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 (opens in new tab), 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
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.
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.