iPadOS 16 beta just fixed biggest complaint — Stage Manager is coming to older iPad Pros

Stage Manager on iPadOS 16
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Update: macOS Ventura coming October 24 — everything you need to know.

iPadOS 16 should be coming this October, potentially alongside an October Apple event, though that event is now in doubt. What isn’t in doubt is that the developer beta will continue to bring us more updates in the meantime — including some key stage manager updates.

According to Engadget, Apple’s new window management system is getting a broader release than initially anticipated. Originally, Stage Manager for iPadOS was only going to come to iPads running M1 chips. Apple’s reasoning was that non-M1 iPads were unable to handle the computing required to run Stage Manager. This meant that basically, only the latest devices were eligible for the new feature despite iPadOS 16 having a broader install base — much to the disappointment of some of our staff.

However, it seems Apple has figured out a way to bring the beloved feature to a broader base —  though not much broader. The feature is only opening up to devices that run on the A12X and A12Z Bionic chips, which are the first and second generation iPad Pro 11-inch devices and the third and fourth generation of the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. So, unfortunately, those with a traditional iPad are still out of luck. 

Stage Manager on iPadOS 16

iPadOS 16 at WWDC 2022

(Image credit: Apple via YouTube)

Stage Manager was announced at WWDC this year as a new feature for iPadOS 16 and macOS Ventura. The multitasking management application allows your iPad to feel more like a computer by giving your iPad a more desktop-like user interface. Stage Manager takes what you’re working on front and center, then moves other apps to the side of the screen. You can even run up to four resizable windows in the center of the display.

You could even add another four windows by using an external display. Sadly, this feature is changing. External display support is still available on the M1-powered iPad Pros and iPad Air for now, but the older iPad Pros that can now run Stage Manager in this new developer beta update do not get external display support. 

In fact, there's even more bad news. Apple is removing external display support entirely from iPadOS 16 in iPad OS 16.1 beta 5. The one silver lining is that Apple says that external display support will eventually return, at least on some devices.

Stage Manager on iPadOS 16

(Image credit: Future)

Unfortunately, these setbacks have been all too familiar for Stage Manager on iPadOS 16. The app has been plagued with issues and criticism and has even been blamed for Apple delaying the operating system, which is now launching as iPad OS 16.1. 

The good news is that by adding support for additional devices and highlighting external displays as a key issue, Apple may finally be narrowing down the issues with Stage Manager on iPad OS 16.1. At the very least it indicates that Stage Manager shouldn’t be the cause of any future iPad OS 16 delays.

Malcolm McMillan
Senior Streaming Writer

Malcolm McMillan is a senior writer for Tom's Guide, covering all the latest in streaming TV shows and movies. That means news, analysis, recommendations, reviews and more for just about anything you can watch, including sports! If it can be seen on a screen, he can write about it. Previously, Malcolm had been a staff writer for Tom's Guide for over a year, with a focus on artificial intelligence (AI), A/V tech and VR headsets.

Before writing for Tom's Guide, Malcolm worked as a fantasy football analyst writing for several sites and also had a brief stint working for Microsoft selling laptops, Xbox products and even the ill-fated Windows phone. He is passionate about video games and sports, though both cause him to yell at the TV frequently. He proudly sports many tattoos, including an Arsenal tattoo, in honor of the team that causes him to yell at the TV the most.