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How to download iPadOS 15 now

iPadOS 15 on an iPad Pro
(Image credit: Future)

Finally, you can download iPadOS 15 now, without having to go through the rigamarole of using a public or developer beta. Apple released iPadOS 15 today (Monday, Sept. 20), days before its iPad 9 and iPad mini 6 ship.

But why should you hit update now? The biggest new change in iPadOS 15 is Apple's new multitasking button that will make it a lot easier for folks to understand how to split their screen. Plus, finally, widgets on the home screen, and the App Library as well. Those last two should have been here with iPadOS 14 last year, but better late than never.

On top of that, Live Text (the coolest iOS 15 feature if you ask me), is here to help you copy text right out of photos. It's awesome.

As usual, a major OS update comes with one important caveat. Back up your stuff before downloading iPadOS 15. You can do this easiest via iCloud Backups.

How to download iPadOS 15: Backup first

There are two ways to do this, but Apple advises you perform a local archived backup to restore from. I recommend that way, but the faster way to make sure your data is backed up is via iCloud. 

  1. Open the Settings app. 
  2. Select your user profile.
  3. Tap iCloud.  
  4. Tap iCloud Backup.
  5. Turn on the iCloud backup switch.
  6. Check the time of the "last successful backup."

To backup locally to a Mac by: plug in your iPad, opening Finder (or iTunes if you're on iOS 12), selecting that iPad in the menu on the left and click Summary.

Then select This Computer under Backups (as opposed to iCloud) and then click Back Up Now.

If you back up via a Mac, archive that backup (under Manage backups, select your backup and click Archive) to make it so you can restore from this backup.

iPadOS 15: supported iPads

If you're already on iPadOS 14, don't worry about compatibility. iPadOS 15 supports the exact same iPads as iPadOS 14. 

If you're not on iPadOS 14, here's the list of supported iPads:

How to download iPadOS 15

Just a warning: Apple's servers may be slammed at first by all the demand, so maybe take a break if the sites below aren't operating as quickly as you'd expect.

1. Open the Settings app.

The settings app highlighted on an iPad home screen

(Image credit: Apple)

2. Select General.

The Settings app with General highlighted

(Image credit: Apple)

3. Select Software Update.

Software update is highlighted in Settings App

(Image credit: Apple)

4. This is where it gets weird. I had to tap Learn More. You may be able to skip to step 6.

In settings app, Learn More is highlighted

(Image credit: Apple)

5. Tap "Upgrade to iPadOS 15" under "Also Available."

At the bottom of the screen, "Upgrade to iPadOS 15" is highlighted

(Image credit: Apple)

6. Tap Download and Install under iPadOS 15.

Under iPadOS 15 "Download and Install" is highlighted

(Image credit: Apple)

7. Enter your iPad's passcode (if you have one, that is).

The "enter your passcode" prompt is highlighted

(Image credit: Apple)

8. Tap Agree.

Agree under the Terms and Conditions is highlighted

(Image credit: Apple)

9. Tap Agree.

Agree in a Terms and Conditions prompt is highlighted

(Image credit: Apple)

Your iPad will now download iPadOS 15. Follow the prompts and wait for it to finish installing!

Henry T. Casey

Henry is a senior editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past six-plus years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.