Apple brings Stage Manager to older iPad Pros with latest iPadOS 16 beta

Stage Manager is an entirely new multitasking experience that automatically organizes apps and windows, making it quick and easy to switch between tasks. For the first time on iPad, users can create overlapping windows of different sizes in a single view, drag and drop windows from the side, or open apps from the Dock to create groups of apps for faster, more flexible multitasking. The window of the app users are working on is displayed prominently in the center, and other open apps and windows are arranged on the left-hand side in order of recency.

With full external display support, Stage Manager allows users to arrange their ideal workspace and work with up to eight apps simultaneously.
With full external display support, Stage Manager allows users to arrange their ideal workspace and work with up to eight apps simultaneously.

Nathan Ingraham for Engadget:

Unfortunately, the feature was limited to iPads with the M1 chip — that includes the 11- and 12.9-inch iPad Pro released in May of 2021 as well as the M1-powered iPad Air which Apple released earlier this year. All other older iPads were left out.

That changes with the latest iPadOS 16 developer beta, which was just released. Now, Apple is making Stage Manager work with a number of older devices: it’ll work on the 11-inch iPad Pro (first generation and later) and the 12.9-inch iPad Pro (third generation and later). Specifically, it’ll be available on the 2018 and 2020 models that use the A12X and A12Z chips rather than just the M1. However, there is one notable missing feature for the older iPad Pro models — Stage Manager will only work on the iPad’s build-in display. You won’t be able to extend your display to an external monitor.

Apple also says that developer beta 5 of iPadOS 16. is removing external display support for Stage Manager on M1 iPads, something that has been present since the first iPadOS 16 beta was released a few months ago. It’ll be re-introduced in a software update coming later this year.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple provided a statement regarding Stage Manager to Engadget that reads:

We introduced Stage Manager as a whole new way to multitask with overlapping, resizable windows on both the iPad display and a separate external display, with the ability to run up to eight live apps on screen at once. Delivering this multi-display support is only possible with the full power of M1-based iPads. Customers with iPad Pro 3rd and 4th generation have expressed strong interest in being able to experience Stage Manager on their iPads. In response, our teams have worked hard to find a way to deliver a single-screen version for these systems, with support for up to four live apps on the iPad screen at once.

External display support for Stage Manager on M1 iPads will be available in a software update later this year.

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  1. iPad is a full-screen experience for me, from day one. Overlapping windows is part of the Mac experience, from day one. It’s easy switching between apps, each with its full maximum screen. Stage Manager steals screen space. Even on my MacBook, I’ll probably keep using Spaces. It’s easy swiping between Spaces, with a Space dedicated to specific task.

  2. After recently upgrading to iPad OS15 (solved most of the bugs annoying me) I was pleasantly surprised that the app window management was fairly usable. I am glad that my 2020 11” Pro will get the stage manager feature (as it should have from the start) but we’ll see how useful it is, I’ve heard the Beta versions were underwhelming, thus the delay.

    I don’t buy that 2018/2020 Pros can’t run the external display version, but Apple wouldn’t be caught dead without at least 1 major differentiator for its new M1/M2 iPads, even if just artificially manipulated. Listening to Apple you’d think A12Z chips were made by Intel, not 12th-gen Apple Silicon.

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