot thanks to a big text-to-speech improvement.
  • Memoji are getting more personal and customizable, complete with makeup and accessory options.
  • You finally get the ability to select a Wi-Fi network in Control Center.

1. iOS 13 Performance: A big boost

Apple says it has focused on faster performance once again. For example, unlocking your iPhone with Face ID is 30 percent faster. Downloading apps are getting sped up, too. That’s because Apple worked to make apps 50 percent smaller. Updates are also 60 percent smaller. The result: launch speed for apps is now 2x faster.

2. Dark Mode

Dark Mode in iOS 13 makes your content look more immersive, with a dark background for the home screen and in all sorts of apps, from messages to photos. The idea is to make your content pop more, though the company didn’t say anything about potential battery life savings on iPhones with OLED screens.

Apple says that Dark Mode can be scheduled to be turned on automatically at sunset, which is neat. The company is making the feature available for developers so they can give their apps a Dark Mode makeover.

3. Privacy: Sign in with Apple

Apple is building in protections for privacy, such as having apps ask you just once for your location. You can also get background tracking alerts. Plus, Apple is trying lock down side doors that use Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections.

But the most noteworthy privacy change in iOS 13 involves anew sign-in option to bypass Google and Facebook. It’s called Sign in with Apple. This simple API allows you to log in without revealing any personal info. If an app requests your name and email address, Apple will let you create an anonymous random email address that forwards to your real email. And each app can have their own random email address, making it easier to weed out the apps you don’t want troubling your inbox.

With Sign in with Apple, it will work on devices with Touch ID and Face ID, so you don’t have to have a newer iPhone or iPad.

4. Maps

Apple says it has driven over 4 million miles to rebuild its Maps app from the ground up. The overhaul, which includes broader road coverage, better pedestrian data, more precise addresses and more detailed landcover, will be completed by the end of 2019 in the US and roll out to other countries in 2020.

There’s a new binoculars button with a look-around window. This gives you a 3D view of your surroundings, making it easier to explore. If you turn your phone to landscape mode, you can zoom down the street, and you can also tap on labels to learn more about nearby landmarks and businesses.

Other features in Maps include collections so you can group things you like in the cities you visit most or live in. A Favorites feature lets you store the places you frequently visit, so you can call up directions with a tap.

5. QuickPath Keyboard

There’s not much news here, other than the fact that you can now swipe to type in iOS 13 with the stock keyboard. Android phones have had this for years.

6. Reminders

Rewrote from the round up. The app can automatically recognize daays and times to set reminders. If you tag a person in a reminder, you’ll automatically get a notification the next time you send them a message in Messages. Apple also made it easier to add locations and flags, as well as attachments.

7. Messages and Memoji Stickers

Messages are getting more personal in iOS 13. You can choose to share your name and picture. There’s a lot new options in Animoji, too, including makeup options like eye shadow, eyeglasses and sunglasses and (yes) even AirPods.

Memoji Stickers are coming to iOS 13, which give you a lot more options to personalize your messages. And those stickers will be integrated directly into the emoji keyboard, so you can use them in apps beyond just iOS’s built-in Messages.

8. Photos

Apple is making it easier to tweak lighting effects with the Photos app in iOS 13. You can now change the intensity and direction of portrait lighting. iOS 13 is also adding a ton of editing effects to both photos and videos. For example, you can rotate a video and apply all sorts of effects.

Apple is also introducing a new way to browse through your photos. Apple is removing duplicates and clutter via machine learning.Thee are now Days and Months tabs for browsing through your pics, and there’s also Years. The option is smart enough to know what day it is and flash back to the same day on previous years. This can come in really handy when looking through previous birthdays for a loved one.

9. CarPlay

Apple is revamping the interface for CarPlay with iOS 13, so you can see your Music and Maps at once. Siri will also do a better job of staying out of your way visually while also offering support for third-party navigation and audio apps (maybe Spotify? Please!).

10. Siri

Siri shortcuts is getting smarter with suggested routines. Siri is also going to sound more natural with neural TTS (text to speech). Apple showed off a quick demo, and it sounded a lot more human-like.