This new update brings various multitasking and connectivity upgrades to key system apps, like the Photo Library, Mail, Messaging, and more. We will be taking a look at the key software additions that have been done to make the new Apple Silicon powered iPads a more ultrabook-worthy device category.
The major highlight of this update is the addition of a new multitasking interface called Stage Manager. It automatically organizes all your apps and windows in an easy-to-access interface, which allows you to overlap multiple windows, customize their size, and drag and drop documents, links and much more between all the supported apps.
You can project this interface to an external display, with software support extended to previous generation iPad Pro models with the M1 chip and the new lineup, with a maximum resolution capability of up to 6K. There is a special focus mode, which lets you 'Centre' an app, with other apps being placed in tiny widgets and windows on the left side in the order of recent use. You can even create specific clusters of overlapping windows of different sizes in a single view, which will be locked in place and accessible with a click of a button.
iCloud Shared Photo Library
The new update brings new sharing features to the iCloud Photo Library, where you can now add separate shared libraries with up to five people. Everyone will have equal permissions to add, edit, favourite, caption and delete any photos and videos shared within this 'shared library', with options for manual or smart share features to add photos through Bluetooth proximity and sharing suggestions in For You. This way, you can have multiple shared spaces with different sets of people in your friend circle, depending on your shared interests and personal history.
The Messages app gets a lot of meaningful upgrades, with the highlight being the ability to edit messages for up to 15 minutes of sending them. You can even unsend a message for up to 2 minutes in case of a misclick. The interface will keep a record of all the edits, and you can ever recover deleted messages for up to 30 days through it.
You get the ability to fast-forward or rewind audio messages while playback, as well as mark messages as unread when you don’t have the time to respond immediately. You can even synchronise activities like movies, music, workouts, games and more with friends while chatting in Messages.
This new interface will also add a new collaboration feature, which will allow you to add people to a project in Messages, and the system will automatically add them to all the relevant documents, spreadsheets or other shared items. This access will work on all compatible apps and services, like Files, Keynote, Numbers, Pages, Notes, Reminders and Safari, as well as other supported third‑party apps.
Since you will be interacting through Messages, it will maintain an activity list of all the updates that are happening in the project through the ongoing chat thread. Third-party developers will be able to integrate their app’s chat systems with Messages and FaceTime, making it a central hub of collaboration for all your contributors.
You get similar abilities in the Mail service, including the chance to unsend an email message that you want to recall. The system now even notifies the users when they miss key parts of your message, like an attachment or cc, bcc participant. If it is an important email, you can even send it back to the top of your inbox for future follow‑up. To help you recognize verified accounts, there is even an authentication system that uses BIMI (Brand Indicators for Message Identification) verified brand iconography. You can find important communications through these distinct icons and then easily add reminders that will make them resurface in your inbox.
Another big multitasking and multi-sharing upgrade have been given to the Safari app, where you can now share a Tab Group with friends. All the participants can add their own tabs and sync with the Tab Group update. You can even have custom start pages for each group, with a special background image and favourites list. This interface also comes with the optional use of push notifications through iPadOS.
Other notable additions include support for translating text in images using Live Text. This feature will work for a variety of languages, including Arabic, Dutch, Indonesian, Korean, Polish, Thai, Turkish and Vietnamese. You can make other specific individual adjustments to your own interface, such as a certain page zoom, or automatic reader view, that will sync across all your devices.
There are dozens of other little touches across the new iPadOS 16 interface, and you are certainly encouraged to go check it out if your device supports it. The update will be rolled out in phases across various countries and regions, so expect to get it on your device something this month.