iPadOS 15 reportedly bringing a major notification and widget overhaul

iPadOS 15 reportedly bringing a major notification and widget overhaul
(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

A last-minute leak ahead of Apple’s WWDC 2021 has Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman claiming that some major changes are coming to iPadOS 15. 

Gurman, who has a reputation for accurate leaks, reported that iPadOS 15 will bring in a redesigned notification banner and tweaks to the way multiple open apps can be managed. 

One often requested feature for iPad is the ability to place widgets anywhere on the home screen alongside the rows and rows of icons. According to Gurman, this will finally be announced this week with “snippets of dynamic information” placable “anywhere on the screen."  

It’s the latter part of this that is key: widgets are already available on iPadOS, but they live in an area to the side of the screen. Bizarrely, the ability to put widgets anywhere has been a feature of iOS since iOS 14, but thus far it hasn’t been added to iPad, where the extra screen space would make it arguably more useful.

This is something that Gurman has predicted before, and the fact that he’s mentioning it again on the eve of the conference leaves us highly confident that widgets could indeed become a lot more flexible on iPads later this year. 

This added customization sounds like it will be appearing alongside changes designed to make the iPad more of a surrogate laptop, with Gurman suggesting that the company will be introducing “an improved multitasking system to make it easier to operate multiple apps at the same time.”

But anybody hoping that this suggests big changes for the lock screen will likely be disappointed. While the report claimed that a “revamped lock screen” for both iPhone and iPad is on Apple’s radar, apparently “some” of the planned improvements have been pushed back into next year’s release, so any changes you see this time around could likely be on the modest side.

Elsewhere, the piece reinforces what we’ve heard elsewhere: that iMessage will be getting some special attention. That's hardly surprising when you consider that the Twitter hashtag for the event includes the iMessage thumbs up logo. Specifically, Gurman mentions that the software will be able to set a status like “driving," “sleeping," or “working,” and adapt how notifications are delivered accordingly. It will also include a new look for incoming notification banners, and “include a larger focus on auto-replying to messages.”

Beyond iOS and iPadOS — two operating systems with so much shared DNA that they’re usually developed in tandem — updates will likely be less profound, with macOS, tvOS and watchOS only due minor changes. That said, for Apple Watch this will reportedly include health tracking improvements, and this may give some clues over the direction of the Apple Watch Series 7

Apple’s next wearable has long been rumored to be embracing blood glucose tracking, even if this may ultimately be something for the 2022 model

WWDC kicks off tomorrow, and you can catch the keynote presentation at 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. BST. As per usual, it will be livestreamed and you can find out how to watch WWDC 2021 here

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.