For those of us who happen to grab every new Apple device we can get our hands on, WWDC 2022 was an exciting event. There are a bunch of new features coming to all of Apple’s hardware platforms, including the iPad. But after the dust settled, we began learning a bit more about what’s to come with iPadOS 16, and not all of the news was great.
- iPad Multitasking: How to Use Stage Manager on iPadOS 16
- iOS 16: Best Features Coming To iPhone
- How To Use Personalized Spatial Audio on iOS 16
- What’s New in iPadOS 16
- How To Download iPadOS 16
What iPadOS 16 Features Are Limited to M1 iPads
Many of the “defining” features of iPadOS 16 won’t be available to all iPad owners. Since WWDC 2022, Apple has explained which features are only available for iPad models powered by the M1 chip. There aren’t very many in the grand scheme of things, but they are arguably the most intriguing features for those who want to upgrade to iPadOS 16 this fall.
M1 iPad Models
- 11-inch iPad Pro (2021)
- 12.9-inch iPad Pro (2021)
- iPad Air (2022)
Stage Manager is a feature coming to macOS Ventura and iPadOS 16, giving users the ability to use apps in new ways. This is a new multitasking functionality, with the ability to resize windows, and see overlapping windows “in a single view”.
When activated, you’ll be presented with your most recently-opened apps off to the left. And tapping on any of those other apps will put them front and center. Stage Manager also makes it possible to stack multiple apps together and continue to use them side-by-side, overlapped, or however else you want to use them. iPadOS 16 also makes it possible to create different groups, making it easier to focus on the task at hand without getting distracted.
External Display Support
Another feature that iPad users have been wanting for years is proper external display support. It seems as though this wasn’t possible with previous “A” series iPad chips. But that’s all changing with iPadOS 16, provided that you own an M1-powered iPad.
Instead of plugging in your iPad and only being able to mirror what’s on the screen, you’ll now be able to “extend the desktop”. This includes being able to use Stage Manager on both your iPad and external display. By doing so, you’ll be able to use a total of eight apps at the same time.
Perhaps even more exciting is the fact that you will no longer need to worry about those pesky bars on either side of your monitor. Instead, your iPad is able to full advantage of the screen real estate offered by plugging into an external display.
If you were frustrated with the limitations for non-M1 iPad owners, there is another feature that is only available for the 12.9-inch M1 iPad Pro. Reference Mode is going to be a big feature for designers and artists, as it transforms your Liquid Retina XDR display into an external reference monitor.
Essentially, this will allow your iPad with its mini-LED technology to display color references for SDR and HDR color standards. But this also works with video formats, in addition to traditional image standards. This is made possible because the 12.9-inch M1 iPad Pro is the only iPad in the lineup that offers the Liquid Retina XDR display.
Virtual Memory Swap
During the WWDC 2022 Keynote, Apple briefly touched on the fact that the M1-powered iPad models now support Virtual Memory Swap. This was one of the biggest benefits of switching from Intel to Apple Silicon, as it essentially turns your storage into RAM when your system needs it.
“With Virtual Memory Swap, iPad storage can be used to expand the available memory for all apps, and delivers up to 16 gigabytes of memory for the most demanding apps, helping to make multitasking absolutely seamless.”
As soon as you see what’s possible with Stage Manager, you can understand why Apple is “flipping the switch” on Virtual Memory Swap with iPadOS 16. When you start getting into using a bunch of apps at the same time on your iPad, your RAM will be used up and could result in a subpar experience. This feature alleviates those potential issues, so you can enjoy using your iPad without any hiccups.
Just as a note – while the 2022 iPad Air is powered by the M1 chip, only the 256GB version can take advantage of the Virtual Memory Swap.
Will You Be Upgrading To An M1 iPad?
With all of these incredible features being limited to just M1 iPads, this begs the question of whether you’ll be upgrading your existing iPad. If you aren’t already using an M1-powered iPad, is Stage Manager enough for you to pick up the new iPad Air or even an iPad Pro? Or are you just going to stick with what you currently own until the M2 makes its way to the iPad? Let us know in the comments below.
Andrew is a freelance writer based on the East Coast of the US.
He has written for a variety of sites over the years, including iMore, Android Central, Phandroid, and a few others. Now, he spends his days working for an HVAC company, while moonlighting as a freelance writer at night.