Without a shadow of a doubt, one of the biggest disappointments to come from Apple in 2022 is iPadOS 16. The introduction of Stage Manager was expected to be an absolute game-changer, but it was almost immediately apparent that there was a lot of work left to do. Apple recognized this and pushed the release of iPadOS 16 back until “later this year”, giving the company more time to work on the stability of Stage Manager.
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Unlike iOS 16.1 Beta 1, there aren’t all that many “new” features to be found on the latest version of the iPad’s software. There are a few new things here and there, but by in large, Apple is focused more on fixing Stage Manager ahead of its eventual release. With that being said, here’s what’s new in iPadOS 16.1 Beta 2.
What’s New in iPadOS 16.1 Beta 2
Matter Accessory Controls for Smart Home
While HomeKit is Apple’s ecosystem for handling and controlling smart home devices, there’s another “standard” that has been in development. This new standard is being called “Matter” and includes some of the biggest smart home companies working together to make compatibility across devices and platforms even better. Apple has detailed some of the changes coming when Matter is formally implemented, and both iPadOS 16.1 Beta 2 and iOS 16.1 Beta 1 give us our first look at that.
iPadOS 16.1 has a new Matter Accessories option menu in Settings pic.twitter.com/iqVsfP209r
— Aaron Zollo (@zollotech) September 14, 2022
Stage Manager “Improvements”
Even to this point, it was possible to add multiple apps to your current “stage” when using Stage Manager on iPadOS 16. However, Apple also implemented a button that was intended to let you add another app from your Recents menu. With iPadOS 16.1 Beta 2, this “Add Another Window” button finally works, providing a “curtain animation” so you can scroll through your various open apps.
First Stage Manager change in iPadOS 16.1 beta 2:
The button to add more windows to a stage finally works. Windows open with a "curtain" animation and show you the app switcher.
Still very buggy, even on a M1 iPad Pro. pic.twitter.com/k5pHG71kgS
— Federico Viticci (@viticci) September 14, 2022
As pointed out in the Twitter thread above, Apple has also implemented a new option for seeing all of the open windows for a specific app. With iPadOS 16.1 Beta 2, you can either click the app icon in the dock, or you can press Globe + Down on your attached keyboard with the app in focus. Plus, there’s a “+” icon in the top left corner that appears when viewing all of the windows that allows you to add yet another window for the app that you are viewing.
When is iPadOS 16.1 Being Released?
If you have been holding off on installing the iPadOS 16 beta, then you are one of the lucky few. Arguably one of the biggest updates for the iPad ever has been riddled with bugs, many of which have been causing plenty of headaches when it comes to using Stage Manager. Despite iPadOS 16 being available as early as June via the Developer Beta program, the experience hasn’t really improved too much. This has forced Apple to publicly confirm that iPadOS 16 will not be released alongside the final version of iOS 16.
In its statement, Apple provided the following:
“This is an especially big year for iPadOS. As its own platform with features specifically designed for iPad, we have the flexibility to deliver iPadOS on its own schedule. This Fall, iPadOS will ship after iOS, as version 16.1 in a free software update.”
For the first time since the separation of iOS and iPadOS, the iPhone-only version of the software will be released first. And while Apple didn’t share specifics, the expectation is for iPadOS 16.1 to arrive alongside the release of macOS Ventura, which is likely to be made available sometime in October. This gives Apple more time to fine-tune iPadOS 16 and its headlining feature with Stage Manager.
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.